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Science and Religion

These comments have been moved from the Brian Cox talk. Please continue the conversation here. Thanks!

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    Feb 1 2013: Is there an existential limit to our self-understanding through science? In other words, can a given intelligence ever truly understand itself, and be certain of that understanding? I don't think it can.

    Science can empirically tell us what we are, but not who we are. 'Who we are' lies in the metaphysical, colourful region between the black and white certainties that science restricts itself to.

    Along with art, poetry, spirituality etc - religion occupies that same metaphysical space, and therefore could be regarded as a vital imperative within the structure of the human mind. Like it or not, and for all its faults, religion as a realization of spiritual existence, is here to stay. And as long as we don't descend into some cybernetic automaton nightmare that science would prefer to get to grips with, then there will always be a 'who' as well as a 'what'.
  • Jan 30 2013: Science and religion are two sides of the same coin.
    In fact, separating religion from science is simply the exercise of separating cause from effect.
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      Feb 1 2013: Same coin being the persons action of thinking of life death and existence, and opposite side being the exact opposite approach to answering the question.

      Sciences uses deduction and cause and effect

      Religion using spirituality and feelings.
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        Feb 1 2013: G’day Zman

        Spirituality also uses deductive reasoning just in a different way. What happens when you’re deep into mediation? You’re not supposed to be thinking but scientific research has proven that different parts of the brain fire up under mediation but the brain is still being used so really it’s a fallacy to say one doesn’t think as it’s a fundamental natural part of the human process for any knowing to enter the brain.

        Think of it this way Zman, how would you know how you felt during & after the meditation if you weren’t using the brain, you wouldn’t remember but we do so how do we remember if we are not thinking? Thought is a transmitter that allows our brain to acknowledge what we have experienced otherwise we just wouldn’t acknowledge the experience. To acknowledge anything we use deductive reason, yes I know a lot of spiritually aware people wouldn’t agree with this because they want to believe it’s something divine or mystical but I don’t think it is.

        What is feeling? It’s an emotion that we have deductively formulated within the brain however in saying this emotions aren’t just of the physical I believe however research has concluded we do use our brain no matter what we do. I’m not saying here that the brain is the be & end all either as I believe all knowing comes from a greater data bank than just the brain as the brain would be useless without knowledge to program it to think in certain ways in the first place but we are physical beings with a brain which needs to decipher knowledge to understand it otherwise we just wouldn’t acknowledge the knowledge in the first place.

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          Feb 1 2013: True your brain deduces things however meditation in your mind is not bound to logic therefore it cannot be considered knowledge, and anything learned in you mind cannot be said to be true unless proven outside of your mind.

          Similarly the feeling you get could be the result of you meditating which is you just thinking and realizing and feeling balanced. This doesn't prove that it is religious it just shown that you are at one with your self and your environment.
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    Feb 9 2013: The fact we place the words 'science' and 'religion' in the same debate makes me really worry about the progression of objectivity as far as communities, consensus and consistency goes (in this country and Westerners alike).

    The entire debate began with evolution being not recognized as reliable ideological structuring for understanding nature by theologian influences. Yet, it has progress to a point where disorganized religious movements have become the anti-theistic response to those who deny whatever 'science' has to say. Perhaps those who hold to their faith of creation need to figure out why so many cannot accept such a simple answer as being the only answer.

    Evolution is fact and theory - bottom line. If you believe 'God' (whatever image you may possess of God) created us, fine, but God would have crafted evolution into the inner workings as well.

    Evolution does not deny anyone of their faith, but, it should tell some that their scriptures and sacred books - are only that; old stories to inspire thoughts and philosophy. Jesus, Mohammad = philosophers of God.

    Grow up America, while we debate the difference between what is apparently science or religion, people are dying along with our planet. Making members from both sides of the debate more equal than not - by means of careless belief formation.
  • Feb 2 2013: Science should admit it could be wrong.
    Religion should admit it could be wrong.
    Both should admit they could both be wrong.
    Because they both are.

    Neither has, can and maybe will not, explain who we are. It may have a lot to do with what we are.
    That seems apparent to me, between the two of them. They haven't done it.

    Photons have virtual particles within them bursting in and out of existence.
    Lawrence Krauss says these photons are unlimited potential, or potentiality. Okay.
    Funny that Deepak Chopra says the same thing in a different way but he calls it unlimited potentiality.
    In both cases, there is nothing there.

    If you suffer a scratch, but it's minor, you forget about it and just trust it will heal. (let's say you're in the middle of something important when it happens, you look at it quickly, it's minor, you go back to what you were doing)

    You simply trust that "IT" will heal, and it does.
    What is that "IT?"
    And what is required for the scratch to heal?
    Intelligence? Yes. Power? Yes. And perhaps love? Why not, it's healing?
    So, science can halve the cells involved in healing and will never be able to point at something and say, definitively,
    "there, that is intelligence. There, that is power. And there. That is love. That is how "IT" heals.

    In fact, they can do so until there is nothing left of the cells involved, nothing to look at, nothing to point at, at all.
    There is simply nothing.
    But, both science and religion can point to that nothingness and say, "IT works! It really does."

    I think it a safe assumption to say that virtually everyone who has ever lived, everyone who is living, and there's a pretty chance that everyone who will ever live, has had, is having and will have, the Empirical Evidence of the Scratch.

    In most cases, there is no real conscious connection between the person and the healing.
    Imagine the oceans exploding into a duodecillion amount of drops before falling back into the oneness of it all.
    Unlimited potentiality.
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      Feb 3 2013: Re: "Science should admit it could be wrong."

      I thought that science doesn't declare that it is right until it has infallible proof. The whole basis of science is that it is an exploration. That's why we have "theories" of varioius things. For as long as a theory exists, science is admitting that it could be wrong about whatever the theory says.

      Now if science were to speak of a "law of" something, then it is declaring that it cannot be wrong. I have yet to hear of a "law" being proven invalid. If it could be, then it can't be a "law - which means reproducible results in any context or framework.
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        Feb 3 2013: All scientific theories are provisional. That's the nature of science. An idea is not an accepted hypothesis, that could be tested enough to be proposed as a theory, unless there is a possibility of something being observed that could disprove it.

        Some scientific theories are called "laws" but still they are all provisional.

        For example, Newton's gravitational theory successfully predicted the orbits of planets, but Einstein's theory of relativity explained and predicted these as well but also predicted a very small and precise shift in the orbit of Mercury. See http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2008/1329.html These shifts were found and thus Einstein's theory is now the provisional truth and Newton's is not completely accurate, though it is very useful for some practical purposes.

        Science will always admit it could be wrong. It requires evidence though, not assertions.
      • Feb 4 2013: Hi Grace.

        I guess I was just trying to say that regarding science and religion and the answer to the biggest question of all, "who are we?" and the other questions that arise, theologically and scientifically from that, neither side has answered.
        Just a lousy idea that since they haven't, maybe both are wrong in some very fundamental way that they are not discovering and are blocking themselves from finding it.
        The admittance I hoped, might lead them or us to a willingness to build a bridge of sorts between the two.
        Building a bridge together would require both to let go of some fundamental beliefs (proofs?) that are dear to them but block the successful building of the bridge. As Lawrence Krauss said, "many times the math works out beautifully and poetically and it is completely wrong."

        Science is always admitting they don't know, and that they are wrong and changing direction. Good on them! Both tell us there is more than the material and religion claims to know what that is without proof. Somewhere, maybe, just maybe, merging, "a synthesis of knowing", as Deepak Chopra calls it, is really what is needed. It seems.

        The words "infallible proof" you used, also at times have been proven wrong by science over time.
        I guess I would like to see a bridge built. As long as science continues to go deeper and deeper into the invisible, the smaller, they ask humans to make and take bigger leaps of faith than religion does at times. Everything is connected, we know this is true. Are science and religion somehow connected and we haven't found it yet because neither side will give in to the other?
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    Jan 31 2013: G'day TED

    Science & spirituality are one of the same thing they just use different reasoning processors as they are finding out with new science techniques, the gap is closing. Where did science derive from in the first place because we are not born scientific it’s a leant thing like with religion? Philosophy & mysticism are the founding fathers of modern day science I believe because it didn’t come out of thin air!!!! The funny thing is I have just written up about this in my blog saying that scientists are just as spiritually connected than a spiritual guru they just use different methods to connect to the same creative source I believe.

    I am more into spirituality & philosophy myself but I believe science will prove everything one day even the existence of God/creative source.

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    Jan 30 2013: In the beginning the scientific progress was so primitive that it was not satisfying people in their questions: “What is the sun?”, “What are the stars?”, “What are the clouds and the rain?”. Every human, however, feels primary fear of the unknown. We are designed to believe in absurdities instead of jumping into the incomprehensible. The worst part is that we create our own absurdities. And so we started creating deities. God is a creation of human striving to explain things. God is an incomprehensible higher power right? But usually with a face, body, even sex. God feels love, sadness and anger. An universal truth which renders the consideration of the incomprehensible. This makes our existence so much easier. And because we like it to be easy now the faith in God has been replaced by the faith in the scientific progress. Eventually people have always preferred to believe in whatever gives them a visible and real product satisfying some particular need. The scientific progress gives answers to lots of the incomprehensible questions of the past. This however can not simplifies things, it only creates conditions for the setting of new issues. But we are totally replacing God with the science. An explanation that replaces the magic with the rational, the spiritual with the material. In science there are no problems without solutions. Such sums do not exist. People do exist so according to our science a man is a mathematical problem with a solution. The equation contains the human`s genes and the solution is the human`s destiny. This is how I summarize the contemporary theory of our origins, meaning and future. But I do not feel it.
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    Jan 29 2013: Science has solved a few problems, no doubt about that. But it has also created a lot of problems. Environmental degradation (by radiation, oil spills and deforestation) are undeniable proofs that science and technology is like a two-faced being; bringing good and evil.
    Religion has solved a few problems, and has also created a lot of problems, because so many evils has been perpetrated by evil men and women with the name of God on their lips.

    It is usually good things that are corrupted to become evil. Scientific knowledge, as it is, is neutral. Neither good nor evil; the impact such knowledge would have on the society would depend on humanity's application of such.
    Science does not provide the moral and ethical boundaries that true religion provides; these moral and ethical boundaries are important for a peaceful and progressive social order. (James 1:27, The Bible)
    Science does not have all the answers to humanity's questions because there are some real things that science can not measure.
    True religion would never deny the fact that God has given humanity wisdom for a purpose, so that as we explore the world and seek to know it, our knowledge becomes helpful.

    For what is the use of science if all it does is hasten us to destruction?
    And for religion, 1 John 4:20 says "If anyone says 'I love God', yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
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    Feb 5 2013: I believe both science and religion are just different interpretations of the world we live in, it's good to know both sides of the story and I believe that we have the capability to understand the world around us from both perspectives. There's a youtube series called "The Spirit Science" that dives pretty deep into these topics, I put a link down below for anyone wants to check it out. :)

  • Feb 4 2013: I believe that religion (Spirituality) begins where science leaves off. Science deals with physical things while religion deals with the inner world of man. Science does not deal with emotions or feelings & thoughts in general. When a person dies, according to science, his body is dead & inactive. Does everything end with death? Religion explores the possibility of a soul which existed in the body, but now discards it to take another body. This soul is a particle of the universal consciousness, and as such has no birth or death. The soul is the driver of the body controlling every action or thought process, but is not directly involved in anything. It may be considered similar to the SIM card we inert in a mobile phone to activate the phone.
  • Feb 4 2013: It is a pity that I have not been able to find the original talk, and what it said..

    To me, both science and religion are from the same source, the Lord God Jesus Christ. Both are part of us as human beings. We are spirits in a body. Religion relates to the spirit and science relates to the body.

    Somehow it seems that the spirit can have an influence on the body. Whether it is a New Years resolution or a prison term, at some point we can decide to change our life for the better. I doubt science can have a similar influence on the mind. For one thing it does not believe spirit exists or is real.
    Personally I believe our soul is already working building a body in the womb and later repairing most damages and infections.
    But it is utterly amazing what we now 'know' on both levels.

    BTW on the left of this 'window' is the "RECENT COMMENTERS" window. My spirit encourages me to select the commenter I usually support and find interesting. But science make it impossible as it seems dead. Anyone have any suggestions?
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    Feb 1 2013: G’day Zman

    I don’t believe knowledge has to be of logic, this is a fallacy we are lead to believe because of our limited conscious understanding, just because we don’t understand it doesn’t make it illogical. Take a look at God/creative source, to some people it makes logical sense but to others it doesn’t because they don’t have the same conscious understanding, it’s our conscious understanding that makes something logical not knowledge, knowledge confirms the existence of the logic through the mind which allows us to logically accept mindfully that’s all.

    Knowledge is only what we think we know within our conscious understanding; it’s this awareness that gives us logic I believe conscious awareness & we can only see logic as far as our conscious awareness no more & to be aware one must be mindful of this. What I am saying here is everything that you are consciously aware of is logic which is deductively analysed to make sense to us.

    I can see where you are coming from Zman, you meditate & get a feeling of oneness & this is where your awareness comes from not from the brain but if you didn’t have a brain would you physically be aware of this? Of course not, both the brain & the spirit are of awareness but the brain needs to be taught this where the spirit doesn’t. If one doesn’t teach the brain to be aware of such consciousness it will never know of oneness even when it feels it. Because we haven’t trained the brain to accept illogical deductions it won’t matter how deep you go into meditation to find this oneness however once you start to accept illogical deductions you will see to the point of your awareness. I know spiritually aware people don’t think they think logically but they do because logic is defined by our conscious awareness not by our beliefs.

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    Jan 31 2013: We are not born believing in god, we are taught at the very earliest stages of our mental development to believe. This is the only reason most people believe in god. It is ridiculous at this stage in our collective development as thinking rational human beings not to recognize this truth. We are taught to believe, however, we can reason without any help or coaching or a god's intervention that one apple plus one apple equals two apples. Mythology is not Science, Mythology is religion.
  • Jan 29 2013: Religion and science cannot coexist. One contradicts the other. Science is the eternal search of truth and the questioning of our surroundings and religion is the end of that search, the end of questioning, the blind faith, the dogma. I see how many religions have tried to own the definition of God and morality, forgetting that the concept of God is much, much bigger than us.

    I believe in God but that is my personal experience. Science has giving me more than evidence to believe in God; and history has giving me very, very good examples of what is morally right and wrong. But I understand how science hasn’t provided enough evidence to some people to believe in the existence of God and how some people don’t need evidence at all and believe blindly in the existence of God. For me, if it were from the definitions and attributes that some religions give to God, I would be an atheist.

    I would replace religion with philosophy, which go hand in hand with science, has a rigorous methodology to find answer using your own brain, great collection of wonderful authors throughout the history of humanity and give room and space to evolve. But that is just my humble opinion. Hugs!
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      Jan 29 2013: You might be interested in reading through this TED conversation we had a while back....and also in Clifford Stoll's talk which I mention in the thread.

      • Jan 30 2013: Thank you very much Mary. I'll check both.
    • Jan 30 2013: Interesting point. I would correct you and say, "Science and false religion cannot coexist." All religions are not the same. For example, I am a member of a highly organized church and I have no problem with science. My whole family are scientists, actually. My church encourages questioning. It discourages blind faith. I wouldn't say it's a scientific institution, because it's not, but it is a logical one. Yes, we claim to have pretty much all the answers that matter, but each person is encouraged to confirm the truth of those answers on their own. The scientific method is one way of knowing truth, the other is spiritual communication with God. Both have their limitations. The scientific method will never tell you why humans exist. It can tell you how, but not why. God can tell you why, but He usually doesn't go into a detailed explanation of biology.
      • Jan 31 2013: Hello Scot! Your point is very interesting as well. Based on what you'r saying, I am under the impression that your religion is perhaps a pseudo-religion giving the first steps to a beyond-religion more mature way of thinking. I just don't know a single traditional-religion without their own recipes of answers already prepared, without a methodology nor logical explanation of how they arrived to those answers.

        I will not argue that the moral values of most religions are almost identical in terms of how to be good to our neighbors but I really haven’t seen anything in religion that philosophy doesn’t give me. I think philosophy is more superior because it doesn’t hide the historical content and allow the evolution of thought and the differences of opinion.

        Don’t get me wrong, I read and find fascinating - and sometimes inspiring - all religious books. I don't have a single problem with religion. I understand some people need pre-cooked answers and a reference to the existential and ontological questions. But I’m just fine with adopting a hypothesis of life, let science prove me I’m wrong and/or give the most humane, humble and perhaps honest answer: “We don’t know.”

        Now, something I don’t agree with you is that you put side by side the scientific method and spiritual communication as two different but equivalent ways to find the truth. I would strongly recommend to put any “truth” that you get from a spiritual communication through the most rigorous and serious scientific method before you even consider it as an hypothesis or potential truth.

        My opinion is that “the why” of your existence is something very individual and that you have to meditate with God. "The why" the human biological race exist is something beyond traditional-religion and science and I will accept a “I don’t know” as an answer for now. I adopted a hypothesis about "the why" of the existence of the human race and it satisfy my intellect but I accept the fact that it can be wrong.
        • Jan 31 2013: I don't really know what a psuedo-religion is, but I'm pretty sure my church isn't one. I'm a Mormon, and we're known for being about as religiously religious as you can get. The thing is, if you start with a couple ground assumptions, all the teachings of our church logically follow from there. Literally, I've been studying the gospel for years and I have yet to find any holes. It's all down to whether the basic assumptions are true. Truth is truth, reality is reality regardless of what we think. Science is one way of knowing truth. God telling you is the other. God usually doesn't tell you things you can find out on your own because He wants your growth. The whole point of revelation is that you can't test it by the scientific method. If you could, you wouldn't need it. I mean, can you come up with an experiment or methodology that would prove or disprove the existence of a spiritual experience? It can't be done. I'm a member of my church because God told me that those ground assumptions are true. That was my personal experience, just like you.
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      Jan 31 2013: Alex,
      I like Scot's answer, but I would like to add to it. Science and religion contradict each other because of what we currently believe in both. Strip the misconceptions away and the contradictions fall apart.

      The Catholic church has a strong influence in what Christianity is. You say that based on the definition of God that you could be considered an atheist. I once found myself in that category. Having been raised in the Catholic church, what I believed was biased by what I was taught.

      I had a personal experience when I was nine while meditating on God. It wasn't in agreement with the church's definition of God. When I started seeing the same principles being explained regarding quantum physics, I realized that I had to alter my own conception of what God was. Since then I have researched other religions to see how they related. What I discovered is that current religion is a "he said, she said" sort of hand-me-down approach to religion. I found explanations to what Christianity teaches in many different sources including Eastern philosophy and mysticism, mythology, and spirituality.

      Spiritual experience is what led to religion, religion initially having been developed to help others achieve spiritual experience. Without spiritual experience, religion is blind. Jesus said I go to the father so that the Holy Spirit may come and teach you all things. Many people believe in the Holy Spirit, but most have never personally encountered it.

      Throughout the ages, "Top male psychology" has driven many a leader to exploit, manipulate, and even twist religion to persuade followers to a certain way of thinking. Without belief, you won't achieve spiritual experience. And yet, without spiritual experience, you can't see through the clouds of deception, you will only see what others want you to see.

      One day, science and religion will coexist.
      • Jan 31 2013: I know right? Without the Holy Spirit, faith is nothing. If you can't communicate with God personally, what's the point in believing?
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          Jan 31 2013: Scot,
          That is what I have discovered as the root of all religions, to be able to communicate with a higher power. Christianity calls it the Holy Spirit. Others call it cosmic consciousness. Einstein called it a cosmic religious feeling. Moses called it "I AM". Eastern philosophy calls it spiritual awakening. Buddhists and Hindus call it enlightenment. It all means the same thing in different terms. Spiritual experience takes you beyond belief into a realm of awareness that only the experiencers can identify with. Without such experience, skeptics argue that there is no proof. Thought cannot be observed by another, nor can one prove such a thing other than in personal testimony.
  • Jan 29 2013: I can't remember everything I wrote. I do know this. God didn't ever tell Christians, believers in Jesus, to not tell people they would go to hell if they didn't believe in Jesus. Jesus condemned hypocritical judgment. Jesus Himself condemned the Pharisees, but they were hypocrites. How can someone say they love a person if they know there is a hell and a way out but don't tell the person the way out? I don't put down science. I am not perfect. My writing is not perfect. I never meant to condemn science. I think science can help us quite a bit, until it becomes a god. These are all very controversial topics. Pretty much all in life, it seems, these days, is controversial. All I believe is this. Jesus is God. He died for my sins. He rose from the dead. He is coming back. His word is true. Neither chemistry, nor physics, nor biology died for my sins. I am not trying to be argumentative, it's just that I believe that people think that science has all the answers, and it doesn't. Science will never have all the answers. Science is very limited. The wisest scientists of the ages, which were spectacular in their fields, have also noted that science never had all the answers. Science was not designed to have all the answers.
  • Jan 22 2013: You may want to take a look at CARM on the internet. They address some of these issues. I believe Scripture is without error.
    I hope you get answers.
    Just to let you know, though,
    I will give no more responses to TED, I am ending the thread. Adios.
  • Dec 30 2012: When I want to learn about the world I live in I look at the world (science) not a book. Doesn't it make sense to look at the world and learn about it than look at at a book written by people 2000 years ago? They were just trying to explain the world they lived in, in a way they were philosophers. At the time I'm sure that all the things in it were potentially possible but as time went on people continued to learn about the world and flaws have been found in the book. I can see why people 2000 years ago believed in the bible, it was a simple way to describe the world that most people understood. Up in the sky there is a very powerful man, kind of like a king who controls everything... the end
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      Jan 29 2013: Jack,

      Any formula in science in which you don't know the meaning of the symbols used in the formula is essentially useless until you know its meaning. The book you reject has the same limitations. I don't fault you for rejecting the book because religion doesn't explain why it says what it says. But that doesn't mean that the book is no good any more than a formula of science in which you don't know its meaning is no good.

      My first wife was the victim of abuse. We used to play cards and she would tell me what card I should play. After a while, I got the feeling that the cards were marked. So I bought a new deck of cards, shuffled them under the table, looked at the first card and asked her to name it. After correctly naming 14 out of 16 cards in this manner, I realized that she was somehow seeing the cards, but not through her eyes. When I questioned her on this, she told me of a spiritual world that she had entered that gave her these abilities. Although I love science (I was trained in the nuclear power field of the U.S. navy), I was at a loss to what she was saying.

      I studied religion and realized that there is a lot more to it than what any modern church teaches. I was finding the meaning of the symbols used in "the book". 2000 years ago, abuse was at its worse. What people understood then about spiritual issues is no longer understood now except for all but a few. I wrote my findings in a book called "The Merging of Two Worlds". In my studies, I realized that the right hemisphere of the brain sees things entirely different than the left hemisphere, and that we are a left-brain oriented culture. Religion came from a right-brain oriented culture. They saw a world that we no longer see.

      Science is now telling us that < 5% of the universe is visible. Although I marvel at science, it too has its limitations. As we venture deeper and deeper into the unknown, we may need to rekindle what is hidden in religion.
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      Jan 29 2013: Well in fact in the sky there are many men and women who could control everything and their science would be seen as magic to us still today.

      And the bible, the bible is not 2000 years old, the versions we have today are completely different than the original Sumerian tablets. Many parts are missing and other parts have been added or changed from the original texts.

      2000 years ago the greeks were translating versions of the old testament from hebrews old translations. During the 8th century, germany translated the greek texts and adapted the texts according to what was expected from the clergy. The bible hasn't stop to change during history, each scribes that has worked on translating it from an old version to a new one added things and removed other stuff.

      But in mostly every culture, their sacred books contain a genesis that is very quite similar, men coming from the sky, created men in their image.
  • Dec 29 2012: why do people listen to this man? does he believe in Jesus? people seem to think that "science" is the most important thing, while they move onward and onward to an eternal lake of fire. listen to God!
    • Dec 29 2012: Well not everyone can hear god so until there is proof we will look at science
      • Dec 29 2012: well, just to let you know, there will never be proof, at least not the way you think about it; but if you were to have the perspective of the holy angels, for example, you would see that to not believe is what is really unbelievable.
        • Dec 30 2012: You say that there will never be proof, then what reason do you have for believing? You come to TED where logical and intelligent people come to listen to the brilliant works of other logical people talking about their respective topics. Almost every person here listens to reason and logic so since you admitted that there will never be any evidence for god then this might not be the best place to preach your cause. If I were to see through the eyes of a holy angel then I'm sure I'd see heaven, but then again if I looked through the eyes of Mister Spock I'd see aliens. Before I can see through the eyes of a holy angel I first need to know that they're there
      • Dec 30 2012: Well, I just think it is quite more something that a man parted the Red sea than someone knows how to do equations. I think most people would agree with me. I'm not saying it's wrong to do equations; it's just that in the big equation, doing little equations doesn't add up to a whole lot compared to believing or not believing in things that happened a long time ago that we have a record of that none of the modern day equationists could touch with an infinite pole.
        • Dec 31 2012: Well, I think it is quite more something that a boy who didn't know he was a wizard got to go to a wizarding school than a scientist discovering a new type of plant, but then again one is in real life and the other in the fiction section. It really doesn't matter which is more astounding because it takes facts to prove anything. Watching Chris Angel do magic is quite amazing but I don't think it's a miracle. Just because something unexplained happened doesn't mean it's magic
      • Dec 31 2012: It's sad that you liken Moses parting the Red sea to Harry Potter. How difficult is it for you to believe that a God Who created everything could suspend the laws of nature whenever He wanted, to do whatever He wanted? Fiction may be fiction, but it still exists, even as fiction, and for anything to exist, there had to be a cause. That cause is God. I didn't say what Chris Angel does is a miracle. Chris Angel never made a man born blind able to see.
        • Dec 31 2012: If one day the science is capable of giving the sight to a blind man, will it be a miracle for you? How difficult is it for you to believe that Santa is real?

          The question is why do you choose to believe in something instead of looking for facts? Probably because it is more simple to do so or you wish it be true.

          When i was young i believed the Santa was real (or i wished) but the fact is it's not.
        • Dec 31 2012: If there were a god I'm sure he would be able to suspend the laws of nature whenever he wanted to , but the problem is, the only documentation of it happening comes from a book written 2000 years ago by Christians. That's why it is difficult to believe there is a god, because the only people who have seen these acts of god use god to explain what happens around them. I see lightning and realize that it is caused by the build up of electrons while most theists in the era of 0 B.C. believed it was caused by a god. They came up with this explanation because they did not have the technology to come to reasonable conclusions, but now we do.

          "For anything to exist it must have been created", OK, I'm with you so far. "The cause is god" Well I'm afraid that is missing some logic. Scientists have a very good understanding of how life, the earth, the sun, the moon and the universe were created. Although the beginning of the universe is not completely understood, scientists are constantly working on solutions and there are multiple theories, that's much more than the christian community has been doing.

          You are allowed to have your beliefs but when you are trying to hold back the development of human understanding of the universe you are punishing society as a whole. Although you might not agree with science completely, we can use it to make predictions about the universe and create new scientific laws that rarely falter and new technologies that benefit society so until you can show us that believing in god is a good thing please refrain from preaching about his greatness.
      • Dec 31 2012: Why can't God cause lightning and use the science behind it like you explained? Why is it so hard for you to believe that this awesome universe was created by an awesome God? It is because you have put so much stuff in your head, you can no longer be childlike and see what is right before you. Well, I don't want to hold back scientific progress, just hogwash, which evolution is. The Bible, in the book of Daniel, talks about knowledge increasing in the end times. We have exponentially increased in knowledge in the last century. The end times are here. Judge and see those things Daniel prophesied and see that they came to pass. His word about the increase of knowledge and the end times is true also. What do you know about the Hittites, for example?
        • Dec 31 2012: i don't think just anyone could build one of these machines or make brian cox.
        • Jan 1 2013: The reason it is still so hard to believe in god is because you are still lacking any reason why I should believe he is there. Maybe god does cause lightning but we have no reason to believe that he does. You also called yourself childish...I'm good with that. You have not given any reason on why evolution is wrong other than the bible says so and knowledge has been increasing since the beginning of human history.

          I'm not sure what you're trying to say about not anyone could build the LHC or make Brian Cox, it just sounds very weird the way you put it. The people who made the LHC are extremely intelligent scientists who have dedicated their lives to discovering the hidden aspects of the universe. Brian Cox on the other hand was made by his parents.
      • Jan 1 2013: Well, I have had an email from TED telling me to stay on topic. I really can't, so if I am not allowed on here anymore, I'm not allowed on here anymore. However, if it can be thought of in a meta way, then I guess I could be on topic, but I am not sure that this is possible. Anyway, this is what I am going to say. I will be a stick in the mud. I'm sorry, but this is how it must be. If you cannot believe in God from the fact that there is a Bible, then you cannot believe in God. The Bible is sufficient for anyone who wants to believe. If the Bible says that God causes lightning, then God causes lightning. The Bible is all I need. You see, God is very wise; infinitely wise, as a matter of fact. He has put everything we need to know about Him in one place, the Bible. I don't need to go out of what He has revealed. There is no other book like the Bible. None. All others fail. So, as you can see, I will be a stick in the mud, or, maybe mud around the stick. Either way, I am not going to budge, or allow that there is anything other necessary for belief than the Bible.
        • Jan 3 2013: "The bible is here so it must be true, right? it was written by people 2000 years who have an amount of knowledge that doesn't even come close to the people of today. God is so wise that he loves everyone except for the majority of the planet. God wants people to go to heaven but they can only go if they are christian. Obviously he wants people to be christian but the only way he converts them is through a book 2000 years ago that has plenty of flaws and has many instances of acts that go against today's ethical standards.

          Actually there are plenty of books like the bible every religion has one, I'm sure you haven't read any of them because your parents/priest told you that the bible was 100 percent correct. So you have no right to say that they are wrong. I on the other hand ask for proof and when they ( and you) are not able to produce it, then I have the right to call them wrong.

          And finally, you are a stick in the mud, congratulations, you are as stubborn as I first thought. I consider myself to be an open minded person but listening to you claim that the bible is true because you believe it shows why you should not be allowed to argue about religion. So there, you are a stick in the mud but being stubborn is not something to be proud of.
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        • Jan 3 2013: If you do not know I would like to say to you that there are several big religions in the world and each one was inspired by God. Every religion excludes the possibility of going to heaven for the people who do not follow it. In case God exists the chances are rather small that you believe in the right one, so good luck with it.

          On the other hand TED is not certainly for the religion related topics and i absolutely agree with it.
    • Dec 30 2012: It is easier to believe than to accept the truth. Accepting the truth requires thinking while believing requires only to have an opinion!
      • Dec 31 2012: Wow. What a statement. It is easier to believe than to accept the truth. I'm sorry you don't believe the truth is the truth. And, yes, I would agree with you, to an extent, that accepting the truth requires thinking. If you think you got here by chance, though, you believe something that is impossible. The odds are more likely that a monkey could type out one of Shakespeare's entire plays if he had and infinite time to do it in; and, by the way, he couldn't, even then.
      • Dec 31 2012: The fact that 40 different men wrote the Bible, and there are no contradictions, is amazing to me. The Bible is a book of complete harmony, though the authors did not necessarily know one another. Also, the authors were everything from kings to fishermen. I just happen to believe that the account of Jesus of Nazareth is true. I don't know if you believe Plato existed, or that he wrote certain things, but if you do, you didn't do a scientific experiment to come to that conclusion. There are various ways to look for facts. Archaeology, for example, has never disproven anything the Bible says, but many things it says have been proven by archaeology. To ignore this testimony is to want to remain in the dark. There is an article titled, The Dawkins Confusion. The site for it is http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2007/marapr/1.21.html
        I am in agreement with what it says. You will find what you are looking for. I just hope you start looking for the truth.
        • Dec 31 2012: A blatantly obvious contradiction in the bible comes from the ten commandments. One of the rules that all men are to follow is "Thou Shalt Not kill" but I guess that the other authors didn't get the memo. If I'm not mistaken the bible is full of murder and killings. Also, the fact that a book is completely harmonious within itself (I'm not saying that the bible is) doesn't make it true.

          About the validity of Plato and Jesus, All we have heard about Jesus is hear say from Jewish people who had been waiting for a messiah. Plato on the other hand is talked about in numerous accounts and we see his legacy and many of his works. To be specific, 26 dialogues by Plato, not including his book "The Republic" and he was the founder of the Academy of Athens.

          In the comment above this you continue to say "I'm sorry you don't believe the truth is the truth" Well you still haven't provided any reason that we should. You also said that "If you think you got here by chance, though, you believe something that is impossible" yet in the next sentence you talk about the odds and say that it is possible. I'm not really sure where you are getting your stats from too because I feel like you pulled them out of thin air.

          Lastly, in a sense you could conclude that a monkey did type out one of Shakespeare's entire plays; Shakespeare. Monkeys don't live for an infinite amount of time so they pass on themselves through reproduction. Science very well proves evolution and the only people who don't believe it don't understand it. Eventually that monkey had many kids and grand kids and so forth until they eventually evolved into Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens then learned languages and sciences until they could write works of art and explain their world. Eventually, monkeys did write Shakespeare.
        • Jan 22 2013: Peace bro. No doubt that you are a sincere Christian but your statement that the Bible have no contradictions is erroneous. There are in fact many contradictions and conflicts in the Bible. This is a fact agreed even by the most staunch evangelists. Their argument is that the original signature book is inerrant and only the translations which have mistakes. How can they know this if they haven't seen or know what the book contained.

          A few examples from the Gospels never-mind the rest of the Bible:
          The Gospel of Matthew's account of the story of the temptation of Jesus is different to the Gospel of Luke. Mark 6 & 8 is different to Luke 9. Both Gospels cites the same story of what Jesus said must be taken on the journey. Matthew Chapter 27 v34 vs Mark chapter 15 v23 cites the story of wine given to Jesus. Matthew says that vinegar was added to the wine and Mark says that the wine was sweetened. Luke chapter 11 and Matthew chapter 6 is the famous Lord's prayer which is said to have been given by Jesus but is different in wording. Matthew says 3 x 14 is 41 etc.

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      Jan 29 2013: Richard,
      They are listening to God, but not as you do. They are listening to what God's creation is saying to them. In the absence of science, there were witch hunts. In the absence of science, there were rituals that produced very little fruit. In the absence of science, there was poverty, hunger, and disease with no understanding of why it was so. Science changed all that.

      Just about everything you do, aside from your religious practice, is conditioned or controlled by science.

      Your religion says thou shalt not judge, and yet you put the strongest judgment you could make "eternal damnation" to those who believe in science. Are you listening to your God, or are you just saying what you think your God would say based on what you were taught? Your God says that love is the greatest gift. I don't see where love and condemnation fit into the same sentence.