Critically Assess the Falsification Debate

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Critically asses the falsification debate The falsification debate, also known as the ‘university debate’ arises when Philosopher Antony Flew relates Karl Poppers original criticism of the verification principle to religious language. Popper proposes that the verification principle is based upon an assumption that the Vienna Circle had made, the assumption being that a statement is meaningless if it could not be verified. Yet, Popper contradicts the beliefs of the Vienna Circle as he states; what makes good science is, knowing the method of falsification, having the ability to prove it false is good science and bad science would therefore be seeking verification. This is because we may be bias and seeking verification could cause us to ignore any anomalies as we thrive for it to succeed. Flew then takes Poppers criticism and applies it to religious language during the delivery of his paper on ‘Theology and Falsification’ in the University Debate. Flew starts with reference to Wisdom’s Parable of the Gardener by which he comes to the conclusion, that there is no difference in an invisible, soundless, and intangible gardener to there being no gardener at all. The gardener in this context represents God and the language used regarding religion. He comes to this conclusion as he states the believer will not accept there being no gardener as the believer will continue to qualify his belief for example, if you could not see the gardener “He is invisible”, if you fail to hear the gardener “He is soundless”. Flew believes that the gardener (or God) “dies a death of a thousand qualifications” this can be interpreted as the belief being reduced from the original until there is nothing there to believe anymore because the believer keeps qualifying and qualifying. For example, if a mother has a sick child she will pray for God to cure the child as he is omnipotent, if later
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