A Further Word On William Lane Craig’s ‘Falsifiable Deity’

One of the arrows in the quiver of apologists is to claim that, just like empirical rationalism, their claims are not just evidence backed, they’re also subject to falsification and objective hypothesis-testing. In a way, they’re actually correct.  Which is to say, they have a knack at putting together valid deductive proofs.   Soundness, however, is another matter; falsifiable validity is nice, ‘n all, but a valid syllogism with unknown (or unknowable) soundness is epistemic null territory.

most of philosophy

Without objective means to winnow ‘metaphysical intuitions’ or  to confirm that such things are at all related to reality in the first place, there is no way to falsify ‘metaphysical soundness’.  And in order to prove or disprove a universal negative, we need evidence. However, since the apologists’ “evidence” consists of presuppositions, we’re left with no real traction for debate or analysis.

If you allow me to assume my own givens and axioms for a logical proof, well then I can “prove” anything, at all. We can even, of course, weasel our way out of contradictions quite easily. Omnipotence, for instance, is inherently self contradictory. There, we get responses like ‘god can do anything, except something illogical’.  Epicurus demonstrated the logical impossibility of a benevolent, personal god with the Problem of Evil,  millennia ago. The answer becomes, “free will means people can do bad things”

But isn’t god omnipotent and omniscient? Surely an omniscient being would know how to set up a reality where we could still have free will but not be able to murder, rape, rob, etc…  each other. An omnipotent being would be able to put that knowledge into practice. And limitation of action does not require limitation of will. For instance, I can have all the desire in the world to flap my wings and fly, but it aint gonna happen. Likewise, in a world with a belevolent, intercessionary, omniscient, omnipotent being, bullets could turn into flower petals the instant that they were fired at people; certain thoughts could be literally ‘unthinkable’; we could suffer wracking, unendurable pain if we had the thought/intent to harm others, etc…

But, okay, if contradiction is to be our falsification metric, then let’s dance.

Axiom 1: Something can not be both A and ¬ A simultaneously
Definition 1: Let “mortal” be defined as “a living being whose life functions must, by necessity, one day cease.”
Definition 2: Let “immortal” be defined as “a living being whose life functions, by necessity,  may never cease.”
Given 1: Jesus existed.

Premise 1: Jesus was wholly man.
Premise 2: All men are mortal.
Premise 3: Jesus was mortal.
Premise 4: Jesus was wholly god.
Premise 5: god is immortal.
Premise 6: Jesus was immortal.
∴ Jesus was both immortal and mortal

However, by Axiom 1, we see that this is logically impossible. Therefore Jesus-as-savior is falsified, as well.

… right, apologists?


P.S. I assume that the dodge for the above proof is that Jesus’ body was mortal but his ‘soul’ was not. Of course, this requires us to presuppose an untestable, unfalsifiable, undefinable soul, but themz the breaks.


2 thoughts on “A Further Word On William Lane Craig’s ‘Falsifiable Deity’

  1. Completely agree with you about validity versus soundness. The average person has never even given a moment’s thought to such basics of logical argument, and can therefore be convinced by valid-but-unsound argumentation far too easily.

    Also, you might be interested to know that WLC attempts to tackle the question of a good world with free will in the Reasonable Faith website’s Q&A section, this week. I don’t find it very convincing, but– to be fair– I haven’t yet read the chapter in “Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview” to which he references.

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