Fact vs theory:
Fact and theory are two words that are often being used together with regards to different fields and domains of study. However, the two terms have become paired up over the years, making it harder and harder to discern the difference between the two. Fact and theory are two words that are commonly used together specifically in the field of science. However, in order to recognize the true nature of the sciences, one must first and foremost possess a sufficient knowledge regarding each of these words.
What is fact?
Derived from the Latin word “factum” which translates in to “a thing done or performed”, the word “fact” refers to a certain aspect that actually exists in reality. Facts are thus capable of being seen visually, felt or heard and thus, they can be verified by various means such as checked by reason, experiment, personal experience or be argued by authority. Facts are objective in the sense that they can be observed and not judged and thus they can be understood in their true sense as well. A fact is a universal truth as it is believed after being proven.
What is theory?
Derived from a philosophical technical term in Ancient Greek, the word “theory” has been developed from the Greek “theoria” which translates in to looking at, viewing or beholding. Theory often means contemplation or speculation and is often presented in contrast to practice or action. It usually offers a sort of a comprehensible explanation to what has been verified, making it easier for others to understand the causes behind a certain phenomenon. Theories are not easily measurable and thus they can be defined as analytical tools for understanding, explaining and making predictions about a given subject matter.
What is the difference between theory and fact?
The difference between theory and fact has long since been argued over despite the fact that these two words often go hand in hand in many contexts. However, fact and theory are two different phenomena which deserve to be observed separately. Fact is a visible aspect which is definite and even if repeated over and over again, the result of a fact will be the same. Let us take the example of the sun rising. The sun shall always rise from the east and set from the west. This is a fact will not change however times that it has been repeated. Theory on the other hand, is a sort of contemplation or speculation as to why a certain situation turns out the way they do. A theory is an explanation based on observation of a verified fact which is subject to change. For example, a theory on a certain phenomenon expressed by a theoretician today may not be valid in a few years because another more modern theory has come to replace it. Likewise, theories renew themselves as more research is done and more discoveries are made. Therefore, one can say that while a fact is quite solid in nature, a theory is subject to change and is characteristic of its uncertainty.
A theory often explains a fact. For example, if one jumps from a building, the fact that he or she will fall to the ground is a fact. The theory pertaining to this factor is gravity. Therefore, while one can say that a fact is a verified account that is visible to the senses, a theory can be defined as an explanation, a speculation as to why and how a certain fact occurs.
A theory is often challenged by other scientists and theoreticians. The reason for this is because a theory pertains to mere contemplation and views on how and why a certain phenomenon may have taken place. A fact is never challenged. It is out there for all to see and is therefore cannot be argued that it is otherwise than it already is. Therefore, a fact can never be challenged whereas theories have been challenged and argued over for centuries.