From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
An explanatory model is a useful description and explanation of why and how a thing works or an explanation of why a phenomenon is the way it is.
Explanatory models do not claim to be a complete description/explanation of the absolute reality about the thing/phenomenon, nor does it even claim to, necessarily, be fully accurate. The description/explanation does, however, need to fit well enough to a sufficient portion of all the knowledge, observations and theoretical circumstances known about the thing/phenomenon, so that the explanatory model becomes useful.
That is: the description/explanation of an explanatory model, should be useful/helpful when one is about to make a decision or choice or when trying to understand, explain or in some other way relate to the reality of the world around us.
By being mindful of the difference between on the one hand: "absolute reality" and on the other hand: "explanatory models", then one will be better equipped to avoid erroneously rejecting important new knowledge, even when this new knowledge clearly contradicts that which one knows from before.