Difference between revisions of "Natural science"

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Rodney Stark:
 
Rodney Stark:
 
{{QuoteBox|...theological assumptions unique to Christianity explain why science was born only in Christian Europe. Contrary to the received wisdom, religion and science not only were compatible; they were inseparable.<ref>Stark, 2003, [http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7501.html introduction].</ref>}}
 
{{QuoteBox|...theological assumptions unique to Christianity explain why science was born only in Christian Europe. Contrary to the received wisdom, religion and science not only were compatible; they were inseparable.<ref>Stark, 2003, [http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7501.html introduction].</ref>}}
Indeed, many of the early scientists, such as [[Galileo]], [[Johannes Kepler]], and Sir [[Isaac Newton]] were people who believed in the literal truth of Genesis and who based their science on their belief in a Creator.<ref>[http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/4985/ Scientists of the past who believed in a Creator] (Creation Ministries International).</ref>
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Indeed, many of the early scientists, such as [[Galileo]], [[Johannes Kepler]], and Sir [[Isaac Newton]] were people who believed in the literal truth of Genesis and who based their science on their belief in a Creator.<ref>[http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/4985/ Scientists of the past who believed in a Creator] (Creation Ministries International).</ref> Fortunately, these beliefs have since been largely purged from modernity, scientists preferring empiric proof rather than pseudoscientific dogma. Some argue that this has reduced the number of intelligensia joining the clergy, a contributing factor to the decline of Christianity in North America.
  
 
== Types of science ==
 
== Types of science ==

Revision as of 01:39, 23 May 2007

Physical science is the branch of study dedicated to the accumulation and classification of observable facts in order to formulate general laws about the natural world, and the methods by which this study is carried out, such as the scientific method.

Scientific study relies on specific, fairly well-defined classifications, collectively known as the aforementioned scientific method. In one form or another, it is the means by which all scientific research is conducted.

The best known physical sciences are astronomy, physics and chemistry.

Beginnings

Although some early civilizations, particularly Greece, developed some scholarship, it was not until the 1500s in Europe that science proper developed. This was due to the prevailing Christian world view, that taught that the creation was not itself Divine, but was the product of a consistent Creator who didn't change His creation, such as the laws of physics, on a whim.

Loren Eiseley:

The philosophy of experimental science … began its discoveries and made use of its methods in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation … . It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.[1]

Rodney Stark:

...theological assumptions unique to Christianity explain why science was born only in Christian Europe. Contrary to the received wisdom, religion and science not only were compatible; they were inseparable.[2]

Indeed, many of the early scientists, such as Galileo, Johannes Kepler, and Sir Isaac Newton were people who believed in the literal truth of Genesis and who based their science on their belief in a Creator.[3] Fortunately, these beliefs have since been largely purged from modernity, scientists preferring empiric proof rather than pseudoscientific dogma. Some argue that this has reduced the number of intelligensia joining the clergy, a contributing factor to the decline of Christianity in North America.

Types of science

Science can be subdivided into two categories, operational science and origins science.[4]

Operational science deals mostly with things in the present, which scientists are able to observe, measure, and test. If, for example, someone claims that water boils at 110 degrees Celsius at sea level, you can test for yourself to see if that is really true (and discover that it's not).

Origins science deals with things in the past. Scientists do not have the past to observe, measure, and test, so the conclusions of historical science must be somewhat more tentative than empirical science. If, for example, someone claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago, it is difficult to formulate an experiment to effectively support or deny this claim. Because of this, origins science tends to function through observation of historical records, as well as extrapolating current data (which can easily be experimentally validated) into the past. In addition, it is common for theories to be tested on their adherence to the available evidence; for example, the discovery of Tiktaalik in the predicted strata for a transitional form between tetrapods and fish.[5]

In some cases, such as astronomy, the distinction between the two becomes somewhat muddled; strictly speaking, current observations of most astronomical phenomena are dealing with the far-distant past, but experiments and observations are easily performed - it is common for a theoretical prediction to be compared with observed data.

Bibliography

Stark, Rodney, For The Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-hunts and the End of Slavery, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0691114361.

Notes

  1. L. Eiseley: Darwin’s Century: Evolution and the Men who Discovered It (Anchor, NY: Doubleday, 1961), quoted in Sarfati, Jonathan, Refuting Evolution, Chapter 1.
  2. Stark, 2003, introduction.
  3. Scientists of the past who believed in a Creator (Creation Ministries International).
  4. Sarfati, Jonathan, and Matthews, Michael, Refuting Evolution 2, Chapter 1
  5. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v440/n7085/abs/nature04639.html