scientific law

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scientific law

a statement of a uniform connection between empirical phenomena, to the effect that whenever and wherever conditions of a specified kind A occur, then so will certain conditions of another kind B. A law is a universal conditional statement of the form ‘For any A, if A, then B’. Thus scientific laws are more than statements of fact, they make counterfactual claims, for example, that ‘all water heated to 100 °C at sealevel and normal pressure will boil’. As well as deterministic laws of this type there are also probabilistic laws of the form, ‘For any A, if A, then a certain probability (less than 1 but more than 0) of B.

Laws may be empirical, theoretical, or idealized in form (compare IDEAL TYPE). The generalization achieved by scientific laws is often only possible by the formulation of laws in idealized form, e.g. involving such notions as ‘frictionless surfaces’ or ‘perfect gases’, with auxiliary assumptions being required for general laws to be applied to concrete cases.

On one view (see COVERING-LAW MODEL), the existence of laws is a central defining feature of science and scientific explanations. Competing conceptions of SCIENCE, however, give more central emphasis to explanatory mechanisms and EXPLANATORY THEORIES, which may involve scientific laws but need not do so (see also SCIENTIFIC REALISM).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in classic literature ?
Now, it is a scientific law that increase implies gain and loss of various kinds; what a thing gains in one direction it may lose in another.
There is, though, something about marksmanship which is quite beyond all scientific laws.
"Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity.
Though mean reversion is not a scientific law, there has never been an occasion when rising asset prices did not eventually return to their long-run average.
My choices are based on a simple scientific law - I want them myself.
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She published over sixty articles on science, feminism, culture, and politics, but among her best-known works was "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche as Scientific Law: Psychology Constructs the Female" (New England Free Press, 1968).
Yet another scientific law tells us that the matter forming the universe tends to disintegrate and assume simpler form with the passage of time.
It's all about taking intensity and putting it into words that others can understand, into an oil painting, into a sonnet, into a scientific law."
These patterns appear to meet the strict criteria used to determine whether something is a scientific law.
Prior to that, no scientific law, including Einstein's theory of relativity, was applicable due to the enormous heat.
He answers questions such as how a scientific theory becomes a scientific law, how hands-on science can teach understanding, what makes a good science fair project, how the human body turns food into energy, how photosynthesis works, what causes the seasons, why Pluto is no longer a planet, what makes a curveball curve, and how wireless internet works.

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