In “Whose Freedom: The Battle over America’s Most Important Idea,” p. 56, George Lakoff writes:
But science is about more than mere belief or conjecture. Science is fundamentally a moral enterprise, following the moral imperative to seek truth. Science is fundamentally about freedom, freedom of inquiry into the truth without the bias of initial faith or belief. Within science as an institution, a “scientific theory” is in fact a material explanation of a huge range of data based on experiment and evidence. Within science, it is normal for theories to compete. The basis of competition is clear: amount of evidence, convergence of independent evidence from many areas, coverage of data, crucial experiments, degree and depth of explanation. The judges of the competition are distinguished scientists who have spent their careers studying the scientific evidence.
In the science of biology, evolution wins the competition, governed by the rules of the scientific method, hands down. There are no other legitimate competitors. Freedom here is freedom of objective inquiry, on the basis of evidence and explanation. Other theories are free to enter the competition, but if they do not follow the rules of the competition, they will be eliminated—fairly and justly.