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#434844 - 10/11/10 03:33 PM Re: What is tangible? [Re: inky]
Bill_M Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 07/28/01
Posts: 11561
Loc: New England, USA
Originally Posted By: inky
A perfect example is science. It has countless theories but very few laws simply because some things may be irrefutable in their reliability but there's always that small chance it could be proven wrong.

While it's true that the scientific method allows for science to be revised when new, significant data shows up, this isn't what "theory" and "law" refer to. In science, the term "theory" doesn't mean "hypothesis", and a "law" is not some sort of graduated theory. A law just describes a consistent observation. An educated guess is called a hypothesis. When one or more hypotheses withstand the rigor of the scientific method, and can sever as a model that explains the observations, then that's a theory. Newton's Second Law of Motion is a law (F=ma) and gravitational theory is a theory, but it has nothing to do with difference in certainty.

Personally I thought biologist Stephen Jay Gould put it best:

...facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. [...] In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
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#434851 - 10/11/10 04:58 PM Re: What is tangible? [Re: Bill_M]
Nahash Prince Offline



Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 197
Loc: Currently at large
You argue a very good point Bill_M. I am hardpressed to agree with you. Thanks for responding.
_________________________
"Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than
those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual
development", has become the most vicious animal of all!"...Dr. La Vey

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#434857 - 10/11/10 06:37 PM Re: What is tangible? [Re: Nahash Prince]
Original Sly Offline


Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 205
Loc: New Zealand
What's this "family" business?
_________________________
"It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings" - Ellsworth Toohey, Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead p.637

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#434860 - 10/11/10 07:01 PM Re: What is tangible? [Re: Original Sly]
Nahash Prince Offline



Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 197
Loc: Currently at large
It's ancient. Thanks for responding.
_________________________
"Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than
those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual
development", has become the most vicious animal of all!"...Dr. La Vey

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