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Can a scientific theory be proven true?


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2010-04-07 07:36:52
2010-04-07 07:36:52

Using strictly scientific definitions, no, a theory cannot be proven true. We shall examine why:

Firstly, a hypothesis is an explanation of some phenomenon or group of facts, and can be tested repeatedly. This needs to be understood as the basis for the theory.

A theory is a hypothesis which has successfully made correct predictions, and moreover has been supported by additional evidence which both fits within the hypothesis (can be explained by it) and does not refute it.

To be proven true requires that the conclusion follow logically from the assumptions. For example, the commonly-used "Bill is a man. Men are mortal. Therefore, Bill is mortal."

A theory cannot be proven true, because it does not draw from assumptions, instead relying on a statement and then allowing reality to either allow or deny that statement's correctness. For example, we see Bob petting a cat and say "Bob likes cats". Later, we ask Bob whether he does indeed like cats. Of course, the first time we ask him he might say yes, but the second time say no (or vice versa). Hence, the conclusion does not follow from any specified assumption, and cannot be always true.

A theory's validity relies on how well its core statement fits with reality and whether any part of reality denies it.

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It can change if it is proven wrong, or if a new theory is proven more likely to be true.

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A scientific law is a theory that has been tried and tried again without fail. So, yes. It can be proven to be true.

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A scientific law is something that has been proved again and again under experimentation, and is always true. A scientific theory is an educated guess made based off of a group of data that is not proven to be true. For example, Newton's Laws are scientific laws since they have been proven to be always true. The theory of gravity is a scientific theory because gravity itself has not been completely proven to exist.

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A law is proven, a theory has yet to be proven

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a theorem rather, it has to be proven to become an accepted theory.


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