A TV detective may say “I have a theory that the murderer may be someone in this room.” The way he’s using the word “theory” isn’t the way the word is used in science. The words “fact” and “hypothesis” and “law” suffer from the same difference in perception and meaning between scientists and non-scientists.
Joe Hanson, Ph.D. of the PBS Digital Studios channel It’s Okay to Be Smart explains the way science uses these words. Understanding the difference is one thing, explaining it to someone else is hard. Hanson does a pretty good job, but it will be much easier for us to send someone the video than to explain it the way he does. -via Digg