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Assuming both use accepted rules of logic, which of the two theories would be accepted and on what basis, for example: simplicity etc.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by tfb, John Rennie, user191954, Jon Custer, glS Oct 1 '18 at 16:04

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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It is rare that two completely different models account equally well for observations. What is more common is that one of them maintains its accuracy over a broader range of experimental conditions, or that one successfully predicts new phenomena that the other does not.

For example, when dealing with things like the earth orbiting the sun or how to do corrective burns to guide a space probe to Pluto, Newtonian gravity works just as well as general relativity does. But when dealing with extremely massive objects like collapsing stars, GR predicts black holes, time dilation, and gravitational waves that travel at the speed of light, and Newtonian gravity does not. As such it is a closer representation of nature than Newtonian gravity.

Note that in this context, physicists already know that there lies a domain in which general relativity will inevitably fail: it cannot furnish a mathematical description of the singularity at the center of a black hole. GR will itself be superceded by another model in that realm, which no one yet knows how to formulate. In any case, for that new model to be considered valid or correct, it must accurately account for everything that Newtonian gravity and GR now account for (and furnish testable predictions).

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    $\begingroup$ Once, a young engineer was given the job of checking the calculations in a report by an older, wiser man. The young chap got carried away and, in addition to checking the numbers, took it upon himself to correct the senior man's spelling. The next day, the Great Man visited the young engineer's cubicle and, having ascertained that they no longer teach Latin much at school, gently explained to the kid that while precede and intercede et al. derive from the Latin, cedere - to lead, the word that means to sit above derives from sedere - to sit. I know, I was that young engineer. $\endgroup$ – Oscar Bravo Oct 1 '18 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ as a recovering ex-engineer, i can certainly appreciate this story! $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Oct 1 '18 at 18:15

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