Does empirical evidence prove a theory/hypothesis to be true?
No. Science does not seek or expect to find facts: only situations that either fit or don’t fit into our current understanding. There are only two verdicts available from empirical evidence: 1. the theory or hypothesis is disproved; 2. the theory or hypothesis is not disproved. Number 2 is not the same as “proved”. In general, science cannot provide proof; only disproof. If a hypothesis is not disproved after many alternative and independent searches for evidence, then it may become a theorem (no exceptions have been found) or a “law” (good enough to assume without absolute knowledge). Whenever a newspaper or an advertisement says “..it’s a scientific fact…” or else “…proved by science…”, you know that they don’t understand the science at all and are resorting to a formula of words to persuade the public of a view they hold themselves. The theory of evolution is neither of these at the moment because there are still gaps in the evidence which could provide exceptions. However, th