The Difference in How the Public and Scientists Use "Theory"

The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics)...One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed.


In common usage, it is the equivalent of an educated guess, in science, it is nearly synonymous with the facts it is built on.

Folksonomies: science two cultures semantics

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Scientific method (0.973940): dbpedia | freebase
Theory (0.783470): dbpedia | freebase
Science (0.646462): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Physics (0.601974): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Plate tectonics (0.596877): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Universe (0.559465): dbpedia | freebase
Nature (0.513091): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
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 Science, Evolution, and Creationism
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  National Academy of Sciences, (2008), Science, Evolution, and Creationism, Retrieved on 2013-07-31
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: evolution science creationism


    31 JUL 2013

     Scientific Semantics Versus Public Semantics

    Science Manipulates Language to Make it More Precise > Example/Illustration > The Difference in How the Public and Scientists Use "Theory"
    Science works from existing language and makes it more specific. This causes problems with words like "velocity" and "theory" when communicating with muggles.
    Folksonomies: science language semantics
    Folksonomies: science language semantics