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This a proposal to improve Conservapedia or its policies and guidelines. It is not official, and does not have wide acceptance. Please regard it as tentative and formative.

When we write about science and scientific subjects, we must be careful to distinguish between knowledge and supposition. Do not confuse guesses with facts. For example, when researchers see that children have the same problems as their parents and grandparents, they often assume this is because of genetics. We need to distinguish between proven links (as in sickle-cell anemia) and mere speculation (as in autism).

Theories and guesses

For example, one science article (on another website) states, as if it were common knowledge, that:

  • the brain's anterior portions carry out higher-level thinking

However, this is merely a guess. No one knows whether brain carries out thinking or not. Materialists may simply assume this, as the idea of a soul which can think and have memories independent of the body would not make sense to them, given their rejection of the supernatural (see Methodological naturalism).

It would be more accurate to say that brain researchers assume that the brain's anterior portions carry out higher-level thinking. And it would help our readers if we explained how they chose to believe that. Do those parts of the brain become active when people think about certain things? If so, what things? When? Or do people with brain damage to that portion of the brain have trouble thinking? Perhaps they have come to a conclusion by the process of elimination.

What causes what?

In general, when two factors occur at the same time, scientists try to discover if they both have the same cause or if one is causing the other. Until a theory has been proven, it is common however for scientists (or adocacy journalists or politicians) to pretend that the matter is settled; ofter this happens the same week a scientific paper is published. Journalists frequently seem unaware of the need for independent review and are prone to trumpet a single peer-reviewed paper as the "latest findings of science". We should not make the same mistake.

See also