Re: Testing in historical science

Keith B Miller (
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 21:56:53 -0600 (CST)

Moorad wrote:

>I was thinking specifically of people like the bacteriologist Louis Pasteur
>who made all sorts of important discoveries and did not adhere to an
>evolutionary theory of man's origin. Similarly with the botanist Gregor
>Mendel. I have no qualms with discussing that physical entities evolve. I am
>raising the issue of origins.

Many important discoveries and observations were made by physicists before
quantum or relativity. Evolution provides a powerful means of
understanding the history of life, unequalled by any competing theory. The
origin of life is a separate although related area of inquiry, that is in
its infancy but advancing rapidly.

>The second
>law of thermodynamics came about in order to unify all the irreversible
>phenomena observed in nature. But the question of why there is a law like
>that or how did the universe start is quite a different issue.

The origin of physical laws is a different kind of question than the origin
of physical and biological entities. I though this discussion began with
the implication that historical science (incl. evolutionary theory) was not
testable, or as trustworthy as the "hard sciences" -- a position that I
know experientially as an active researcher in geology to be false.


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506