HideShow resource information


This addresses the question of when is a statement scientific as opposed to any other type of statement?

John Hick says "in order to say something which may be true we must say something which may possibly be false"

Popper gave an example of Einstein's theory of gravoty and astrology. Popper argued that Einstein's theory was scientific as it was potentially falsifiable (its truth or falseness could be tested with empirical observations of the universe). Astrology was labeled as meaningless as it was unscientific. There is no testability in their theory and their predictions are vague. Falsification was a way to demarcate scientific statements from other kinds of statements. Demarcate meant set scientific statements that are supported by empirical evidence apart from scientific ones.

Popper-conjectures and refutations:growth of scientific knowledge. Falsification raises the question when applied to religion about the nature of the claims religious people make. If someone says God loves me the question is if this statement is scientific or not. If the religious claims are scientific then it must be possible that relgious claims conflict with sense observation and thus are meaningless.

Falsification was discussed by Flew,Hare and Mitchell in an artical (Theology and falsification:a symposium in 1955) The artical presents analysis of falsification and its relationship to religious belief claims and introduces three parables.

1) The explorers in the jungle- 2 explorers find a clearing where there are flowers and weeds growing. One suggests there must be a gardener but the other says there is not a gardener. They try and find this mysterious gardener with dogs and electric fenses but none is ever detected. Then the explorergoes on to say that the gardener must be invinsible intangible and insensible and never make a noise or a scent. The other explorer questions what remains of the original assertion. With a gardener having these traits what differs it from an imaginary gardener and no gardener at all? This example was inspired by a similar story by John Wisdom abiut a gardener what his story was to show that a religious language can make reasonable statements.

Flew said religious people act in the same way as the explorer does. God loves people even if diaster happens. Yet people still believe in an all loving god. No experience seems to falsify a religious beleiver's faith. So God talk to Flew is meaningless as it is flasifiable, in like manner to the eternally elusive gardener in his analogy.Flew also stated that God died a death of a thousand qualifications which meant religious beliefs are challenges about the exisatence of God or god's nature, so their response os to modify their claims about God when…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »