K. D. M. asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

What is the difference between a theory and a belief?

The more substantiated your argument, the better.

14 Answers

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  • M T
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A theory is acknowledged as open-ended. It is the culmination of evidence that supports an idea but has yet to be demonstrated or proven as fact. Forming theories helps organize and understand what we do and do not know. Forming a theory is a rational process. A theory is open for debate and new evidence. They are continually updated and revised as understanding increases.

    A belief is merely accepting a concept as the truth regardless of evidence or any form of support. It is close-ended. It is often interwoven with emotion and irrational. When you believe something, you are inclined to place more emphasis on that which supports your belief and to dismiss, deny and ignore that which conflicts with it. Often a belief is defended as though it is life-threatening to believe anything contrary.

    • Jon16 years agoReport

      Very good answer. I needed that! Sitting here trying to define theory for an ethics class and getting nowhere. You opened it up for me. Thank you!

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  • 5 years ago

    By definition a theory is technically the same as a theory.

    definition of theory according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theory

    Theory: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action.

    Also according to the thesaurus belief is a synonym of theory and hypothesis.

    http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/theory

    The reason today's modern society have tried to make these two terms out to be two different things is because theories have come to be identified strongly with scientific discovery. Theories, however, can be formed on many different fields besides science. Take conspiracy theorists for example that speak about the Illuminati. The conspiracy theorists formed because they BELIEVED that the illuminati is trying to subliminally control humanity. This is their theory. This is their belief.

    Definition of a synonym: 1.) a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language.

    2. a word or expression accepted as another name for something.

    Theory and belief are synonyms and are often used as supplementary words for each other.

    • Sorafanforever
      Lv 5
      5 years agoReport

      I mean theory is technically the same as belief.

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  • 1 decade ago

    A theory may justify ones belief. You believe in something, at some point there is justification, so without further preponderance, you approach the bounds of the belief theoretically.

    On the other hand, there are the 'scientists' that go the other way around. Theories and preponderance comes first, then the belief in something tangible.

    In summary, I think the most logical difference is something tangible (theory) vs. intangible (belief) given certain parameters.

    A belief will follow 'supernatural' laws, a theory will follow 'natural' laws - on the other hand the end result may just be the opposite.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A theory is an attempt at an explanation for an observed phenomena. It's the last part of the scientific process.. you observe something.. make a hypothesis about why it is the way it is... you experiment, and then you make a theory based on the results of the experimentation.

    A belief is simply something that one believes. There need be no rigorous experimentation, or proof to establish a belief. For example, I could say "I believe that the sky is green." Even though that is a patent falsehood, it can still constitute a viable belief because I believe it.

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  • B0X
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The theory needs thinking!0!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Theory is an option, a path to the answer of a question, which does not have to be believed

    Belief is acceptance of the theory, and acceptance that the theory is true or real

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  • edetwi
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    A belief can be a theory or a delusion. Sometimes it's difficult to know which is which.

    A theory holds up to testing. A delusion only holds up when you dismiss the tests.

    But no theory or belief or delusion can cover all of reality unless it simply covers your eyes. It's just one small thing.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Theory = A singular, unproved explanation concerning how something works. One person can have many theories: we don't necessarily favor one theory over another.

    Belief = Usually refers to religion, or lack therof. Beliefs are different from theories in that the originator of the belief assumes the belief to be true. One person cannot have beliefs that conflict with eachother.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Theory is a reasoned or logical sequence of thought. Believe is a conviction or a state of being convinced where the thoughts are fixed and realised as truth and becomes a code of conduct for future life.

    Source(s): That is my theory, I am convinced that it is true and therefore it is my belief and when belief is raised to transcendental level or levels of spirit it become faith or devoution to God.
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  • 1 decade ago

    A theory is a highly tested hypothesis that has become a reliable way of explaining certain events, but it is by no means proven. Science does not actually prove anything, but a theory gets about as close to it as you can get. It has broad explanatory power and is often accepted by a significant percentage of the scientific community.

    The theories of gravity and relativity are accepted by every credible member of the scientific community, but they are by no means 100% proven.

    A belief can be supported by any evidence or none at all and still be called a belief.

    "I believe in God," is a belief unsupported by anything, but it's obviously still a belief.

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