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Theories are Uncertain Theories are not Uncertain
Debate Score:5
Arguments:5
Total Votes:5
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 Theories are Uncertain (3)
 
 Theories are not Uncertain (2)

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Do Theories Imply Uncertainty by Nature?

The definition of Theory by Merriam Webster is "plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena"

Theories have been used to try to explain a lot of things. There is the Theory of Gravity (Why things fall when dropped), The Atomic Theory (The existence of atoms), The Theory of Evolution (How humans evolved), The Big Bang Theory (How the universe came into existence), etc. Can these theories be said to be uncertain, or is there too much evidence to be called uncertain? Is there a body of principles that can explain it beyond a reasonable doubt, or can it still be doubted and challenged?

Theories are Uncertain

Side Score: 3
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Theories are not Uncertain

Side Score: 2

Theories, unlike the fact or the law, explain things. They seek to

account for their being and to explain their nature. In this sense,

scientific theories are of necessity, uncertain. They can never be

certain, for they can never be complete. They imply the existence

of unobservable entities. The theories are, therefore, themselves

objects of investigation. Their validity and applicability must be

determined by experiment.

To those who may be unfamiliar with the term, theory, I shall

give a brief explanation. A theory, in the scientific sense, is a

system of ideas, statements, and laws that attempts to deal with

a specific subject. A scientific theory is not a mere set of

propositions. It is a system of ideas, statements, and laws which

attempts to deal with a specific subject. The theory, therefore, does not exist apart from

its subject matter. The subject matter determines the theory. The subject matter of any theory is physical. The subject matter of any theory is physical, and the subject matter of physical theory is physical substance. The subject matter of physical theory is matter.

To explain a theory as something that can be proven beyond all reasonable doubt is to call it a fact, not a theory. A theory still has some degree of uncertainty. Whether that be 5% or 95% uncertainty, it is still uncertain.

A fact, on the other hand, is an assertion that has a degree of certainty. Facts are statements that have a degree of certainty.

A theory is a scientific assertion. A theory is an assertion. It is an

assertion which attempts to account for a specific experience. A

theory explains what is observed, and is, therefore, an explanation.

Theories are thus both explanations and assertions.

Scientific theories are tentative because they are uncertain. They

are thus distinguished from scientific laws. Laws, unlike theories,

are absolute. They are, therefore, not subject to verification or

falsification by experiment. They are, moreover, unalterable. They

are, furthermore, certain. There is no degree of uncertainty in laws.

A law, in the scientific sense, is an explanation of a specific

phenomenon. It is a generalization. A law is an explanation. Laws are

absolute, in that they are derived from direct observations. Laws

Therefore, are not derived from theory. Theories, in the scientific

sense, are partial. They are incomplete. Theories are explanations.

They are explanations of a portion only of the observed phenomenon.

They are explanations of the part that has been so far discovered.

Laws are certain. Laws, unlike theories, are not tentative. Laws are absolute. Laws are

immutable.

Many scientists try to defend theories such as The Theory of Evolution and The Big Bang Theory by saying that theories are not incomplete or uncertain. This is false, and one of the biggest cruxes for those who do not support any theory. Theories are always tentative, and must always be falsifiable. What sets a theory apart is the degree of uncertainty that it has. The more uncertain the theory, the less acceptable it is in science. The amount of uncertainty varies. Some theories are fairly robust. But there are times when scientists go against the norm and try to defend theories that do not have a good degree of certainty like the Big Bang Theory. It is highly improbable that the Big Bang Theory can be true because it does not have a good degree of certainty in explaining the origins of the universe.

A theory is good if it has a good degree of certainty, but there is always the possibility that it can be false, which means that no theory can be completely certain. The Theory of Evolution, as stated in the above reference, is one of the most uncertain theories out there, but this does not mean that every theory is false. For example, the fact that there is no observable "life force" does not mean that scientific explanations which speak of "life force" are false. Such explanations do not describe observable phenomena, but that doesn't mean that their explanations are false. The Scientific explanation "life force" simply does not describe anything observable, but is plausible enough to stick with in order to explain the biological phenomenon.

Facts do. They are statements that have a degree of certainty. Facts can, therefore, be asserted with certainty.

Theories are scientific assertions. They are assertions that attempt to

account for a specific experience. Theories explain things. They are

therefore explanations. Theories are, therefore, objects of investigation. Theories

are, therefore, tentative and uncertain. Uncertainty is an essential

characteristic of theories. Uncertainty must be admitted as one of the characteristics of theories of science.

To deny, therefore, that scientific theories are uncertain is to

misconstrue their nature. The nature of the theories is relative

certainty. Theories can, however, never be certain. All theories are

uncertain to some degree. Some theories are more uncertain than others.

The uncertainty inherent in all theories may be qualified by a number

of adjectives, such as probable, likely, plausible, reasonable,

acceptable, accurate, acceptable, or inconclusive. There ate no exact

methods of determining the degree of uncertainty of a scientific

theory. It can only be determined as compared to other theories.

A theory that has a high degree of certainty in relation to another

theory, has a higher degree of certainty than the latter. But the lower

degree of certainty does not lessen the value of the theory. If that were

the case, the value of scientific theories would be reduced.

Side: Theories are Uncertain
1 point

I consider that in many cases the words, theory or theoretical are used by the author(s) of their published research work as a reputation-saving escape Avenue which can be taken if and when their theory is proven to be flawed.

The term theoretical is, in my opinion, no more than a word describing a groundless presumption on a given subject.

Even so, its usefulness, and unreliability of the word can be illustrated in many practical ways such as stock control of let's say a mobile insulation unit as it is being checked for security purposes.

Opening stock;- 20 bales.

Plus issues;- 10 bales.

Sub-total;- 30 bales.

less used;- 14 bales.

Theoretical closing stock;- 16 bales.

Actual closing stock;- 9 bales.

Negative variance;- (7) bales.

Where did the 7 bales go?

Just thought I'd throw that in as how the word theoretical can be used practically.

If the truck's theoretical closing stock was accepted as fact someone would be profiting from their ill-gotten gains.

So, the words theory/theoretically are used to either convey uncertainty or to explain that the subject to which they refer is still to be regarded as 'work-in-progress.

Side: Theories are Uncertain
1 point

Do Theories Imply Uncertainty by Nature?

Hello:

Nahh. In everyday use, the word "theory" often means an untested hunch, or a guess without supporting evidence.

But for scientists, a theory has nearly the opposite meaning.

A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts. The theory of gravitation, for instance, explains why apples fall from trees and astronauts float in space. Similarly, the theory of evolution explains why so many plants and animals, some very similar and some very different, exist on Earth now and in the past, as revealed by the fossil record.

https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/darwin/ evolution-today/what-is-a-theory

excon

Side: Theories are not Uncertain
DisputedByMe(32) Disputed
1 point

A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts.

No.

[A] A theory is an unsubstantiated conclusion, aka a hunch or a guess based on incomplete facts.

[B] Unless you have testing to back up your claims, nothing is a "theory" according to scientific standards.

[C] A theory cannot be confirmed or rejected unless it has been tested. If testing does not take place, all you have is an assumption or a conjecture.

The definition of theory is this: "a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena"

But what makes something scientifically acceptable? I'm gonna guess that it means what scientists decide is acceptable whether or not they have a substantial amount of evidence. The Big Bang Theory and The Theory of Evolution reflect this. Since many subscribe to these theories, here's why:

The Big Bang theory is based on the concept of the observable expansion of space, which is not very highly supported by observation and experiment as you cannot measure a lot of the things asserted. They fall into the category of Historical Science rather than Observational Science.

The theory of evolution, on the other hand, has no strong evidence to support it. The fossil record shows a lot of animal change, not the complete variety as proposed. Plus, many scientists still have issues with the theory.

the theory of evolution explains why so many plants and animals, some very similar and some very different, exist on Earth now and in the past, as revealed by the fossil record.

Using the fossil record to show evolution relies on carbon dating or radiometric dating, which is extremely flawed as it rests on three big assumptions:

1. The original number of unstable atoms can be known

Scientists assume how many unstable atoms existed at the beginning based on how many parent and daughter atoms are left today.

2. The rate of change was constant

Scientists assume that the radioactive atoms have changed at the same rate throughout time

3. The daughter atoms were all produced by radioactive decay

Scientists assume that no outside forces, such as flowing groundwater, contaminated the sample.

The fossil record cannot show or even act as evidence that The Theory of Evolution is true.

Side: Theories are Uncertain
1 point

You have taken a lot of time and text to describe your interpretation of the word, Theories.

Why is this word so important to you?

Side: Theories are not Uncertain