“Theory” Is Not a Success Term

Time to start my series on common errors committed by the skeptical/reality-based community:

My response to Ed Brayton’s claim:

Theory is the highest level of certainty assigned to explanations in science.

No, there are good theories and bad theories, successful theories and failed theories. Caloric theory didn’t become a non-theory when it was disproven.

A theory (as the term is actually used in science) is a coherent structure of explanation (e.g., laws, causal processes, etc.). It is NOT a success term. Nothing passes from being a non-theory to being a theory once it becomes confirmed by experiment.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s