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  • Falsification
    • General Points
      • Antony Flew
        • Propositions are only meaningful if they can be falsified
        • Religious Language is meaningless
          • Because you cannot falsify the statement 'God exists' - a religious believer will never say evidence disproves God
        • Parable of the gardener - two men approach a clearing in a jungle (flowers and weeds)
          • Beliver = gardener, non-believer = no gardener
            • Set up electric fences and send out dogs to find if 'gardener' exists
              • No sign of gardener but believer refuses to give up his belief
                • FLew thinks that theists ignore - evil & suffering in the world/'bad' desgin/explanations for apparent 'desgin' e.g. evolution
      • Popper
        • Thinks verification principle is flawed
          • Because logically speaking, a hypothesis can never be conculsively verified
            • e.g. no scientific 'law' is a law - we can only believe that metals expand when heated because all the ones tested up to now have done so (Induction - Hume)
            • Therefore, instead of using the Vp we should use the FP
      • FP = A statement is only meaningfulif i know how the statement can be falsified
        • e.g. 'All swans are white' is meaningful (and false) because we know what evidence is required to prove it false (find a black swan)
    • Responses
      • RM Hare
        • Non-cognitively meaningful
        • We all have beliefs which are unverifiable & unfalsifiable - but they still have meaning
          • e.g. reading horoscopes/3 drains/walking under ladders
          • This is called a Blik (a belief i cannot falsify but affects the way i live)
            • A Christian's Blik could inlude GOd as Creator and the whole world is seen with this idea in mind - bliks are a set of values not fact therefore not falsifiable
              • Flew - Christianity is not a Blik - it is amajor organised religion - by calling it a blik implies it is irrational
      • Basil Mitchell
        • Cognitive (and therefore meaningful)
          • Religious statements are falsifiable. Christianity is not just a matter of blind faith
        • Parable of the Partisan - you arefighting in a war and a guy in enemy clothes tells you he is on your side but gaining intelligence by posing as the enemy
          • Can't tell what side he's on
          • Flew - A theist will never tell you what it would take (how much evil) for them to give up their belief
            • 'Religious statements die the death of a thousand qualifications'
      • Hick
        • Escatological verification (after death)
          • hen you die your belief in God will be verified or falsified (religious language = meaningful)
        • Falsification Principle is itself not falsifiable
          • Cannot demonstrate how the FP might not be true – by its own criteria it is meaningless
            • Does this mean the FP shows religious language is meaningless?
              • No, because even though you cannot falsify religious statement, they are still meaningful as it affects the way believers live (non-cognitively meaningful)


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