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Old 05-31-2007, 08:21 AM
Location: The Silver State (from the UK)
4,663 posts, read 7,129,631 times
Reputation: 2862


Lets just mop up the whole "theory" thing. I keep getting people posting that the "theory" of evolution is unproven because its called a "theory". Here is what "theory" means within the scientific community.

Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.

In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

A theory is like the automobile. Components of it can be changed or improved upon, without changing the overall truth of the theory as a whole.

Some scientific theories include the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, the atomic theory, and the quantum theory. All of these theories are well documented and proved beyond reasonable doubt. Yet scientists continue to tinker with the component hypotheses of each theory in an attempt to make them more elegant and concise, or to make them more all-encompassing. Theories can be tweaked, but they are seldom, if ever, entirely replaced.

I am not starting this as an evolution vs creationism thread. I just wanted to make the point about the word "theory" as its clearly misunderstood by many.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:37 AM
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,406,197 times
Reputation: 5442
Good points. If you take a class about how to read music it's called "Music Theory". That doesn't mean they're not really sure if it's true of course, it's just that the word theory has multiple meanings.
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:57 AM
Location: Seattle
6,486 posts, read 13,789,982 times
Reputation: 2764
You didn't see me take piano lessons for years. I was ready to call it a theory after about the sixth time that everything I'd learned seemingly changed around.
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:38 PM
9,742 posts, read 9,064,640 times
Reputation: 2049
I'll add that a scientific theory must be falsifiable. That is, there must be some possible scenario in which the theory can be proven false. Finding a human fossil inside the jaws of a T-rex, for example, would falsify the ToE.

Explanations that incorporate miracles or the supernatural cannot be falsified, and are thus not science. This is not to say that faith is wrong. It is to say that faith is not science.
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:28 PM
124 posts, read 360,903 times
Reputation: 66
Good post ian6479.
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