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globe, and evolution are fact or theory, you will find that NO websites claim that it has

been proven. They use terms like "The most widely accepted view is.." or "It is thought

that..." and so on. The article shown below is one of many honest, unbiased explanations

you can find regarding this.

You've heard of our greatest scientific theories: the theory of evolution, the Big Bang

theory, the theory of gravity. You've also heard of the concept of a proof, and the claims

that certain pieces of evidence prove the validities of these theories. Fossils, genetic

inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution. The Hubble expansion of the Universe,

the evolution of stars, galaxies, and heavy elements, and the existence of the cosmic

microwave background prove the Big Bang theory. And falling objects, GPS clocks,

planetary motion, and the deflection of starlight prove the theory of gravity.

Except that's a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories,

they aren't proof. In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.

Reality is a complicated place. All we have to guide us, from an empirical point of view, are

the quantities we can measure and observe. Even at that, those quantities are only as

good as the tools and equipment we use to make those observations and measurements.

Distances and sizes are only as good as the measuring sticks you have access to;

brightness measurements are only as good as your ability to count and quantify photons;

even time itself is only known as well as the clock you have to measure its passage. No

matter how good our measurements and observations are, there's a limit to how good they

are.

We also can't observe or measure everything. Even if the Universe weren't subject to the

fundamental quantum rules that govern it, along with all its inherent uncertainty, it wouldn't

be possible to measure every state of every particle under every condition all the time. At

some point, we have to extrapolate. This is incredibly powerful and incredibly useful, but

it's also incredibly limiting.

Our best theories, like the aforementioned theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, and

Einstein's General Relativity, cover all of these bases. They have an underlying quantitative

framework, enabling us to predict what will happen under a variety of situations, and to

then go out and test those predictions empirically. So far, these theories have

demonstrated themselves to be eminently valid. Where their predictions can be described

by mathematical expressions, we can tell not only what should happen, but by how much.

For these theories in particular, among many others, measurements and observations that

have been performed to test these theories have been supremely successful.

But as validating as that is — and as powerful as it is to falsify alternatives — it's

completely impossible to prove anything in science.

Even in theoretical physics, the most mathematical of all the sciences, our "proofs" aren't

on entirely solid ground. If the assumptions we make about the underlying physical theory

(or its mathematical structure) no longer apply — if we step outside the theory's range of

validity — we'll "prove" something that turns out not to be true. If someone tells you a

scientific theory has been proven, you should ask what they mean by that. Normally, they

mean "they've convinced themselves that this thing is true," or they have overwhelming

evidence that a specific idea is valid over a specific range. But nothing in science can ever

truly be proven. It's always subject to revision.

This doesn't mean it's impossible to know anything at all. To the contrary, in many ways,

scientific knowledge is the most "real" knowledge that we can possibly gain about the

world. But in science, nothing is ever proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. As Einstein

himself once said:

inexorable and not very friendly judge of his work. It never says "Yes" to a theory. In the

most favorable cases it says "Maybe," and in the great majority of cases simply "No." If an

experiment agrees with a theory it means for the latter "Maybe," and if it does not agree it

means "No." Probably every theory will someday experience its "No"—most theories, soon

after conception.

So don't try to prove things; try to convince yourself. And be your own harshest critic and

your own greatest skeptic. Every scientific theory will someday fail, and when it does, that

will herald a new era of scientific inquiry and discovery. And of all the scientific theories

we've ever come up with, the best ones succeed for the longest amounts of time and over

the greatest ranges possible. In some sense, it's better than a proof: it's the most correct

description of the physical world humanity has ever imagined.

Written by: Astrophysicist and author Ethan Siegel

He is a professor at Lewis & Clark College and he blogs at Starts With a Bang, on ScienceBlogs and also on

Forbes.com since 2016.