Re: Testing in historical science

David Campbell (
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 15:24:17 -0400

>All the successes of physics, both in explaining nature and the resulting
>technology, have nothing to do with the origin of the universe. Isn't that
>precisely the same in biology, geology, etc. vis a vis evolutionary theory?
>Besides studying the history of man itself, is there really any specific
>discovery in those areas that could not have been made without positing
>common descent?

Before Darwin published, almost all of the geologic periods and many of
their subdivisions were named and placed in order and the presence of
different kinds of animals at different times in the past (so that rocks of
the same age could be recognized based on their fossils) was well-known;
multiple catastrophic floods was one idea proposed to account for this.
Obviously, most geology and all cosmology have nothing to do with common
descent. The underlying assumption of uniformitarianism is supported by
the consistency of results over the time during which we have made
observations and successes in predicting what we observe as effects in the
past (e.g., similar past environments recognized by one criterion, such as
rock type, are generally similar in other ways, such as organismal