Essay:CP on "theory"

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Conservapedia on "Scientific Theory"

Comments from the Real World


A scientific theory is more substantial than a conjecture or cp:hypothesis, but may not be verified as consistent with empirical data. [1]

It is a plausible and consistent explanation for observable phenomena.

To be considered scientific, a theory must be cp:falsifiable. This means that there must be some way to do experiments that could counter the theory's predictions, thus disproving the current theory. [2]


A scientific theory is a model/explanation of a process that is testable, verifiable, predictive, and falsifiable. If it is not verifiable by empiric data, it is either not a theory but a "hypothesis", or it is invalid as a theory prima facie.

To be considered scientific, a theory must be falsifiable, among other things.


Generally accepted scientific theories have been tested and survived over time, have evolved when appropriate, and modified toward consistency with newly discovered data, have not been shown to be false and can make predictions about natural phenomena.[3] Scientific theories can sometimes be used as the basis for industrial and technical developments.

A scientific theory does not necessarily have to have strong experimental support or accepted by the scientific community. Scientists often refer to untested theories and competing theories. Theories can be extremely well-confirmed, such as conservation of energy, or speculative, such as cp:String Theory.

Although Science can not in actuality prove anything to be true for sure all it can say is the the preponderance of evidence shows that to be the most likely answer.


A theory usually has strong experimental or theoretical support. For instance, most of Quantum Mechanics was developed before the technology existed to test it. Even so, it has strong predictive value, and has been confirmed through experimentation.

Aside from philosophical questions of the nature of truth, scientific theories describe physical truth.

Common usage[edit]

Evolutionists frequently argue that the word "theory" means very different things to scientists and non-scientists. For example, a PBS TV show says: [4]

When we use the word "theory" in everyday life, we usually mean an idea or a guess, but the word has a much different meaning in science. This video examines the vocabulary essential for understanding the nature of science and evolution and illustrates how evolution is a powerful, well-supported scientific explanation for the relatedness of all life.

The American Museum of Natural History exhibit on Darwin says: [5]

In everyday use, the word "theory" often means an untested hunch, or a guess without supporting evidence. But for scientists, a theory has nearly the opposite meaning. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts.


Evolutionary biologists, like all scientists, use the above meaning of theory in their work. Every day usage by lay-people is often looser, with the meaning of "theory" bleeding into the ideas of "hypothesis" and "guess".


In science a theory is something that ties together facts. For example, an apple falling to the ground when you let go of it is a fact. From this we can draw the conclusion that there is some force pulling it down. This theory is called the theory of gravity.


In science, a theory is something that ties together facts. For example, the genome of modern apes and humans is very similar, and physical structures seen in fossils show a relationship between earlier and modern forms of hominid. This fact is well-explained by the theory of evolution. And to clarify the leftward column, an apple falling is an observation. Among the things the fact of the force of gravity explains is why the apple falls to earth. That is not a complete explanation, however. A complete explanation would include why it broke free from its stem, etc. Gravitational theory helps explain the fall of the apple, but also makes predictions about oranges, feathers, and planets.


  1. For example, scientists may refer to phlogiston theory or ether theory, even though empirical verification was lacking.
  2. "A theory not only explains known facts; it also allows scientists to make predictions of what they should observe if a theory is true. Scientific theories are testable. New evidence should be compatible with a theory. If it isn't, the theory is refined or rejected." [1]