In today’s world we often hear statements like “science disproves creation” or “science proves evolution.” Whenever we hear such claims, the first thing we should ask is “What do you mean by science?”

The word science comes from the Latin scientia, which means “knowledge.” When most people think of the word science, they tend to equate it with technology, yet secularists also equate the word science with molecules-to-man evolution and millions of years.

To help sort out the confusion, there needs to be an understanding that we can divide science into two categories:

1. Operational (or Observational) Science. This refers to knowledge gained by direct observation (using the five senses) and based on repeatable testing. Such “science” (knowledge) has enabled scientists to build our modern technology like airplanes and rocket ships. Whether one is a creationist or evolutionist, we all use the same operational science. Thus, both evolutionists and creationists can be honored for their observational science.

2. Historical Science. This refers to knowledge about the past—in essence, history. This type of science cannot be observed directly or based on repeated testing, so we need other ways of finding knowledge. The Genesis account of origins gives us knowledge about the past, revealed by an infallible witness—God. Those who believe in Darwinian evolution claim to have knowledge concerning the past, too, but it is based upon the beliefs of fallible humans who did not witness the supposed evolutionary history. Genesis is the true account of historical science, whereas evolution is really a fictional historical science.

Thus, the battle between creation and evolution (the Genesis account versus man’s account of origins) is really a battle over historical science. The role of operational (or observational science) is that it can be used to confirm or refute one’s historical science.

Observational science (in geology, biology, astronomy, anthropology, etc.) confirms the account of origins in Genesis and refutes the evolutionary account. (Many of these confirmations are available on our website, www.answersingenesis.org.)

The problem is not with the science but with the mistaken interpretation of unobserved history.

When listening to arguments that supposedly support evolution, you have to learn how to separate observational science and historical science. Here is one example to get you thinking in this way. If you see a claim that sedimentary rock strata containing fossils are millions of years old, then you need to sort out what is observational versus historical science. The statement that rocks are sedimentary rocks is one of observational science. Both creationists and evolutionists agree on what is directly observed.

But the claim that the rocks are millions of years old falls under historical science. It is not observed but rather an interpretation regarding the past. Biblical creationists would not agree with this interpretation but instead interpret the fossils as a deposit from the Flood of Noah’s day or some post-Flood catastrophe that occurred only thousands of years ago.

Thus, observational science cannot disprove the Bible. We agree on the observational science but totally disagree on the historical science. The problem is not with the operational science but with the mistaken interpretation of unobserved history.

Ken Ham, a former public school science teacher, is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis–USA. He has edited and authored many books about the authority of God’s Word and the impact of evolutionary thinking on our culture, including the recent best seller, Already Gone.

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