Operational and historical science: What are they?

Two types of science: Operational or experimental and historical or forensic.  Historical science deals with origins, the unseen past, unobserved past events. Operational science deals with the present, not the past. Most people confuse or conflate these two types of science. They are not the same. The former is repeatable and the latter is not.

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Most scientists themselves do not understand the distinction. They often are too close to the subject to realise.

When a forensic scientist enters a crime scene he collects evidence. These are, for example, bodily fluids, tissue samples, fingerprints, paint scrapings, etc. He goes to his lab and uses sophisticated machines to determine the DNA of the victim or perpetrator, or scan for a fingerprint match in a data base, etc. That is repeatable science, hence operational science.

Following that the forensic scientist puts together a story, about how the crime may have been committed. He may even determine a possible sequence of events, but without a time machine, it is impossible to see into the past. This is historical science. Actions that have already occurred in the past are not repeatable and in that sense they are not subject to experimental science.

This is the weakness of all evolutionary stories. The evolutionist does not have an eye-witness to the past history of the Universe, or the planet Earth.

A definition from Dictionary.com for ‘science’ is: “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”.  Therefore historical science is actually excluded from science by this definition. I would agree. It is really history or philosophy.

This all makes historical or forensic science very weak. Like in the picture here the scientist is only imagining the past history of the fossil he has in his hand.

Cosmology also is historical science. It is not repeatable to the extent you can test the origin of the Universe,  or that of a galaxy or even a star. Only computer simulations are used, but they are not testing anything of the actual universe. In those simulations normal matter is not used, but only fictitious dark matter, with fictitious dark energy. Both of these entities are not found in laboratory experimental science. They are unknown to the science we practice in the laboratories worldwide. They would be better labelled as ‘fudge factors,’ at least until they can be established by repeatable operational science.

This is operational science:

This is historical science:

It is our worldview that determines how we interpret the historical science. What do we allow as evidence for the past origin of something? Contrary to what you are told, evidence does not speak for itself. Even in the CSI TV show you often hear “follow the evidence” or the “evidence never lies.”  True…, but it does not speak because it does not have a literal voice. It  can tell us something about in terms of unobserved past events but to do so it must be put into some context to be understood. To put it into context scientists are always biased by their own worldviews. There is no absolute way of knowing about the past outside of an eye-witness.

The Creator is our eye-witness, and when, where and what He has told us we can know. But where He has not we are subject to the same constraints.

Related Resources

Solutions to biblical creationist starlight-travel-time problem

If the universe is only 6000 years old according to Moses (Genesis chapters 5 and 11) then biblical creationists have a starlight-travel-time problem.  The universe is tens of billions of light-years across. There are good scientific grounds to believe that is the case. So shouldn’t it take at least billions of years for light to reach us from the distant galaxies?  How do you reconcile the size of the Universe with only the 6000 years or so available since the Creation, according to Genesis chapter 1 in the Bible? I once listed five possible areas that we might find a solution.1

I believe that within the following options or categories explanations may be found that are consistent with the text of Genesis and so maintain the interpretation of 6 × 24-hour literal earth-rotation days of creation, about 6000 years ago. They are briefly discussed here in no particular order.

1. A timing convention

690958main_p1237a1One possibility is that the language of Genesis is phenomenological language (describing appearance). In this case, stars were made billions of years before Day 4,but in such a manner that the light from all stars (and galaxies), no matter how far away, all arrived at the earth on Day 4 and so their light could have been seen first at that moment. This is reference frame ‘time-stamping’ events from the moment they are seen on Earth.

Lisle’s timing or clock synchrony convention3,4 describes this idea. He presented two possible interpretations: One is phenomenological language and the second has to do with the physical nature of  the created universe. Continue reading

Faulkner’s miraculous translation of light model would leave evidence

Critique of Faulkner’s proposal for a solution to the biblical creationist light-travel-time problem. Article first published by Answers Research Journal 7 (2014):459–460. PDF available here. Dr Faulkner’s response and PDF available here.


In 2013 D.R. Faulkner proposed what he says is a new solutionto the biblical creationist starlight-travel-time problem. That can be simply put this way: If the universe is so large, for which little doubt amongst biblical creationists, and we know the universe is only about 6000 years old, then how do we see distant light sources more than 6000 light-years away? Even more so, how did Adam on Day 6 see astronomical objects more than 2 light-days away, which includes all stars except for the sun?

Faulkner’s proposal, for which the author himself admittedly provides little substantive description, from what I can gather, has two key features:

  1. God miraculous accelerated (the author writes “shoot”) light across the cosmos so that we are seeing real events from the distant sources in real time;  “…, light from the astronomical bodies was miraculously made to “shoot” its way to the earth at an abnormally accelerated rate ….”;2  and
  2. the mechanism for the latter has something to do with God stretching out the heavens (like has been referred to in biblical verses including Isaiah 40:22); “In my view the intervening space was stretched to bring the light rapidly to earth. Soon after this event, probably still on Day Four, space assumed the properties that it appears to have today.”3

Continue reading

Expansion of space – a Dark Science

 Abstract: “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;” (Isaiah 44:24 KJB) Scriptural texts like this have been used by biblical creationists to justify God creating an expanding cosmos. Aside from arguing that the scriptures do indeed describe cosmological expansion, I contend that expansion of space is of itself not tenable as a mechanism for the expansion of the Universe, as often cited with the famous rubber balloon analogy. Relativity theory, properly applied, tells us that detection of the expansion of space by any local measurement is not possible. And if the æther is the substance of the Universe that has supposedly expanded, with the galaxies embedded therein, then it is fundamentally undetectable. This assigns cosmology firmly to the realms of philosophy and metaphysics.  Article first published by Answers Research Journal 7 (2014):453–458. PDF available here.

Continue reading

Dark radiation in big bang cosmology

Keeping Science in Darkness

Sometimes the existence of a new ‘particle’ in physics has been proposed long before it was discovered by an experimentalist in a lab experiment. Some examples of this are the anti-electron (positron) proposed by Paul Dirac in 1927 and discovered in 1932; the neutron, predicted by Ernest Rutherford in 1920, and discovered by James Chadwick in 1932; the pi meson discovered by C. F. Powell’s group in 1947 but predicted by Hideki Yukawa in 1935; and in 2012 a particle was detected exhibiting most of the predicted characteristics of the Higgs boson, which was predicted by Peter Higgs and five others in 1964.  For their prediction, Peter Higgs and François Englert, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013.

In astrophysics such a new ‘particle’ could be the planet Neptune. Its existence was mathematically predicted by Urbain Le Verrier before it was directly observed in 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle at the Berlin Observatory. (There was some dispute over credit as John Couch Adams from Cambridge had separately made predictions on the position of the planet.)

Those predictions, which led to successful outcomes, were based on the established laws of nature; for Neptune it was Newton’s gravitational theory, and for particle physics, the newly developing quantum theory. Continue reading

Questions about my use of Carmeli’s cosmology

Below I respond to an inquiry about the cosmological model presented in my book  and Carmeli’s Cosmological Relativity theory. I used Carmeli’s cosmology to create a biblical creationist model for the origin of the Universe, with a timeline which includes the 6 days of Genesis creation beginning about 6000 years ago. I take parts of Carmeli’s big bang cosmology and add biblically based hypotheses (and speculations) to make it conform to Scripture. I do not claim it is the answer to the creationist starlight-travel time problem. If God did something like I describe it could provide us with an understanding of it. Adding new physics may be a simple way to avoid many fudge factors in cosmology but it does mean adding a new dimension that is very hard to even conceptualise.

Continue reading

Review of “The Principle”

—a documentary by Rick deLano and Robert Sungenis

The Principle

A few years ago I was interviewed for this documentary “The Principle” that was to challenge the idea that the Cosmological Principle was wrong. That much I agreed with and still do. The planet Earth is in a special place in the universe, which is not the same thing as being absolutely geocentric.

The documentary includes interviews largely with professional PhD physicists and one a theologian.

I agreed to be interviewed because I believed that this subject needed to be debated and I wanted to present a biblical creationist non-geocentric point of view, which still permits our planet Earth to be in a special place in the universe. That does not mean that it is stationary and that it is in the unique centre of the cosmos. See The Cosmological Principle and geocentrism for my opinion on geocentrism. At the time I agreed to be interviewed, I did know that the producers were geocentrists but they assured me they would present a balanced debate, where all sides were aired. Actually, I wanted to help because, maybe naïvely, I believed it could get a good strike against the cosmological principle dominating paradigm. Continue reading