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As with every beginning of every science class in our university (because it wouldn't be a credible branch of education otherwise), we start by reviewing The Scientific Method.
So I'm sitting here in class while he's going over examples of hypotheses and how they can be elevated to scientific theories. Of course he had to reiterate that hypotheses and principles can never be proved true (we wouldn't be caught dead as scientists trying to pass something off as 100% objectively factual).
He listed Germ Theory (the theory that pathogens cause disease), the theory of Plate Tectonics (earthquakes are caused by incrementally-moving folds of earthen plates that shift), Theory of Gravitation, and the Theory of Evolution (he had to highlight that word in red, bold it, and underline it, emphasizing that, yes, the Theory of Evolution has enough evidence to actually be a scientific principle, who woulda thunk it!?).
Then the last one was Heliocentrism. The theory that the earth revolves around the sun.
So here's the definition of a scientific law:
"A statement that describes invariable relationships among phenomena under a specified set of conditions."
Newton's First Law of Motion:
"An object which is in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an opposing force."
Keep in mind that the amount of evidence for Evolution is mountains-upon-mountains more than the amount of evidence for Heliocentrism, even though all but one guy in the known AG community acknowledges Heliocentrism as a legitimate principle.
What I'm getting at is, how is this not a Law, given our technological advances? There is a given set of conditions for this Law to follow, and when that set is acknowledged, the phenomenon fits. "A satellite caught in a star's gravitational pull will rotate and revolve around it at a time variable to its distance and mass."
So I threw it out there to my professor (because he encourages discussion if it helps the learning process) that if we had the money, we could send a satellite to the solar system and it would record the earth rotating around the sun in real time. His answer is along the lines of "Not good enough! It would be a significant amount of evidence added to its pile of support, but it would not 100% prove that Heliocentrism is fact. It would only demonstrate it as 99.99999999% plausible. There are unknown variables of meta-physics and abstract mathematics that would skew this data to make it appear as if it was factual."
We at the front row had the :| face.
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