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  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by girgamer View Post
    I will amend my statement as such:

    Law: the apple will fall towards the object with the largest mass given the absence of any external force.
    They fall towards each other ...

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by schwarzkopf View Post
    They fall towards each other ...
    Given the mass difference, you could approximate the problem by having the apple to be the only body moving and the Earth standing still, without losing too much precision

  3. #23
    Titan Adam Jensen's Avatar
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    Here's a good explanation: http://notjustatheory.com/

    The author wrote this to rebuttle creationist arguments, but it's a good explanation for what any scientific theory is, not just evolution.

    If a video game developer removed tumors from players, they'd whine about nerfing their loss in weight and access to radiation powers. -Cracked.com

  4. #24
    People often think that a theory is something that hasn't been thoroughly proven and tested, when in many cases, it has. See: The theory of global warming, gravity, round earth, etc.

    No theory can ever become a fact in science, but it can be thoroughly supported by research evidence.
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    I'm probably the nicest person on this whole damned forum, and you can make a sig from that.
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  5. #25
    Hypothesis is frequently presented as fact, until you argue a person down until to such a point that they innocently declare "Oh, sorry? This was just a hypothesis. It's not what I think, not at all". That's my hypothesis about hypotheses. You may wish to go for a more technical definition.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by haircare8h View Post
    Theory: This is something that can be tested, demonstrated and measured. *Essentially* the same as fact but is not set in stone. Therories are often confused with hypotheses or "guesses".
    Actually in science, sometimes the facts (observations of objective reality) changes more often than theory (comprehensively proven explanation of the facts).

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by semaphore View Post
    Actually in science, sometimes the facts (observations of objective reality) changes more often than theory (comprehensively proven explanation of the facts).
    I thought comprehensively proven explanation of the facts was a theorem?

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by undercovergnome View Post
    I thought comprehensively proven explanation of the facts was a theorem?
    Theorems are a mathematical thing. It's a statement that's proven to be true (on the basis of previous statements), not an explanation of the physical universe like a theory.

    (also, I was using "proven" in the common vernacular)

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by undercovergnome View Post
    I thought comprehensively proven explanation of the facts was a theorem?
    Theorems are things that are proven to be true based on the assumption that other things are true.

    Bergtau's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability that somebody will mention Godwin's Law approaches 1.
    Hitler wasn't all bad, I mean, he DID kill Hitler.
    An accident is something that you did not mean to do at all. A mistake is something that you regret doing.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Netherspark View Post
    It's a fact that the earth orbits the sun.

    No sorry, its a theory.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Netherspark View Post
    It's a fact that the earth orbits the sun.
    Actually it doesn't. It orbits the Solar System's centre of mass, which can be "outside" of the Sun:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barycen...28astronomy%29

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-19 at 03:24 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Noradin View Post
    No sorry, its a theory.
    It's a fact (though a simplified one). Observable and verifiable. Why that happens and mechanics that govern it - that's a theory.

  12. #32
    If it is observable and verifiable it is a fact. What happened and how it happened so that you could observe it is theory (a tested and peer approved hypothesis about those events)

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boldwyn View Post
    Actually it doesn't. It orbits the Solar System's centre of mass, which can be "outside" of the Sun:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barycen...28astronomy%29

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-19 at 03:24 PM ----------

    It's a fact (though a simplified one). Observable and verifiable. Why that happens and mechanics that govern it - that's a theory.
    Even in your own article it states clearly that the centre of mass is clearly inside the Sun, for Sun/Earth and also Sun/Jupiter and only could be if Jupiter had Earth's orbit... Same with Earth/Moon, only likely exception seems to be Pluto/Charon.

  14. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Aleros View Post
    No theory can ever become a fact in science, but it can be thoroughly supported by research evidence.
    This isn't true. A scientific theory is a hypothesis that is accepted as fact due to the overwhelming evidence to support it. All science is approached in a way so as to be falsifiable or modified if the evidence indicates it should be.

    For example it is accepted as fact that modern humans first appeared around 200k years ago. However, evidence showing that it was actually earlier than that could possibly be found. It just hasn't despite the overwhelming amount of research done in this field. The more evidence fails to falsify it the more solid the fact becomes. This is how all science is structured. Everything can be falsified. Doesn't mean it will be but if the evidence is there it could be.

    I realize that to the lay person facts that have the potential to be disproved must not be really facts. Science must be approached this way though so as to leave everything open to improving our understanding and modifying the way we think or approach about a given phenomena.

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Aalyy View Post
    This isn't true. A scientific theory is a hypothesis that is accepted as fact due to the overwhelming evidence to support it. All science is approached in a way so as to be falsifiable or modified if the evidence indicates it should be.

    For example it is accepted as fact that modern humans first appeared around 200k years ago. However, evidence showing that it was actually earlier than that could possibly be found. It just hasn't despite the overwhelming amount of research done in this field. The more evidence fails to falsify it the more solid the fact becomes. This is how all science is structured. Everything can be falsified. Doesn't mean it will be but if the evidence is there it could be.

    I realize that to the lay person facts that have the potential to be disproved must not be really facts. Science must be approached this way though so as to leave everything open to improving our understanding and modifying the way we think or approach about a given phenomena.
    So wouldn't the evidence be the facts and the theory is what can still be, possibly, disproved by uncovering more facts/evidence?
    Last edited by girgamer; 2012-11-20 at 04:54 AM.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by girgamer View Post
    So wouldn't the evidence be the facts and the theory is what can still be, possibly, disproved by uncovering more facts/evidence?
    That's a good question but not exactly how it works. We accept certain things as fact because of evidence supporting it. The hypothesis is what becomes fact not the actual data itself.

    For example, what is supported as fact is that our bodies are comprised of trillions of individually functioning cells. The fact is that hypothesis not the cells themselves. Microscopes help us physically see the cells, the data or evidence, and confirm the hypothesis as fact.

    We can then build on that conclusion and hypothesize that in order for all these individual cells to function as one body, or even a single organ, they would also have to somehow be communication with each other. Through the field of Biochemistry we can actually observe cells using chemicals to do this. The fact is that cells communicate with each other via chemicals not the chemicals themselves.

    Does that make sense?

  17. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Netherspark View Post
    It's a fact that the earth orbits the sun.
    It's a theory that the universe is expanding.
    I don't understand the difference here. So we've observed the earth orbits the sun, right? But we've also observed the universe expanding. Where do you differentiate?

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardstyler01 View Post
    I don't understand the difference here. So we've observed the earth orbits the sun, right? But we've also observed the universe expanding. Where do you differentiate?
    I agree. The expansion of the universe is pretty much an observation, unless we can think of a mechanism by which all galaxies feel a repulsive force respect to our own galaxy that is proportional to the distance between.

    The Big Bang is a theory. The expansion is a fact.

  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardstyler01 View Post
    I don't understand the difference here. So we've observed the earth orbits the sun, right? But we've also observed the universe expanding. Where do you differentiate?
    To play the devil's advocate, we observe the fact of red shift in light from distant galaxies, and explain it with the theory that space is expanding. Though by the same logic we observe as facts stellar aberration/parallax etc, and explain it with the theory that the earth rotates around the sun.

    So I don't really get what distinction Netherspark is making here either.

  20. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Gheld View Post
    People on the opposite side of the earth would disagree with your perception of up and down; so up and down are not absolute.
    Down, relative to earth, is defined as towards the center of the planet. So no, they wouldn't disagree, because things still appear to fall in the same direction relative to their position. It's not like if you dropped an apple in China it would behave differently than it does in Colorado.

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