Apply the scientific method to other disciplines

The Church of England's Director of Mission an Public Affairs, Malcolm Brown, has recently made the following statement on the church's website.

"Darwin was, in many ways, a model of good scientific method. He observed the world around him, developed a theory which sought to explain what he saw, and then set about a long and painstaking process of gathering evidence that would either bear out, contradict, or modify his theory. As a result, our understanding of the world is expanded, but the scientific process continues. In science, hypotheses are meant to be constantly tested. Subsequent generations have built on Darwin’s work but have not significantly undermined his fundamental theory of natural selection."

The scientific method is in fact a bit of a misnomer. It could easily be the "hisotrians' method", assuming the historians in question did their job properly. Or the "archaeological method". Or the "engineers' method". Or the "cacti cultivation method"

The scientific method is the process by which theories are generated from the facts and by which predictions are made that are compared to facts discovered in the future. The process of finding these 'future facts' is experimentation.

If you think that historians don't do experiments then you are wrong. They do! But even they might be unaware of it. A concept in history is a prediction: 'given the evidence that I have I think that what happened was...'. The acquisition of new facts, after the prediction has been made, is an experiment. You are testing whether your prediction stands up to this new found knowledge.

So any discipline that generates empirical facts, and evidence based theories uses the scientific method. The writing of literature does not. Art does not. They may comment on them, but they do not generate them.

Religious scholarship can, and should, be part of this scientific method. Predictions can be made about biblical texts: 'if this flood happened we should expect flood debris over this part of the Earth, let's look'. When religious scholarship is done properly it undermines the authenticity of any religion it has so far covered.