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experimental vs 'historical' science - does this dichotomy really exist

I've heard it said that the only 'real' science is experiment-based - things like palaeontology, astronomy & so on can't get it right because they are 'observational', looking back into the past, & so can't generate repeatable data. It's usually said as the preface to special pleading for some sort of supernatural influence on the world.

Now Ken has a great post on this rather pointless distinction, over at Open Parachute.

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