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 18 2013: Hey Bernard!
    Are aware that the 'minder's at ted have censored a contribution of mine regarding an announcement I made today? It was an announcement of a conferance which dealt with consciousness researchers that will take place instead of the cancelled tedx. Infact, It appears a couple of my contributions have been removed! As you are aware of my congenial and polite nature of participating - you can know that this is indeed an act of consorship. Obviously, as we have discussed, consciousness research is a possible tool in an experimental approach to designing an experiment for a proof of a god. But ted sent me a terse note saying that I was off subject and then I find my thoughtful contributions expunged from this conversation today. Any clues buddy?

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      Apr 18 2013: Hmm.
      It seems TED might be doing an injustice to you my friend! (We must sort it out!)
      Can I help in anyway?
      Yes I would love to watch that TED X talk! (It would be very interesting!)
      Have you watched the TED talk :
      Dan Dennett: The illusion of consciousness
      Link : http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_our_consciousness.html
      Would be interested in your thought on it, as a "explorer of consciousness"!
      Yet I am quite busy now unfortunately so I won't be able to respond as frequently as I once did!
      Kind regards,
      Your friend Bernard.
      • Apr 18 2013: HI Bernard!
        I will check this link out. But, I think you would be interested in a discussion (which ended unexpectedly), between Dan Dennett, Ed May and Russell Targ. It is in the foreword to 'The Reality of ESP" by Russell Targ.
        Thanks Buddy for your Kind Friendship,
      • Apr 18 2013: Hi Again Buddy,
        I just realized since the book I referenced is a u.s. publicaion, you may not have access to it :|. So, I will quote a bit of it to give you a sense of the intellectual disconnect involved. "Along with Ed May, I once debated with Daniel Dennett, a prominent critic of ESP research, at an event produced by ABC News for station news staffs and station mamagers. We debated along for about thirty minutes, with Dennett making dismissive and disparaging remarks to anything Ed or I said, but always in generalities. Finally I said to him: "Let's pick an experiment we both know, and you tell me what is wrong with it, and I will respond". Without a moment's hesitation he shot back in the most deliberately condescending act I have ever witnessed, saying, "You don't think I actually read this stuff, do you?" There was a moment's silence, then laughter began, first as giggles, then as chuckles, and, finally, as guffaws. It suddenly dawned on Dennett what he had said. He blushed and sat down, and left as soon as he could."
        So, the 'old school is often defensive about turf, prestige and status (quo). This is to be expected. As the saying goes; 'science progresses one death at a time'.
        There are head winds to be endured for progress to happen - listening ted?
        Talk to you soon Buddy,
      • Apr 18 2013: Hi Bernard, Buddy!
        I really appreciate your kind support.
        I think this maybe a useful occurrance for me. But, I must preface my hypothosis with a little background info on me.
        I recieved my BS in education and art. I also did additional studies (beyond the requirements), in psychology and at one point considered changing my double major to philosophy. I spent a number of years also working professionally as a addiction and rehab. counselor and also worked with 'sex offenders', who were also chemical and behavioral addicted.
        This experience was extremely helpful to me in understanding observations of my own internal introspection of thinking dynamics that I must look at - on a continual basis.
        So, here is my hypothisis:
        I saw this same dynamic in the (now closed), discussion re; dr. sheldrake's treatment. I believe much of the intellectual and emotional dis-connects we see played out is an attempt to avoid the accompanying discomforts of our old friend 'cognitive disonance'. I'm thinking that many folks can sense intuitively or unconsciously, an occurance of this event and the associated discomforts. So, as I cited the previous quote by Russell Targ, I have to wonder if many people unconsciously or actively avoid other views or paradigms to avoid the Buddhist "suffering" of emotional discomfort. You and I know that our only hope to understanding is to accept and even embrace this suffering as a reality and side effect (and benefit?), of the suffering of cognitive disonance. to grow as people. This is why personal research is real 'work'. Am I making sense here? What do you think?
        Thanks for your continued friendship!
      • Apr 18 2013: Hi! bernard!
        I'm sorry. I'm beginning to feel like a pest.
        But this IS important!
        A serious "Thumbs Up" must go to our freind Natasha for her kind and encouraging words!
        AND her prompt to post my hypothosis of unconscious avoidance of the discomfort/ Buddhist conception of "suffering" - by thoughtfully reminding me of the "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism!!
        A BIG thanks to Natasha!
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          Apr 18 2013: Very well.
          I shall do your will, as you so selflessly ask! :P
          You are not a pest, don't worry.
          Kind regards,
      • Apr 18 2013: Oh Bernard!
        I'm afraid I will have to drop another bomb - 'duck and cover'! :>
        Check out the huffington post, deeppak chopra article under the science section dated 4.18.13.
    • Apr 18 2013: They try to make it look like a business-as-usual. But obviously, it is not.
    • Apr 18 2013: Let's not miss the opportunity to master Aesop's language :)

      "There's something fishy going on down at the sardine factory!

      -I think it's fish! "
      It's a big fish, my friend ! very big !
      Try to imagine what impact ' mass awakening ' may have on the assembly line production/mentality/modus vivendi ... ?
      The whole civilization will be in ruin !
      Btw. , i am totally immune to conspiracy theories, it's just the way it is, always.
      " Nothing ever changes but the Same "

      Cheers !
      • Apr 18 2013: Hi Natasha!
        Thanks again for your reply! You're very kind. I goofed - again, by making my last reply to you part of the main thread. This seems to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder on my part :) I see a dialog box and I JUST WANT TO TYPE!!!!!! :> PLease, 'stop me before I type again!' :)
      • Apr 18 2013: Thanks Natasha!
        For your cheerful willingness to over look my bumbling. I know from experience that some folks do feel sensnitive about being/ having a response put out front - for a number of reasons. I just wanted to be sensitive and courteous - not knowing how all folks may feel about this.
        Thanks Again,

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