The other day, I ran across the Wiki article on Laws of Science. While there is much good there, such as:
The laws of science, scientific laws, or scientific principles are statements that describe or predict a range of phenomena as they appear in nature. The term “law” has diverse usage in many cases: approximate, accurate, broad or narrow theories, in all natural scientific disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy etc.). Scientific laws summarize and explain a large collection of facts determined by experiment, and are tested based on their ability to predict the results of future experiments. They are developed either from facts or through mathematics, and are strongly supported by empirical evidence. It is generally understood that they reflect causal relationships fundamental to reality, and are discovered rather than invented.
Laws reflect scientific knowledge that experiments have repeatedly verified (and never falsified). Their accuracy does not change when new theories are worked out, but rather the scope of application, since the equation (if any) representing the law does not change. As with other scientific knowledge, they do not have absolute certainty (as mathematical theorems or identities do), and it is always possible for a law to be overturned by future observations.
. . . I also found the talking point I just headlined:
Unlike hypotheses, theories and laws may be simply referred to as scientific fact
Nope, capital error, and of course, one of the many trollish talking points and widely spread misconceptions that serve agendas we have to deal with.
The gross contradiction between the two is likely — suspiciously like — a sign of trollish intervention to push in an ideological agenda.
Why do I say that?
First, a law of science is a summary of observations which (broadly speaking) predicts that a reliable pattern will persist; having been sufficiently tested that it is confidently held that it is reliable. And while it is more reliable than a model or a grand explanatory framework (a theory), it is still just as provisional as any humble experimental or statistically founded hypothesis. That is what the first clip properly acknowledges.
It is unlikely that someone who gets that much right would then so grossly toss it all away by using a loaded “may” to smuggle in the notion that laws AND theories MAY be referred to as “scientific fact.”
Nope, facts of observation (though also provisional, we may err) are prior to all explanatory or summary frameworks.
Hypotheses are embryonic, proposed laws [and sometimes, theories]. Models give up grand hopes of being possibly true and are useful summaries or frameworks for gamuts on which they have been validated. Theories (in the most relevant sense) are explanatory frameworks that make sense of ranges of phenomena, laws, models etc, and just possibly may be true. At least, they are not decisively falsified. Some may be ascendant or at zenith, others may be in decline or even crisis or “history.” But in relevant cases, theories try to be true to reality — or more accurately, facts of observation.
What is clear is that it is inappropriate to term something as provisional as a law or a theory with the term, “fact.”
Somebody’s got some ‘splaining to do. END
PS: To put facts on the table beyond reasonable doubt, note clip 1 and clip 2 in the screen shot I just took at about 12:00 noon my time: