Falsifiability is my “Savior”

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

I am reading John W. Loftus’ new book, “How to Defend the Christian Faith; Advice from an Atheist” (and enjoying it). I had to chuckle at the following in Chapter 2, where Loftus writes:

English: Flying Spaghetti Monster and a pirate...
English: Flying Spaghetti Monster and a pirate at Dragon Con 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“There are two areas that are not up for debate, as far as I’m concerned. The first area concerns philosophical arguments that purport to show god exists. They are all such a failure that even discussing them is boring to me. That’s right, they’re boring because they’ve been reformulated and then defeated so many times by smarter people than I am that they’re no longer worth bothering anymore. I know my readers may still disagree, but I cannot take them seriously anymore.”

And, sure enough, Loftus ignores all the existence arguments. But, it occurred to me that Christians themselves provide another very interesting way to deal with the existence problem when they make so much of the fact that atheists can’t prove that god DOESN’T exist. If you’ve debated the existence question with a believer, you can count on him coming up with this objection once you’ve shown him how improbable his god is.

He is right, of course, but consider all the absurdities you get when you open that door to things you can’t prove.

(1) I have also been reading “681 Reasons Christianity is False” at www.kyroot.com. In point number 313, the author writes, “There exists a solution to satisfy both the people who claim that the universe had to have had a creator and the people who claim that there is no evidence of a supernatural force in the universe as follows: God set off the Big Bang, but the force of the explosion overwhelmed him and he died, similar to a bomb maker whose device prematurely explodes in his face.”

(2) Actually, I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster created Bible-god. There’s nothing in the Bible about this, of course, because Bible-god wanted to take all the credit for creation.

(3) Actually, the Devil created the universe when god was looking the other way. This explains why there is so much human suffering in the world and why the universe is so incredibly hostile to man. Think of all those natural disasters and poisonous plants and creatures which threaten man, microorganisms which can sicken and kill us, birth defects, cancer, and the fact that, as far as we know, this tiny planet is the only place in the universe man can survive, and then only on the 29% that is dry land.

(4) Actually, my god Joe is the real god behind it all (see http://new.exchristian.net/2012/11/my-god-joe.html ) Joe created the universe in seven days, created man and woman, created hell, dictated the Bible and all the rest. “But Joe also created an angel to talk to Mohammed, and led Joseph Smith to those golden plates. You see, whatever is claimed by any prophet of any god, Joe actually is responsible. That is, even if you could prove something, anything, said about Bible-god in the Bible was true, Joe could still be the real god.”

Consider all the absurdities you get when you open that door to things you can’t proveAnd so on. The possibilities are virtually endless. And every one of these hypotheses suffers from the same defect that the Christian pointed out: they cannot be proven false. That is, they are not falsifiable. A hypothesis is falsifiable only if it is capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation. Further, a proposition or hypothesis is not falsifiable if it makes no predictions that can actually be tested.

Ultimately, as illustrated above, any hypothesis which is not falsifiable is useless - and not worth believing - since it can be multiplied endlessly with absurd permutations or additional properties, all of which are also not falsifiable.

And, it becomes technically impossible to say that any of these propositions are any more or less likely than another. Consider, is it more probable that leprechauns are less than 6 inches tall, or that they all wear hats? Obviously, no probabilities can be assigned to this problem because leprechauns are not falsifiable to begin with. It is highly improbable that they exist, of course, but it’s still remotely possible that we’ve just been looking in all the wrong places to find them.

Now, the one way to falsify the proposition that god does not exist is to prove that god does exist. So, since Christians assure us that we can’t prove, can’t falsify, that god doesn’t exist, then they are accepting, by default, that god’s existence can’t be proven.

So, as Christians have correctly intuited, the propositions “god does not exist” and “god exists” are not falsifiable. Therefore the existence problem is not really worth bothering with, as Loftus states. Thus, I have decided to accept the falsifiability concept as my “savior” as it saves me from wasting my hopes, fears, time, and resources on all useless, unprovable god concepts.


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