Scientific truths/findings/facts?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the terminology used to refer to established scientific theories. The options presented are "fact," "truth," or simply "established scientific theory." The participants agree that a theory is the most appropriate term, as it explains the facts rather than being a synonym for them. They also mention the example of evolution as both a theory and a fact, and the distinction between facts and theories. The conversation ends with a reference to a Stephen Jay Gould piece and a link to a website discussing the topic further.
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Willowz
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Quick question.

How do you call an established scientific theory? A fact? A truth? Or there need not be any further description than "established scientific theory"?
 
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Willowz said:
Quick question.

How do you call an established scientific theory? A fact? A truth? Or there need not be any further description than "established scientific theory"?

Theory is fine by me. A "fact" is a little bit different than a theory. A theory explains the "facts." It's worth reading the old Stephen Jay Gould piece "Evolution as Theory and Fact" to get a handle on it.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html

Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.
 

Related to Scientific truths/findings/facts?

1. What is the difference between a scientific truth and a scientific theory?

A scientific truth refers to a fact that has been repeatedly tested and proven to be true through experiments and observations. On the other hand, a scientific theory is an explanation that is supported by a large body of evidence and has not been disproven, but may still be subject to change or refinement as new evidence or information is discovered.

2. How do scientists determine if a finding is reliable?

Scientists use the scientific method to ensure the reliability of their findings. This involves making observations, forming a hypothesis, designing and conducting experiments, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. The results of these experiments are then peer-reviewed and replicated by other scientists to ensure accuracy and reliability.

3. What is the role of statistics in scientific findings?

Statistics play a crucial role in analyzing and interpreting scientific data. They help scientists determine the significance of their results and whether they support their hypothesis or not. By using statistical methods, scientists can also identify any potential errors or biases in their data and make more accurate conclusions.

4. Can scientific findings change over time?

Yes, scientific findings can change over time. As new evidence is discovered or technology advances, previous theories and explanations may be modified or replaced. This is the nature of science, as it is constantly seeking to improve and refine our understanding of the natural world.

5. How do scientists ensure the objectivity of their findings?

Scientists strive to be objective by following the scientific method and using empirical evidence to support their findings. They also use peer-review processes to ensure that their work is unbiased and meets the standards of the scientific community. Additionally, scientists are trained to recognize and avoid personal biases that may influence their research and conclusions.

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