The word theory means different things to different people. Unfortunately, this difference can allow people with specific agendas to manipulate established scientific knowledge to confuse people.
- In science, a theory is generally based on solid empirical evidence.
- Many people use the word to mean undetermined knowledge based chiefly on speculative thinking.
- In this context, “in theory” means something might not be correct.
- Even with the scientific community, there are different types of theories—one is the result of an accumulated body of knowledge, the other a speculative idea.
- A scientific hypothesis is an idea not yet empirically tested or vetted by the scientific community.
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