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If the THEORY of relativity has been proven-what is it called now?

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  • If the THEORY of relativity has been proven-what is it called now?


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Answer #1 | 15/03 2015 23:44
Your question shows a misunderstanding of what a scientific theory is. Like many people, I suspect you think "theory" means "guess." This is not the case. A scientific theory consists of a hypothesis (a guess) about how something works. The observation and/or experimentation provides empirical evidence, which, if it supports the hypothesis, provides the justification for classifying it as a theory. However, a theory is not a fact, nor can it be proven. The reason is that all it takes is one piece of evidence that contradicts the theory to make it invalid. This is why scientists tend to not use the words "proven" or "true", and why real science focuses on the edge cases, rather than what we already understand. Gravity is actually a good example of this. Newton formulated his Law of Universal Gravitation, in which masses attract each other, proportionally to the product of the masses, inversely proportionally to the square of the distance between them, and with a scaling constant, "G"." And this theory matched with observation, and was used for many years. However, it was found that in some instances it didn't work, such as in the precession of the orbit of the planet Mercury around the Sun. Beginning with this and other edge cases, eventually, Einstein developed general relativity, which was a hypothesis of how gravity worked, and which is supported by tons of evidence, such as gravitational lensing, time dilation, and a number of other things. But remember, general relativity has to agree with universal gravitation in the cases where universal gravitation worked in the past. However, general relativity doesn't work very well when combined with quantum mechanics. So now there are new hypotheses being proposed for a quantum theory of gravitation. None of them have reached the level of theory, since they're not currently testable. So, having something be a theory, such as general relativity, evolution, etc. is actually quite a strong scientific statement, though it isn't an absolute. [If you receive a useful response, please consider awarding a "best answer" as it is the only recognition we get.]
Positive: 94 %
Answer #2 | 15/03 2015 23:03
Scientists understand, and accept, that a theory cannot be proven to be correct. It can only be proven to be incorrect. Ask Blake quoted, a theory is a description of how the world works that appears to explain what is observed. Scientists will continue to use the theory, and build upon it, until it is proven incorrect by (a) creating a new, often simpler, theory that better fits the observation, or (b) demonstrating that it doesn't fit the observations.
Positive: 88 %
Answer #3 | 15/03 2015 22:23
Not intended to be the last word, it is open to amendments. It's a guide for further investigation.
Positive: 68 %
Answer #4 | 15/03 2015 22:13
It's called relative relativity.
Positive: 36 %
Answer #5 | 15/03 2015 22:09
A scientific theory is a series of statements about the causal elements for observed phenomena. A critical component of a scientific theory is that it provides explanations and predictions that can be tested. So, it is still called a theory. You may be confusing the definition of theory used outside of science.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #6 | 16/03 2015 16:01
A misunderstanding of what the word "theory" actually means, it means considerably more in scientific circles than it does in colloquial usage. What you think of as "theory" in colloquial use is actually called a "hypothesis" in scientific circles. A theory consists of hypotheses plus observations and/or experiments which give proof to these hypotheses. In the olden days, they might have called these "Laws", such as Newton's Laws. These days Newton's Laws would be called Newton's Theories.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #7 | 16/03 2015 00:38
A theory. It's still a theory. A theory is a hypothesis that has been rigorously tested and found to be not false. [See source.] Note we can never "prove" it's true as there is always some doubt. The hierarchy in increasing degree of confidence is: concept --> hypothesis --> theory --> law Only after standing the test of time and surviving uncountable rigorous tests and observations by never being found false, a theory might morph into a law...like Newton's laws of motion that have survived over three hundred years. By that metric, the theory of relativity might become the law of relativity around 2205, three hundred years after the theory was first published in 1905.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #8 | 18/03 2015 05:11
The theory of relativity.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #9 | 16/03 2015 07:54
I really think people are reading way too much into this. It is really just historical. They (special and general) were initially called the theories of relativity since they were radical new ways of thinking and there wasn't a lot of supportive evidence. Now they have passed every test ever made and are one of the two pillars of modern science. The 'theory' has just stuck over time. It's just that simple.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #10 | 15/03 2015 16:44
Your question shows a misunderstanding of what a scientific theory is. Like many people, I suspect you think "theory" means "guess." This is not the case. A scientific theory consists of a hypothesis (a guess) about how something works. The observation and/or experimentation provides empirical evidence, which, if it supports the hypothesis, provides the justification for classifying it as a theory. However, a theory is not a fact, nor can it be proven. The reason is that all it takes is one piece of evidence that contradicts the theory to make it invalid. This is why scientists tend to not use the words "proven" or "true", and why real science focuses on the edge cases, rather than what we already understand. Gravity is actually a good example of this. Newton formulated his Law of Universal Gravitation, in which masses attract each other, proportionally to the product of the masses, inversely proportionally to the square of the distance between them, and with a scaling constant, "G"." And this theory matched with observation, and was used for many years. However, it was found that in some instances it didn't work, such as in the precession of the orbit of the planet Mercury around the Sun. Beginning with this and other edge cases, eventually, Einstein developed general relativity, which was a hypothesis of how gravity worked, and which is supported by tons of evidence, such as gravitational lensing, time dilation, and a number of other things. But remember, general relativity has to agree with universal gravitation in the cases where universal gravitation worked in the past. However, general relativity doesn't work very well when combined with quantum mechanics. So now there are new hypotheses being proposed for a quantum theory of gravitation. None of them have reached the level of theory, since they're not currently testable. So, having something be a theory, such as general relativity, evolution, etc. is actually quite a strong scientific statement, though it isn't an absolute. [If you receive a useful response, please consider awarding a "best answer" as it is the only recognition we get.]
Positive: 10 %
Answer #11 | 16/03 2015 09:01
A misunderstanding of what the word "theory" actually means, it means considerably more in scientific circles than it does in colloquial usage. What you think of as "theory" in colloquial use is actually called a "hypothesis" in scientific circles. A theory consists of hypotheses plus observations and/or experiments which give proof to these hypotheses. In the olden days, they might have called these "Laws", such as Newton's Laws. These days Newton's Laws would be called Newton's Theories.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #12 | 15/03 2015 17:38
A theory. It's still a theory. A theory is a hypothesis that has been rigorously tested and found to be not false. [See source.] Note we can never "prove" it's true as there is always some doubt. The hierarchy in increasing degree of confidence is: concept --> hypothesis --> theory --> law Only after standing the test of time and surviving uncountable rigorous tests and observations by never being found false, a theory might morph into a law...like Newton's laws of motion that have survived over three hundred years. By that metric, the theory of relativity might become the law of relativity around 2205, three hundred years after the theory was first published in 1905.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #13 | 15/03 2015 16:03
Scientists understand, and accept, that a theory cannot be proven to be correct. It can only be proven to be incorrect. Ask Blake quoted, a theory is a description of how the world works that appears to explain what is observed. Scientists will continue to use the theory, and build upon it, until it is proven incorrect by (a) creating a new, often simpler, theory that better fits the observation, or (b) demonstrating that it doesn't fit the observations.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #14 | 15/03 2015 15:09
A scientific theory is a series of statements about the causal elements for observed phenomena. A critical component of a scientific theory is that it provides explanations and predictions that can be tested. So, it is still called a theory. You may be confusing the definition of theory used outside of science.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #15 | 17/03 2015 22:11
The theory of relativity.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #16 | 16/03 2015 00:54
I really think people are reading way too much into this. It is really just historical. They (special and general) were initially called the theories of relativity since they were radical new ways of thinking and there wasn't a lot of supportive evidence. Now they have passed every test ever made and are one of the two pillars of modern science. The 'theory' has just stuck over time. It's just that simple.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #17 | 15/03 2015 15:23
Not intended to be the last word, it is open to amendments. It's a guide for further investigation.
Positive: 10 %
Answer #18 | 15/03 2015 15:13
It's called relative relativity.
Positive: 10 %

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