Hypotheses are proposed explanations for a fairly narrow set of phenomena. These reasoned explanations are not guesses of the wild or educated variety. When scientists formulate new hypotheses, they are usually based on prior experience, scientific background knowledge, preliminary, and logic. For example, scientists observed that alpine butterflies exhibit characteristics intermediate between two species that live at lower elevations. Based on these observations and their understanding of speciation, the scientists hypothesized that this species of alpine butterfly evolved as the result of hybridization between the two other species living at lower elevations.
Occasionally, scientific ideas (such as biological evolution) are written off with the putdown "it's just a theory." This slur is misleading and conflates two separate meanings of the word theory: in common usage, the word theory means just a hunch, but in science, a theory is a powerful explanation for a broad set of observations. To be accepted by the scientific community, a theory (in the scientific sense of the word) must be strongly supported by many different . So biological evolution is a theory (it is a well-supported, widely accepted, and powerful explanation for the diversity of life on Earth), but it is not "just" a theory.
Words with both technical and everyday meanings often cause confusion. Even scientists sometimes use the word theory when they really mean hypothesis or even just a hunch. Many technical fields have similar vocabulary problems for example, both the terms work in physics and ego in psychology have specific meanings in their technical fields that differ from their common uses. However, context and a little background knowledge are usually sufficient to figure out which meaning is intended.
Some theories, which we'll call, are particularly important and reflect broad understandings of a particular part of the . Evolutionary theory, atomic theory, gravity, quantum theory, and plate tectonics are examples of this sort of over-arching theory. These theories have been broadly supported by multiple lines of evidence and help frame our understanding of the world around us.
Is evolution theory or law in science? | Yahoo Answers
Evolution is a theory. Gravity is both a theory and law -- it is a law to the extent that we have definitively determined the measure of force exerted upon objects by the mass of the Earth, but it is a theory because we don't actually know why mass has a gravitational effect on other bodies of mass. In any event, theories do not graduate to become laws. Theories and laws describe different things in a scientific context.
Bear in mind, though, that the term "theory" has a different meaning when talking about a scientific theory as opposed to a layman's theory. Scientific theories are ex…