As has been discussed recently already, forensic science does not deal with the PREHISTORIC UNWITNESSED PAST. There are witnesses of all kinds (I count written documents that relate to the crime to be witnesses) and ways of checking everything that has to do with the crime with people and documents and all kinds of known information about similar crimes. Anything that occurred in the historical past or the past shared by living people can be tested in all kinds of ways. You can't compare this to the sciences involved in trying to explain things from the UNWITNESSED PREHISTORIC past where there are no testable clues because there are no witnesses, again meaning any kind of documented knowledge as well as human witnesses.
You can know some things about the unwitnessed past such as the former existence of creatures that are no longer living, but the theories/hypotheses about how they lived or died or the climate they lived in or their genetic relatedness to other creatures are impossible to test, you are stuck with the hypotheses and no way to corroborate them.
The name calling and accusatory crap I have to put up with here doesn't compare with my occasional outbursts, and the rules have long since been put aside for whatever reason, LONG since. I'm glad to see that occasionally they are still enforced.
Sorry if I haven't been clear but I'm not talking about the mere absence of a witness to a particular crime, I'm talking about the fact that the crime has occurred in HISTORIC time where there are many "witnesses" in the sense of clues that have a shared understanding and that sort of thing so that you have many ways of checking up on any line of reasoning. You may still not be able to solve the crime, but that's not the point.
The "unwitnessed past" simply means the past before human beings, when no witness was possible at all and you have only the physical data to figure out. You can know some things but your theories of how animals evolved genetically one from another, about how the dinosaurs died, and that sort of thing are untestable and unprovable, should not be treated as fact but that's what you all do nevertheless. You should treat it as hypothesis.
Obviously we have to hypothesize that the pre-Flood world produced tree rings at a greater rate. In fact the idea is that there weren't even seasons back then, so the trees just grew according to some internal clock of their own, and when the climate changed after the Flood the production of rings would have been tied to the seasons.
If the scientific conclusion contradicts the Bible, we assume the fault is in the science. Way it goes, RAZD.
Recent research on seasonal effects on tree rings in other trees in the same genus, the plantation pine Pinus radiata, has revealed that up to five rings per year can be produced and extra rings are often indistinguishable, even under the microscope, from annual rings. As a tree physiologist I would say that evidence of false rings in any woody tree species would cast doubt on claims that any particular species has never in the past produced false rings. Evidence from within the same genus surely counts much more strongly against such the notion. Creationists have shown that the biblical kind is usually larger than the ‘species’ and in many cases even larger than the ’genus’—see my article Ligers and wholphins? What next?.
Considering that the immediate post-Flood world would have been wetter with less contrasting seasons until the Ice Age waned (see Q&A: Ice Age), many extra growth rings would have been produced in the Bristlecone pines (even though extra rings are not produced today because of the seasonal extremes). Taking this into account would bring the age of the oldest living Bristlecone Pine into the post-Flood era.
As far as the discussion about the prehistoric past goes, you are interpreting the tree ring count on the basis of uniformitarian principles, but you have no way of testing or proving whether your principles apply past a certain point, you simply assume they do. You call it proof when it's nothing but the usual speculative guesswork. If things were appreciably different before the Flood, as we believe, then your assumptions don't hold water. As it were.
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).
I assume he means what I've been meaning about the unwitnessed / prehistoric / unobservable past. It's not that you are to "discard" it, because it's all you have for the U/P/U past, but the problem is that you treat it as the equivalent of testable science instead of realizing that it's not. In fact you even call your speculations and imaginations and cogitations and hypotheses about the past "Fact." THAT's the problem. An honest recognition that the past is not knowable with such certainty is what is required of you. Oh not that you can't know some things, which I've acknowledged, the fact that an animal unknown to us today lived in the past for instance, but your scenarios, your ideas about what happened in the past, your theory of evolution, that fossils higher in the geologic column are genetically descended from lower fossils for instance, that's an unprovable leap of imagination, and the problem with that is that instead of recognizing its untestability and unprovability you insist it's true and call it Fact. Though it's only a mental construction. Based on a bunch of fossilized bones.
So what is real science and do these two distinctions above really apply to sciences like paleontology and geology?
They apply to all hypotheses about what happened in the U/P/U past.
quote: Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") 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. ...
quote: The scientific method is 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 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 '
Which can only be done in the "hard" sciences, and not in the historical interpretive sciences about the unwitnessed prehistoric unobservable past.
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. ...
This is a lot of blah blah. Definitions evade the point I'm trying to make, and that is confirmed by the article Rox posted about how Geology is an interpretative historical science, it's not a hard science, it's not a science that is built on laboratory testing as physics is, as chemistry is, etc. The ToE is at best an hypothesis about the U/P/U past which cannot be tested or proved.
No you do not have evidence for your uniformitarian principles. That's an assumption, period.
What do you suppose you're invoking when you correctly conclude that there were once living stegosaurs?
I see no connection. I consider the stegosaurs to have been killed and buried and fossilized in the Flood, which was a worldwide catastrophe that uniformitarianism does not take into account. Uniformitarianism has most of the creatures in the strata dying by normal means over normal spans of time as seen today. But the "fossil record" doesn't show that. It shows the creatures that lived before the Flood, many of them killed off in that catastrophe and no longer living on the planet at all.
The creationist objection to uniformitarianism does not imply an objection to natural laws, but only to EVENTS, as it interprets the fossils and strata as having been built up over time as we experience it today rather than in a singular catastrophic event. No laws were different.
My answer to the forensics comparison is that criminal forensics all goes on in the present really, but certainly not the PREHISTORIC past, which was what I was saying was the problem for science, not the past as in historic times. There are plenty of clues and witnesses in historic time that don't exist in the prehistoric past.
Such an arbitrary division of time. Why does evidence only become valid after humans start writing stories in clay tablets? Care to explain? Did the act of using Cuniform somehow magically transform all evidence on earth from invalid to valid?
If you don't have a witness in the past you don't have a way to confirm your interpretation of the evidence. You can interpret but you can't confirm. Laboratory sciences and forensic science in historical time have ways of confirming, testing, doublechecking things that you do not have for the ancient past. A written record from the past would be something at least. But all we get from you guys is your interpretations, and since we have different interpretations it's a tad annoying to be given yours as if they were fact. We have no argument with real science based on testable evidence as in the laboratory sciences, but we have a ton of problems with all that imaginative hooha about what happened millions of years ago, especially when it's determined from a few items buried in a rock that looks like it was laid down in a Flood.
Isn't the only difference between pre-history and history the presence of written records?
And the presence of human beings who may have personal knowledge or expertise on things related to the crime, and the presence of artifacts of different sorts connected to the crime that can provide clues through what people know about those too, including experts. Items that can speak as it were. In the ancient past you have NO items that can speak, or let's say very few anyway. You have only physical artifacts and your own imagination and that of your fellow scientists of course, but under those circumstances you could all be operating under a mass delusion and never know it because there's no objective test for any of it. Which of course is what creationists think of all the sciences of the prehistoric past.
In forensics are not many, many crimes "solved" with no witnesses and no written records of the event?
I don't know, but I do know that there are plenty of potential witnesses and experts and all kinds of information available that isn't available from the prehistoric past.
Other than a witness or a written description (or a picture I guess) what is the difference between a clue that is 10 minutes old -- 10 days old -- 10 years old -- 1,000 years old or 100, 000 years old?
As I've been saying, the possibility of confirmation from many sources. The only confirmation of the prehistoric past you have is a shared imagination, which can be, and in my opinion is, a delusion, because you can only assert it, you can't prove it.
Are all the crimes "solved" without witnesses or a written description of the crime a miscarriage of justice?
Read my last two posts. Of course creationists are speculating too and of course for us there is no prehistoric past. But for evolutionists and old earthers there is so you are all flying blind. All either side has is interpretations, and your interpretations win by aggression, not proof.
The problem is not with once-living stegosauruses, it's with the scenarios in which the stegosauruses supposedly lived, which are made up out of whole cloth by evolutionists / old earthers and cannot be proved, only asserted and forced on others.
Yes, it's good evidence based on uniformitarian assumptions, but if things were appreciably different in the past that includes the time covered by the rings, and I don't mean laws, I mean conditions, climate, etc., then the evidence needs to be subjected to other tests and considerations than the uniformitarian assumptions.