There's no hierarchy of certainty that models graduate through.
Not officially, but there are gradations of certainty in the support of theories. My theory of host range expansion by a particular cerambycid is about a 4 or 5 on a scale of one to ten in terms of certainty. Newtons law of graviational pull is a 10.
The reason that Newton's laws are laws and evolution is a theory is because Newton decided to call them "laws."
Crash - look at what you're saying. You think if they hadn't been totally verified by the observations of others we would still call them laws !? This guy died a couple centuries ago.
I agree with your suppport of evolution, but I think you were closer to the truth here:
...this hilarious idea that there is some kind of hierarchy of scientific models, with "conjecture" at the bottom, "hypothesis" next, "theory" on top of that, and finally at the top, representing certainty about the universe is "law."
Theories vary greatly in the amount of supporting data they have from independent observations, hence we should attach varying levels of confidence in them.
The better way to counter the 'evolution is flawed' argument is simply to point out that only the specific details are being refined in particular contexts. The general mechanisms and processes have been demonstrated widely applicable and are generally agreed upon.
My biggest problems with evolution are some of the unanswered questions, some of the undemonstrated parts of the theory.
Well, there are many component parts of ToE that are more difficult to understand than others, or require greater understanding of technical or scientific methodology. These tend to engender less acceptance among non-scientists (ability to understand carbon dating, molecular clocks etc.) The ToE encompasses so many different avenues of investigation, it is in some sense always going to be incomplete. But it is also constantly growing. In other words, every day, more and more evidence accumulates that is entirely consistent with the overall framework. This gives us confidence that we are employing appropriate reasoning. The corrections and modifications are all concerned with clarifying its precise application in highly specific contexts, not with modifying its general mode of action.
I'm a skeptic. And I think thats a good thing.
Yes, provided your skepticisim is based on logical reasoning, rather than on preconceived notions driven by religious convictions.
Perhaps you could be more specific about where you feel the ToE is incomplete? Some area sufficiently significant to warrant doubting the overall theory?