Rameumptom Ruminations: 029: The Demarcation Problem of Truth Claims

Karl Popper introduced the idea of falsifiability to better understand what constitutes science and what is pseudoscience. In this episode, Scott examines Latter-Day Saint or Mormon truth claims through the lens of falsifiability. How many of the articles of faith can be falsified? What about the items you put on your shelf?

Sources

Popper, K. R. (1959). The logic of scientific discovery. University Press.

Russell, B., & Blackwell, K. (1983). The collected papers of Bertrand Russell. George Allen & Unwin.

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2 Replies to “Rameumptom Ruminations: 029: The Demarcation Problem of Truth Claims”

  1. Hi Scott,

    You asserted that the Book of Mormon is falsifiable.

    However, apologists attempt to make the Book of Mormon unfalsifiable by claiming the Book of Mormon events occurred within an unknown “limited geography” by people with unknown DNA. As such, the people and events cannot be detected, similar to Russell’s teapot orbiting the earth.

    Similarly, apologists attempt to make the Book of Abraham unfalsifiable with the missing scroll theory or the catalyst theory.

    Apologists do not want anything to do with falsifiable claims.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I agree with you. Apologists try and narrow it down in some instances with limited geography and other arguments. I think the reason they want to stick with unfalsifiable claims is that that is the only space left for faith. They’re in a position where they cannot defend a literal reading with evidence in many cases so they retreat to unfalsifiable claims.

      On one hand, there is space for them to make claims like that. Let me frame it this way. I think there are parts of the Book of Mormon that are falsifiable and parts that are not. The parts that are falsifiable shed doubt on the parts that are not falsifiable. We could not prove that Jesus did or did not appear in the Americas, but we can examine steel, horses, and many other things that are presented in the book that do not match up with reality. We could go on and list different aspects of the book and categorize them that way.

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