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Author Topic:   SCIENCE: -- "observational science" vs "historical science" vs ... science.
RAZD
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Posts: 18961
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 1 of 614 (718371)
02-06-2014 12:09 PM


Ken Ham in his debate with Bill Nye said we need to break science into two parts

  1. "Observational Science" -- where scientific experiments can be conducted in real time with testable predictions, etc etc ... referring to the application of the scientific method through the use of our senses and what we can measure, etc, and
  2. "Historical Science" -- where experiments cannot be conducted in the past and thus cannot be properly tested ... and therefore -- according to creationists -- the scientific method cannot be used and results\observations cannot be taken as evidence.

And he wants us to discard "historical science" because "you weren't there"

Or something like that (feel free to correct me if I have misrepresented this).

So what is real science and do these two distinctions above really apply to sciences like paleontology and geology?

quote:
Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"[1]) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. ...

In modern usage, "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is also often restricted to those branches of study that seek to explain the phenomena of the material universe. ...

Certainty and science

A scientific theory is empirical, and is always open to falsification if new evidence is presented. That is, no theory is ever considered strictly certain as science accepts the concept of fallibilism. ...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

quote:
The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[1] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. ...

The chief characteristic which distinguishes the scientific method from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. ...


Edited by RAZD, : ..

Edited by RAZD, : per comment


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 02-06-2014 12:54 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 5 by Diomedes, posted 02-06-2014 2:21 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 18 by Parasomnium, posted 02-06-2014 3:39 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 40 by Faith, posted 02-07-2014 8:50 PM RAZD has responded

  
Admin
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Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 2 of 614 (718372)
02-06-2014 12:54 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
02-06-2014 12:09 PM


I don't think you can characterize historical science as an invention of creationists, see for example the paper cited by Roxrkool, Geological reasoning: Geology as an interpretive and historical science.

--Percy


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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RAZD
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Posts: 18961
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 3 of 614 (718373)
02-06-2014 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
02-06-2014 12:54 PM


understood. the part for the creationists is the "you weren't there" precept.

now revised for clarity

Edited by RAZD, : .


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Admin
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Message 4 of 614 (718375)
02-06-2014 1:25 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the SCIENCE: -- "observational science" vs "historical science" vs ... science. thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Diomedes
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From: Central Florida, USA
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(3)
Message 5 of 614 (718389)
02-06-2014 2:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
02-06-2014 12:09 PM


Nonsense labels
As far as I am concerned, the notions of historical science versus observational science are rubbish terms thrown out by Creationists in a vain attempt to divert attention away from their nonsensical claims.

It's the functional equivalent of their micro-evolution and macro-evolution tirades. Adjusting goalposts and skirting the issues in a last-ditch effort to save face.

There is only science. Period. End of story. And for the record, saying one believes in micro-evolution and not macro-evolution is the functional equivalent of saying that one believes in yards but does not believe in miles.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18961
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 6 of 614 (718399)
02-06-2014 2:49 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Diomedes
02-06-2014 2:21 PM


What is science - what is the creationist view?
As far as I am concerned, the notions of historical science versus observational science are rubbish terms thrown out by Creationists in a vain attempt to divert attention away from their nonsensical claims.

Curiously, like microevolution and macroevolution, both these terms are used in science, albeit, again like microevolution and macroevolution, with specific meanings defined by science rather than the hopeless confusion of creationists.

It's the functional equivalent of their micro-evolution and macro-evolution tirades. Adjusting goalposts and skirting the issues in a last-ditch effort to save face.

It's a way they tell themselves (we aren't fooled) that one type is inferior to the other and not to be trusted -- radiological dating, geological age geology and evolution are particular targets for obvious reasons.

There is only science. Period. End of story. And for the record, saying one believes in micro-evolution and not macro-evolution is the functional equivalent of saying that one believes in yards but does not believe in miles.

Or parents but not remote ancestors.

As far as I am concerned, if the scientific method is used, observations or objective evidence is reviewed, hypothesis are generated to explain the evidence\observations, predictions are made and tested, and the result reviewed to see if the hypothesis is valid or invalid, then science is being done -- whether it is in a recognized field of study or not is immaterial to the process of doing science.

The scientific method has several steps:

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/...appendixe/appendixe.html
quote:
... The scientific method has four steps

  1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
  2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
  3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
  4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.


Key here, imho, is that a scientific theory has to have gone through these four steps at least once, and the hypothesis proves useful in predicting new knowledge.

No prediction = not science
No testing = hypothesis
Theory is an already tested hypothesis.

A similar view is seen here:

(although I would say "hypothesis valid" rather than true)

Background research precedes the hypothesis, and it involves objective empirical data where you know that the hypothesis is true, because you have derived the hypothesis from the data. Even when you start with a question, that is not the hypothesis, it structures how you do your background research to then use to derive your hypothesis.

Again from the above link:
http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/...appendixe/appendixe.html

quote:
... Hypotheses, Models, Theories and Laws

In physics and other science disciplines, the words "hypothesis," "model," "theory" and "law" have different connotations in relation to the stage of acceptance or knowledge about a group of phenomena.

An hypothesis is a limited statement regarding cause and effect in specific situations; it also refers to our state of knowledge before experimental work has been performed and perhaps even before new phenomena have been predicted. ...

The word model is reserved for situations when it is known that the hypothesis has at least limited validity. ...

A scientific theory or law represents an hypothesis, or a group of related hypotheses, which has been confirmed through repeated experimental tests. ... The validity that we attach to scientific theories as representing realities of the physical world is to be contrasted with the facile invalidation implied by the expression, "It's only a theory." For example, it is unlikely that a person will step off a tall building on the assumption that they will not fall, because "Gravity is only a theory."


Again, we see that the scientific theory is a tested hypothesis that produces consistent positive results, and again we see that the hypothesis rests on cases of objective empirical evidence where the derived hypothesis is known to be true.

Now perhaps Faith or one of our other creationists, including our newbies, will choose to enlighten me on what limits some areas of study from being science.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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Faith
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Posts: 26285
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
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Message 7 of 614 (718402)
02-06-2014 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Diomedes
02-06-2014 2:21 PM


Re: Nonsense labels
Deleted

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18961
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 8 of 614 (718409)
02-06-2014 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
02-06-2014 2:54 PM


Re: Nonsense labels
Hi Faith,

Do you agree with the assessment above? If not why and what would you change?


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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Tanypteryx
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From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 6.1


(2)
Message 9 of 614 (718410)
02-06-2014 3:13 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
02-06-2014 2:54 PM


Re: Nonsense labels
Faith writes:

Idiot.

How sweet of you to notice!

We can always count on you to raise the level of discourse here.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


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Diomedes
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Posts: 661
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 4.1


(2)
Message 10 of 614 (718411)
02-06-2014 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
02-06-2014 2:54 PM


Re: Nonsense labels
LOL

So much for civilized discourse.

Incidentally, isn't a flat out insult like that in violation of forum guidelines?

10. The sincerely held beliefs of other members deserve your respect. Please keep discussion civil. Argue the position, not the person.

Just sayin'


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18961
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 11 of 614 (718415)
02-06-2014 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Diomedes
02-06-2014 3:14 PM


let's keep on topic please
Let's focus on the topic please rather than encouraging a shouting match

yes?


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5765
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005


Message 12 of 614 (718416)
02-06-2014 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Diomedes
02-06-2014 3:14 PM


Re: Nonsense labels
Incidentally, isn't a flat out insult like that in violation of forum guidelines?

She is a creo they have different rules.

You will notice she has been doing this a lot lately and no one has said a thing. I call it the creo exemption.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5765
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005


Message 13 of 614 (718417)
02-06-2014 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by RAZD
02-06-2014 3:20 PM


Re: let's keep on topic please
Really?

You are going to chastise Diomedes?

Wow!


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by RAZD, posted 02-06-2014 3:20 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
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Posts: 13112
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 14 of 614 (718419)
02-06-2014 3:30 PM


Knowledge of events is derived from their effects
Practically everything we know of events comes from their effects, after the fact. From those effects we work our way back to the event.

In this sense there is no great qualitative difference between historical science and science examining present-day events.


    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18961
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 15 of 614 (718420)
02-06-2014 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
02-06-2014 2:54 PM


From other thread
From Message 88 on Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham you said:

All I'm interested in here is the general principle that creationists are not antiscientific and have no problem with actual testable science and that the false accusation of antiscience is due to the failure to recognize that there is a real difference between the sciences of the untestable unwitnessed prehistoric past and the HARD sciences where you can replicate and test their claims. This really should be acknowledged.

So you are saying that if the science cannot replicate the observed phenomena that it isn't good science, and that all science needs to deal with witnessed phenomena -- is that fair?


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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