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  1. #41
    Perhaps the three should've been Theory, Hypothesis, and Law?


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  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Everything Nice View Post
    Perhaps the three should've been Theory, Hypothesis, and Law?
    Nope. Facts are different things than laws. If someone wanted to describe all four, that'd be fine. One thing that seems like it's pretty consistently a problem is that people want there to be a hierarchical order for these things, when they really just describe different things altogether.

  3. #43
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    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.
    Just to clarify

    "there are no black swans" this is considered a fact because no one ever found a black swan rigth?
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  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Aalyy View Post
    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?
    I thought that a proven hypothesis is a theory and the fact was what was observed to have happened. To use your example, the fact is that they function as individuals, the hypothesis is that to do this they need to communicate and the theory is that they use chemicals to do it.

    So basically a fact is something that can't be disproved and a theory still, possibly can. Like in my original statement: Fact: the apple fell.
    Last edited by girgamer; 2012-11-20 at 01:08 PM.

  5. #45
    Herald of the Titans Keosen's Avatar
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    I was always thinking of a fact something that you can reproduce it's theory repeatedly and get the same result every time.

    The thing is that all 3 terms are closely related and you can say that it's the same thing with different level of certainty.
    Something like this
    Hypothesis = level 1 certainity
    Theory = level 2 certainity
    Fact = level 3 certainity
    .... = level 4 certainity

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    I was always thinking of a fact something that you can reproduce it's theory repeatedly and get the same result every time.

    The thing is that all 3 terms are closely related and you can say that it's the same thing with different level of certainty.
    Something like this
    Hypothesis = level 1 certainity
    Theory = level 2 certainity
    Fact = level 3 certainity
    .... = level 4 certainity
    That's a poor way of looking at it; these things aren't hierarchical in nature, and assigning levels of certainty isn't how the terms work.

  7. #47
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    Theory: A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

    A example:

    "There's a law of gravity, which is the description of gravity. It basically says that if you let go of something it'll fall. It doesn't say why. Then there's the theory of gravity, which is an attempt to explain why"

    A hypothesis is like a theory in it's infancy, it can serve as a basis for further experimentation but may end up failing when an actual theory is reached.
    To declare that a personal, inner experience gives certainty about the workings of the universe is to assign far too much value to one’s subjective sense of conviction.
    I’m not that arrogant.

    The brain, marvelous instrument though it is, isn’t infallible. It can misfire, seize or hallucinate, and it can do so in a way that’s utterly indistinguishable from reality to the person experiencing it.

  8. #48
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024&page=2

    Fact: In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as "true." Truth in science, however, is never final, and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow.
    Hypothesis: A tentative statement about the natural world leading to deductions that can be tested. If the deductions are verified, it becomes more probable that the hypothesis is correct. If the deductions are incorrect, the original hypothesis can be abandoned or modified. Hypotheses can be used to build more complex inferences and explanations.
    Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.
    ...
    In science, theories do not turn into facts through the accumulation of evidence. Rather, theories are the end points of science. They are understandings that develop from extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection. They incorporate a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses, and logical inferences.

  9. #49
    Herald of the Titans Keosen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    That's a poor way of looking at it; these things aren't hierarchical in nature, and assigning levels of certainty isn't how the terms work.
    Why is that?
    A hypothesis is first try to explain a phenomena, so you are unsure about this.
    A theory is a strong explanation of a phenomena, you are pretty much sure about it but it's still not the mainstream/most valid explanation.
    A fact is a widely accept explanation of a phenomena, you are almost sure about it but still not 100%

    The only thing varying in all 3 is the degree of certainty.

  10. #50
    Immortal Dezerte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    Why is that?
    A hypothesis is first try to explain a phenomena, so you are unsure about this.
    A theory is a strong explanation of a phenomena, you are pretty much sure about it but it's still not the mainstream/most valid explanation.
    A fact is a widely accept explanation of a phenomena, you are almost sure about it but still not 100%
    A theory explains and incorporates facts, laws and so on. So you can't really put them in the same boat, but if you had to then theory would rank the highest.
    To declare that a personal, inner experience gives certainty about the workings of the universe is to assign far too much value to one’s subjective sense of conviction.
    I’m not that arrogant.

    The brain, marvelous instrument though it is, isn’t infallible. It can misfire, seize or hallucinate, and it can do so in a way that’s utterly indistinguishable from reality to the person experiencing it.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dezerte View Post
    A theory explains and incorporates facts, laws and so on. So you can't really put them in the same boat, but if you had to then theory would rank the highest.
    The theory incorporates facts to explain something, it doesn't incorporate the fact that is trying to explain since the is no fact.
    The fact is the result of repeatable experiments that a theory suggests as a way to confirm the fact itself.

    If you are about to propose a new theory you most likely use already proven facts, the results of other of theories.

    That's how i understand it at least.

  12. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    A hypothesis is first try to explain a phenomena, so you are unsure about this.
    It's a proposed explanation. It can be the first or the gazillionth try.

    edit: well, maybe more like a proposed statement, it's probably not normally complex enough to be called an explanation I suppose.

    A theory is a strong explanation of a phenomena, you are pretty much sure about it but it's still not the mainstream/most valid explanation.
    Wrong. Theories are well substantiated and accepted. For example, evolution is the mainstream, most valid explanation and we are pretty much absolutely certain.

    A fact is a widely accept explanation of a phenomena, you are almost sure about it but still not 100%
    No, a fact is just an observation.

    The only thing varying in all 3 is the degree of certainty.
    Not really. They are fundamentally different things.

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-20 at 01:53 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    The theory incorporates facts to explain something, it doesn't incorporate the fact that is trying to explain since the is no fact.
    The fact is the result of repeatable experiments that a theory suggests as a way to confirm the fact itself.
    That makes no sense. A fact is an observation of objective reality. A theory explains the facts and makes testable predictions that can be experimentally verified.
    Last edited by semaphore; 2012-11-20 at 02:13 PM.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    The theory incorporates facts to explain something, it doesn't incorporate the fact that is trying to explain since the is no fact.
    The fact is the result of repeatable experiments that a theory suggests as a way to confirm the fact itself.

    If you are about to propose a new theory you most likely use already proven facts, the results of other of theories.


    That's how i understand it at least.
    No.

    In response to the bold part, where did the first theory come from then?
    To declare that a personal, inner experience gives certainty about the workings of the universe is to assign far too much value to one’s subjective sense of conviction.
    I’m not that arrogant.

    The brain, marvelous instrument though it is, isn’t infallible. It can misfire, seize or hallucinate, and it can do so in a way that’s utterly indistinguishable from reality to the person experiencing it.

  14. #54
    It's theories all the way up!

  15. #55
    Herald of the Titans Keosen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by semaphore View Post
    It's a proposed explanation. It can be the first or the gazillionth try.

    edit: well, more like a proposed statement, it's probably not normally complex enough to be called an explanation.
    This is what i'm saying in different words.
    Quote Originally Posted by semaphore View Post
    Wrong. Theories are well substantiated and accepted. For example, evolution is the mainstream, most valid explanation and we are pretty much absolutely certain.
    Really?
    Theory is an attempt to explain something, usually one theory manages to be the mainstream but there are other countless theories that failed to be accepted and substantiated.

    Quote Originally Posted by semaphore View Post
    No, a fact is just an observation.
    Again you are saying the same thing i'm saying, in different words.

    Quote Originally Posted by semaphore View Post
    That makes no sense. A fact is an observation of objective reality. A theory explains the facts and makes testable predictions that can be experimentally verified.
    Again a theory tries to explain an observation.

    Maybe my point is lost in terminology.
    Last edited by Keosen; 2012-11-20 at 02:18 PM.

  16. #56
    Would've been so much easier if Theories were called something else. So much stupidity could've been avoided.

    "Evolution is just a theory" makes me cringe to the core
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  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    Really?
    Theory is an attempt to explain something, usually one theory manages to be the mainstream but there are other countless theories that failed to be accepted and substantiated.
    We're talking about scientific theories here. Your typical run of the mill crackpot "theories" are actually just crackpot ideas.

    Again you are saying the same thing i'm saying, in different words.
    No, I'm saying something completely different. An phenomenon is categorically and patently different to an explanation thereof.


    Again a theory tries to explain an observation.
    Do. Or do not. There is no try.

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-20 at 02:22 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Would've been so much easier if Theories were called something else. So much stupidity could've been avoided.

    "Evolution is just a theory" makes me cringe to the core
    People would just adopt that word and then corrupt it's meaning to the same stuff anyway.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keosen View Post
    Maybe my point is lost in terminology.
    Maybe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory#Scientific_theories
    To declare that a personal, inner experience gives certainty about the workings of the universe is to assign far too much value to one’s subjective sense of conviction.
    I’m not that arrogant.

    The brain, marvelous instrument though it is, isn’t infallible. It can misfire, seize or hallucinate, and it can do so in a way that’s utterly indistinguishable from reality to the person experiencing it.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Would've been so much easier if Theories were called something else. So much stupidity could've been avoided.

    "Evolution is just a theory" makes me cringe to the core
    I doubt the stupidity would have been avoided. That stupidity doesn't exist because of linguistic confusion, the awful arguments just take advantage of the linguistic confusion.

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathquoi View Post
    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.
    If an alien observer were to ask each person which direction (towards the sun or away from the sun) the object falls - then that answer would vary significantly for many reasons.

    Point is - relative is relative.

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-21 at 05:19 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by NPEC View Post
    Just to clarify

    "there are no black swans" this is considered a fact because no one ever found a black swan rigth?
    No. The fact would be "there are black swans" when they were found, or "there are no black swans in this sample" if there were none in that sample.

    We don't get to observe the absence of something really - and if you can't observe it then it really can't be fact.

    Don't forget - observation isn't just visual, for example - we can state as a fact that "there are no invisible swans" due to observation of other things.

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