Although the difference between historical science and that dealing with present-day events has its uses, it is quite blurry. For example, an experiment in a chemistry lab seems to be a straightforward example of non-historical science. Yet the analysis of the data is an attempt to reconstruct the historical events that transpired shortly before in the lab. Likewise, the data interpretation depends on the assumption of reliability of historical evidence about previous experiments, as well as on the constancy of natural laws. Conversely, a study on the forming of a particular rock can involve various experiments to simulate different possibilities, several analyses of its component parts, and other activities just as empirical as any other analysis.
It should also be kept in mind that the reliability of historical evidence is crucial to Christianity. To dismiss historical science as history and therefore unreliable (a claim that goes beyond what Bill said but is presented by some young earth advocates) calls the Bible into question. By making science (as defined by them) the most authoritative source of information, they show themselves guilty of scientism even as they accuse others of it.
Dr. David Campbell
Saint Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Road
St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001 USA
Fax: 301 862-0996
"That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks"-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droigate Spa
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