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Scientific Laws and Theories
Transcript of Scientific Laws and Theories
A scientific law is a statement that
summarizes a pattern found in nature.
It describes this pattern without attempting to explain it.
You may think scientific laws are unimportant because they do not provide an explanation, but that is untrue.
You use laws everyday.
Examples of laws you know about and use are Newton's three laws of motion.
You apply all three of these laws when you play a simple game of basketball, even if you're not thinking about what you are doing.
Newton's first law is inertia, or "An object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force."
When you shoot a basketball, you don't expect it to keep traveling up; you know it will soon fall back down. But why does it do this?
The reason is gravity.
Gravity is a force acting upon the ball. Without the force of gravity, the ball would stay in motion.
Newton's second law states that if a force acts upon an object, the object moves in the direction of that force. It also states that the speed of an object and the distance it travels are related to the strength of the force and the mass of the object.
You use this law every time
you throw a basketball.
You also know that because a basketball is fairly light and easy to lift, you need a lot less force to make it move then if you were throwing something heavier, such as a bowling ball. The more strength you use to throw the ball, the faster and further it will go.
You know that if you throw the ball upwards, the ball will travel upwards. This deals with the first part of this law, because the ball is moving in the direction of the force.
Newton's third law is "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".
This law you use when you are dribbling a basketball.
The action of you pushing down on the ball causes a reaction. This reaction is the ball coming back up. The more force you use to push the ball down, the higher it comes back up.
We now know that scientific laws don't provide explanations to observed patterns in nature. So what if you do want an explanation?
The answer for you is a scientific theory.
A scientific theory is a well-tested explanation for a set of observations or experimental results.
An example of a theory you know about is the Big Bang Theory.
The Big Bang Theory is an explanation of what happened at the beginning of our universe.
The theory states that the universe came into existence about 13.7 billion years ago.
The universe came into existence as a singularity.
This means our universe began as an infinitely small, infinitely hot, and infinitely dense.
Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of black holes. In singularities, finite matter is actually squished into infinite density.
Then, the universe inflated (this is the part known as the "Big Bang"), expanded, and cooled. The universe went from extremely small and hot to the size and temperature our universe is now.
The universe is still expanding and cooling to this day.
When you hear the term "Big Bang Theory", you likely think of a giant explosion. But this is inaccurate. This universe did not explode; it simply expanded.
While quite a bit is know about this theory, and new information is discovered all the time, there is still a lot of uncertainties about this theory, such as where our singularity came from and why it appeared.
Not all people believe in the Big Bang theory.
A theory can never be proven true; it can only become stronger as the facts continue to support it.
Some people, about 46% according to a 2012 survey, believe in creationism instead of the Big Bang theory.
However, unlike the Big Bang, creationism is not considered a scientific theory, because it is based on religion instead of science.
There have been debates of creationism versus the Big Bang theory since the Big Bang theory was first introduced.
Georges Lemaitre proposed the Big Bang theory in 1927.
Personally, I believe in the Big Bang theory on the basis of scientific evidence, and reject creationism based on the lack of evidence.
Newton's First Law
Newton's Second Law
Newton's Third Law
There is currently a discussion worldwide about whether creationism should be taught in public schools.
A 2008 poll in the UK found that 29% of teachers believed creationism should be taught in schools.
I do not believe creationism should be taught in the science classroom because it is not based on scientific evidence.
Creationism states that God created humans in their present form less then 10,000 years ago, and we did not evolve from other creatures like Big Bang supporters believe.