You’re all familiar with the oft-repeated mantra of creationists that there’s a big difference between what they call “historical science” — which they describe as “views about the unobservable past,” and “observational science” — which they limit to that which provides our technology.
The last time the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry) mentioned it was in a recent article we ignored: Secularists Can’t Handle AiG’s Cosmos Reviews, written by Elizabeth Mitchell, the creationist gynecologist. Among many other silly things, she said:
[W]e have said numerous times that we do not deny science. What [one of our critics] really means is that we deny their belief in molecules-to-man evolution and millions of years. But these ideas fall in the category of historical science — views about the unobservable past. On the contrary, observational science — the science that builds our technology — is completely consistent with God’s Word.
We’ve previously discussed their worthless distinction — see Creationism and Science, and also Answers in Genesis Explains Science to Us. We thought we had said pretty much all we had to say on the subject, but today we have some additional remarks.
The reason Hambo and other creationists make their artificial distinction between historical and observational science is because the former so clearly contradicts the creation account in Genesis. It’s not surprising that science has discovered a thing or two since Genesis was composed, in part from various pre-existing legends, back in the days of the Babylonian empire.
To preserve their peculiar notion that Genesis is solid science, people like Hambo are obligated to some build a barrier around their ancient beliefs which science is unable to penetrate. The result is that they’re left standing in the middle of what amounts to an intellectually blighted area where they imagine scientists are unable to go.
What makes Hambo’s effort to quarantine the past so laughable is that he would undoubtedly accept the results of, say, a paternity test based solely on DNA evidence, notwithstanding the absence of anyone’s testimony. There are numerous other examples of “historical science” that creationists routinely accept — crime detection being an obvious one — but they nevertheless insist that the same procedures can’t penetrate what they’ve been told about the history of the Earth in Genesis.
What their artificial “historical vs. observational science” distinction amounts to is Apologetics — defined as the branch of theology concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity. Wikipedia says: “As the world’s religions have encountered one another, apologetics and apologists from within their respective faiths have emerged. Some of these apologetics respond to or fight back against the arguments of other religions and secularism; others are pure defense.”
In creationism, the “historical vs. observational science” distinction is one of many narratives which was invented for the purpose of defending Genesis. It’s a narrative they all memorize, and which they automatically repeat whenever their beliefs are questioned. In reality, creationist apologetics is nothing more than a collection of talking points.
That is what makes debating creationists such a foolish activity. They always stick to the script. Why? Because they’ve been taught that if they abandon it, they’ll end up in the Lake of Fire. There’s a deeper reason too. Without their memorized scripts, they literally don’t know what to think. The script gives them certainty, which they crave. Without it they’re totally lost — a frightening prospect.
Creationists have never learned how to think for themselves, so they’ll never abandon what they’ve been trained to believe. Learning and depending on such scripts is what creationists call “education,” which they want included in (and eventually to supersede) all science classes.
That is what we’re dealing with in The Controversy between evolution and creationism. It’s quite literally the difference between thinking and not thinking. If the creationists prefer not to think, that is their decision. But it’s most definitely not their right to make that decision for the rest of us.
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