Tag Archives: scientific law

Scientific laws and theories

People often get confused about what a scientific theory is – and there is a perception that a theory is not as fundamental as a scientific law. Here’s an interesting comparison of scientific theory and law presented by Charles Seife in a footnote of his book Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information Is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, from Our Brains to Black Holes:

“When physicists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries found a fundamental rule that the universe seemed to obey they dubbed it a law. Many of these laws are profound and important, such as the laws of motion, the law of universal gravitation, and the laws of thermodynamics. Some laws are less deep – such as Hooke’s law (which talks about how springs behave) or Snell’s law( which describes how light bends when it moves from one medium to another). Modern physicists tend not to use the word law. as it implies an infallibility that isn’t truly there when you examine the laws closely. That’s why quantum mechanics and general relativity tend to be referred to as theories rather than laws, though the two terms can be used (more or less) interchangeably. (Theories tend to refer to a framework, while a law is usually a single equation).”

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A rational universe?

Christian apologists are not known for their logic – or rather they are known for their faulty logic. And for their misrepresentation and opportunist use of science. They actually study philosophy and logic and hone these skills so as to argue for the one thing they try to “prove” – the existence of their god.

Their “arguments” are often so mechanical and rehearsed they give them names – eg. “the argument from cosmology”, “the argument from morality”, etc.

An argument local apologists seem to use a lot is the argument from rationality. This is often used childishly to claim that atheists, materialists, etc. (apologists often resort to name calling) have no basis for science because a god is required to confer order on the universe and rationality on our brains.20080501ae2

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