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A scientific theory is a structured explanation to explain a group of facts or phenomena in the natural world that often incorporates a scientific hypothesis and scientific laws. The scientific definition of a theory contrasts with the definition most people use in casual language.

“The way that scientists use the word ‘theory’ is a little different than how it is commonly used in the lay public,” said Jaime Tanner, a professor of biology at Emerson College in Boston. “Most people use the word ‘theory’ to mean an idea or hunch that someone has, but in science the word ‘theory’ refers to the way that we interpret facts.”

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