Difference Between Theory and Law with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

Main Difference – Theory vs Law

Theory and law are two terms that we find in the field of science. Although theories and laws explain various concepts in science, there is a definite difference between theory and law. Theory explains why something happens, while the law describes what happens when certain conditions are present. . This is the key difference between theory and law.

This article explains,

1. What is a theory?
     – Definition, characteristics, examples.

2. What is a law?
     – Definition, characteristics, examples.

3. What is the difference between theory and law?

What is a theory?                          

Definitions of the theory                         Difference Between Theory and Law    

The theory is a set of verified explanations or statements about a phenomenon. The Oxford Dictionary defines theory as “an assumption or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of what is explained.” The American heritage defines it as “A set of statements or principles designed to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly proven or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.”

Features and examples

As the above definitions indicate, a theory is an explanation that is acquired through scientific methods. A theory is formed after constant observation and repeated experimentation. Einstein’s theory of relativity, Darwin’s theory of evolution, Lavoisier’s theory of oxygen combustion, quantum theory, Einstein’s theory of special relativity, and cell theory are some examples of scientific theories.

The credibility of a theory depends on the amount of evidence that is used to support the theory. Some theories are revised or replaced by new evidence. For example, some new information, such as DNA and genetics, has been added to the cell theory, originally formulated by Schleiden and Schwann.

What is a law                                          Difference Between Theory and Law

Definitions of the law

A scientific law is different from a theory. A law is a generalization that describes what happens when certain conditions are met. The Oxford Dictionary defines law as “A statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “A statement that describes an observed relationship as invariable between or between phenomena for all cases where the specified conditions are met.”

Features and examples

As the above definitions explain, laws are typically based on observations, especially repeated experimental observations. To be more specific, it describes what happens when certain conditions are met. For example, Newton’s first law of motion says:

“An object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion remains in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless it is exerted by an unbalanced force.”

The condition in this law is written in italics. According to this law, the position of an object does not change unless an external force is applied.

Some examples of scientific laws include Newton’s law of motion, Mendelian laws of inheritance, and Boyle’s law.

The laws describe how something happens with the test, but they cannot explain why something happens. Laws are universally observable facts; therefore, they cannot be questioned or revised.

Difference between theory and law

Definition

Theory: Theory is defined as an assumption or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of what is explained.

Law: Law is defined as a statement of fact, deduced from observation, in the sense that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.

Function

Theory: Theories explain the cause of a phenomenon.

Law: The law describes the nature of a phenomenon.

Base

Theory: Theories are based on evidence or evidence.

Law: Laws are based on scientific observations.

Terms

Theory: Theories may not consist of conditions.

Law: Laws describe what happens when certain conditions are met.

Revision

Theory: Theories can be revised or replaced as new evidence comes to light.

Law: Laws are not typically revised as they are universally observable.

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