Scientific theory

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Whether you observe one or the other phenomenon will depend on the theory used.

Everything consists of something, including scientific theory. In science, a distinction is made between – hypothesis, theory and law.

In the beginning, there is an observation/or a fact that is tried to be explained by a hypothesis. If the hypothesis turns out to be accurate or successful, then its further development takes place – in Theory.

If what is stated in the theory reaches a certain irony, then it becomes a law.

One of the most important things in science is theory. Scientific theory. It does not matter if it is physics, chemistry, medicine, history, biology, law or any other discipline. A scientific theory is necessary for every field that seeks to justify, explain, and predict.

There is such a thing as a scientific fact. There is such a thing as an empirical fact.

What is the difference between them?

Suppose you go outside in the evening and observe the Sun. At 6 p.m., it will be at one point in the sky. At 7 p.m., already in another, but at 9 p.m. it will be completely gone.

Observing the movement of the sun, what conclusion will follow – the sun moves around the earth. By the way, it was believed for a long time. This is an example of an empirical fact. How to distinguish a scientific fact from an empirical fact?

Einstein once said that whether you observe one or another phenomenon will depend on the theory you use.

That is, if you apply the theory that the sun revolves around the Earth, then you will see that the sun revolves around the Earth. If you accumulate knowledge, learn every celestial body in the solar system, their trajectories of movement and apply the theory that the earth revolves around the sun, then we will observe the phenomenon that the Earth revolves around the sun…

The classic definition of a scientific fact is something like this:

A scientific fact is an empirical reality contained in one or another scientific theory.

This means that the facts outside the scientific theory are empirical facts. They are not scientific and can be misleading. In other words, there are no scientific facts outside of scientific theory. The empirical fact is not a scientific fact. When an empirical fact is included in a scientific theory, it becomes a scientific fact.

A situation is possible when one empirical fact is present in several scientific theories. And here the problem arises – how to choose the most correct one from several scientific theories? How to decide which theory is correct, more accurate or fairer? It is not possible to create an experiment in all cases. Not in all cases, the experiment can give a clear and precise answer.

There are several principles to choose in a scientific spirit, among several theories.

• Principal verifiability;

• Ability to predict;

• Maximum comprehensiveness;

• Positive or negative heritability;

• Principled simplicity and Occam’s razor principle.

In-principle testability means that a theory can be tested. That is if one theory cannot be verified, but the other is available, then the other will be chosen.

Ability to predict. A theory describes something. Based on this description, the theory predicts certain things. If one theory predicts less than the other, then the one that predicts more is usually used.

Maximum versatility. Every theory contains facts. Lots of facts. These facts must explain certain things and cannot contradict the phenomenon/observation (phenomenon) being described. However, from time to time a fact is revealed that does not fit into the framework of a scientific theory. Facts that do not fit into the theory are added to separate theories – ad hoc hypothesis, which explains this or that phenomenon, but is outside the scientific theory. But if a theory explains all or more of the facts, effects, and interactions, then it is also maximal comprehensiveness.

Positive or negative inheritance means:

Positive heritability is when a theory is built on the basis of a previous theory; The negative is when the starting point is from the previous theory, but the new theory cancels it, for example – Newton’s theory was cancelled with the creation of Einstein’s theory. Principled simplicity and the principle of Occam’s Blade. In Latin, it reads as follows – “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate” – one should not multiply the essence more than necessary. A better theory is one that uses fewer axioms. If, when explaining a phenomenon, you say that the cause of the phenomenon is A), B) and C), but someone comes and says, no, the reason is D), then it is also accepted.

For example, – how did understandings and theories about the structure of the solar system developed?

In the beginning, there was the Ptolemaic theory, which predicted that the sun and other heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth. It was called the Geocentric Model. However, with the development of binoculars and telescopes, scientists began to accumulate more and more facts that did not fit into this theory. They tried hard to preserve it. It was supported by the Church with all its repressive apparatus. Therefore, it was thought that inaccuracies in observations arise from the fact that there is a point – the Epicycle.

The planets revolve around the earth and around this Epicycle. That is why there are inaccuracies in observations.

For many years the problem was solved. However, in the 17th century, technology developed quickly and it turned out that even the Epicicle point does not solve the problems. Then the next point was introduced – Deferent.

In the new model – the Sun and the planets revolved around the Sun, all together they revolved around the Epicycle and together with the Epicycle, they revolved around the point of Deferent.

Ad Hoc in a prime example.

Then Copernicus came along and declared that neither an Epicycle nor a Deferent was needed if the Earth and other planets revolved around the Sun.

It was initially considered – A), B) and C). Then Copernicus came and said, no is D).

The only thing where Copernicus was wrong, but it was historically formed for aesthetic reasons – he believed that the planets revolved around the sun in a circular orbit and not in an ellipse.

Epicycle and Different were cut by Occam`s razor principle.

In astronomy, it was most difficult to depart from Aristotle’s principle of the movement of celestial bodies in perfect circles. This was done by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered that the planets move in ellipses. He formulated three laws of planetary motion, on the basis of which a new branch of astronomy – celestial mechanics – was later formed.

But at that time, thanks to Newton’s research, it was already clear that the universe is much wider and cannot rotate around the Sun. Hence, the theory of heliocentrism remained in the history of science as one of the hypotheses about the structure of the world that existed in the Middle Ages.

Depending on the number of facts, their systematicity and concreteness – the evolution of the accumulation of facts takes place in the direction: hypothesis – scientific theory – law.

 

If the observed facts accumulate, they are tried to be explained by hypotheses. The next stage of development of a hypothesis is a scientific theory. Usually, it includes several facts, and hypotheses and systematizes them into a single whole with a single explanation and prediction. If over time new facts do not appear that supplement and develop the theory, but it describes the specific phenomenon completely, the scientific theory remains a Law.