Three Types of Science

Nowadays, people tend to think science is science, infallible and absolute. Not true. There are actually three types of science, and much of what is taken as concrete fact is actually based on assumption.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree science has given us concrete facts. These are based on science that is observable and repeatable. I won’t argue with anyone who says the Earth revolves around the Sun. We can watch it happen the same year after year after year. This is operational science. It happens in the PRESENT and can be proven beyond debate.  True science by its nature, by its very definition, must be repeatable and observable.

Historical science can also be accepted as fact, though in a more limited capacity, because it cannot be repeated. Not one person alive today has first-hand knowledge of the American Civil War, but it is accepted unquestionably because it has been credibly recorded in a variety of ways by those who were there. It happened in the PAST, but it has been observed and added to mankind’s collective factual knowledge.

But events that took place in the PAST which were not observed and recorded can only be speculated about. This is called origins science, and it’s based on theories.  Don’t mistake them for facts. This third type of science cannot be proven absolutely.  Scientists make their best guesses as to what happened and when it happened based on the evidence they find; however, evidence is open to interpretation. Two people might have vastly different ideas about what the same bit of evidence suggests. For example, evolutionary scientists believe the fossil record is evidence for millions of years of history. Creationist scientists believe it to be evidence for a worldwide flood. Notice I used the word believe in both cases. There is a great amount of faith behind both. They must be taken on faith, because both of these ideas are theories – assumptions. They cannot be proven beyond doubt, because they cannot be repeated and observed.

I cannot scientifically prove to anyone my beliefs, theories and assumptions about the events of the past. However, neither can anyone scientifically prove to me that their beliefs, theories and assumptions about these same events are more true than mine.  On both counts, it is a matter of faith.

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