Re: historical science, from Payne-Miller

From: Bert Massie (
Date: Tue Jun 19 2001 - 12:40:56 EDT

  • Next message: Jeffrey Greenberg: "Call for "papers""

    One should not dismiss historical "science" as unreliable. Quite to the contrary, your not important comment that all evidence we observe is the past past aside, it is important enough that in reality all human behavoir is governed by our perception of the past.

    However, repeateble science can be given a much higher level of certaintaly. I test it, you test it, the man in Moscow tests it, and the preceeding generation tests it.

    There is an attempt to take this mantle of certainty and apply it to almost everything as an advertising approach. I noticed this morning at the gas station that I could purchase gum "scientifically proven" to provide great health benefits. Wow.

    This of course is the objection. Applying the higher level of certaintly of testible theories such as gravity to those theories of distant and only vaguely observed events such a biogenesis.

    Bert Massie

    bivalve wrote:

    > 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
    > "Old Seashells"
    > Biology Department
    > 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

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jun 19 2001 - 12:36:59 EDT