In Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, the assembled knights look in awe upon the imposing walls of “Camelot”… until someone points out that “it’s only a model.”
Bob Prokop wrote:
I remember well a discussion I had about 2 years back with astrophysicist Dr. Ron Lee. I was floored when he told me that no serious cosmologist believes that something called the "Big Bang" actually occurred billions of years ago. The Big Bang (or, to give it its official name, the Standard Cosmological Model, or SCM) is simply a mathematical construct that helps make sense of and provides a framework for observations made in the contemporary universe. But as to what really happened at the Dawn of Time, I was told, "That's not a question for science, but for theology."
Similarly, nuclear physicists employ something called a quasiparticle to explain what occurs within matter at the subatomic level. Quasiparticles have no physical existence, but once again are merely mathematical models used to account for observations.
It turns out that quite a lot of scientific terminology is like that.
VR: Why do we NEVER hear this sort of thing from evolutionary biologists?