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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  • Dan F 50+

    • +1
    Apr 17 2013: Although science is designed to be good at only weeding out the false claims about the physical world, does it not in the process point us more in the direction of what better defines the truth by the scientific body of knowledge in good standing?

    An objective dynamic on going experiment is already in play in the form of natural history. What does the knowledge of natural history tell us? What appears most clear from the standing evidence is that living organisms have a common ancestry to the extent that a phylogenetic tree has been constructed showing all life is interconnected and has developed from an original biotic or sub-biotic source(s) or starting point.

    That body of evidence is contrary to the supernatural role God has been assigned by religion. So let's say you are a more liberal believer and you can accept biological evolution and even abiogenesis. Your contention being, how can something come from nothing as a basis for giving us this expression of reality in the first place? Is not that fact alone enough to concede some outside influence?

    Logical avenue to pursue, but does introducing a creator not generate even more interesting questions? How, when, where and why did the creator come about?

    I'd rather direct my imagination from the physical ground up as opposed to from the internal inspirations of the more faithful among us inspired to explain why we should be religious. Despite what makes me tick, to each is own as long as we are civil to one another and have the social protection and freedom to think and believe as we please.

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