What is the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law?

What is the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law?

Scientific theory: A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world.

Scientific law: A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describe some aspects of the universe. A scientific law always applies under the same conditions and implies that there is a causal relationship involving its elements.

In other words, a scientific theory is a broader explanation of how something works, while a scientific law is a specific statement about how something behaves under certain conditions. A theory can be supported by multiple laws, but a law cannot become a theory.

For example, the theory of evolution explains how living things change over time, and is supported by the laws of genetics, natural selection, and mutation. The law of gravity states that objects attract each other with a force that is proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

It is important to note that both scientific theories and scientific laws are subject to change as new evidence is gathered and new theories are developed. However, both theories and laws are essential tools for understanding the natural world.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between scientific theories and scientific laws:

Characteristic Scientific Theory Scientific Law
Level of certainty More certain Less certain
Scope Broader Narrower
Explanation Explain why something happens States how something happens
Based on Observations and experiments Observations and experiments
Can be changed Yes Yes
Examples Theory of evolution, theory of gravity Law of gravity, law of thermodynamics
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