Falsifiability and Scientific Reasoning: Question

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by caddy, May 29, 2008.

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  1. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Question as to how you would answer the following question:

    In your opinion, it it true that:
    "belief in the supernatural = non-belief in the supernatural"
    "falsifiable = non-falsifiable"
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  2. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Shameless bump
  3. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    I don't understand the question, to be honest. :confused:
  4. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    You may have phased it a bit awkwardly.

    A beekeeping friend of mine, Dr. Adrian Wenner disproved the dance language theory that Karl von Frisch got the Nobel Prize for in 1973. In his book about it he pointed out that in science the only true test of an hypothesis is to try to disprove it. So you can set up a million experiments which all show physical laws not being broken, and come up with a respected theory that there is no supernatural.

    So you could say that the belief in the supernatural is falsifiable. The problem with your wording is that non belief in the supernatural is non falsifiable is just saying the same thing.

    Another things to keep in mind is the difficulty in proving a negative, so I would imagine that it would remain a theory instead of a law, but I'm no expert on scientific philosophy. And of course for me the belief in the supernatural is an act of faith, I don't feel the need to defend it scientifically, nor would any number of experiments change my belief.
  5. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Actually Tim, I just printed it straight as the question came to me. Thanks for you input.
  6. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    People believe in the super natural because they see evidence in the natural world that points toward the super natural. These would be the existence of a finite, dependent universe subject to the law of causality; The existence of a moral standard that is ingrained in all human beings, that causes us to view things as 'evil' and 'righteous', and many other things that demand the super natural for their explanation. If these arguments can be refuted then in a way belief in the supernatural is falsifiable and thus potentially true.

    I say it can be 'in a way' falsified, because some of us have encountered God. That cannot be falsified. Therefor even if scientists and philosophers could deal with arguments for the existence of the super natural, we would remain convinced 'super naturalists'.

    Also I think that the falsification principle is applied wrong since it was only meant to deal with empirical questions and not metaphysical questions. There are many things that are meaningful that cannot be falsified, such as the statement, "Only statements that are falsifiable can be meaningful". Is that a falsifiable statement? :confused:

    This type of argument stems from logical positivism, which says that only that which can be verified with the senses can be meaningful or true. But that statement itself cannot be verified with the senses, and therefor is false. So while they are claiming 'empiricism', the core tenets of this empiricism are not 'empirical', in other words, they have non falsifiable beliefs that lead them to the place that says non falsifiable beliefs are rubbish. A bit inconsistent.

    We have some philosophy buffs lurking here on the board(hem hem Christian Trader) who would be able to refute logical positivism and answer this question much better then I did, but I hope this helps some.
  7. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Gordon Clark wrote an entire book defending the validity of language and refuting ungodly philosophical systems such as Logical Positivism. It's called "Language and Truth." :up:
  8. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Not finding this anywhere. What bookstore sells it?
  9. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    DO yo mean
    Language and Theology (ISBN 0-940931-90-7) ??
  10. Vytautas

    Vytautas Puritan Board Freshman

  11. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks Richard
  12. knowntoGod

    knowntoGod Inactive User


    I still don't get the question.
  13. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Hey Bruce

    Check your PM. I see that you are a Biology teacher.
  14. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Well, I don't also. It seems to me to all hang on what is meant by "falsifiable". Anybody have a precise meaning for it?
  15. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Sorry, that's the one!
  16. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Hey JohnV

    Here's the definition.

    Falsifiability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I have had long discussions over a long period of time with an individual. This was simply one of his questions. I'm sure it would help if you had context. Here's the thread:

    AcuraZine Community

    Not even sure if you can see it. On Page 2 or 3 of the 3 pages, I think he asks the question.

    Edit: You have to be a member of the Acura forum to even see this thread JohnV
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  17. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thanks, Caddy. That helps a bit. It put into words what I suspected to be the case. I would suppose, then, that non-falsifiable would be the direct opposite, as in non-testable.

    If we take that one term used in the definition, namely "testability", and exchange that with "falsifiable", as used in your first post, then you get:

    "testability = non-testability"

    See what I mean?

    I see the same kind of thing going on with the meaning of "faithfulness". Is it proper to say that faithfulness to, say for example, the Roman Catholic system is faithfulness to God and to His Word? In the same way, as faithfulness is often equated with unfaithfulness, and, as in this case and too often is the case in our own speach, that unfaithfulness becomes the positive "testability" factor for faithfulness, is it not possible to also apply this same sort of approach to "falsifiability"? Thus, falsifiable becomes equal to non-falsifiable.
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