while i'm not a scientist, it seems to me that the word that scientists use to describe their ultimate accomplishment is inherintly flawed. they must be as tired of the misinterpretation of "theory" by the uninformed or uneducated as we are. given that they spend innordinate amounts of time correcting the layperson who equates scientific theory to guesswork, why don't they come up with a new word for theory?
in Dawkins' the God Delusion, he added an intro to the paperback version that discussed this. his minor modification was to call it a "theorum", much like the usage in mathematics. i don't feel like that is good enough.
at the same time, i don't have a better word. i'm open to ideas though...
What the physicists want to estimate is the probability that their events are not just random errors.
Correction: the sentence
The mean shows that height in the middle and the standard deviation shows how "fat" it is.
The mean shows where the height in the middle occurs and the standard deviation shows how "fat" it is.
I shouldn't type while I am on the phone.
A couple of additions. First of all, scientists usually refer to statements that are not yet established by good experimental results as conjectures. A conjecture is an educated guess.
Second, all science, including well-established theories, are held tentatively. It is inductive inference that is involved and since you cannot test exhaustively under all conditions, times, and places, the generalization encapsulated in a law is never quite absolute. However, some things are so well tested that assuming they hold for future conditions is a very good bet.
An excellent example of this is given by Newtonian mechanics, which were superseded by relativistic mechanics. Newton had no way of testing his mechanics at very high speeds and no reason not to think that what he observed and used would extend to them. Only when relativity was developed did it become clear that a modification needed to be made. Newton's mechanics are still an excellent approximation, so close that at all ordinary speeds they suffice.
In a sense then, all scientific conclusions are tentative, but most are so well tested that it's foolish to bet against them except under extreme circumstances. In other words, the conclusions should be accepted as factual.
Ok, I'm bring this back, but just to close it.
All this confusion is now gone after reading the explanation:
Evolution is a FACT and Natural Design is the Theory that explains it.
There were many theories explaining evolution, and Natural Design was the winer (unless you talk to a creationist :().
So no need to change the name because it's simply a FACT.
Natural Design = Theory.