A Scientific Theory Is. .. What distinguishes a scientific theory from a non-scientific theory is that a scientific theory must be refutable in principle; a set of circumstances must potentially exist such that if observed it would logically prove the theory wrong. Here is a simplified version of the logic of the scientific method: we begin the encounter with nature by making observations and then through some creative process a hypothesis is generated about how some process of nature works. On the basis of this hypothesis, an experiment is logically deduced that will result in a set of particular observations that should occur, under particular conditions, if the hypothesis true. If those particular observations do not occur, then we are faced with several possibilities: our hypothesis needs to be revised, the experiment was carried out incorrectly, or the analysis of the results from that experiment was in error. The actual process often involves a great deal of insight and creativity. Keep in mind, though,
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.