Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Falsifiability and Processes

Although I harbor countless objections to the Christian superstition, two stand out as being insurmountable and, as far as my potential faith goes, terminal. This article endeavors to lay them out concisely.


I. Christianity makes innumerable claims which cannot be tested, falsified or verified.


Let us consider, for a moment, some of Christianity’s truth-claims. Before proceeding with this list, I readily will admit that some Christians reject certain of these assertions.

A. Jesus was crucified, died and, dozens of hours later, came back to life bodily. After a short stint on Earth, he ascended into Heaven. At least two other specific individuals also were resurrected, according to biblical accounts.

B. Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, experienced parthenogenesis—gave birth without having been fertilized.

C. The Bible attests to both a donkey and a serpent speaking in human tongues, presumably Hebrew or Aramaic.

D. The Bible claims that individuals such as Noah and Adam lived to be older than 900.

E. The Bible relates the story of Noah’s Ark, and every “kind” of animal being represented on the vessel.

F. Christians believe that Heaven or Hell follow corporeal death. According to most Christians, an individual’s memories, character and personality make it to the afterlife. Moreover, most Christians assert a wispy “soul” can feel physical agony in Hell, despite the lack of a physical corpus.

G. Most Christians assert that God is omnipresent and able to keep track of, and observe, all humans at all times. All prayers are heard; all thoughts are known; all deeds are seen—from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica.

Can any of these notions be tested, falsified or verified? I would argue not. The best “evidence” for most of these allegations rests in the Bible—the very textual vessel in which the claims are posited. Certainly, it is circular to think asserting a claim can be that claim’s supporting evidence, as well. I would argue that assertions which cannot be tested, falsified or verified are veridically worthless and not something on which one should waste one’s time. [I am reminded of an orbiting china teapot in outer space and an invisible, levitating, undetectable dragon in a garage.] When hypotheses are immune to disproof, they usually are rubbish.


II. Christianity does not posit processes by which its own fantastical claims could take place.


A phenomenon without a workable process is of very limited usefulness. I suppose the classic example is evolution. Surely, prior to Charles Darwin, some individuals considered the possibility of evolution as an explanation for biodiversity. However, they did not have a viable explanatory process. As such, evolution did not make it from the starting gate. With Darwin, the idea of evolution was given an operative mechanism: natural selection. With that, science leapt a great leap.

What is the process by which Jesus’ resurrection occurred? “God did it” is the Christian equivalent to pre-Darwinian evolutionists. No notion can be taken seriously without a workable process.

What is the process by which the Virgin Mary’s parthenogenesis took place? This is a crucial question, since mammalian parthenogenesis never has been observed in the wild. Scientists agree that a human parthenode, were such a being possible, definitely would be a female.

Through what means did God come to make a serpent and a donkey speak? If a special vocal apparatus was crafted, how did the apparatus work? From whence did its pieces come?

What God-given physiological properties made Noah and Adam enjoy such marvelous longevity? How were those properties installed into their otherwise-normal Homo sapiens sapiens bodies?

Without a process, we are left with precious little. Just as evolution would be worthless without an operative mechanism and explanatory principles, so too is Christianity without a more detailed explanation than “God did it.”

I welcome a viable process for the alleged miracles. I prefer a process which can be tested, in order that falsification and/or verification potentially could be achieved.

4 Comments:

Blogger Tommy said...

Jolly, one of the explanations I heard from fundies about how humans lived longer before the flood was that the air was more oxygenated, and that the flood waters coming down from heaven altered the atmosphere.

Of course, we could test that argument by putting someone in an enriched oxygen environment, preferably a fundie volunteer, and seeing how long it extends his or her life span.

8:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Tommy said...

BTW, I am back in old form again and have a new post up I think you might like!

9:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Aaron Kinney said...

Hey!

You should go to the blogger settings and change it so that your posts show the date and year, not just the day of the week.

Example: July 24, 2007... NOT "Tuesday"

See what I mean? :)

1:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

answers to questions required be not problem rather that being the brains stage of development in its capability of receiving understand on levels that would not tax brain on a level to do damage as harm in any way Such being the love as concern of GOD.... or......... POWER of CREATION..if such being more apt,creation of the universe to provide environment that would sustain human form..within such form the means to unravel all mysterious VIA brain as heart giving understand as to balance emotions ....( GOD ) understand if that balance not KEPT then there be great great problems.... 2 much love in its pure form far more deadly than hate in extreme. The universe is but a drop of the essence of creation having been deluted many many many times... point being direct from > GOD < MORE DEVELOPMENT OF BRAIN AS OPEN HEART BALANCING EMOTIONS THEN GOD MORE REVEILED ...IN MEANTIME IT BE THE WILL OF ALMIGHTY AS ALLAH THAT THESE FEW WORDS REMINDING WITH EACH BREATH..BE GODS PRESENCE....

2:55 PM EDT  

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