The Nature of Scientific Inquiry, Part 2

To be honest, I do understand the position of the secularists in rejecting the supernatural for their own naturalistic models, as it is what they were trained to do, how they have been groomed as researchers. Indeed it’s their responsibility, as they see it, to present their version of the truth to the public at large. The result is a culture as we have today, whereby a belief in the Bible’s authority, indeed any belief in God, is becoming ever more marginalized and mocked. Though I understand their motivations, I cannot agree with their findings. The secular worldview and its researchers, even their very training, seem to inherently pit their views against any truth that may stand against that interpretation of reality, sadly blinding them, in many cases, to the exact nature of this world.

Stepping right into it, there is a basic level of misdirection at play in many of the findings of such researchers, indeed their particular fields on the whole. That misdirection is often utilized to challenge those who commonly have no defense against it, and it is an issue that must be addressed before going further.

Despite what you may have learned throughout your education, science may not be as clear-cut as it may at first be presented. The very foundation of what we call “science” is, according to some commentators, fractured by a barely reconcilable rift, an informal divide which quite literally splits the entire pursuit of knowledge into two planes. Most are completely unaware of this controversial division, and no doubt mainstream researchers would prefer that it remain so. Yet, the knowledge of these two categories, if one chooses to appreciate their importance, is essential to understanding the falsehoods at play in the scientific community today.

The first category, Operational Science, is the most common form of scientific knowledge, and could just as well be termed “observable science” because it encompasses all scientific knowledge that is readily discernible, testable, repeatable, etc. This is the kind of knowledge derived from standard physics, chemistry, contemporary geology and biology, and all other such fields. Conclusions are drawn from direct sources first-hand, and any questions associated with the initial hypotheses can be tested repeatedly, verified through layers of subsequent inquiry and observation. It is solid science with solid results, and firmly fits within the paradigm of scientific methodology.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the second form of science, Historical (or Origins) Science. Whereas operational science relies on direct, first-hand, observation, historical science is quite firmly planted within the realm of speculation, relying on a researcher’s worldview, motivations, and the interpretation of available – if often sparse – data. Fields necessitating historical science would primarily be those focused on long-past events, such as paleontology, archaeogeology, and cosmology. Though the basis for such fields are rooted in operational science, ultimately each rely on unobservable – often unconfirmable – theory and speculation to piece together events that may or may not have happened. Unlike operational science, real testing and experimentation within the historical sciences is essentially off limits.

Now, remove both observation and testing from the accepted hierarchy of real science, what are you left with? I would argue that conclusions drawn from such fields are not necessarily real science, but rather elaborate speculation, and in the light of real science based on real observation, the former should always bow to the latter. Now, that isn’t to say that historical science hasn’t produced its own range of accurate insights, generating perspectives on matters that ultimately were proven correct. I firmly believe that such is important in its own right. It has merit, and even when confirmable positions are less than forthcoming, it is still capable of providing a more complete picture of what we cannot ourselves observe. That said however the role of such speculation should be limited. It should be recognized and appreciated for what it is – theory and conjecture – instead of being promoted as established fact.

Now, there also exists a fuzzy realm between the two solid poles of scientific knowledge, between indisputable fact and elaborate guesswork, where observations are themselves limited yet the conclusions drawn from them are not necessarily pure speculation. When there are insurmountable obstacles to direct observation (such as research subjects that are too distant, too small, too fast, etc), speculation about their condition and nature must be ascertained from circumstantial evidence which itself is firmly rooted within the observable.

Herein rests fields such as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. We have a working understanding of these fields not because of what we directly observe concerning the individual components but rather because of the interactions they have with what we can observe. We draw conclusions from where we can, yet, because we detect what we do, our assumptions must be accurate in their overall composition. Such observations – clear and unmistakable and testable despite their inherent limitations – distinguish the insights born of them from true historical science and the utter speculation associated with it.

It’s a controversial perspective, to be sure. No doubt there will be those who claim that there is no significant difference between operational and historical science, assuring us that science is science, no matter whether the results are drawn from direct observation or pure speculation or some fuzzy combination of the two. Many have vigorously made that claim in an effort to diminish the assertions of operational vs. historical science.

Honestly though, can we as intelligent people absolutely – with 100% certainty – declare that direct, repeatable, evidence-driven results belong on the same level as data-studded speculation, shaded by presupposition, and powered by worldview? Historical science has its place, to be sure, but it should never be trusted past the point of theory. Unfortunately, the promotion of theory to the level of fact has become a deceptive tool in the hands of those seeking to write their own history, and likewise is a snare for those who have no intellectual defense against it.

In the end, I caution you, reader, to be careful of what sources you trust and the interpretations they freely give…


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