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 2 2013: This is just a hypothetical experiment. If you asked out loud whether God exists, and you heard him answer out loud with your own ears that he does indeed exist, and then engaged in a whole conversation with him, would you then believe that he exists? Laughing, I am reminded of the "Oh God" movies with George Burns, where ordinary people were presented with apparent hallucinations, or - could it be the same God that visited Moses? Or Noah? He chooses just a select few people here and there, just to keep us wondering? Are we mad? To see a God today would seem to make us insane.

    Has anyone here had a burning bush moment where you really saw god? I would love to hear about it.
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      Apr 2 2013: I have thought a lot about this subject as well.
      I personally got quite annoyed in one debate with "Sam Harris vs William Lane Craig" where someone asked William Lane Craig if they thought that God was communicating with them, and told them that homosexual marriage was okay, would this be valid. (?)
      The William Lane Craig refuses to answer, and called him a "Nutter".
      Now I have many problems with this, because this makes the issue arise where if there is a God, how do we tell who are the "nutters" and who are the people who have been contacted by God.
      Quite a big dilemma here. (I mean we all know,realistically, that if Jesus came back from the dead, with no real "proof" that he was the "original Jesus" then he would just be put into a mental asylum, even if he was the "original Jesus". You can see where I am coming from now, can't you?)
      I mean when I was younger (and still do) I found there was a strong correlation between what I pray for, and what I get. Now I honestly can't decide even whether it is correlation or causation.
      On one hand I may just be getting delusional and having a placebo where I look for an answer.
      Or a some external being is giving me these things.
      Yet it is Ironic how I am a strong agnostic, yet still pray to "X" (Because I haven't really defined God myself).
      While one big problem I do have with God, is not a lack of evidence, but a form of sympathy / empathy for the being, because nobody ever prayers for its "well-being" only their own. So in that sense, why does this being have to satisfy our needs, when we never pray for it.
      Just a few thoughts. Even though most of these thoughts go against my rational self.
      Yet a more interesting question to me, now I view I can never know whether God exists, is "can" god exist? :)
      P.S I apologize for my awful spelling and grammar.

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