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What criteria could be used to verify the validity of a theory?

By       Message Ardiana Bani Cohn       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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One of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century, Karl Popper, seems to be contradicting himself with his theory of falsification. His favouritism toward deductive conclusion of a theory (arriving at conclusions based on logical analyzing of facts) versus inductive reasoning (arriving at conclusions based on patterns and events that repeat themselves) seems to make sense, yet he has been the center of critique for long time now.  I believe I understood the problem with Popper's method of computing verisimilitude.

When he stated that "we can say that t2 is more closely similar to the truth, or corresponds better to the facts, than t1 , if and only if either:

(a) the truth-content but not the falsity-content of t2 exceeds that of t1, or

(b) the falsity-content of t1, but not its truth-content, exceeds that of t2"

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Popper was not taking into consideration the quality of arguments (truths- content and falsity-content). He is contradicting himself by concentrating on the quantity of how many truths and how many wrongs does theory t2 have compared to theory t1. But life has proven many times to us that one and only one wrong deduction based on falsity-content of theory t2 could be more important and have a great weight into proving that this theory t2 is closer to the truth. For example, I have a theory: I believe Jesus played a very important role in human's history and therefore Jesus is an historical. Until here my theory is proved true, based on Popper's criteria, because many stories told about Jesus approve this. However, I don't believe Jesus was divine and I don't believe he was a man either. I believe Jesus was a woman.


The amount of documents used to prove that Jesus was a man and in some cases these documents try to justify the hypothesis that he was even the son of God is an enormous one, as we all know. But all this vast amount of documents cannot be considered historically correct as they are written by people who already believed that he was the son of God and was a man, without any proof as they did not witness any of the events that they describe in these stories.   None of what has been considered "historical document" by Christians is written by people who actually lived in the same period as Jesus. The closest truly historical document that we have so far is one of the writings of Josephus in 70 C.E. Who was Josephus? Josephus was a historian that was paid by the Roman general Vespasian to write about the events of that time by appointing him the court historian. This document is the closest in time to the actual events compared to all other historical documents written about Jesus. It is also a document that we can count on since many other historical events are also based on Josephus' writings. Reading Mr. Ehrman's book "Jesus -- Apocalyptic Prophet of the new Millennium" I understood that this account of Josephus about Jesus (even though it is just a short passage) has perplexed historians and scholars for the simple reason that Josephus remained a devoted Jew all his life yet he mentioned in one of his writings that Jesus was the messiah. Above all, in the first sentence of this passage Josephus gives a hint that Jesus was not a man. This sentence is translated as follows " At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man." Unfortunately, the document is cut off, torn apart right after these words. Christians use this sentence in their favor assuming that Josephus is accepting Jesus to be more than a man, therefore accepting Jesus to be the Son of God. But then historians are contradicting this conclusion by mentioning the simple fact that Josephus never changed his belief. He never became a Christian. If Josephus wrote that sentence believing that Jesus was divine then he would have embraced Christianity, but as we know it, he didn't.

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If Josephus, the closest historian to Jesus' time, accepted somehow that was the messiah, but indeed must not have been a man, and yet he remained a devoted Jew, what does this tell us? This tells us that Josephus continued to respect the teachings of his forefathers who believed that the messiah that will come one day will be a human (not divine) that will impact humans' lives tremendously. Now, the next contradiction on Josephus account is that if Josephus completely believed that Jesus was the messiah, was human, was a man, and impacted the lives of those who have heard and followed him then what stopped Josephus from writing more than just a passage about this messiah that his forefathers had been talking about and Jews had been waiting for so long? The only logical conclusion remained to accept in this case is the fact that Josephus himself mentioned in the passage "if indeed one should call him a man."   We could have learned more about Josephus' point of view regarding this messiah that he has doubts calling a man, but unfortunately the document is torn and damaged badly, leaving us with just one passage long enough to create doubts that he is in fact accepting that Jesus must not have been a man but the son of God Himself. Too bad that life plays these jokes sometimes. Or is it life?   Who could have been so interested in using just this part of this historical document, and only this part?


I would continue and bring a few more facts that prove (from my point of view) that Jesus was human and furthermore was a woman, but my facts will never overcome those of Christians written over the centuries to convince others that Jesus was a man or was the son of God (or both).   Therefore, I am closing this article by emphasizing that we should never look at the amount of facts to prove that one theory is right and another one is wrong. Our only focus must be the logical conclusion behind the facts and try to free ourselves from the strings of past and also wrong beliefs sometimes.  


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Ardiana Bani Cohn, author, life coach, and a college instructor. Teaching math and science for 22 years, continuisly reading and taking courses in psychology, philosophy and metaphysics all these created the ground for discovering laws of living, (more...)

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