Sunday, October 20, 2019

Is it Falsifiable?

What is science? This is a question that scientists, philosophers, and others have discussed with no definitive conclusion. Common definitions of science require that a scientific idea be testable, falsifiable, and predictive. Many of the definitions of science are developed in order to distinguish science from pseudoscience. Pseudoscientific ideas are those that may appear to be scientific but fail some of the basic requirements of a scientific theory. They may be unfalsifiable, their proponents may consider only data that supports the theory and none that contradicts it, others may not be able to reproduce any of the results that might confirm the idea, or other such problems.

Although the claims of Christianity are not scientific claims, per se, the same tests that are used to help confirm the truth of a scientific theory can be applied to religious claims. Over the last several blog posts I have shown that the claims of Christianity can be scrutinized using some of these same criteria used to test a scientific theory and can be shown to have validity. For instance, the claims of Christianity do have external confirmation, can deal with counter-arguments, and are logically self consistent. In this blog post we address the seventh of eight criteria used to assess the truth of any particular hypothesis: "Can the hypothesis be falsified or confirmed with other data?"

As the cosmologist Sean Carroll has pointed out, most scientific theories have aspects of them that are falsifiable and aspects that are not. Some aspects may not be falsifiable with current technology, though they can be falsified in principle. In general, though the criteria of falsifiability is useful in helping to distinguish between science and pseudoscience and to determine if an idea seems to have objective supporting evidence.

The criteria of falsifiability and confirmation can certainly be applied to Christian beliefs, which continues to support the claim that Christianity is an objective belief system. Much of the relevant information regarding falsifiability and confirmation has already been discussed in this series. In a previous blog post I have discussed the importance of the resurrection of Jesus in regards to the truth of Christianity. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then Christianity is false, Jesus is not God, and any trust in him is misguided.

Christianity is absolutely falsifiable. Simply show that Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. As stated in the previous blog post, however, many of those who have undertaken the challenge to disprove the resurrection and have honestly investigated the factual evidence, have eventually changed their mind and become Christians themselves. For anyone who considers the historical evidence with the mindset that they are willing to follow the evidence where it leads, including the possibility that there is more to reality than simply the natural world, I believe the evidence for the resurrection is compelling and overwhelming. That is why so many initial skeptics are now followers of Jesus. When the evidence for the resurrection is confronted and the skeptic realizes that it points to an actual physical resurrection, the only logical conclusion is to become a follower of Jesus for the claims of Jesus are then completely validated, including his claims of deity and his claim of being the only way to have a relationship with God.

Not only can Christianity be falsified, but as also stated in a previous blog post it can be substantially externally confirmed through archeological evidence. Though not every detail can be substantiated, the overall trustworthiness of the historical accounts has been verified through the many archeological finds that validate people, places, and events described in the Bible.

Christian beliefs are not based on blind faith. They are grounded in the same kind of objective evidence required to scrutinize the validity of any truth claim. In the next blog post we will look at the final question asked in regards to testing the validity of a hypothesis: "Are there other possible explanations that are more feasible?"


  1. A question I keep asking Atheists/Materialists is "But What If (mere) Christianity Is True? I'm not Saying It is, I'm Just Asking A What If Question." Maybe "Life's a bitch and then you die" really IS reality. Of course that leads us to some other disturbing questions....Why not Rob Kill, do whatever you want that you can get away with? Is just one question. Questions are Very Dangerous Things, They Can lead You to Some Unexpected Places.

  2. Karl Popper proposed in his Correspondence Theory that the central elememnt establishing the truth of a statement or claim is the degree to which it is consistent with observations of the real world. Would your arguments comport with Popper's philosophical stance.

    1. Can QM be falsified and does it meet the previous criteria for verified truth? The book Taking the Quantum Leap by Fred Wolf (possibly a colleague of yours over time) extends QM interpretation of reality to include Free Will vs Determinism.

    2. Yes, QM is falsifiable and has been verified. There are still parts of it that are not completely understood as in almost any scientific theory. Some have tried to use QM to explain free will, but most of the speculations about the philosophical and spiritual extensions to QM are speculation in my opinion and unverifiable.

  3. The philosophical and spiritual speculations tend toward Buddism and have no rational basis in my view. However many writers would say that the act of observation direct or indirect by a human Observer has an impact on the measurement observation perhaps reducing the concatenation of states to a preferred one...that observed. It's all very interesting tho apparently affecting only the subatomic world.