So, let us give a working definition of science as it should be (recognising that we will often fall short):
science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:
a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical -- real-world, on the ground -- observations and measurements,
b: inference to best current -- thus, always provisional -- abductive explanation of the observed facts,
c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],
d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,
e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, "the informed" is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)
As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.
So, since we simply were not here to see the deep past, we are compelled to reconstruct it on more or less plausible models driven by inference to best explanation. This means that our results and findings are even more provisional than are those of operational science, where we can directly cross check models against observation. That further means that origins science findings are inherently more prone to controversy and debate than more conventional theories in science.
But, then, that also means that origins science studies is a particularly good context for equipping us with the skills of thinking for ourselves, and for developing and presenting results and proposals for acting on the basis of such thinking for ourselves.
Extending this, Aristarchos [[~ 310 – 230 BC] used the fact that when the moon is exactly half-illuminated, it is at right angles to the sun, and so by observing the angle between the two in the sky, he estimated the relative distances and sizes. However, his measured angle was about 20 times too big: 3 degrees, so he thought the sun was ~ 20 times the moon's distance and diameter (instead of ~ 400), but that meant it was much bigger than the moon or the earth, and he proposed a heliocentric theory of the solar system. However, such a view did not fit well with the philosophy and the “common sense” of the time, which both seemed to supported the idea that the rest of the universe moved around the earth. (A systematic, biasing error in his method – in addition to the usual random errors that cause scatter with multiple observations -- is that depending on where an object is in the sky, its real direction is distorted by refraction at different angles through the atmosphere. Astronomers now routinely adjust for this.)
Moreover, in both of his major scientific works, he highlighted that inferring to “the counsel” of an “an intelligent Agent” [[Opticks, Query 31] or “an intelligent and powerful Being” [[Principia, General Scholium] as the source and foundation of the cosmos has significant moral implication, as does the opposite view: holding that the complex, organised world is the product of “a Chaos” of chance circumstances and forces/laws of mechanical necessity.
In that context, he saw that it is not only legitimate but important to address worldview foundation issues (which are freighted with implications for how we govern ourselves and develop our civilisation) in the context of addressing origins on the evidence of science.
In short, we have most excellent precedent for an integrated overview of origins science and associated issues!
- explore, observe and accurately describe or measure facts or quantities, or
- explain observed patterns and test the reliability of such models, or
- use the ability to predict to influence or control the way a situation plays out