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Both, laws and theories can be used to make predictions about the outcome of future events.Like a law, a theory is not any hair-brained idea that popped into somebody's head - it is rather an understanding of something that has been well documented, supported by overwhelming scientific evidence, has stood up to exhaustive rigorous testing, and is generally accepted as being true beyond reasonable doubt.The Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.Sometimes "common sense" and "logic" tempt us into believing that no test is needed.There are numerous examples of this, dating from the Greek philosophers to the present day.Aristotle, dissatisfied with the knowledge that was imparted when the researcher moves from a set of specific facts to a general conclusion, rather relied on deductive reasoning.
The experimental scientific method was developed by Alhazen, who in 1021AD used experimentation and mathematics to obtain the results in his Book of Optics.
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) starts the Scientific Revolution and claims that church doctrine ought not to make claims about the natural world which can easily be shown to be false - and he pays the price.
Renee Descartes (1596–1650) urges us to never accept anything as true that is not known clearly to be such.
The latter really no longer need complex external proofs or experimental verification based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.
Examples include the law of gravity, or the laws of thermodynamics.
Even the most hair-brained ideas can be phrased into a hypothesis.