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 16 2013: We may not have the right definitions, or terms, or be asking the right questions-or maybe we are? Could we just be looking in the wrong places? Today we know very little about our own human brain and its very cogs and gears, ins and outs. We are far away from meeting our brains maximuim potential. (if such a thing is possible) So is it at all possible that maybe in the feature as we expand our knowledge and understanding of our own brain that we may unlock some of these anwsers (or pieces to the puzzle) deep in our own brains?
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      Apr 16 2013: What if when our brains did reach their maximum potential, we realised God was just a cognitive illusion?
      Would you accept it if that happened?
      Or will the definition o f God evolve, to reflect the values of society more. In the way God will become more pantheistic?
      • Apr 16 2013: haha. nice. You definitely are outlining the conflicting perception of "god" in society. But maybe this perspective can put a nice spin. This is how I see it,

        God exists (pantheism). Understanding for meaning and god is sought and spread throughout the people. Through "religious/human" interference and direction the definition of god has been shifted and if anything several definitions exist. But ultimately, I don't think we need arrive to our "maximum potential" to answer these questions.

        Humans have defined god for the "miracles" that occur on earth, then uncovered them as science, meteorology, physics, chemistry, etc... But can God=Science?
    • Apr 16 2013: We aren't using the potential of the human brain? I think you may be just spreading an urban myth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_percent_of_brain_myth. I would agree that many people do not fully use their brains, but I think the sci-fi mythology that we are going to unlock psychic powers and ascend to godhood to be, well, mythology. Stargate Sg-1 (Ascension) and Babylon 5 (psi-corps, Ironheart story) are great examples of this, but you should note that they aren't real.

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