Why were Dalton's ideas about atoms considered a scientific theory whereas the ideas of ancient Greek philosophers were not?

1 Answer
Mar 25, 2018

Because what Dalton proposed and theorized was testable....


And for a fact we don't know what old Democritus proposed. He might have had a sophisticated understanding of chemistry and atomic theory...he certainly did not communicate it.

On the other hand, Dalton's atomic theory was made on the basis of evidence and data....and further, the experiments that Dalton performed could be performed and considered and modified by other researchers....his competitors and rivals, as well as his collaborators.

And thus we get the modern science of chemistry, developed after a MERE 200-300 years....

As regards scientific theories, one of their most important characteristic properties, is their #"FALSIFIABILITY"#. What does this mean? Well, the theory might right or wrong. The theory is scientific if it is falsifiable, i.e. we can conceive of (and perform) experiments whose results could show that the atomic theory is untenable. So far, no experiments have been performed that have punched holes in Dalton's main ideas.