I have cut the following line:
- Scientific proof can be experiments, formulas, or other peer reviewed statements in which a particular idea is very likely to be true based on evidence.
- I'm always in two minds about the word "proof" when applied to science. Yes, strictly you can't prove anything in science, the method doesn't allow you to do that because once you've "proven" something, it is sacred, and science holds nothing as sacred. On the other hand, the lay-public usually put too much emphasis this subtlety and we shouldn't be too scared of using "proof" to mean that "disproof would be so miraculous as to shatter everything". Some theories are always going to apply and always going to be right - when they change, it's more often than not just finding a new boundary where existing laws don't apply as well (Newtonian mechanics at non-zero speeds, for instance). If a theory is just a model that makes a prediction, if it predicts something perfectly in certain conditions it will always predict perfectly in those conditions. A brand new discovery about the quantum world is not going to alter the fact that the Schrödinger equation predicts the energy of the H atom perfectly... but anyway, less waffle, I think the conclusion should be that "proof" in the sense people think of is essentially meaningless in science, but if we play with the definition a little there's nothing wrong with the word when we use it. narchist 15:23, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician are travelling by train through Scotland. The astronomer looks out of the window and sees a black sheep.
"Look!" He calls out to the others. "All sheep in Scotland are black."
"Nonsense." Replies the physicist. "All you can say is that some sheep in Scotland are black."
"My dear fellows." The mathematician responds. "You're both wrong. All you can say is that there exists, in Scotland, at least one sheep of which at least one side is black."