What Makes a Theory ‘Scientific’?

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There are all kinds of ‘theories’ that exist, from the philosophical to the conspiratorial — the term ‘theory’ is also used colloquially to refer to something that may be more accurately called a hypothesis, an idea not yet confirmed. Scientific theories, however, are not mere speculations about what the world is like, but frameworks that rely on certain methods and observations to add credence to claims about the world. This essay aims to clarify more definitely what constitutes a ‘scientific’ theory; how such theories are set apart from ‘unscientific’ theories. In order to do so, I will use creation science as an example, as this worldview is widely considered unscientific, which if it is, can by way of contrast, help to illuminate the defining scientific qualities of other theories.

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Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on April 27, 2020.

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