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 25 2013: Hello again, Bernard,
    From your answer, I think you really believe that "God, yes or no" is a useful question that you should answer , at least potentially. Or that a personal God is a desirable, and possible outcome.
    What I am suggesting is that there is another way of looking at the whole problem, which makes such questions irrelevant.
    Let's start by assuming that there is an all knowing, Personal God in the ancient pattern. We know a good deal about the problems that such Kings encounter, from our own History, , like that of the Tsars of Russia. One thing is perpetual annoyance from the people you are ruling. Since there is no independent mechanism of governing, it requires a draining amount of energy to deal with all the many courtiers, Officials,schemers, etc . all of whom want something from you,; not to mention assassins, including perhaps your own relatives. Flattering perhaps, but not much fun, and in the long run, boredom is a problem.
    Well , Peter the Great , and many others, had a solution: He went around incognito, learning to be a shipbuilder, and could go to taverns with his workmates, and enjoy himself just like anyone else. For awhile, at least. Others would put on Plays, pretending to be other people.
    Well, our "God" would have the same problem. He would know too much ,not be able to have ordinary "experiences', or friends , or any affections at all, probably. He would be actually, an infinitely large Field of Consciousness. But since he is "All Powerful" , he could no doubt arrange with his Secretary of State to subdivide this consciousness in infinite ways, and take on the roles of ordinary creatures, thus having all kinds of emotional experiences without any danger to himself. Of course, it would be necessary to incarnate each creature into a temporary "Body" of some kind , which need not last very long. And that "consciousness," just like electricity, would automatically flow back into the "Ground".
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      Apr 25 2013: However this curse God would have (genially assuming it is "all knowing, and all powerful") to be a necessary sacrifice for our joy. If it was genially all-loving to the extent many perceive it "should be"!
      Are you suggesting that we are all parts of "God's" conciseness?
      I am greatly confused by your reply. (I may just be misunderstanding you a lot!) :P
      For depending on the definition you use there may be more than a "it either is, or it isn't". Or maybe it can "be" at sometimes and "isn't" at other times. So that way I suppose it could be "both".
      • Apr 25 2013: Bernard
        It would:not be any sacrifice on God's part at all, any more than an actor is taking a chance playing Hamlet.Does the actor "suffer" because Hamlet has a bad time in the play? And yes, not only are we all a" part of God's Consciousness". but that is probably the major part of it, since, what do you know, we all have "Godlike" capabiltiies for Love , awe, and all kinds of other experiences, which are probably not available to God-in-the-resting-state. In other words, as with the electric field, there is really no significant distinction between one "part" and another.. Fields do not have "Parts", only concentrations. There would be no real distinction beween us and God, except scale, and "human" limitations .That sounds a lot llke the Christian saying that the "Church is the Bodly of Christ".

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