Historical Science vs. Observational Science
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01-01-2015, 09:53 PM
Historical Science vs. Observational Science
I hear many apologists and Ken Ham use this argument to discredit, or cast doubt in people's minds about what we can know about the age of the earth and even the fossil record. They basically say it we can't KNOW about things that happened that far in the past because we weren't there to observe them in real time therefore compromising the reliability of the scientific method.
Can someone speak to this, or point me in the right direction? I'm sick of not having a good response to this. Thanks.
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01-01-2015, 09:56 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
Sorry didn't mean to post this twice.
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01-01-2015, 10:10 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
(01-01-2015 09:56 PM)0ptimusPr1me Wrote:  Sorry didn't mean to post this twice.

Fixt.


Welcome to the forum. Thumbsup

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01-01-2015, 10:16 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
At work.

Hello! Big Grin

Welcome to the forum.

One rebuttal that comes to mind is Astronomy. Everything we look at outside of our own solar system has effectively happened in the past. The further away.... the farther back in the past we see.

Much cheers to all
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01-01-2015, 10:21 PM (This post was last modified: 01-01-2015 10:29 PM by Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue.)
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
This thread has your second post so it shall be the one I respond too.

Basically the problem is that there is no coherent definition of "historical science" and "observational science:"
Answers in Genisis Wrote:Operational science deals with testing and verifying ideas in the present and leads to the production of useful products like computers, cars, and satellites.

Historical (origins) science involves interpreting evidence from the past and includes the models of evolution and special creation.

The only distinction made between the two is that "Historical Science" analyses things from the past while Operational Science is the stuff Ken Ham likes. Under this definition; the overwhelming majority of experiments used in science are "historical."

Forensics: We can both look at the evidence and say that this room contains; a satisfied looking cat, a broken glass bowl, a wet patch and an overturned table but that happened in the past. You weren't there so this is "historical science."

Medicine: This tumor may have killed the patient but we weren't able to get a good look at it until the autopsy. It happened in the past so it's historical science and if it's historical science then it's invalid.


Chemistry: Atoms are too small to observe as components that went into the mass spectrometer and they were placed into the machine "in the past." This experiment is historical science.

With a more rigid definition it might be a useful term (it'll still probably be fallacious) but as it is here it's an entirely arbitrary distinction designed to artificially separate one type of evidence supported conclusion from another.

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01-01-2015, 10:44 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
Thanks for the quick replies and welcomes!

Stuffed, I see your point and it makes sense. However I think the response would be that there is a big difference between looking at something that occurred minutes or a few days in the past versus something that is claimed to have happened millions of years ago.
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01-01-2015, 10:47 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
Welcome, you are our first new member of 2015, have a yookuso seal

[Image: sea-lion-turtle-back-zoojpg-3fcaec17b0b26b93.jpg]

Anyway, there is no verses. Observing means watching, noticing, or persevering. Historical means in the past. So something can be observed without someone being there to watch it.

The term Mr.Ham is going for is eyewitness, as it can be used for evolutionary history and not his bible apparently. However he can't say eyewitness as it is the WORST form of evidence. Comparing the fossils, molecular clocks, and DNA that shows the evolution of the past even before humans compared to hear say from someone who said they saw something, it seems as if the biblical creationism is obsolete. That is why he says that.

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01-01-2015, 11:21 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
(01-01-2015 10:44 PM)0ptimusPr1me Wrote:  Thanks for the quick replies and welcomes!

Stuffed, I see your point and it makes sense. However I think the response would be that there is a big difference between looking at something that occurred minutes or a few days in the past versus something that is claimed to have happened millions of years ago.

True but he doesn't make that distinction.

The terms are defined in a different way elsewhere on the site in an entirely different context and he dodges the problem.

Let us entertain a hypothetical:
Let's say that we have a perfectly cooked Shepards' Pie* (The platonic ideal of tasty people, pastry and potato) and we put it in a magic time capsule.

At the same time I kill a rabbit by dropping a volcano onto it. Forming a perfect fossil.

Thousands of years go past and a team of scientists explores the area for some reason. Finding both the Pie (still warm from the oven) and the Fossil.

They've both been perfectly preserved and so any conclusion they can draw from either specimen is the same as from a new one. And the second different distinction I linked too; one of repeatable experimentation to gather evidence, doesn't hold up.

Because the scientists performed the experiment and gathered the data in the form of the two specimens. Neither of which are valid due to the first definition Ham has set out but the second definition would be valid for the Pie; if I had gotten into the time capsule with it.

I'm hardly an avid follower of stuff like this but I have never seen him defend of define either usage of the term properly when challenged. He returns to the warm arms of presupposition and reasserting the point.

Soulless mutants of muscle and intent. There are billions of us; hardy, smart and dangerous. Shaped by millions of years of death. We are the definitive alpha predator. We build monsters of fire and stone. We bottled the sun. We nailed our god to a stick.

In man's struggle against the world, bet on the man.
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01-01-2015, 11:54 PM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
Welcome to the forum. I hope you enjoy yourself.

(01-01-2015 09:53 PM)0ptimusPr1me Wrote:  They basically say it we can't KNOW about things that happened that far in the past because we weren't there to observe them in real time therefore compromising the reliability of the scientific method.

There goes the Bible.

By this standard, we can't reliably know anything prior to about 1900. There are no living eye-witnesses, so the reign of Queen Vicky can't be backed up. That only sounds absurd because we're starting with a ridiculous premise. There's no magical dividing line between the 'reliable' past and the 'unreliable' past. Millions of years ago are just further into the past.

What's worse is that we don't even have to go to the past to get foolish. The overwhelming majority of science isn't done by direct observation. We fire atoms down the flight tube of a mass spectrometer and get the composition of a sample. No human sense ever measures them. Hell, even something as straight forward as taking a temperature goes out the window. A thermometer doesn't display a temperature, it displays the height of mercury in a calibrated glass tube.

Almost every measurement that we take requires deductive reasoning and inference. The fact that the data was preserved at some point in the past doesn't make it any different.

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02-01-2015, 12:07 AM
RE: Historical Science vs. Observational Science
The beloved arbitrary distinctions of YEC apologists.

Up there as undefined to exact points just like Marco/Micro evolution by their perspective of it and terms like "Kinds"

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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