Why Scientific Theories Cannot Be Proven
BlueShirt1: A standard complaint we hear from our less enlightened members in the Wireclub forum is . . .
"You have no proof!! Your theory is rubbish, you nitwit!!"
This animadversion invariably pertains to the so-called "Theory of Evolution", whatever the hell that is this week. No one seems too bothered about the epistemic status of the theory of tectonic plates.
Our disgruntled nutcase is, of course, attacking a strawman: Scientific theories, unlike mathematical theorems, say, are not the kinds of things that CAN be proven. And here's why (ignoring certain complications) . . .
Scientific laws and theories, by and large, are of a universal or general nature. That is to say, they do not make claims about PARTICULARS (e.g. "This piece of copper conducts electricity" ), rather, they make universal claims. E.g.
"ALL copper conducts electricity"
or, as more commonly seen, a simple . . .
"Copper conducts electricity"
Now, how would one go about proving a law or a theory (or whatever you want to call it) such as this?
Bearing in mind that this is a UNIVERSAL claim, i.e., a claim about ALL copper in all places, past present, and future . . . well, I suppose you'd have to examine every copper sample that ever was, is, and ever will be.