Falsification Principle

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  • Falsification Principle
    • Anthony Flew
      • statement = meaningful if empirical evidence goes against it
      • bc relig believers won't accept "God isn't loving"
        • all relig lang = MEANINGLESS
      • any theory that can't be disproved is not valid at alll
      • "In order to say smth which may be true, we must say smth which may be false" - Hick
      • R.L can't be falsified bc relig believer "staunch" in his position
      • ANALOGY - gardener
        • clearing - gardener responsible
        • despite lacking evidence, believer adjust hypothesis, suit new lack evidence
        • relig believer claims so watered down, barely statements at all
          • God is mysterious
          • "death of a thousand qualifications"
    • influenced by
      • Anthony Flew
        • statement = meaningful if empirical evidence goes against it
        • bc relig believers won't accept "God isn't loving"
          • all relig lang = MEANINGLESS
        • any theory that can't be disproved is not valid at alll
        • "In order to say smth which may be true, we must say smth which may be false" - Hick
        • R.L can't be falsified bc relig believer "staunch" in his position
        • ANALOGY - gardener
          • clearing - gardener responsible
          • despite lacking evidence, believer adjust hypothesis, suit new lack evidence
          • relig believer claims so watered down, barely statements at all
            • God is mysterious
            • "death of a thousand qualifications"
      • Karl Popper
        • science based falsification not verification
          • test hypothesis
        • if hypothesis false; statement = meaningful
    • statement only meaningful if smth falsify statement actually occurs
      • doesn't mean statement factually incorrect - meaningful is mechanism exists to show factually incorrect
      • R.L lacks mechanism - can't falsify relig statement bc don't have ability to check
    • Problems
      • Swinburne
        • relig statement not cognitive (logical)
        • statement can meaningful without means to falsify
        • E.g. toys come to life
          • understand/ can imagine this suggestion although never gather evidence to falisfy
      • Braithwaite
        • R.L. = non-cognitive
        • symbolic language
        • no need believe story is true - need change behaviour
      • Mitchell
        • accept statement as meaningful simply on trust
        • although evidence against beliefs
          • continue to trust bc evidence not sufficient to prove false
        • prior faith maintains trust even if evidence undermines trust
      • Hare
        • R.L. cannot make factual claims
          • can influence way ppl view world
        • E.g. teachers trying to kill student, belief still meaningful even in face of evidence to the contrary
          • relig believers = "BILKS" (religious world view)
    • Conclusions
      • VP + FP not only ways assess RL
      • RL = symbolic, diff everyday lang
      • VP + FP not relevant challenges to RL bc nature RL diff from VP + FP

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