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Re: Theory or Law : Semantics??
Dawkin[...]s has suggested the word "theorum" (not "theorem", already in
use) for something which "has been confirmed or established by
observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as
accounting for known facts; [it is] a statement of what are held to
be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or
observed." He uses evolution, heliocentrism, a round planet, and
photosynthesis as examples of theora.
Too bad this word sounds outright stupid outside of English. :-)
This site http://www.dinosauria.com/jdp/evol/evolfact.htm offers a very
good definition of "fact" and points out the importance of "speculation"
together with "hypothesis" and "theory". It's just too bad it gets "law"
Laws are simple generalizations about facts, usually expressible in a
simple mathematical formula.
Theories don't grow up to become laws or facts. Theories _explain_ facts
Incidentally, most conspiracy theories are encompassing enough to
qualify as theories, unparsimonious though they are...