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Scientific Theory

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A scientific theory is formed by abstractions and concepts that, respecting certain rules, allow to express the existing links between those observations that were made of the concepts in question.

From the empirical data obtained through observations, the expert constructs a scientific theory that fits what has been observed. Once the theory is constructed, it can be proposed as a principle that allows explaining different phenomena.

The process of building a scientific theory usually begins with a hypothesis: a scientist, because of his knowledge, believes that a certain phenomenon happens in a certain way and, therefore, is prepared to make observations governed by the scientific method to check if its Hypothesis is valid or wrong. The systematization of the observations and the empirical data collected can finally lead to a scientific theory that explains the phenomenon analyzed.

This shows that a scientific theory is equivalent to a knowledge that was contrasted in various ways. In this way it's different from the idea of ​​theory that's usually used in everyday language, where the concept is linked to an assumption or something improbable.

Features, according to Karl Popper

The philosopher Karl Popper, born in Austria in 1902, made an important contribution to the field of scientific theory, whose characteristics he defined in an accessible and concise way, as can be seen below:

* If we want to get verifications or confirmations of a theory, it's highly likely that we will achieve it, so this shouldn't be our only objective or one of the pillars on which to rely on to justify an investigation. Teamwork is one of the best resources to test a theory;

* The confirmations that must be taken into account are those that arise from risky predictions, that exceed the limits of the theory itself, and that at first glance seem so incompatible with it and unlikely that they seem ideal to refute it;

* A scientific theory is "good" if it doesn't allow certain things to happen. The more you ban, the better it becomes. To understand this point we can think about the identity of a living being, since to determine it we have billions of individuals of the same species that aren't him, and this is comparable with a large number of prohibitions to highlight the truth or confirmation of what a theory does demonstrate;

* All scientific theory must be refuted by some conceivable event. Otherwise, we're facing a theory foreign to science. Furthermore, while many think that the impossibility of refuting a theory is one of its virtues, it's only one of its vices;

* To experience a theory in a genuine way is to try to prove its falsity, to refute it. In this case, it should also be taken into account that some theories are more likely to appear false in the face of experimentation, and this makes the work of scientists more risky;

* Similarly, evidence confirming a theory isn't enough unless it's the result of having genuinely experienced;

* There is the possibility of reinterpreting a theory or resorting to an auxiliary premise to defend it after having been proven false by means of an appropriate experiment. However, this may reduce or completely nullify the scientific nature of such theory.


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