10 responses

  1. Chris
    February 18, 2011

    Actually, that’s entirely wrong.

    Scientific laws are a statement of fact meant to describe an action or set of actions. The law of gravity, the laws of motion, and Boyle’s laws of gasses are laws.

    Scientific theories incorporate facts, scientific laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses to explain some aspect of the world.

    The original poster mixed the two together. Their definition of scientific theory is more accurately a scientific hypothesis. Repeated acceptance of hypotheses can become scientific theory.

    A scientific theory can never become a law. A theory can be modified to reflect new data or when old data do not conform to expectation.

    An example is the Law of Gravity and the various Theories of Gravity. The law of gravity states that objects with mass will attract each other. This is assumed, like all laws, to be true through space and time. The various theories of gravity, Newton’s and General Relativity are based on the law of gravity, as well as other equally important hypotheses and facts.

    Science can never prove anything with absolute certainty. It can only disprove. Newton’s Theory of Gravity was less wrong than the ancient Greek’s theory. Einstein’s General Relativity is less wrong than Newton’s theory. And we know today that Einstein’s theory is incomplete. When the next breakthrough comes, that theory will be less wrong than Einstein’s theory.


    • ginckgo
      April 3, 2012

      I agree completely, Chris. This article makes the common assumption that there’s a hierarchy in science, with the Law as the pinnacle, and the Theory trying to achieve the status of law, which is completely wrong.


    • Jeremy
      October 18, 2014

      I really hope people read past the initial post and get to yours Chris. It’s depressing enough that I live in a country (USA) where the majority of the populace are absolutely oblivious to the actual definitions to both a scientific theory and law. Its even more depressing when I continually tell people to just get online and type in the both those terms so they may better understand the actual meanings and differences, only to find this site is at the top of a Yahoo search. And the very first description of the terms are totally wrong! WTH!


    • Klaus
      August 21, 2017

      Hi, Chris.
      It’s not entirely wrong.
      Scientific theory is never a proven fact. It is in process. It can be flat wrong altogether.
      Scientific law is a proven fact. It’s can be less wrong, however, never wrong.


    • Lu
      November 27, 2018

      Gravity is still a theory not a Law, let’s keep this factual shall we


  2. Kevin
    April 4, 2013

    This article is terrible and whoever wrote it has no idea what they’re talking about. The only thing he’s explained is how NOT to describe or understand these concepts.


  3. BDog
    May 14, 2014

    To see that their are people who truly understand basic science, and then provide a free service for students and adults alike is amazing! Thanks for the great definition and information. This really helped me in class!


  4. Ray
    June 18, 2016

    Chris is correct. The person writing this article must not have a scientific background. Many lay people think a scientific theory is like a mystery theory in a who-done-it novel or a guess. Google defines a scientific theory as: A scientific theory is a well substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.


  5. CryBabyGirl
    September 18, 2017

    Scientific Theory: is a scientific explanation of an observed phenomenon unlike laws, theory actually explain why things are based on empirical evidence.

    Scientific Law: Is a description of an observed phenomenon.The law describes the motions of planets,but do not explain WHY they are that way.


  6. Patricia Nasike
    February 3, 2019

    who is correct


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