Since the middle of the twentieth century, there has been a heated debate between evolutionists and antievolutionists regarding whether or not evolution is a ‘fact’. The debate has spawned a number of court cases involving antievolutionists describing evolution as a ‘theory, not a fact’. An analysis of the ‘fact of biological evolution’ discourse reveals several overarching agreements among its advocates, but also a contradictory morass of positions regarding how scientific theories, hypotheses and facts interrelate, how these terms are related to biological evolution, what a scientific fact is, and how science popularizers use the scientific and public vernaculars. The formation, structure and development of the discourse is assessed through a Foucauldian discourse analysis, as well as through the lens of Gieryn’s conceptions of public science and cultural cartography.
Jean, Jason & Yixi Lu. (2018). Evolution as a Fact? A discourse analysis. Social Studies of Science. 48(4), 615-632. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312718785773