So a theory DOES remain a theory forever?
How it's applied depends on how it will be used?
Has there ever been any theory that became fact? Does it stay a theory no matter what evidence comes up to support it?
Like black holes?
Or the earth is round?
Or planatary orbits?
Is photosynthesis a theory or a fact?
Is chemotherapy a theory or a fact?
What differntiates a theory from a fact?
I don't really have a dog in this fight, I'm just trying to get a handle on things.
Theories in many cases are used to explain facts (observations). The theories of gravity is used to explain why the earth is round and planetary orbits. The Relativity theory predicted black holes (singularities), now they are being used to explain other observations.
In a way a theory can be used to explain a fact, and to make predictions of other new (possibly not recognized) observations.
To some extent, a observation is the what--the scientific theory is the how, but the how can never be 100%, even though it may be well beyond surety. This is the strength of science, a scientific theory is in effect always in question---awaiting a newer, better explanation of the how of the what.
Howzatagin? You can believe anything you want---call it a theory if you want, but if it can't be used to explain the how of a observation, or to make reasoned predictions of a what---it's not a scientific theory--it is at best a hypothesis.
BTW Newton predicted that the earth wouldn't be perfectly spherical, because of angular momentum the earth would have an equatorial bulge and be flattened at the poles, The fact is that Newton's predictions were correct---that prediction however still does not make Newton's methods a fact----just a well supported scientific theory.