Talk:Theory

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Revision as of 05:28, 25 January 2009 by Jaban (Talk | contribs)
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Theory = Hypothesis?

I think 'hypothesis' is just as poor a word to use as 'theory'.

The scientific use of the word 'theory' has a speculative aspect the popular definition lacks. A scientific theory allows for current observation and predicts a future observation or the results of investigation/testing some other aspect of itself. The popular definition of 'theory' does not do that - it can be simply invented in contradiction of observation and need not have any speculative power.

In my opinion, the word 'hypothesis' has that same speculative aspect 'theory' does. A hypothesis may include invented assumptions, but they're invented for the purpose of investigating/testing/predicting some aspect of itself or the theory it was formulated for.

I think a better word would be 'conjecture' or possibly 'speculation'.

The regular definition of both is basically, "something unproven people made up based on incomplete evidence." They have no speculative aspect, no requirement for prediction or use in testing.

(The main reason I might avoid 'conjecture' is that the mathematical meaning is synonymous with a scientific theory, even though the regular definition is not. That may allow apologists to twist your words more easily than you wish).

I'm not going to change anything on here to reflect my opinion. But pedantry aside, I think it's a bad idea to simply take one step back to where we have to then separate a "common" hypothesis from a scientific one.


--Jaban 04:26, 25 January 2009 (CST)

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