In reading the various threads/websites concerned with Dr B's PA dealings, vBlokes homeopathy adventures and others, I'm seeing the words 'theory' and 'law' scattered around like confetti.
When I was studying for my engineering qualifications, I learned the following sequence as the standard path:
A (usually) scientist or engineer proposes an idea for consideration.
This is then published to be exposed to peer review.
This idea is then examined and wherever/however possible, tested by experimentation, mathematical analysis and so forth.
If, after considerable scrutiny, this idea appears to have some validity, you have a theorem.
Ordinarily, the next phase would usually take decades, but technological advances of the last few decades have speeded this process up:
If after exhaustive testing, experimentation and analysis, your theorem still appears to be valid, you have a theory.
The next stage has previously taken up to a century, or more, but as before, city sized atom smashers, orbital observatories, petaflop capable supercomputers and such like will speed this process up again:
If after all possible avenues of test, experimentation and analysis have been performed and your theory still stands up and I mean watertight under any/all possible circumstances with no doubts or questions remaining from any academic/scientific body, then you have a law.
Note: There were always anomalies: The grid of a thermionic valve (lo tech) is at a negative potential, even though it is only connected on one side - ie. no current can flow. Ohms law states V=IR. If no current flows, then I = 0. If I = 0 then V must = 0, yet it is not. When questioned on this point, and others, the lecturer would invariably reply with something along the lines of 'you'll just have to take my word for it'.
So, I have these possibilities:
1. What I had learned was incorrect to begin with
2. The scientific method is no longer valid
3. All the 'information' being presented on these websites/papers/threads is complete and utter b****cks, merely using scientific terminology as a method of swaying the ignorant/credulous as to its authenticity
I tend to favour (surprise, surprise) option 3:
Even though science still has a long way to go; the hunt is on for the Higgs boson, yet the wave/particle duality of light is no closer to being resolved. Dark matter has taken a back seat to dark energy, yet no-one knows wtf either are.
Sorry, rant over.