The Instigator
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
blaze8
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Scientific theories are facts

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
blaze8
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,594 times Debate No: 43084
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro

I would like to extend this debate challenge to my opponent if he would accept.

My position is that scientific theories are facts. As such the theory of evolution is a fact.

This challenge comes from a recent debate by my opponent on a similar topic.
The debate can be seen here.
http://www.debate.org...

I hope my opponent will take this challenge, and I hope we can have a fun debate.

xxxxxx

Please realize to anyone reading this challenge before acceptance. The reason I created a debate is because I have no other method to contact Blaze8.
blaze8

Con

I will gladly accept this debate. I'm sorry you couldn't contact me any other way, I will fix that in my settings. So just to make sure I understand, the Debate is over whether or not Scientific Theory is Fact, correct? Do I need to address the evolution part, or am I simply arguing against the position that Scientific Theories are facts?

With either, my opening position won't change, but it will change how I structure and make my arguments.

I look forward to a good and fun debate!
Debate Round No. 1
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for accepting the debate.

Just to clarify for my opponent. Yes, the debate is whether or not scientific theories are facts. Please feel free to use any examples you deem necessary to expound. Now back to the debate and my opening argument.

A scientific theory can be described as "an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena."(1) As such a scientific theory is something that has been tested multiple times as has been shown to be accurate and can be considered a fact. A very well known example of a scientific theory is Newton's theory of Universal Gravitation.(2)

Expounding on Newton's theory, I think it is a rational position to state that no one doubts the validity of these equations/theory. For this reason we can state that this scientific theory is a fact. In a similar way we can show that all scientific theories are facts. If we do not consider them facts then the question arises what are facts? Or to carry the argument further are there any facts? This is a problem, as if we turn back to the Theory of Gravity we are faced with the reality that if this is not a fact then we would not be "sticking" to the Earth but flying off it at random times as Gravity would not be this constant universal force.

I hand the debate back to my opponent.


(1) http://www.livescience.com...
(2) http://www-spof.gsfc.nasa.gov...
blaze8

Con

Thanks for the clarification Pro! I now delve into this debate.

I think, perhaps, the greater question here is, what is the difference between Fact, and Scientific Fact? And furthermore, as Scientific Fact is itself divided into Scientific Laws and Scientific Theories, what differentiates these from each other?

The first question is touched briefly upon by Pro at the end of his argument, and less central to the debate at hand. In fact, one could devote an entire debate solely to the differences between Scientific Fact and Fact as the world has now generalized and understands. So too could an entire debate be devoted to the true nature of these "Facts" we observe around us, both Scientific and natural. Therefore, I will focus my arguments on the crucial second question at hand: "What is the difference between Scientific Theory and Scientific Law?"

The differences, as it happens, are significant, though few. Ronald H. Matson, Ph.D. and Vice President for Faculty and Professor of Biology at Kennesaw State University lists the following differences between Scientific Theory and Scientific Fact, all of which I have found to be common across the discipline:

LAW

1) An empirical generalization; a statement of a biological principle that appears to be without exception at the time it is made, and has become consolidated by repeated successful testing; rule (Lincoln et al., 1990)
2) A theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by a statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present (Oxford English Dictionary as quoted in Futuyma, 1979).

3) A set of observed regularities expressed in a concise verbal or mathematical statement. (Krimsley, 1995).

THEORY

1) The grandest synthesis of a large and important body of information about some related group of natural phenomena (Moore, 1984)
2) A body of knowledge and explanatory concepts that seek to increase our understanding ("explain") a major phenomenon of nature (Moore, 1984).
3) A scientifically accepted general principle supported by a substantial body of evidence offered to provide an explanation of observed facts and as a basis for future discussion or investigation (Lincoln et al., 1990).
4) 1. The abstract principles of a science as distinguished from basic or applied science. 2. A reasonable explanation or assumption advanced to explain a natural phenomenon but lacking confirming proof (Steen, 1971). [NB: I don't like this one but I include it to show you that even in "Science dictionaries" there is variation in definitions which leads to confusion].
5) A scheme or system of ideas or statements held as an explanation or account of a group of facts or phenomena; a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as accounting for the known facts; a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles or causes of something known or observed. (Oxford English Dictionary, 1961; [emphasis added]).
6) An explanation for an observation or series of observations that is substantiated by a considerable body of evidence (Krimsley, 1995). [1]

I will now tackle the differences:

LAW
Definition 1: The key here is Empirical Generalization, and not of what might be, but of what is observed empirically. Laws define what can be tested, and re-tested, and are based upon Empiricism. They make no claim beyond what is observed. Newton's theory of Universal Gravitation is a theory. But here on Earth, we have a Law of Gravity. Newton saw that the cannonball and the feather accelerated at the same rate towards the ground. From such observations, along with many others, we can derive the Law of Gravity, the statement that two objects, as a result of their gravitational mass, attract each other through some force acting upon them. Of course, it is important to predicate such discussions with the knowledge that Newton was operating under the assumptions of the now popular and widely accepted Newtonian Laws of Motion. As such, by Newton's Second Law of Motion, we may assert that the acceleration of objects towards the earth is due to a Force acting upon them [2]. But I digress. The important aspect of this definition is that Laws are empirically observable, and do not make claims beyond the observed phenomena, for example, the cause of such phenomena. Newton's second law does not fall under the classification of making a claim to the cause of a phenomena because, through rigorous and repeated demonstration in both natural and controlled experiments, it has become obvious that force is required for acceleration to occur. It is in controlled experiments that causation is fully established, with natural experiments coming in near second. As the Second Law has been validated by both, it is and should be a Law.
2: Here again we find a significant difference. Laws are applied to a "defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by a statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present." [1] Only under certain conditions can laws be applicable. And they are not universal. They do not apply to the entire universe as we observe and study it, at least, not with the capabilities we currently possess.
3: Here we find the mathematical expression of Laws. The importance here lies not in what is stated, but in the predictability of the Law, something which Theory lacks.

THEORY 1: This definition is as generalized as possible. It adds nothing to the debate at hand except the expression of the reach of the Theory v. the reach of Law. Just as with Confidence Intervals, the higher percentage one wishes to obtain, the larger the difference between the intervals, so too with Theory and Law. Laws apply to certain conditions, but are strongly verifiable and proven in such conditions. Theories apply widely, and lack the certainty that Laws provide, simply because they seek to explain as a whole, across all conditions, rather than operate within those observed.
2: It is here that we come to the crux of the argument. "A body of knowledge and explanatory concepts that seek to increase our understanding ("explain") a major phenomenon of nature." Not Facts. Concepts. Ideas. Explanations. And Explanations unsubstantiated with causality, do not Facts represent.
3. Again we find the words "explanation," used in this context to refer to what has come before, and perhaps provide an insight into future explanation. Yet, even then we find that Theories in Science do not provide surety, for explanations may be in error, while Laws are proven.
4. Here again we find more support for the position that Scientific Theories are not Fact. Reason itself does not make Fact. Reason may contradict Fact, and has done so on numerous occasions in the history of Man, let alone the history of the Earth itself.
5. A group of different definitions, yet all are encompassed in the others listed here.
6. Again, an explanation that may be substantiated by evidence. And indeed, with this definition, Dr. Matson himself writes that the differences are clear: "...the difference between them is that a law describes what nature does under certain conditions, and will predict what will happen as long as those conditions are met. A theory explains how nature works."[1]

Scientific Theories, then, are explanations based upon Fact. They are not Fact in and of themselves. I have more to say, but run low on characters. To make it clear, I use Dr. Matson's source simply because it was 1) in line much with what else I found, and 2) easily available. I make no claim to his complete authority on the subject. I now hand the debate back to Pro.

[1]http://science.kennesaw.edu...
[2]http://physics.weber.edu...

Debate Round No. 2
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for his speedy response, I am sorry I could not be as fast.

I agree with my opponent that the bigger question is what is fact. That is why I say, scientific theories are fact otherwise there are no facts.

This brings me to the major disagreement with my opponent. I disagree with my opponent that scientific facts can get divided into laws and theories. As every scientific law is a theory and can be disproved, this is essentially the heart of my argument. Even laws can be disproved, yet we accept them as fact otherwise no facts exist. However, the link my opponent provided on the "so-called" difference between laws and theories does require analysis and I wish to respond to my opponent on his analysis. Maybe I should also add at this point that the author of the link provided by my opponent does not make a classification between laws and theories as he states "Regardless of which definitions one uses to distinguish between a law and a theory, scientists would agree that a theory is NOT a "transitory law, a law in waiting."(1)

In essence my opponent tries to define between laws and theories as follows (I hope at this point I am not misinterpreting my opponent). Laws are observable facts that do not make predictions "The importance here lies not in what is stated, but in the predictability of the Law, something which Theory lacks." While Theories are based on observable facts and make predictions. Herein my opponent has a problem, the laws can be used to make predictions so as such they can all be classified as theories. Interestingly, even my opponent pointed out that Newton's Second Law can be used to make predictions. So let me wrap this up by asking, if laws are theories and laws are accepted as fact then why are we not accepting theories as fact?

Regarding the definitions provided by my opponent, I think it would be appropriate to instead adopt the National Academy of Sciences definition of a Scientific Theory which states "Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses."(2) From this definition we can see that even laws can be disproved and so either scientific theories are facts, or no facts exist.

In closing, the link provided by my opponent as well as the National Academy Of Sciences say that laws are incorporated in scientific theory. As such my opponents assertion that scientific facts can be divided into laws and theories is incorrect.

I hand the debate back to my opponent.

(1) http://science.kennesaw.edu...
(2) http://www.nap.edu...
blaze8

Con

As every scientific law is a theory and can be disproved, this is essentially the heart of my argument

The fact that both may be disproven does not change the fact that they are fundamentally different. Both Theories and Laws may at one point be disproven, yet Laws will be harder to disprove, because they do not make claims to causality.

My opponent does not seem to realize the difference that I am calling to light. I shall endeavor to explain it clearly and in full, as now that I examine my previous argument, I realize that I failed to do so..

Arguing that something happens, and arguing that something is the cause of that happening are two different things. We can prove or disprove the occurrence. The cause, however, is much harder to pinpoint, and literally could be anything. This is where Scientific Law and Scientific Theories divide. Law states what is. Theory states what might be, based on observations and concepts.


"Regardless of which definitions one uses to distinguish between a law and a theory, scientists would agree that a theory isNOTa "transitory law, a law in waiting."(1)

The lack of a hierarchy in Science when it comes to Scientific Laws and Scientific Theories is irrelevant. The two are fundamentally different.

Laws are observable facts that do not make predictions "The importance here lies not in what is stated, but in the predictability of the Law, something which Theory lacks." While Theories are based on observable facts and make predictions.


I should clarify this. My statement was that Laws are observable occurrences, specific and limited in scope, and nothing more. Laws can be used to predict an outcome, but only if they are used correctly, that is, that the conditions required for the law to be operable are met. In this way, Law restricts itself to what we know from observation. Theory, on the other hand, seeks to explain the observation beyond what we have simply observed. Theory tries to pinpoint the cause of the occurrence. Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravitation States not simply that Gravity is the force accelerating objects towards Earth, but that objects in the rest of the Universe exert gravitational force on each other as well, and that is the reason we rotate around the sun, etc. Because we do not actually have the capability to conduct the same vacuum experiments on Mars, Venus, etc, it remains a Theory. However, the Law of Gravitation on Earth is a Law because we can empirically test it, and it applies here on earth only.

The assertion that if Scientific Theories and Laws are not Fact, there are no such things as Fact, is completely false. If I plug in my laptop’s power cord, it is a fact that the cord conducts electricity to the battery, charging it. If I throw a punch at someone, it is a fact that my muscles tensed and relaxed in such a manner as to propel my fist forward to impact the other person. These are Facts. Scientific Theories and Laws can be disproven. If they can be disproven, it is not appropriate to call these things “Facts.” Rather, it is more appropriate to describe them as currently accepted, limited in scope, observations. To treat them as Fact, when there is a question of their complete and absolute validity, is farcical. The Oxford Dictionary defines Fact as “a thing that is indisputably the case.”[1] If there is some dispute about the complete and absolute validity of Scientific Theories and Scientific Laws, then they cannot be Fact. Scientific Laws have a caveat here, and that is that they are only valid under certain specified conditions, making their reach limited to begin with. Scientific Theories, on the other hand, are broad and sweeping, and do not limit themselves anywhere near the extent Scientific Laws do. And Scientific Laws are limited for a reason: we only know them to be true under the specified conditions. Scientific Theories make claims far beyond their observed conditions, and as such, do not represent fact.

But my Opponent has failed to address the crucial problem here. Even Scientific Facts, be they Scientific Laws or Scientific Theories, by definition, are not absolute! The definition of a Scientific Fact is “an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)” [2]

It’s truth is never final. How, then, can it be fact?

Now I move to the consequences of my discussion. If Scientific Laws and Theories are not true Fact, as in, their truth is never final, what then are facts? Well, there are plenty of facts in Science. It is a Fact that ice is the solid state of water. It is a fact that water's molecules consist of one hydrogen molecule and two oxygen molecules. It is a fact that electricity may be channeled through wires to generate power. It is a fact that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. It is a fact that Uranium is radioactive. There are numerous facts, things that are indisputably the case, in Science. Scientific Laws and Scientific Theories are not indisputable, though it is harder to dispute Scientific Laws because they restrict themselves to observed conditions.

What, then, should we call Scientific Theories and Laws if not Fact? Well, call them what they are: Observations and possible explanations for what occurs in nature. As they are not indisputable, and their truth is not final, we must take them as they are, limited in scope and prone to being incorrect. It speaks to the pride and arrogance of man that the Scientific community treats their ideas and explanations, as good as they may be, as beyond the reach of criticism and, ironically, their own limitations. Science is limited first and foremost by Man's imperfect nature. How, then, can we expect our ideas and experiments studying the world to be perfect as well? Rather than be quick to exalt the works of the imperfect mind, susceptible to so many different factors, we should instead be reluctant to claim incontestability, and restrict our claims of fact to what we can directly and indisputably prove. Unfortunately, this would mean that Scientific Theories, those that are held to be the mightiest of intellectual achievements, would have to face their shortcomings and acknowledge them openly.


[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...;
[2]http://dictionary.reference.com...

Debate Round No. 3
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro

Thanks to my opponent and on to my final rebuttal.

My opponent has stated that laws and theories are fundamentally different." "The importance here lies not in what is stated, but in the predictability of the Law, something which Theory lacks." I intend to show in this round that this is false and that scientific theories and laws are the same by looking at the examples my opponent provided and show that these "facts" are based both on laws and theories. These example were provided by my opponent and have been presented as examples of absolute facts. On closer analysis however, we will see these are not absolute facts, but facts as shown by scientific theories and laws. Additionally, as I pointed out in my last rounds arguments scientific laws do make predictions and my opponent has accepted that. In the same way scientific theories make predictions, so how are they different?

Looking at the examples presented lets see if these are absolute facts, or are these facts defined by scientific theories.
(a) It is a Fact that ice is the solid state of water.
Ice is what the solid state of water is called, yet there are various solid phases of water which are described by various conditions. (1) In fact some of these solid states of water have a higher density than liquid water and as such will not float in liquid water, so is this such a fact as my opponent says. No, as it goes counter to what we observe. However, this fact of various phases and properties of ice can be described by scientific theory.(2)
(b) It is a fact that water's molecules consist of one hydrogen molecule and two oxygen molecules.
I think my opponent made a tying error as water is actually 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen atom. Nevertheless this is not the true picture as water can also occur in clusters in the liquid phase which are higher structures such as (H20)280.(3) Please realize water clusters are not water memory as sold by homeopaths and is pseudoscience.(4) Water clusters can only be explained using scientific theory.
(c) It is a fact that electricity may be channeled through wires to generate power.
Wires? What are wires? According to Merriam Webster they are metal.(5) However it is also known that non metals are able to conduct electricity as in the case of polythiophene.(6) This polymer contains carbon, sulfur and hydrogen all non metal. The fact of electrical conduction can only be explained using scientific theory.
(d) It is a fact that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
Again, this is not true. Depending on the pressure of the air water boils at different temperatures.(7) This fact can be shown using the ideal gas law which is a scientific law.(8)
(e) It is a fact that Uranium is radioactive.
This is true, but which form of Uranium is my opponent talking about. For example to create nuclear power you need Uranium 235.(9) However if you use Uranium 234 or 238, you cannot run a nuclear reactor unless you change the Uranium into another fissile material. These facts can be explained using the atomic theory which is a scientific theory.(10)

My opponent has stated that an assertion I made is incorrect regarding facts i.e "The assertion that if Scientific Theories and Laws are not Fact, there are no such things as Fact, is completely false". However, this is exactly what my opponent has shown. These examples given by my opponent explicitly show that "absolute" facts can only be determined using scientific theories or laws if we consider them facts.

My opponents assertion that "There are numerous facts, things that are indisputably the case, in Science. Scientific Laws and Scientific Theories are not indisputable, though it is harder to dispute Scientific Laws because they restrict themselves to observed conditions." This is incorrect as laws are theories as I outlined in round three of this debate. The fact is both laws and theories can be disproved in the same way and as such there is no difference. Laws are not harder to disprove than theories, as they are the same thing.

I feel it necessary to bring Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation up again, this law is applicable everywhere. Yes we have not dropped a ball on Mars, but we know the gravitational constant on Mars and so we can make the prediction which will be accurate. One day when we get to Mars we can do the experiment, and we will be proved correct. My opponent is trying to define Newton's Law as a law on Earth and then another law for elsewhere, this is wrong. The law is universal and holds everywhere.(11)

In closing, I have shown that what are considered facts through the examples given by my opponent are not facts, but rather facts as demonstrated using scientific theories. I also believe I have shown that there is no difference between scientific laws and theories. For this reason we either have to accept scientific theories as facts, or no facts exist.

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting the challenge and having an insightful and relevant debate. Now over to you for your final comments.

(1) http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk...
(2) http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk...
(3) http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk...
(4) http://www.chem1.com...
(5) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(6) http://www.tandfonline.com...
(7) http://www.csgnetwork.com...
(8) http://www.chemguide.co.uk...
(9) http://education.jlab.org...
(10) http://abyss.uoregon.edu...
(11) http://csep10.phys.utk.edu...
blaze8

Con

Thank you again to my opponent for giving me the opportunity to discuss and debate this topic with him! I now move to my closing arguments.

My opponent is erroneously attempting to equate two very different aspects of Science. Scientific Laws are not equatable to Scientific Theory. My opponent has tried to use my own statements against me, but has misinterpreted his own sources, and I will now show how:

1. The existence of various soldi phases of water excluding ice does not, in fact, mean that the various phases and properties of ice can be described by "theory." In reality, the phases my opponent's source discusses are not simply concepts of what might happen under certain conditions, but observed phenomenon, and they themselves are restriced to the conditions needed to generate such results. Not once does the word "theory" appear in my opponent's source for this, and his sources does not make any such claim. Thus, my opponent has failed to prove that the phases of water, whatever the variety, are explained by theory, and has instead, reinforced my assertion that they are fact.

2. Yes, that was a typo, and I apologize. And yet again, my opponent has misinterpreted his source. The diagrams present in my opponent's link show my assertion to be true. The structures discussed show how the different molecules may bond, but each molecule consists of the two hydrogen and one oxygen that is required of water. How the individual molecules associate with each other is what the clusters refer to.[1]

3. My opponent knows exactly what I am talking about here, and is arguing semantics. And yet again, the ability of non-metals to conduct electricity is not theory, it is fact. Electrical conduction is not a theory, nor is the ability of certain substances to conduct electricity.

4. Once again, my opponent argues semantics. The Laws of thermodynamics govern heat transfer, and they are not theories, but observed equations, restricted to closed systems.

5. More semantics. And yet, all my opponent has to offer here is the fact that different forms of uranium have different levels of radiation, something which is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. And notice here the following statement: "These facts can be explained using the atomic theory, which is a scientific theory." Yes, the explanation why or how it happens is a theory. But the fact of its occurrence is not theory, nor law. And this is what I am driving towards. When you move beyond simply establishing an occurrence, and seek to explain that occurrence, you move away from fact, and the end result is something whose truth is never final.

In closing, I believe my arguments remain sound, contrary to my opponent's assertions. He still has failed to account for the fact that the definitions of Scientific Fact, both Theory and Law, do not match up to the definition of Fact itself, as both may be disproven and are not indisputable. If both are not indisputable, then we cannot, and should not refer to them as true facts, but rather keep the qualifier "Scientific Fact," along with the implications that follow.

I have shown how theory and law differ, and I believe my opponent has not proven me incorrect in this count. Therefore, his assertion that since the two are the same, if we do not consider them fact, we have no facts at all, is incorrect.

Thank you again to my opponent, and I hope to engage in a good debate again sometime soon!

(1) http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk......
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by dannyc 3 years ago
dannyc
I would have challenged his belief in induction first.
Posted by Enji 3 years ago
Enji
I don't think asking further questions would have changed anything - you might not have explicitly acknowledged that it was true, but do the specifics really change the observation that uranium is radioactive? I think you'd have a difficult time supporting that. Similarly some of your other points against Con's facts did little to show that they were non-factual. In the debate, the distinction Con made between scientific theory and law was particularly relevant here: the explanation for why a natural phenomena happens is distinct from its occurrence.

You say that "the occurrence of radioactivity is based on theory", but I think you mean that theory is based on (observation of) the occurrence of radioactivity. Using theory we can model and predict what will happen in the natural world, but the occurrence of natural phenomena is independent of our models and predictions.

Another point to consider: both you and Blaze focussed on a posteriori knowledge, but can we know facts a priori? I would say yes - certainly it's indisputably true that there are no married bachelors, and we don't need to take a census of all bachelors to find out if they're married to know that this is true.

In any case, you gave yourself a huge burden of proof. It would be one thing to show that a single scientific theory was certain enough to conclude that it was a fact, but your position was that all scientific theories are facts. I might agree with you that UCD is a fact, for example, but this includes theories which we know are "wrong" - notably the theory of relativity and the standard model are not presently reconcilable and what they say about the nature of reality is hugely different, yet both are very well supported by observation and testing - so how can both be facts? I think our scientific understanding is too incomplete for that to be the case.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Thanks Enji. I suppose I should really have ask what type of radioactivity? What type Uranium? That would have been a better question then.

But actually the occurrence of radioactivity is based on theory, the formation of all atoms and there decay is also based on theories.
Posted by Enji 3 years ago
Enji
I don't think the debate showed that there are no facts.

The big problem with your syllogism is that "if scientific theories are not facts, then there are no facts" isn't intuitively obvious and wasn't particularly well defended in the debate. A similar syllogism, "if scientific theories are facts, then there are facts," however, is self-evident, and in this light your primary argument was an inverse error. Alternatively, your argument was actually "facts exist if and only if scientific theories are facts" (although if this was the case then why didn't this ever come up in the debate). Consequently a single fact which is true independent of any scientific theory shows your argument to be unsound. Within the debate, you conceded this; Con proposed that "Uranium is radioactive" is a factual statement, and you agreed that the statement was true. Providing an explanation for why uranium is radioactive based on science doesn't change this - Uranium could be radioactive because of extra-dimensional kittens or because its nucleus is too large to be stable, but as Con argued "the fact of its occurrence is not theory, nor law" and that it happens and is independent from the explanation for why it happens (and that it happens is true independent of the truth of the explanation for why it happens). Hence facts can and do exist independent of scientific theories.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Hey Blaze just by the way was not trying to argue semantics. Just wanted to point out that the facts you pointed out were in fact not facts.

The debate really showed that there are no facts. So it was a good discussion.

Although that said, I still take facts to be what we commonly accept them.
Posted by blaze8 3 years ago
blaze8
For those seeking proof of my assertion's regarding Newton's Second Law, see the following video:
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Enji 3 years ago
Enji
iamanatheistandthisiswhyblaze8Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument that scientific laws are scientific theories was neither convincing nor accurate; certainly Con's source describing the differences between a law and a theory, while noting that a theory isn't a law-in-waiting, /was/ distinguishing between the two despite Pro's claim to the contrary, and even Pro's alternative source (R3) distinguishes between the two. Further, Pro's argument that if scientific theories are not facts, then there are no facts was unconvincing. An observation that something happened is distinct from the explanation for why it happened and from an empirical generalisation based on the observation; that uranium is radioactive is a distinct claim from the explanation for why it is radioactive and the empirical derivation of its half-life. Con argues that a given observation is factual whereas scientific theories and laws (no matter how well supported by observation) are disputable and falsifiable and hence shouldn't be considered facts. Arguments to Con.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
iamanatheistandthisiswhyblaze8Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think both debaters do a good job of supporting their points, but that Con does the better of the two. By the end of the debate, I have a hard time equating theory and law, and as such, they appear different. As both sides seem to agree that hose things called "laws" are factually accurate given the current information at hand, this makes it an important issue in the debate. I think the argument would have been clearer if Con had pointed to specific examples of how theory makes logical leaps that remain unproven and, therefore, nonfactual, but his definitional analysis suffices to prove his point.
Vote Placed by Romanii 3 years ago
Romanii
iamanatheistandthisiswhyblaze8Tied
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Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The debate was pretty even, but I think that Pro in general made better arguments. If you don't accept scientific theories as fact then there is no such thing as fact, since nothing can truly be proven to be the absolute truth.