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 7 2013: Mr White:
    You said it all in the last sentence. I have said that only God can make a tree. Is it really important to analyze that statement. What is there to prove. If we prove there is no God, then we have to find out who made the tree.
    If we prove there is God, so now we know who made the tree. It seems like a lot of mental effort to reach the status quo..
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      Apr 7 2013: Not really.
      Maybe there is no creator of the tree. Or the universe (which is by no means is the personal God you speak of!) created the tree.
      I am confused by this statement, because you still have to find out what created God, and how God came into existence (after you have defined what you mean by existence, and "God") and if it is eternal, why it is eternal. Because if you say "it just is", and can say the tree "just is", and was created by natural prosses.
      Why assume there is a "mind" (Look up "Theory of mind") behind the creation of a tree at all. There is, scientifically speaking, no observational or experimental evidence to claim that is true. (Unless you have some logical or philosophical reason to support the fact that God exists.)
      Also there are more questions to ask, if a God exists like :
      - What was his or her motive for creating the tree?
      - Why did it create the tree, was did it have to gain?
      - Did it have any free-will when it created the tree.

      And yes to find out whether something is true, you have to test it, and submit it to scrutiny over and over again. (In my opinion that is)
      Thanks Bernard.
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        Apr 8 2013: The tree is one of the most beautiful creations. Why would God create something ugly.
        What is the point of proving if God created a tree or not. I suppose you can view all the known universe, Get those tiny particles from that Swiss machine. Solve the math, get totally into particle physics....
        Will any of this make a tree more beautiful?
        Why don't you work on curing cancer. There is something I can get behind.
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          Apr 8 2013: Depends what tree. Also that is a subjective statement. (I may find the tree ugly, and find the marsh beautiful!).
          Yes the answer to the question may make the tree seems better or for worse. Yet sometimes it doesn't matter what happens to the tree. (In terms of beauty. All that matters is what is "true".)
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      Apr 8 2013: Ever hear of natural causes? Not everything needs a creator or god or agency to explain it.

      But I kind of agree it is pointless to try and prove an untestable god concept. Yet people claim to know it exists and lots of contradictory information about it/them.
      • Apr 9 2013: HI Obey No1 ... !
        I'm enjoying our chats too!
        And your from Australia ... that must be incredible! An entire continent all to yourself, with all the amazing enviornments, cultures ... and super cool CRITTERS!
        I hope to get there some day. Maybe we will find a way to have a beer together.
        Now, (besides the fun of talking to you), I want to give you a friendly 'heads-up'. In a reply to Nathan's question to me as to my personal skill set for dimensional exploration; In part 1. I referenced Carl Jung's analysis of aethiesm as a deep-seated neurosis. This was a referance to EFT energy work, that works to discharge hurtful and debilitating emotions from memories of harmful (usually chidhood), memories.
        Then yesterday, you mentioned being an aethiest. I want to be very sure that you aren't hurt or offended by this citing. I am becoming fond of you and our chats. I never want to give anyone offence if at all possible.
        I have already (unintentionally), offended one soul in this conversation, who still seems rather defensive and offended by me - dispite my attempts to apologize.
        So, I hope you will take my contribution(s), in the spirit I tried to offer it - not as a personal judgment / condemnation on you or any one else! Life (here), is just too short to be offended by differing or strong opinions of others I think.
        Still, Very Best Wishes,
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          Apr 9 2013: LOL!!!

          Am I the "soul" you refer to? Here is my comment again...nothing defensive or offended on my part:>)

          "Colleen Steen
          10 hours ago: I do not choose to be offended by you Jordan, nor do I choose to feel uncomfortable. It appears that you are condescending and patronizing to everyone, so I realize it is not personal.

          I perceive differences in thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions and beliefs. If that leads to "personality clash" for you, so be it. I do not choose to experience "personality clash" simply because we choose to see things differently.

          Yes, I perceive your "passionate and unwavering" demeanor. I have been exploring this topic for 60+ years, and it is still interesting to listen to other's thoughts, feelings and ideas. For me personally, it is not interesting to have a conversation with a person who is "unwavering"....it is more interesting to me to share thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences.

          You have explained your perspective just fine, and I agree to disagree:>) "

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