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Is "Origins" Science differ from (to) "Historical" Science?

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  • Is "Origins" Science differ from (to) "Historical" Science?

    A frequent contributor in many bombastic threads in the Natural Science made the following comment in a post (emphasis mine).

    Originally posted by A frequent NS participant
    ...
    This relates to the issue of what science is including distinguishing between origins (or historical) science and operational science. A great deal of ideology / religious beliefs is and must be included in the former yet that is rarely stated explicitly (in fact, it is concealed).
    ...
    Question for y'all: Do YECs make a distinction between "origins" and "historical" science?

    To me it seemeth that they are very different concepts.

    "Origins" to me implies "ultimate origins" -- e.g., the origin of the singularity for Big Bang theory. The origin of matter and energy. The question of whether our Universe formed from colliding "branes" or perhaps is one of a (possible) infinity of Hubble Spaces.

    "Historical" science to me includes the geologic record. The record in the genomes. The astronomical record of Deep Time due to a finite c. The many many astronomical and geologic events that (apparently!) occur at wildly different times.

    I believe a writer that I quoted referred to the later as "forensic science" -- and that is a great analogy since everything happens in the past.

    So, is the implied equivalence of the terms "origins science" and "historical science" yet another YEC canard?

    K54
    Last edited by klaus54; 07-31-2014, 11:35 PM. Reason: typos

  • #2
    Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
    A frequent contributor in many bombastic threads in the Natural Science made the following comment in a post (emphasis mine).



    Question for y'all: Do YECs make a distinction between "origins" and "historical" science?

    To me it seemeth that they are very different concepts.

    "Origins" to me implies "ultimate origins" -- e.g., the origin of the singularity for Big Bang theory. The origin of matter and energy. The question of whether our Universe formed from colliding "branes" or perhaps is one of a (possible) infinity of Hubble Spaces.

    "Historical" science to me includes the geologic record. The record in the genomes. The astronomical record of Deep Time due to a finite c. The many many astronomical and geologic events that (apparently!) occur at wildly different times.

    I believe a writer that I quoted referred to the later as "forensic science" -- a that is a great analogy since everything happens in the past.

    So, are the implied equivalence of the terms "origins science" and "historical science" yet another YEC canard?

    K54
    It's a canard because YECs are inconsistent and incoherent in how the distinction is applied. In essence it seems to have been invented to help YECs remove some things from science. And when the distinction is really applied then it quickly becomes undone.

    They like to make the difference it seems, on the grounds that with historical science:-

    1) One was not there to observe.

    2) Because it's in the past, it cannot be repeated.

    And so, any explanation is valid as "same data, different interpretation."

    This begs the questions as to:-

    1) The status of heliocentricism before the invention of satellites. After all, Copernicus could not see the earth orbiting the sun.

    2) The status of atomic theory before the invention of the electron microscope. Atoms could not be observed.

    3) Solar fusion theory. The centre of the sun cannot be observed to watch the fusion reactions that supposedly occur there. Besides, how does one repeat the claim that stars shine because of pressure brought on by gadzillions of tons of hydrogen gas? Who has ever collected that much hydrogen gas together to see if it actually does happen, let alone done this repeatedly.

    4) How one repeats any theory.

    Etc.

    The frequent NS participant often used to talk about some theories being more metaphysically neutral than others. But no theory is metaphysically neutral. "God did it" or "God does it" can be used in place of any scientific explanation. And in the case of meteorology and embryology, there are the classic theological claims being made in the Bible, that God directly causes babies and our daily weather. So those two sciences (meteorology and embryology), like evolution and ancient earth, clash with the literal word of the Bible. That is, there is no neutrality in them.


    And so it goes.

    The distinction as YECs portray it, is crap.

    If it was all about direct observation then most of science, which is largely inferential in nature, could not be counted as science. And if direct observation is the criterion, then we would need no scientists to work things out. If we wanted to know something, then all we would need to do, and all we could do (in order to be scientific), would be to go and actually look.

    Thus, to the question of what matter is made of, we would pick up a rock and see the atoms. To the question of what atoms are made of, we would look closely at the atom and see its electrons, protons and neutrons.

    We would need no scientists, because they tell us about things that cannot be directly observed, and according to YEC logic, that aint' science.
    Last edited by rwatts; 07-31-2014, 07:02 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      It kinda reminds me of how the U.S. Congress works. Often several "riders" unacceptable to one party are attached to bills that would otherwise be attractive to both parties. The purpose often is to ridicule the opposing party with slimey rhetoric.

      Bundling, e.g., the geologic record with "where did atoms come from in the first place" is a deceitful trick.

      It's like one can't apply Newton's law of gravitation until we can show how mass originated.

      K54

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
        It kinda reminds me of how the U.S. Congress works. Often several "riders" unacceptable to one party are attached to bills that would otherwise be attractive to both parties. The purpose often is to ridicule the opposing party with slimey rhetoric.

        Bundling, e.g., the geologic record with "where did atoms come from in the first place" is a deceitful trick.

        It's like one can't apply Newton's law of gravitation until we can show how mass originated.

        K54
        Or meteorologists cannot do meteorological science until they know how the atmosphere formed.

        Another one close to it, and used by those trying to be presuppositional apologists, is to continually ask "But how do you know that?"

        So you explain it to them and they reply "But how do you know that?". So you explain how you know, and they ask "But how do you know that?"

        No wonder presuppositional apologetics is for the ignorant, the coward, and the stupid. They can hide behind it on the presumption that they have the absolute truth and need explain nothing. It's up to all others to explain to them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rwatts View Post
          Or meteorologists cannot do meteorological science until they know how the atmosphere formed.

          Another one close to it, and used by those trying to be presuppositional apologists, is to continually ask "But how do you know that?"

          So you explain it to them and they reply "But how do you know that?". So you explain how you know, and they ask "But how do you know that?"

          No wonder presuppositional apologetics is for the ignorant, the coward, and the stupid. They can hide behind it on the presumption that they have the absolute truth and need explain nothing. It's up to all others to explain to them.
          Reminds me of a 4 year old continually asking "why" to further and further explanations.

          And ignoring literally "mountains" of data in support of Deep Time and History by continually asking "how do you know that?" is pretty much exactly what a philosopher calls "epistemological nihilism".

          K54

          Comment


          • #6
            "Hubble Space"?
            The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

            [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
              "Hubble Space"?
              Fancy name for a universe -- I think.

              K54

              P.S. Oops! "Hubble Volume" -- from the Multiverse conjecture.
              Last edited by klaus54; 07-31-2014, 11:31 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Jorge,

                You wanna take a whack at this?

                Are origins and historical science the same jargon terms in your lexicon?

                K54

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                  Reminds me of a 4 year old continually asking "why" to further and further explanations.
                  Or, in the context of these evolution v creation arguments, that methodology reminds me of 4 year old kids arguing:-

                  "I'm right".
                  "No. You are wrong. I'm right".

                  And it never gets beyond that. Whenever presuppositional apologists try their schtick on me, I revert to their methodology and the exchange quickly ends. I did it the other day out on facebook. A poster continued to insist that he had absolute truth and all he ever did was assert his conclusions but expected me to explain why I thought the way I did.

                  So after several exchanges, I simply switched to his method of arguing and the exchange stopped.

                  It's 4 year old kid stuff. And these folk claim to represent a God worthy of worship.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                    Question for y'all: Do YECs make a distinction between "origins" and "historical" science?

                    To me it seemeth that they are very different concepts.
                    There is a useful distinction between 'historical' science, where the intent is to find out what did happen, vs the rest of science which aims at finding out what can and does happen. The distinction can also be described as observational vs operational, i.e. looking at evidence vs conducting experiments, although some fields such as stellar astronomy are observational rather than operational. But it's not possible to simply partition scientific fields between the two, since most fields include both, and in fact those fields traditionally considered to be historical sciences (archaeology, forensics, geology) all include large chunks of ahistorical science since it's not possible to work out what did happen unless you first work out what can happen. Which requires experimental work, whether erecting obelisks, spraying superglue, or firing ball-bearings at rocks.

                    As for "origins" science, there's no such thing. Every scientific field, including such disciplines as acoustics, quantum mechanics and oenology, bears on "origins" in some way.
                    So, is the implied equivalence of the terms "origins science" and "historical science" yet another YEC canard?
                    Is there anything in YEC that isn't a dead duck?

                    Roy
                    Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

                    mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

                    Mountain Man: First of all, the Bible is a fixed document.
                    Mountain Man on covid-19: We're talking about an illness with a better than 99.9% rate of survival.

                    Sparko: Even the deists like Jefferson believed in the Christian God, ...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roy View Post
                      There is a useful distinction between 'historical' science, where the intent is to find out what did happen, vs the rest of science which aims at finding out what can and does happen. The distinction can also be described as observational vs operational, i.e. looking at evidence vs conducting experiments, although some fields such as stellar astronomy are observational rather than operational. But it's not possible to simply partition scientific fields between the two, since most fields include both, and in fact those fields traditionally considered to be historical sciences (archaeology, forensics, geology) all include large chunks of ahistorical science since it's not possible to work out what did happen unless you first work out what can happen. Which requires experimental work, whether erecting obelisks, spraying superglue, or firing ball-bearings at rocks.

                      As for "origins" science, there's no such thing. Every scientific field, including such disciplines as acoustics, quantum mechanics and oenology, bears on "origins" in some way.Is there anything in YEC that isn't a dead duck?

                      Roy
                      I maintain that the distinction between "historical" and "operational" science is misleading and wrong. The scientific reaosning for both is done in an identical manner. I think the more pertinent distinction is between "direct" and "indirect" evidence in science. The evidence for some "historical science" claims is very clear, direct, and obvious. For example, astronomy is directly observable, but these observations are of something in the past, so could be considered "historical science". On the other hand, some claims of "observational science" are very indirect and tentative. For example, some of the claims of particle physics are inferred but cannot be observed.
                      "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Might as well just re-post what I've said on this previously:
                        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                        "Operational science" is actually is a term coined by Ken Ham and his cronies over at AnswersinGenesis (AiG) and used in their opposition to the Big Bang (kind of ironic considering how many atheists opposed it considering its religious implications), abiogenesis and evolutionary theory and is not considered a valid scientific term. What historical science can, and has, been compared to is "experimental science" which is a different kettle of fish as the term is used quite differently by philosophers of science than how evolution deniers utilize "operational science."

                        Philosophers of science consider both historical and experimental science as entirely valid and that various scientific disciplines and fields can employ both approaches. Moreover, they do not assert that one approach is more valid or empirically verifiable than the other which is the opposite of what YECs try to imply.

                        From the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA - a Christian organization of scientists with the stated purpose of "investigat[ing] any area relating Christian faith and science" and makes a point of "not tak[ing] a position when there is honest disagreement between Christians on an issue"):

                        Source: Young-Earth Creation Science: Is the science of young-earth creationism strong or weak? Is the earth young or old?" by Craig Rusbult


                        Attack the Reliability of Historical Sciences

                        "Even though we cannot directly observe events in the ancient history of nature, can we by a logical analysis of historical evidence reach reliable conclusions about what happened in the past, on the earth and in other parts of the universe? Most young-earth creationists say NO. They challenge the credibility of all historical sciences that claim the evidence indicates an old earth and universe. They ask 'Were you there? Did you see it?', and imply that 'no' means 'then you can't know much about it.' Their skepticism about historical science is similar to the postmodernism of radical relativists who challenge the reliability of all science by claiming that scientific evidence is always inadequate, so the conclusions of scientists must be determined by their nonscientific beliefs. But despite this postmodern skeptical relativism, when we ask "is historical science reliable?" it's easy to answer "yes" and here is why. Although historical data is limited, since we cannot do controlled lab experiments, historical science is empirical (based on observations) with plenty of observations available, and scientists have developed methods to reduce the practical impact of data limitations. Occasionally there are rational reasons for caution, but in most areas (and for all important questions about age) most scholars who carefully examine the methods of historical science will confidently agree that 'historical sciences [in fields like geology, radiometric dating, and astronomy] have a solid foundation — the logical evaluation of empirical evidence — that provides a reliable way to learn about the history of nature.'"

                        Source

                        © Copyright Original Source



                        And from another source:

                        Source: "Historical science, experimental science, and the scientific method" by Carol E. Cleland


                        "Insofar as historical hypotheses cannot be tested in controlled laboratory settings, historical research is sometimes said to be inferior to experimental research. Using examples from diverse historical disciplines, this paper demonstrates that such claims are misguided. First, the reputed superiority of experimental research is based upon accounts of scientific methodology (Baconian inductivism or falsificationism) that are deeply flawed, both logically and as accounts of the actual practices of scientists. Second, although there are fundamental differences in methodology between experimental scientists and historical scientists, they are keyed to a pervasive feature of nature, a time asymmetry of causation. As a consequence, the claim that historical science is methodologically inferior to experimental science cannot be sustained."

                        Source

                        © Copyright Original Source



                        As an aside I should note that trying to determine how particular historical events occurred (historical science) is the basis of forensic sciences -- something I don't think YECs ever complain about when it is used to convict someone of a crime.

                        Furthermore, when scientists do make a distinction between historical science and research that is aimed at identifying laws (experimental science) they aren't declaring that there exists a neat clean line between them or saying, as noted above, that one is more reliable than the other.

                        Source: "Philosophy of Biology 2nd ed" by Elliott Sober


                        1.4 Historical Particulars and General Laws

                        Some sciences try to discover general laws; others aim to uncover particular sequences of historical events. It isn't that the "hard" sciences only do the former and the "soft" sciences strive solely for the latter. Each broad discipline contains subareas that differ in how they emphasize one task or the other.

                        ...

                        Laws take the form of if/then statements. Isaac Newton's universal law of gravitation says that the gravitational attraction between any two objects is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. The law does not say that the universe contains two, four, or any number of objects. It just says what would be true if the universe contained objects with mass.

                        In contrast, astronomers typically will be interested in obtaining information about a unique object. Focusing on a distant star, they might attempt to infer its temperature, density, and size. Statements that provide information of this sort are not if/then in form. Such statements describe historical particulars and do not state laws.

                        This division between nomothetic ("nomos" is Greek for law) and historical sciences does not mean that each science is exclusively one or the other. The particle physicist might find that the collisions of interest often occur on the surface of the sun; if so, a detailed study of that particular object might help to infer the general law. Symmetrically, the astronomer interested in obtaining an accurate description of the star might use various laws to help make the inference.

                        Although the particle physicist and the astronomer may attend to both general laws and historical particulars, we can separate their two enterprises by distinguishing means from ends. The astronomer's problem is a historical one because the goal is to infer the properties of a particular object; the astronomer uses laws only as a means. Particle physics, on the other hand, is a nomothetic discipline because the goal is to infer general laws; descriptions of particular objects are only relevant as a means.

                        The same division exists within evolutionary biology. When a systematist infers that human beings are more closely related to chimps than they are to gorillas, this phylogenetic proposition describes a family tree that connects three species. The proposition is logically of the same type as the proposition that says that Alice is more closely related to Berry than she is to Carl ... Reconstructing genealogical relationships is the goal of a historical science.

                        © Copyright Original Source



                        Sober continues by noting that some evolutionary biologists are utilizing the sort of mathematical modeling that isn't historical in this sense, but in fact instead seeks after the type of general "if-then" statements which include scientific laws. IOW, evolutionary theory is really both a "nomothetic" science as well as being an historical science.

                        Critics of historical science either don't realize or ignore the fact that it still makes predictions that can be tested. This means that in a way all science is historical science. As theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss explains

                        Source: WHY THE ONE APPEALING PART OF CREATIONISM IS WRONG


                        We make observations about past events, based on everything from data gathered in the laboratory yesterday to remnants of phenomena, like meteor impacts or stellar explosions, which may have happened billions of years ago. We then use them to make predictions about the future, about experiments or observations that have not yet taken place. To quibble about how long ago the original data was generated is to miss the point.

                        Source

                        © Copyright Original Source



                        IOW, all science is historical science, it is just that some events occurred very recently, and some occurred very long ago.

                        Krauss cites several examples to support his contention one of which involves plate tectonics and continental drift. He notes that the latter is measurable and points out that "given the measurements and the current shape of continents, one can speculate that, in the distant past, at periods determined by measurements made using modern physics and chemistry, which allow us to model the dynamics of the crust and the mantle of Earth, the currently existing continents were fused together, apparently several times, in a supercontinent."

                        Of course such a theory will lead to predictions that can be checked such as if this is correct we should be able to find identical geological structures at the edges of the current continents that were once fused and notes that this is the case.

                        And if someone still insists on criticizing historical science consider the observation made by KBertsche in a post concerning the Ham/Nye debate earlier this year:
                        Originally posted by Kbertsche View Post
                        In fact, some areas of "observational" science (e.g. particle physics) are much more indirect and "iffy" than some areas of "historical" science.

                        Finally, I find it incredibly ironic that for all the carping that evolution deniers do about historical science, Casey Luskin, the vocal Intelligent Design proponent, seeks to legitimatize ID by proclaiming that "Intelligent Design Is a Historical Science, Just Like Darwinian Evolution."

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                          Jorge,

                          You wanna take a whack at this?

                          Are origins and historical science the same jargon terms in your lexicon?

                          K54
                          This brief reply is for others since I regard you as a lost cause (at least for now - there remains hope that God may 'lightning-bolt' you out of your present state). My response ...

                          There's no doubt that there is a substantial difference between origins (/historical) science and operational science - only the uniformed or intellectually dishonest would ever question this. Succinctly, in operational science we always find present and direct (i.e., 'hands-on') observation. We are able to perform repeatable experimentation and the results may thus be confirmed by others. None of that may be done in origins (/historical) science.

                          As summarized above, origins science and historical science are different from operational science. But why are origins and historical sciences different from each other? Are they different from each other? Yes, there is a difference. Origins science is seeking/studying Primary causes (in the philosophical sense of the term) whereas historical science is seeking/studying Secondary causes (again, in the philosophical sense of the term).

                          Whether it's origins science or historical science, sound logic and methodology are practiced just as in operational science. It is the spatial-temporal location of the subject matter that forces the differences.

                          As a final comment: the modern "education" systems leave students completely in the dark on such topics. I believe that this is one of the reasons why so many get bamboozled into believing things such as 'Evolution'.

                          Jorge

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kbertsche View Post
                            I maintain that the distinction between "historical" and "operational" science is misleading and wrong. The scientific reaosning for both is done in an identical manner. I think the more pertinent distinction is between "direct" and "indirect" evidence in science. The evidence for some "historical science" claims is very clear, direct, and obvious. For example, astronomy is directly observable, but these observations are of something in the past, so could be considered "historical science". On the other hand, some claims of "observational science" are very indirect and tentative. For example, some of the claims of particle physics are inferred but cannot be observed.
                            See my previous post.

                            Jorge

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jorge View Post
                              TSuccinctly, in operational science we always find present and direct (i.e., 'hands-on') observation. We are able to perform repeatable experimentation and the results may thus be confirmed by others. None of that may be done in origins (/historical) science.
                              So heliocentricism (at least before the invention of the satellite) would have been in the same basket as historical science. Atomic theory, before the invention of the electron microscope would have been likewise classified as historical science. Stellar fusion theory is equivalent to historical science. As is any theory dealing with the origin of the earth's magnetic field.

                              Any theory dealing with microevolution of organisms in the wild is likewise historical science.

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