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Scientific Theory

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A scientific theory is a logically confirmed explanation of a phenomena or a set of data.

There are two simple questions one can ask to check if a given explanation of phenomena can be called scientific.

A negative answer to any one of the above question is sufficient to discard the explanation as non-scientific. A testable theory is in particular "falsifiable", which means it can be discarded if evidence contradicts it.

A scientific theory is considered as a reliable explanation of a phenomena if

Scientific Procedure

Scientific procedure to explain a particular phenomena may be described in the following steps.

  1. Make observations, record data related to the phenomena under consideration.
  2. Come up with a logically consistent explanation based on the observations.
  3. Spot new predictions implied by this explanation. (if the explanation does not make any new predictions then it is not testable).
  4. Test these new predictions. If a test contradicts the explanation, then include the results of these new tests in your original set of observations/data. Go to Step 2.
  5. Check if the explanation is consistent with other known observations / data (i.e. observations /data which which is not necessarily being modelled). If not then go to Step 2.

Examples of Scientific Theories

  1. Newton's laws of motion.
  2. Newton's Gravitational Theory.
  3. The theory of General Relativity.
  4. The Big Bang Theory.
  5. Quantum Field Theory.
  6. Theory of Evolution.
  7. Please add more examples.

Examples of Non-Scientific Theories

  1. Young Earth Creationism (a particular example of creationism)
  2. Flying Spaghetti Monster (a parody of creationism)

Further reading

See also

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