I first heard about Karl Popper in 2005 when I went to see the Dalai Lama in Chicago. The DL talked about Popper’s work against totalitarianism. Popper was a science professor at the London School of Economics, and arguably, one of the fathers of modern scientific methodology.
Popper created the concept of falsifiability, the scientific rule that a theory cannot be considered a scientific theory if it does not contain within it the conditions under which it can be proven false. An example of a theory that is falsifiable is a theory that all squirrels are gray. Observing a few gray squirrels proves nothing, but if one could observe a squirrel that is not gray, he would be able to prove the theory false, so it is falsifiable (no matter that the theory is really false because there are black and red squirrels too and they can be observed in western Illinois).
The difference between scientific theory and non-scientific theory is important to science because laws of science are created by inductive reasoning using rules of logic and deductive reasoning using rules of mathematics. Using inductive reasoning, moving from a series of true instances to a generalized rule, and unless the theory can be falsified, the logic would be faulty. If you could never observe a non-gray squirrel in the world, you could never reach the conclusion that all squirrels are gray by observing all of them.
Scripture is not a science because its theories are not falsifiable. Simply stating that DNA is so awe inspiring that it could not have assembled by chance fails to take into account governing laws of biology, evolution, physics and chemistry, and of course, chance, pure luck. So it does not prove anything because there is no method to prove it false. The God or some spiritual higher being they claim created life in this world cannot be proven or disproven by observation in this world. Faith is not proof of anything. It only means you’ve surrendered to belief. Scripture is not proof of anything. It only means some men wrote down some stories that fit their agenda. It’s possible that one day any popular novel could be twisted into the basis for a religion. Maybe one day Harry Potter or Star Wars will be the basis of some religion that people will use to torture each other with.
The Dalai Lama and I part company when he talks about spirituality, but I agree with his journey into science, and I agree with him when he says we need to study more than just the…