Friday, September 2, 2011

Real Science

There is a common myth that 99.9% of people fall for in regards to Science. It is the difference between ‘observational’ science, and ‘historical’ science. The two are qualitatively and fundamentally different, and acceptance of this is critical.

‘Observational’ science is the real science, it is the science where you can actually test hypothesises like the spherical nature of earth for example. The object of this hypothesis is an extant factor, this means that we can go out and make verifiable measurements as to the nature of the earth. We can measure angles and actually fly totally around the longitude and latitude lines of the earth. This can be tested and verified both others at any later time.

But ‘historical’ science is qualitatively different. It is an interloper, it barely qualifies as science at all. This sounds harsh, radical and almost heretical to those who haven’t pondered the philosophy of science before.

The fact is that nothing in the past is verifiable, especially events that are prior to the historical record. How can we observe the emplacement of fossils to test the creation or evolution hypothesises? The deposition of fossils occurred in the past, and the past is a place that is impenetrable to observation. So if data is unobservable, then it isn’t verifiable and thus can not be considered science.

We can certainly speculate using the scientific method by examining data like fossils which themselves are extant and therefore verifiable. But any speculation as to the origins of the fossils is totally outside the realm of the scientific method.

The scientific method is only a very narrowly useful tool. It’s power as a explanatory device is prodigious when it is used appropriately within it’s purview, but we must be careful not to extend it’s use to outside natural bounds and try and use it like a omniscient fountain of knowledge.