A theory is a unifying statement that explains a body of facts and the laws based on that body of facts. <ref>Bishop, M. (2012). Chapter 1 The nature of chemistry. Retrieved November 25, 2012 from http://www.mpcfaculty.net/mark_bishop/Bishop_1_1A_eBook.pdf. </ref> According to Bogen, "Theories are customarily represented as collections of sentences, propositions, statements or beliefs, etc., and their logical consequences. <ref>Bogen, J. (2009). Theory and observation in science. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved November 25, 2012 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/science-theory-observation.</ref>"
Theories may be rejected with the development of new instruments or experimental procedures.CITATION REQUIRED Theories are never proven. A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it's an accepted hypothesis. <ref about.com> Helmenstine, anne marie (2009) Scientific theory http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm</ref>
A theory is a framework or model in which observations are explained and predictions are made.
- Well tested explanations
- Refined or discarded when new experimental results conflict
- Three aspects to a theory: philosophical, mathematical, and empirical.
A good theory:
- Explains current data
- is as simple as possible
- predicts results of future experiments
- suggests new lines of research
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