‘The falsification principle offers no real challenge to religious belief.’ Discuss. 35
The falsification principle was developed by Karl Popper as a way around the problems
that were caused by the previous verification principle. One of the major problems of the
verification principle was that it could not be applied to everyday statements and could not
verify any event that had taken place in history. On the other hand of this, the falsification
principle is not about meaning but is more concerned with the scientific facts of the
statement. The falsification principle claims that statements are only scientific if an
example is given to disprove any claims of the statement. For example ‘it is raining outside’
can be falsified because it could be raining or it could not be raining. Therefore the
falsification principle states that the problem with religious statements is that is no way that
they can ever be proven false, even though there may be empirical evidence against it.
Anthony Flew claims this to be ‘death by a thousand qualifications’. What Flew means by
this is that no matter what the claim against religion is, the believer will always respond
with a counter argument. Therefore a believers claim about God, according to the
falsification principle, can only be meaningful if there is evidence that can count against it.
An example of this would be the statement ‘God id good’ can only be meaningful if there is
the possibility that the opposite can also be true. Only by accepting that God is possibly
responsible evil and suffering that the statement ‘God is good’ has any meaning.
Flew further developed the falsification principle by creating an analogy of the gardener.
The story goes that two men come across a clearing in a wood. The clearing looked to be
maintained, so one of the men believed that there was a gardener that looked after the
clearing. After saying out at night and setting traps and blood hounds, there was no...