Saturday, 19 June 2010

Historical Science

Recently I've come across a rather peculiar argument from the creationists which is the subject of my last post.

From Answers in Genesis:

Operational (Observational) Science: a systematic approach to understanding that uses observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable experimentation to understand how nature commonly behaves.
Operational science is the type of science that allows us to understand how DNA codes for proteins in cells. It is the type of science that has allowed us to cure and treat diseases, put a man on the moon, build satellites and telescopes, and make products that are useful to humans. Biblical creationists believe that God has created a universe that uses a set of natural laws that operate consistently in the universe. Understanding how those laws operate is the basis for scientific thinking.
Some events defy natural laws. Christians refer to these things as miracles, but naturalistic science must find a way to explain these occurrences naturally. This approach rejects miracles in the Bible because they cannot be explained using natural laws. Such scientists occasionally try to explain the miracles in the Bible as natural phenomena, but this ultimately undermines the authority of God and His Word.
Historical (Origins) Science: interpreting evidence from past events based on a presupposed philosophical point of view.
The past is not directly observable, testable, repeatable, or falsifiable; so interpretations of past events present greater challenges than interpretations involving operational science. Neither creation nor evolution is directly observable, testable, repeatable, or falsifiable. Each is based on certain philosophical assumptions about how the earth began. Naturalistic evolution assumes that there was no God, and biblical creation assumes that there was a God who created everything in the universe. Starting from two opposite presuppositions and looking at the same evidence, the explanations of the history of the universe are very different. The argument is not over the evidence—the evidence is the same—it is over the way the evidence should be interpreted.
Evolutionists often claim that people misuse the word “theory” when discussing science and don’t make a distinction between a scientific theory and the common use of the word “theory.” You may say, “I have a theory about why Mr. Jones’ hair looks funny” but that theory has never been compared to a broad set of observations. This is not the sense of a theory in science.
I included the first part for comprehension and whilst its wrong, as creationist literature is, it is the second part that puzzles me.  The past is not directly observable, testable, repeatable or falsifiable according to AIG. From this they extrapolate that the science used to study the Big Bang and Evolution is flawed, subject to interpretation. Which of course, is bullshit and twisting historical studies.

I cannot deny that our perception of the past is often interpretation. Stand two archaeologists in front of an excavation and more often and not they will produce different interpretations of what is going on. And so far, creationists look to have understood this part. However, what they have failed to grasp is that this is due to variables that require direct observation. In a court case, this argument would be pretty weak if the defendant's fingerprints were on a gun used to shoot and kill someone which was found in his possession after he was seen running away from the scene. It is very unlikely that someone else killed them (despite the stories in Luther and Life on Mars). Even then, you could more or less guarantee that the murder weapon was a gun. People are often unpredictable elements requiring observation to guarantee their actions. Other things aren't always as whimsical. If I looked at a skeleton and saw an arm like this:

I can guarantee that the individual suffered from an infection around his ankles. This is undeniable and the message behind my previous post. Evolution relies on the same type of evidence, using the same techniques which have been tested throughly on modern samples and then adjusted for possible rates of decay/error. It also uses more than just physical objects but molecules as it looks at DNA and the current evolution of species. Answers in Genesis have ignored this in their pretty little hypothesis and it has led them to formulate a deception.

Hopefully next week I shall also look at why people practice these deceptions....


  1. I notice they also made that damned argument that states that Naturalistic Evolution implies no God. Seriously, people are still making this argument?! You can have "Guided" Evolution ("Intelligent" Design), which, whilst still profoundly illogical, is at least proof that Evolution isn't mutually exclusive to God. Hell, even Abiogenesis doesn't disprove God, so long as God is a Deity or something like Spinoza's God. Why can't these people stop being fundamentalists and wake up and at least TRY to rationalise their beliefs?!

    Epic post nonetheless though, Largy. AIG pulling out their usual bullshit I see, but it won't stop you from pwning them out with your knowledge and logic ;)

    "Of course, like every other man of intelligence and education, I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised."
    -- Woodrow Wilson, 1922

  2. Well the question why are people fundies is something that will be coming soon. In my next post I want to analyse fundie errors and how they might indicate why they believe this sort of thing. Its pretty long tho, so its taking me a while to write.