Science And History

Avraham Sonenthal's letter (The Scientist, July 7, 1997, page 10) repeats a common misconception that science can say nothing about history because you can't do experiments on history. Therefore, he concludes that the issue of creationism and evolutionary theory with respect to the development of contemporary life is a matter of faith. This is just wrong. The essence of testing scientific hypotheses is to evaluate the predictions that these hypotheses make about what one observes. These observa

Eric Jakobsson
Sep 1, 1997

Avraham Sonenthal's letter (The Scientist, July 7, 1997, page 10) repeats a common misconception that science can say nothing about history because you can't do experiments on history. Therefore, he concludes that the issue of creationism and evolutionary theory with respect to the development of contemporary life is a matter of faith. This is just wrong. The essence of testing scientific hypotheses is to evaluate the predictions that these hypotheses make about what one observes. These observations can be either in the context of experiments in which one attempts to control as many variables as possible in order to isolate the phenomenon of interest, or in the context of observations of the natural world.

In science that seeks to explore previous history, whether in astrophysics, cosmology, geology, or biology, the historical record that is read from the present state of nature is interpreted in the context of...

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