Shakespeare's Sister bangs her head against the wall over Bush's endorsement of Intelligent Design.
(Head against wall banging trope swiped from Brad DeLong---his walls are full of holes and dents from the many folks he's caught driven to head against wall banging frustration by the Bush Leaguers' twin allergies to truth and reality.)
Sis can't stand it that there are so many people who think the word "theory" is a synonym for "crazy idea pulled out of thin air with absolutely no evidence to support it." This is of course how people use the word in conversation.
"Hey, I have a theory that if the Mets trade Piazza to the Orioles for Sammy Sosa, they can go all the way!"
"Listen, my theory about that is, John Roberts is really a closet liberal and he's gonna suprise the hell out of everybody."
"You know my wife's theory, don't you? She thinks Christopher's going to turn informer when he finds out Tony had Adrianna whacked and in the last espisode they'll shoot it out by the pool and Tony'll end up floating face down with those ducks bobbing about around him."
"My theory is she's just playing hard to get. I'm gonna go over there!"
People also misuse the word hopefully, mix up imply and infer, and have no idea where to place the damn apostrophe in making a plural possessive.
Right Wing Fundies pushing Intelligent Design are depending on people not knowing what the word theory means, same as they can't tell its from it's.
Somehow I never find myself in conversation with people who have trouble accepting that we live in a material world that functions according to strict physical laws, as opposed to someplace like Oz where physics, biology, and geology are replaced by magic.
My theory is---which is to say, my wild idea that I've just pulled out of thin air with no evidence to support it; I can be just as sloppy in my use of language as the next semi-literate---my theory is that my ability to repel religious nuts is related to my ability in huge crowds to attract total strangers looking for directions to someplace.
This is a fact. It can even be called The Theory of Mannion's Appearance of Universal Competence and it has been tested and peer-reviewed. Put me in a crowd anywhere, Boston, Singapore, Jakarta, Des Moines, and before I can get to the end of a block, eight people will have stopped me to ask for directions.
When I'm in stores I also get asked all the time if I work there, even when I'm standing next to a real employee wearing an orange vest or laminated ID on a lanyard.
Maybe what I've got here is the beginning of a hypothosis, a word we should be encouraging grade school teachers to drill into kids' heads before they get to junior high.
People needing directions look at me and think I just look like I know where I'm going, and people who believe that the world works because God has been doing conjuring tricks every second since the dawn of time, 10,000 years ago, look at me and think, Oh oh, rational human being, and don't bother talking to me.
But if one of them ever does make the mistake of thinking I'm interested or, as is increasingly more likely to happen, I ever find myself in an argument with one of them at a PTO meeting, and they pull their favorite rhetorical trick:
"Well, you know, evolution is only a theory."
I'll say, "You what what? Gravity is only a theory too. What do you say we test it? Let's see you jump off a cliff."