Scientific Laws and Theories
SCIENTIFIC LAWS and THEORIES I've had a student ask me to clarify the difference between a scientific "law" and a "theory". This person asked, in part: ".. Is a law, in essence, something which has no detractors --> a unifying 'concept' for which scientists (at the present time) are in accordance with? Is a law a single idea by which all scientists, regardless of discipline, conform?" " Can a theory be looked at as a 'transitory' law (i.e., a law in waiting)? Such questions are very common. As used in science, I think that it is important to realize that, in spite of the differences (see below), these terms share some things in common. Presumably the acceptance of laws/theories also applies across disciplines, although most "Laws" or "Theories" are discipline specific. As far as "detractors", the nature of science is to question things, nothing is (or should be) sacrosanct. Here are a couple of definitions of each word. 4) 1. Literature Cited Futuyma, D. Krimsley, V. Lincoln, R. Moore, J.
Related: Misconceptions about laws and theories
• Nature of Science