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    The Criteria of Falsification


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    The Criteria of Falsification Empty The Criteria of Falsification

    Post  Changer4 on May 15th 2019, 9:08 am

    Not sure if anyone here will be interested in this but I felt the need to jot some thoughts down and here seemed as good a place as any.  

    Just finished watching the first 50 minutes of a debate between William Lane Craig and Jeff Hester on whether Theistic belief is rational in a scientific age.  Hester gives a very strange definition of rationality in this debate.  He claims that for a belief to be rational an individual must have attempted to falsify the belief and failed.  He tries to pair this principle with some genetic fallacies about potential origins for theistic belief such as Tribalism (which would apply just as aptly to atheism, as Craig points out) to show that belief in Theism is irrational.

    One objection to Hester's criterion that Craig never makes, though he probably would have if he had the time, is how many beliefs that people hold which seem perfectly rational and yet do not meet Hester's definition of rationality.  Take George Washington for instance.  Most people who believe that George Washington existed have never devoted any significant amount of time to falsifying that claim but simply trust in the authority of historians, and rightfully so.  If people withheld believe in any proposition that they had not yet attempted to disprove, the amount of beliefs that they could rationally hold would be minuscule.  In fact, it seems irrational to only believe in propositions that one has tried their hardest to disprove, especially since there will always be new ways to attempt to falsify a given proposition.  

    I find this thought important because it seems that Hester's criteria, while not very widespread in contemporary philosophical circles, has leaked out into a lot of the secular side of our popular culture without those who accept it having considered the full implications of the principle.  Don't know if any of you interact regularly with atheists, but if someone tries to pull this card on you, explain to them that they themselves do not follow this principle.  There's no way they could!

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    The Criteria of Falsification Empty Re: The Criteria of Falsification

    Post  Paeter on May 16th 2019, 10:13 am

    Yeah, I haven't heard it stated exactly that way before, but it reminds me of the insistence from some atheists that belief be "certain". Craig totally rejects certainty as a requirement for belief for the same reasons you mentioned. For a belief to be reasonable it merely needs to be more plausible than not.

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