Atomism was used by many scientists like Galileo to invent things but the theory was proven false in the 1930s with the splitting of the atom. The same could be said of milk fever. This problem was at first cured in cows by an injection of antiseptic into the cow’s udder. Later an injection of distilled water and compressed air alone (which was included in the prior injection) cured the milk fever. These theories later proved false. BUT THEY WORKED. Today, milk fever is treated by a calcium injection and other things. What's the point? Medical theories etc. based on empirical methods thankfully work many times.
Atomism is not a scientific theory. Atomism is/was a philosophy.
Scientific theories are not
meant to be absolute truth. They can't be and scientist also don't say they are. They are meant to describe and explain reality as best as currently possible
. Considering this, the big issue you'd like to make out of theories being shown wrong is non-existent. Besides, it's a common theist mistake to proclaim how we can believe anything science says if theories are shown to be "wrong" all the time.
This is understandable since religious beliefs are sold as absolutes. However the same can not be applied to scientific theories. As Isaac Asimov has said: "Naturally, the theories we now have might be considered wrong in the simplistic sense[...], but in a much truer and subtler sense, they need only be considered incomplete."
Scientific theories describe nature to the best of our abilities at a certain point in time. Even if a scientific theory is shown to be not correct, it would be wrong to call the theory simply "wrong" because up to that point, the theory explained all scientific evidence that was present. I we look at "new" theories and the "old" theories they replaced, we see that new and old are most of the times not really all that different. In most cases the new theory simply is an addition to the old one.
The mentioned case of the milk fever actually shows this quite well. Despite being objectively wrong, the early treatments for milk fever worked because they they triggered a process that would add more calcium to the cow's bloodstream. As it has been found out later, when more advanced scientific techniques were available, injecting calcium is the cure to milk fever, which the "wrong" cures achieved by injecting air in the udder and so pressing the calcium back in the bloodstream.
Unfortunately, they can never be proven true. The probability of these theories being true is answered by Karl Popper: “It can even be shown that all theories, including the best have the same probability, namely zero” (Conjectures and Refutations, p. 192). There are infinite possible reasons why these theories work from time to time. Your probability therefore is represented by the fraction one/infinity which equals zero.
Can never be proven true? Just with your milk fever example you showed one case where it has been shown why an approach worked despite being objectively the wrong solution.
Regarding the Karl Popper quote, I find it interesting that, when a search is done for it, you only get exactly this little bit you quoted right there. And strangely all
results go to either fundamentalist Christian sites or to posts by Christian fundamentalists. We never see the surrounding text to it or the context of it. Nor do we see it mentioned on a non-christian-fundamentalist site. I dare say it's a well mined quote we see here, equal to the often quoted passage about the development of the eye from Darwin's book.
Bertrand Russell said,
“All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: 'If this is true, that is true: now that is true, therefore this is true.” This argument is of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say: “If bread is a stone and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore it is a stone, and stones are nourishing.' If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the argument upon which all scientific laws are based.” The Scientific Outlook By Bertrand Russell (Publisher: Routledge; New edition (July 18, 2001)
Another nice quote that I'd actually love to see the surrounding text thereof.
I don't think I have to go into detail that the scientific method actually takes care of such nonsense arguments as the bread/stone one up there and weeds them out pretty quickly.
The logical fallacy of induction is displayed again in formal form. Clark said:
“The given hypothesis implies certain definite results; the experiment actually gives these results; therefore, the hypothesis is verified and can be called a law. Obviously, this argument is the fallacy of asserting the consequent; and since all verification must commit this fallacy, it follows that no law or hypothesis can ever be logically demonstrated.”[ Gordon H. Clark, The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1964, Second edition 1987), 71]
You know you have a Christian fundamentalist in front of you if they say that a verified hypothesis gets called a law.
In common speech the problem goes something like this: When it is raining outside the streets will be wet; The streets are wet, therefore it is raining outside. This is a fallacy. The streets could be wet for an infinite number of reasons.
Which is why in science nobody would make this kind of narrow and obviously fallacious argument.
Streets get wet from rain but rain is not the only reason for wet streets. In the same way when testing a scientific hypothesis, it is common to always check what could interfere with the experiment and if there could be other reasons the for that particular result.
You're attacking a hyperbole straw man here.