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[Synoptic-L] Is Q a Juggernaut?

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Andrew Smith wrote - ... Andrew, I think the following definition of falsifiable might be used in this context - ... You suggest that (1) digging up Q and
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 21, 1999
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      Andrew Smith wrote -
      >>
      >>What is the way in which we can know that the Farrer Hypothesis is
      >>true or not, but in which we cannot know that the Three Source
      >>Hypothesis is true or not?...
      >
      >Digging up Q wouldn't falsify the FH in itself, but digging up Q and
      >showing that Luke and/or Matthew have used it as a source WOULD
      >falsify the FH.
      >
      Andrew,
      I think the following definition of "falsifiable" might be used
      in this context -
      >
      >"An hypothesis is falsifiable if there exists a logically possible
      >observation statement or set of observation statements that are
      >inconsistent with it, that is, which, if established as true, would
      >falsify the hypothesis." (A. F. Chalmers, "What is this thing called
      >Science?" -- Milton Keynes, 1978 -- page 37.)
      >
      You suggest that (1) "digging up Q" and (2) "showing that Luke and/or
      Matthew have used Q", would together falsify the FH. It seems to me,
      however, that (1) is unnecessary since (2) would be sufficient. So I
      propose to leave (1) on one side for the moment.

      In the case of (2), the problem is that this is not "a logically
      possible **observation** statement or set of **observation**
      statements." The idea of "showing that Luke and/or Matthew have used Q
      as a source" is a hypothesis that would itself need testing. It is not
      something which could be observed. So it is not "a logically possible
      observation statement or set of statements". (Even if Q had been dug up,
      this would still be the case.) This contrasts with the idea that there
      are (or are not) Minor Agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark in
      the triple tradition. The idea that they exist, (or that they do not
      exist), is "a logically possible observation statement or set of
      observation statements". We could look at a synopsis and observe whether
      there are (or are not) Minor Agreements. We cannot look at a synopsis
      and observe that Luke and/or Matthew used (or did not use) Q.

      So although your logic is impeccable, I do not think that the recipe you
      propose would work.

      I am still tentatively of the opinion that there is no way in which the
      FH is falsifiable but in which the 3SH is not falsifiable, though I am
      prepared to be convinced otherwise. In his article "Is Q a Juggernaut?",
      Goulder says that "soft-line" theories (like the 3SH) are "unfalsifiable
      and so not useful". If, however, there is no way in which the FH is
      falsifiable but in which the 3SH is not falsifiable, it follows that, on
      Goulder's assumptions, the Farrer Hypothesis is "unfalsifiable and so
      not useful" also.

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      E-MAIL : brian@... HOMEPAGE
      SNAILMAIL ; Rev B. E. Wilson,
      10 York Close, Godmanchester, www.twonh.demon.co.uk
      Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE18 8EB, UK
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