As a science student, it is my job to think of everything in terms of some sort of proposed theory. Theories were devised to explain anything that will take an explanation. No theory and it can’t be real. There is the glorious (and highly controversial) big bang theory that claims there was nothing and then it exploded to create the universe, the geocentric theory that claims the Sun revolves around the Earth that was famously debunked and restated as the helocentric theory that claims the Earth revolves around the Sun. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the flat earth society that claim the Earth is not spherical because why else would there be a horizon at the edge of sight. Theories are at the heart of everything. Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution that explains how animals came to be, Einsteins theory of relativity along with Newtons laws of physics explains why things fall (hello gravity). Reflecting on these ideologies and we can’t help but think of them as factual. After all, an astounding amount of evidence has accumulated that supports the helocentric theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, as well as the many fossils that are continuously discovered that bridge one generation of species to an evolved generation. We claim theories are factual, but the very definition of the word claims otherwise. Additionally, if any of you have ever taken a science course in high-school or university, professors tend to teach you that there are three basic requirements of a theory, the last of which does not constitute concrete facts.
Let’s look first at the definition: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something. The very definition of the word “theory” states that the explanation is an uncertain belief. You simply suppose that something is true based on the evidence provided. Not very concrete if you ask me. Secondly, the requirements of a theory. As I mentioned before, when scientific theory is taught in schools, it’s taught as having three requirements. The last of the three requirements is the focus of this post, being all theories are required to be falsifiable. In other words, in order for a theory to be a theory, it must have the potential of becoming false. Isn’t that counterintuitive? We provide theories in order to explain what we observe in our environment but we can’t be sure of it? You’d think it would be but look how it worked out for the geocentric theory. It was falsified and replaced with a new, more accurate helocentric theory.
As you can see, it seems falsification as a method of providing factuality has some credibility. Without falsification, how could we provide more accurate representations of our observable world? Can we be sceptical of theories since something better may emerge in the future? Are conspiracy theorists just one step ahead of us?
I’ll leave that to you to hypothesize.