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: Religion has always been used to sway masses. That't human nature going back to the shadow of our ancestors. This is reality to accept what is known. Religion has been used in a positive way and in a negative way, just as science has been used .

    On balance both are used for good and not evil by all the great religious traditions existing today.

    There are two things that are new in the history of mankind. First is the idea of "religious freedom" that came at birth of America in 1776, a revolutionary idea introduced here by philosophy of amazing founding father.

    Second is our recent understanding of who we are based on the recent understanding of the mechanism of inheritance for almost all life forms on earth.

    It's startling understanding that takes us one more step to understand how precious life is and even more how very precious intelligent intelligent life form, humans, onely one specie is among all those life forms that exist on earth.

    What is incredible however that same "preciousness" of intelligent life form on earth, humans come from a different field of study, ie, astrophysics.

    Among billions and billions of stars out in our own galaxie, the milky way, there is no known other intelligent life form despite the decades of the SETI program searching for such life forms. Carl Sagan's movie produced in the Mid-90s "Contact" is still in the relm of science fiction.

    But with an important message as to where to look for "God", both out there in the vastness of the universe and in the hearts and minds of every single living human being.

    For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
    Carl Sagan
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      Apr 16 2013: "Religion has always been used to sway masses"

      Why do so many people think this?

      I mean all you have to do is go and talk to religious people. And then you realize, more often than not, that their religion reminds them to be a more "empathetic altrusic" person, and their religion acts as a moral reminder. And encouraged a sense of community, and makes various norms of "forgiveness".

      Also Define : "Control" or what is "swaying the masses"?

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