TED Conversations

Bernard White


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Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exists?

I just find it hard to believe when people say : "There is no evidence for God". Yes there isn't because we can't design an experiment to prove or disprove this hypothesis.
However a very important thing, Which I devoted a whole TED Debate to (Here is the link to that debate : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17001/can_god_be_defined_or_in_othe.html), is that to work out whether the hypothesis is true we must first define what we mean by "God" (and "existence" for that matter), which I have found doesn't prove to be very successful. Otherwise we can't advance into going to making experiment for this hypothesis.
In science (I believe) theories can only be disproved and never proved to be "certain", so in this sense everybody has to be an agnostic about God, unless some genius in the TED community can come up with an experiment.
While another problem remains that we base all data we have on experimental data we have gained from the past, and expect the future to be consistent.

So in this sense I am a strong agnostic / Ignostic because God hasn't really been defined (and only has subjective definitions) and that I can't genially think of an experiment to determine whether God exist of not. So yes in the literal sense there is no "evidence" but that's only because no experiment have been done.
(Also there remains the slight problem with the fact that there is a degree of uncertainness in everything, and that no matter how logical and rational a hypothesis may seem it can always be proved false, or untrue)

My final point would be I see no correlation with an absence of evidence, and an evidence of absence! (This is very important)

And of-course, I apologize for repeating myself (if I have done so!) and my awful spelling and grammar.
Just so I say now, so I get no confusion, this is just an honest enquiry as to whether it can be done! (Not trying to reduce "God" in any way!)


Closing Statement from Bernard White

I'm slightly worreid I won't do a good job of this summary but here I go :

I must first say this :
I implore everybody to look at my "new" God debate :
What does the theological implications do the "Psychology" and "Neuroscience" (and possibly biology) of religion/ "God(s)" have?
Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/18226/what_does_the_theological_impl.html

This has been a wonderful debate with lots of interesting idea's. However I view, with the majority consensus, (and please correct me if I have got this wrong) that there isn't a experiment which can (dis)prove the existence of "God(s)".
I would just like to congratulate everybody for their amazing contributions to the conversation. It has given me a lot to ponder.
Kind regards (to all),

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    Apr 1 2013: Hi Bernard.
    I doubt that an experiment would do it. There is loads of evidence, but people take it either way.
    Eg. Pretty much the whole landmass of the planet is made up of water-deposited layers, many of which contain fossils. Some say this happened slowly over millions of years, others say it was the worldwide flood of Noah .
    It depends on pre-conceptions, the empirical data can fuel both views.

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      Apr 1 2013: A good point : ", the empirical data can fuel both views".
      I am personally a cross between being a strong agnostic and a Ignostic.
      While if someone did press me into a definition about God, I would probably claim I was a pantheist (even though there is no evidence to support the claim that God is the universe, it just seems like quite a logical and rational claim to me).
      But this is interesting for it claims something about humanity. I don't think we will ever be able to solve the "Does God exist" argument.
      For quite a number of reasons, which I won't go into.
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        Apr 1 2013: Imagine how liberating it is to believe that the answer to the question of God's existence becomes immediately clear and real to every human being. . . at the moment of their death.
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          Apr 1 2013: I'm not really sure how you could confirm that hypothesis, scientifically speaking, I supose you could get lots of people and put them in an MIR scanner and watch their brain activity as they die, and if it goes to the region responsible for God and a rise in dopamine, then you "could" conclude something. This is pure speculation. (on my part!)
          While I must admit I can see the logic behind that comment, yet can't quite comprehend "why".
          I mean it is perfectly possible. Yes that would be a liberating thought, but a rather soul crushing one as well for all the theologians out there, to know that they have wasted their life to only realize that at their death they find out it become knowable.
          However on a completely different note, I am not even sure that you could know whether God existed "after" you had died for two reasons : The existence of a Deity does not require an afterlife by an means, and that if you lose conciseness after death then in the literal sense it is unkowable. (If you believe in materialism, unless you gain your body / brain back in the after life)

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