Igor, the actual terms used are more a matter of history than anything else. "Law" isn't a term used much any more other than for historical ideas.
However, if you look them over you might see that "laws" are usually simpler - probably single equations or statements like Newton's "Laws" of motion. Theories, on the other hand, are much more powerful constructs and can be expected to have "laws" as an outcome. Thus, Newton's "law" of gravitation is a consequence of the Theory of Gravity put forward by Einstein.
Theories and laws aren't "proven" in the mathematical sense; they are "proven" in the sense that they seem to work really, really well in lots and lots of circumstances.
The "laws" of thermodynamics are in that class and so is Einstein's general theory of relativity and the theory of evolution. They are all approximately equally solid and "proven" to all practical purposes.
This is a Great Debate between Igor and Lithodid-Man. Please let them continue. Content hidden.
This message has been edited by AdminJar, 04-18-2006 08:20 PM