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Old 04-19-2013, 11:31 AM   #61
Anaraxes
 
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that we see evidence of them nearly everywhere we look... Hellas Planitia
That was what made me think of an impact as a way to get at least an assymetrical highland.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:07 PM   #62
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Remember , a theory is still just a guess .
Very little becomes scientific law. Most of our accepted science is still theory... tested, proven, but still, theory.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:26 PM   #63
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Very little becomes scientific law. Most of our accepted science is still theory... tested, proven, but still, theory.
Nothing ever "becomes" scientific law. There was never a theory of thermodynamics that became one of the laws of thermodynamics. There's are theories of gravitation and what is called the law of gravity, but the law of gravity was never a theory of gravity. Theories are explanations. Laws are what is allegedly always observed (and considered to be fundamentally important).
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #64
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Very little becomes scientific law. Most of our accepted science is still theory... tested, proven, but still, theory.
Bear in mind that 'theory', as the term is used in science, is not exactly the same as it is used in ordinary speech. Theories never become laws, it's just a notational convention.
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Laws are what is allegedly always observed (and considered to be fundamentally important).
The difference between a law and a theory is mostly in when it was written down; 'theory' became the preferred terminology during the 19th century.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:48 PM   #65
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The difference between a law and a theory is mostly in when it was written down; 'theory' became the preferred terminology during the 19th century.
When it was fashionable to state mathematical relationships by a sentence they were called "laws". When it became fashionable to state them in mathematical notation they got called "equations" instead. Newton's Laws have the same epistemological standing as Maxwell's Equations.

Meanwhile, a theory is a coherent body of postulates, reasoning, and deductions that gives a unified explanation to several observations. Thus the Molecular Theory of Gasses gives a unified explanation to Boyle's Law, Charles' Law, and Gay-Lussac's Law, and remains a theory even though the existence of molecules is now a proven fact.

Here are a few more theories that are still called theories even though they are in no doubt whatsoever: the Heliocentric Theory of the Solar System, the Germ Theory of Disease, the Atomic Theory of Matter, the Reaction Theory of Combustion, Circuit Theory, Information Theory, Game Theory, Galois Theory…. Theories are even still called theories when they are proven false, such as The Theory of Humours and Phlogiston Theory.

In science and maths an unproven proposition put forward for testing or as a provisional explanation is called an "hypothesis".
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:25 PM   #66
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Circuit Theory, Information Theory, Game Theory.
Those are a separate and different meaning of 'theory', because it doesn't refer to any specific theorem, it refers to a field of study.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:06 AM   #67
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Very little becomes scientific law. Most of our accepted science is still theory... tested, proven, but still, theory.
Scientific theory never become scientific law, it is always the other way around. A law describes something held to be always true but does not explain why this happens. A theory is at first a tentative explanation some phenomenon, law or not, and if the theory holds up to experimental verification it becomes an accepted theory. The more experiments it holds up to the stronger the theory is. Karl Popper coined the term falsifiability to describe a sought after feature in any theory, how easy the theory is to test and verify.

String theory is a special case because it is actually neither theory nor law. String theory cannot (yet) predict anything that can, even in principle, be tested so it cannot ever be wrong. That is why Peter Woit named his his string theory critical book "Not even wrong" - a theory that is wrong (ie doesn't hold up to experiments) actually helps science because it tells us how stuff does not work and thus limits the possible ways it does work. An untestable 'theory' doesn't tell us anything and is simply a waste of money and effort. String theory may eventually come up with something testable in the far future but I would't bet on it as it has never in its long history (started in the 80s) been anywhere near a formulation that can be tested.
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