Empiricism is a philosophical approach to knowledge and Epistemology that emphasizes reliance on evidence gained through the senses and experimentation, as opposed to intuition or purely theoretical considerations. Something described as empirical is generally based on direct observation or experience, with emphasis on those experiences being objective.
Typically, empirical research results in gathering quantitative measurements. Several examples of this are:
- Measuring the position of a star beside the sun during a solar eclipse to verify Albert Einstein's Theory of relativity.
- Measuring the voltage across the terminals of a capacitor over time, at regular intervals.
- Keeping statistics regarding the effects of a new medicine versus the placebo effect.
Implications to Apologetics
One of the primary failures of the God hypothesis, as well as most supernatural claims, is that they are not empirical, or testable or even falsifiable. A large portion of the arguments for the existence of God are attempting to logic God into existence, devoid of any empirical experimentation.
A phenomenon that's empirical implies that the phenomenon manifests in some way. If it's not empirical, then we have no real way of knowing anything about it, and cannot confirm that it exists at all. Empiricism is the final confirmation for hypothesis, which most apologetic claims cannot do.