Bernard White


This conversation is closed.

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 :, 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 :

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),

  • Apr 17 2013: Here is a definition of God : ' God is the relationship between all the finite points of creation'. An experiment to test for God would be to see if and particular part of the universe is related to any other part, If a relationship is proven. then God exsists. To check this, if any finite parts of the universe or creation can be shown not to have any kind of relationship, then the omni-present, omni-potent God cannot exsist.
    • Apr 18 2013: I like the idea, it's good, it's more than good, actually ! :)
      There is a problem, though ... what are the "all finite points of creation" ?
      The Whole is never complete.
      Let's make it an abstract, thought experiment.
      Take Chaos Theory , Holographic principle , Mandelbrot set , Bohm's interpretation of QM ( with non locality in it , it's important ) add all these quantum ' weird ' stuff, like entanglement , superposition and all the rest of it. And what we'll get as a result may look like :
      " Nothing has independent existence from anything else "
      or mystic metaphor ' the seer is the seen "
      Let's make a leap ..."The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."
      Iow. it should take place in me.
      I believe it's that simple :)

      Thanks !
  • Apr 17 2013: k... I didn't read any other comments so sorry if this has already been said.

    No we can't ever propose an experiment which disproves the existence of God.
    And this is because of a very simple reason.... "brain in a vat".

    You can ALWAYS say that "all of our observations/experiences are illusions" which are placed there by some external thing (God or a machine or perhaps a physical illusion... you can go on with even stranger ideas if you want).

    In your own post you point out that in science you can't really prove something is true... you can only prove something is false given some premises.
    The brain in a vat argument tells you that all premises could be illusions.... So you can use this argument to destroy all knowledge we have.

    There is not a single argument you can bring against that... except that the idea is far fetched.

    We can however make it more/less likely for religion to be a human fabrication by discovering things about the human nature and other types of research.
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      Apr 17 2013: I love this comment!
      I have been trying to tell people something on this idea, for ages.
      Yet you have just put it beautifully into words!
      While I do feel that if we are "brain in vats" or if I am an illusion, then I still exist, just in a different form. (I'm a line of coding! Yay!)
      However it does depend how you define "existence" doesn't it? :P
      • Apr 17 2013: "While I do feel that if we are "brain in vats" or if I am an illusion, then I still exist, just in a different form. (I'm a line of coding! Yay!)"

        When I freely translate that into historical context it would be "I think therefor I am" (cogito ergo sum) - Descartes. He argued that even if you cannot be sure of anything the fact that you can think about being unsure means that 'you' must be somewhere.

        Ofcourse, like you also mentioned, it does depend on how you define existence (or 'being' in Descartes reasoning).
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      Apr 17 2013: This does not stop inductive and bayesian logic to be valid.

      It is reasoning with clearly stating your assumptions.

      Furthermore, occam's razor implies that redundant assumptions need not to be taken into account.
      So explanation A is better than explanation B if B=A+god (it's adding 0 information value)

      When adding fantasy, call it fantasy and not valid.

      Furthermore, a brain in a vat will assume that one connot generate knowledge ex nihilo (an algorithm cannot increase in complexity unless there is outside information added). This implies that you'll need to assume that "everything" is the "brain in that vat".
      I call this everything "reality", but if you want to call it "illusion", then we are discussing semantics.

      So something is true within "the brain in the vat". You cannot make truth claims about something that is outside it (if you could, it would be part of it).

      So you are back at square one: partial information to inform you about somthing bigger (probably finite). In that finite space, the probabilty of a god is getting lower the more we discover (Boltzmann style)

      So I agree with White
      • Apr 17 2013: You write that as if you disagree with me... But I don't really see where.

        In science we have assumptions about the world (which allow for the inductive reasoning to take place).
        You could say that given the premise that "what we can observe is reality" we can conclude that ..insert scientific findings.......

        But for religion you can't because "In the beginning there was nothing.... then God created blabla" this in itself lifts God above what we can observe. And therefor we cannot assume the same premisses that we do in science.

        Science is perfectly fine if you always include the premise of "in this universe we can observe ....." (which science actually does but it's not clear to many people that this is one of the premisses).
        Or as you put it that "You cannot make truth claims about something that is outside it" (where it = the vat)

        I just tried to word it in such a way that breaks the normal train of thought.

        And yes we get back at square one.... which is why we cannot prove that God doesn't exist.

        Perhaps the line you disagree with is "So you can use this argument to destroy all knowledge we have." If you disagree with that line then I think you're saying that while we're in the vat the knowledge will hold.... But that is a somewhat strange idea because assume that the vat is a computer program and God is a programmer... and he decides to hit the "invert gravity" button....

        I would agree with you if you would say that science is our best attempt at trying to describe everything we can observe. However that doesn't invalidate (or validate) the reasoning behind a "brain in a vat". There is just no way we can prove something when it is outside of our perception.

        We could however show that the existence of God is unlikely.
  • Apr 15 2013: I've been thinking for many years that we are the experiment. KCorletta
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      Apr 16 2013: And what do you think the conclusion is?
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    Apr 14 2013: I think the main problem here is that we do not know the right question to ask.
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      Apr 14 2013: I agree!
      I find it difficult trying to ask the "right question!", yet there is no harm in trying! :P
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      Apr 14 2013: G'day Danger Lampost

      Yes I would agree on that, science today is finding new ways in asking these questions through newer science techniques like quantum physics, mechanics & vacuum & these techniques are also evolving to obtain better answers through newer ways of asking question so yes obsoletely right in my mind DL.

    • Apr 18 2013: Who am I ?

      would be the right one , i guess :)
    • Apr 20 2013: If we know the right question to ask, we probably already know the right answer)).
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    Apr 27 2013: The Higgs boson is not all that important (900 billion Dollars!!! to finance the research), what is important is the Higgs field from which the Higgs particle is produced. Without the Higgs field electrons will be massless moving at the speed of light ( if so atoms could not be formed), with the Higgs field electrons will keep bumping into the field thus gaining inertia & mass slowing the electrons enough to form atoms and you and me and all else.No Higgs Field , No Atoms -no Stars-no Planets- no Chemistry- no Life.. And this is the foundation of the Standard model of physics , the Higgs field -adding mass to the building blocks of everything. (Amazing!!)

    The Higgs field neither proves or disproves God, but it does fills a gap in our quest to understand nature.

    At the core of the God question is the lack of any coherent definition of what God is. All we have is concepts,so we are putting the cart before the horse as we attempt to have an operational definition to sink our teeth into.How can you test a God conceptualized as supernatural in a natural context? And if you were able to ,wouldn't that render the meaning of of the words natural and supernatural meaningless? , since both are mutually exclusive. I think that we cannot postulate the existence,much less the nature of God because we do not know what it means for a supernatural being to exist.Our entire worldview of existence is informed by a natural context. Saying God is a supernatural being is clear but is not meaningful. Saying that the existence of said God can be established using the natural world is neither meaningful nor coherent.
    God is trans-rational, an article of personal faith, Science has nothing to say about it, at least for now. But Science can say much about the Higgs field.

    Søren Kierkegaard
    “Certainty... lurks at the door of faith and threatens to devour it.”

    Martin Luther
    “Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.”

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      Apr 27 2013: Great, succinct explanation.

      I just wish the media or whoever hadn't labeled the Higgs bosun the god particle. Leads to so many misunderstandings.

      Supernatural is a strange concept. Its like giving up and saying its magic imo. Free yourself from evidence, understanding, from models, data, mechanisms, proof. Free yourself from any limits, call it all powerful and knowing and you have a ready made answer to anything and everything limited only by your imagination.

      an all powerful, all knowing, something that is not part of the universe, can be used to plug any gaps, but yet it explains nothing, you just push the questions back a level and have added unnecessary and unsubstantiated speculation and complexity.

      Why does the universe exist....god
      Why does god explain the universe

  • Apr 26 2013: While science tries to explain the invisible through the visible, there is no room for God/Spirit /Consciousness in the dictionary of science, it has no proof either.
    But now with modern physics once we grasp the full implication of the quantum message we can never again naively believe that the world 'out there' is more real than the world ' in here' .
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      Apr 27 2013: Hi Natasha, while I am open to the possibility of things deserving the name gods or goddesses, i disagree that the cosmic and quantum understanding we have developed points to there being gods or goddesses.

      For me it shows how counter intuitive, complex and amazing life and the universe is.

      I remember a high school class where one student slapped the desk saying he couldn't accept it was 99.9999999999% empty space.

      There could be ghosts, nature spirits, faerie, gods, or beings not imagined. Just nothing that confirms they exist.

      I can partially see the attraction or intuitive connection between some aspects of our scientific understanding, and god concepts, cosmic consciousness, and mysterious connections, but suggest often a fair bit of extrapolation is involved beyond what we have reasonably confirmed is probably correct.

      Understanding there are invisible forces like gravity doesn't mean there are invisible agencies, such that have been assumed for everything from disease to floods and lightening.
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        Apr 28 2013: Its the mind that makes "gods" real just like the table that is sitting in front of you. Does your knowing that it is 99.999999999% empty make it less real to you or more real or does it hold its original value? The question you should really ask your self is what am I actually seeing? And then there was light
      • Apr 29 2013: Hi, Obey !
        That student is who we are, we can't accept the fact that the desk is 99.9999999999% empty space. Why ? Because we all have a strong collective belief in totally the opposite : the desk is solid.
        Our belief makes it solid, our collective mind expectation creates matter/ the world as we know it.
        For how long will we entertain the idea of external God ?
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          Apr 29 2013: Hi again,

          My take is we evolved to eat and avoid and mate with medium sized, medium speed things.

          So our senses have evolved to perceive lions and fruit and other humans.

          Not individual atoms, not distant planetoids.

          Suggest it is a mix of sense perception, belief, and focus.

          We know about atoms, bacteria, the minature world. SSometimes we focus on it, say when working with a microscope. But driving home we focus on the medium sized objects, especially the buses.

          I expect external god concepts will be around for a while, I don't personally believe in one. I guess there are many other god concepts, god in us, everywhere, in quantum fields. Maybe the external god willed itself into oblivion a billion years ago.
      • Apr 29 2013: I think the main problem is that vexed ' objective VS subjective' business.
        Objectivity is the illusion of a subject, hardly anything more. Multiply it to the number of agents /subjects currently ' working' in the field , add the time aspect:15 billion years ( ? ) I don't know. And what we'll get is a self fulfilling prophecy, mass hallucination... collective dream, what have you. We call it ' objective reality ' , fine !
        We swallow the fact of 99.9999999999% empty space, the quanta fluctuation from the state of existence to non existence 3 bl.times per second ( on average it doesnt' exist and resides in indeterminate zone) ... the result of a double slit experiment ( consciousness , the 'eye' of the observer is required to collapse the wave function and push a particle into existence )....we swallow all these and many other facts without altering our attitude !
        Amazing !
        We still think that quantum world is standing apart from our ' human' physical world, but if you accept this division , you have a logical philosophical, experiential mess in your hands ! The nature is fractal all over the genre, ' as above so below ' .
        To question the doctrine of objectivity is a right place to start in the search for a higher dimension, call it God or whatever the name . I think it prefers to be unnamed, but to communicate the idea we need a symbol and we have it.

        Have a nice day !
  • Apr 23 2013: If I understand you correctly, you would like to use the" Scienfic Method" to deal with this popular question. The problem is going to be , that as you suggest, "God" doesn't have an agreed on meaning that is specific enough to be able to design any experiemts.
    That doesn't reallly matter, though., bacause in Science it is a valid procedure to produce a "Theory", which can answer, or bypass, questions. It is a matter of dealing satisfactorily and consistently , at least potentially, with any deal killing questions., even in the absence of any decisive experiement at the moment.
    You no doubt aware of all the contradictory, inconsistent beliefs of most religions. The popular ones, Judeo-Christian-Moslem-Agnostics all share a pretty much similar view of how the Universe is laid out, what Human nature is like, etc. Basically, the Hindus and Buddhists have a radically different concept, but it is overlaid with centuries of ritualistic practices which obscure its science friendly premises. Alan Watts, an ex Anglican priest, did an excellent job of getting down to basics.about this. Science has evolved to a belief that the basic elements of our world, are energy, cycles, Fields of Force, and conservation Laws. Even Newtonians were aware that "things" were illusions based on "atoms", now we find out that even atoms are constructs of other non-stuff. Electromagnetism, and the other Forces are in the form of "Fields". My guess is that "Consciousness " will turn out to be yet another" Field". It would probably not shock a Buddhist or Hindu, since it woud fit in with their beliefs, but it would be a total killer for the other religions, which require an all powerful puppeteer, in the mode of Ancient Kings, entirely separate from the Peons (us) The Field, if identified with "God" would imply that Groups have a reality beyond collections of illusory "Individuals", and furthermore, that WE are indistinguishable from God in that sense. Super heresy.
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      Apr 24 2013: Hello Shawn Disney, Nice too meet you! :D
      I'm surprised you put "Agnostics" in that same category. I would probably label myself an "Strong (/ strict) agnostic".
      However, I do not know much about Hinduism. What do they teach? :)
      • Apr 24 2013: Hi Bernard White:
        Always a pleasure to talk to someone who is interested in getting beyond "what everyone knows". The reason I would lump the Agnostics in with the others is that they seem to share so many basic , unquestioned assumptions about our Universe, and seem to agree that there is not much alternative. The assumptions being, for one, there is either "God" , or "Not-God". In a Universe, more or less Newtonian in structure, which was either arranged by a conscious , rational, even personal, sort of being, much like an
        Ancient King. Or , alternatively,, the "God" is not there, but there is a mechanistic, scientific sort of structure that we all inhabit, as "individuals", born without knowing where we are , or what is going on anyway, and we gradually learn by Evolution, family life, etc. who we are, and how we should behave. As to "purposes" , life spans, etc. that is still a mystery, but there are a lot of contradictory sayings and customs which purport to answer insoluble conundrums, such as "God's Love", or the "Afterlife", etc. None of it very satisfactory.
        Buddhism is derived from Hinduism, and they are both quite contrary to the modern World View, at first sight. Buddhism , being younger, has less accumulated , Culture -specific rituals, etc. Both are quite scientific and modern in spirit, since they focus on "experience" , unlike the other "Religions". It is probably accurate to say that neither of these is really a "Religion", since they are not concerned with "Salvation", Sin, Evil, Afterllife. Souls, etc.which the others assume as "Real". There seems no conflict with the basic setup to say that it is consistent with Buddhism to believe that "Consciousness Potential", in the form of a universal Force Field, analogous to Electricity, is the Source of "Individuals". and Groups as well, but they are Constructs, and not basic elements. Just as "atoms" are. I'm running out of space. See Alan Watts , "the Book" for a better explanation
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          Apr 24 2013: Hello! (Again). :)
          I wouldn't say that there is or isn't a God at all!
          If anything I came up with this 8 answer model :

          1. I know there is...
          2. I believe it is most probable there is...
          3. I do not know at this present moment, not to say that I will not know one day...
          4. I will never know....
          5. I do not know, for I have not thought about it...
          6. I believe it is most improbable there is...
          7. I know there isn't...


          8. I am just not concerned / Don't care.

          Most people are in the "8" and "5" category from my experience.

          Yet I suppose you could argue I am going towards a more "yes or no" answer scale. What would you suggest is wrong with that? I mean there is the "possibility" that a personal God(s) could spawn into existence at any moment, or die at any moment.

          While if this is true, I have no way of knowing in my present state. (Through scientific method, that is!)

          I like this quote :
          "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a question to be solved".
          However I find it more fulfilling to try and find the answers I can with my finite brain, which can only process (and store) so much information.
          I am an agnostic with regards as to whether my life is finite (I just die) or infinite (There is a form of after-life, or reincarnation).
          I accept that there may not be a "one universal answer / meaning to life", I accept there could be "many meaning(s) to life!".

          I have no grudge towards any religion, if anything admire them in a odd form. For (most) religions encourage a sense of community, altruistic (+ empathy towards your fellow man) deeds, and a sense awe towards the universe.

          I hope you enjoyed my reply.
          Kind regards (again! :P),

          EDIT : However! I must admit, I do find the concept of a personal "God(s)" can be explained quite nicely as a "Cognitive illusion", read my other comments about this matter. I find the concept of God, can be reduced to the "Theory of mind", and "“artificialism” (or "promiscuous teleology".)
  • 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 :
      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,
  • Apr 17 2013: I think it already has been done. See The Scratch, below.
    there is no such thing as "existing"
    there is only "just is"
    thus, god doesn't exist, god just is.
    It's everything and it just is.
    We don't really know why.
    We don't really know who why.
    We don't really know what why.
    We don't really know when why.
    We don't really know where why.
    We don't really know how why.
    We don't really know why why
    We only think we know and that is it.
    Think and we are. think and it is.
    The Scratch.
    Scratch yourself. Do nothing. Trust it to heal and it will.
    Open up the cells that do the healing.
    Keep looking deeper and deeper into those cells, halving them until they are so small,
    nothing can see them, nor is there anything left there to see.
    During this seeking, at no time will anyone be able to point to anything in any cell and say,
    "there, that's intelligence. That's how IT knows how to heal. There, that is power. That is how IT is able to heal.
    There, that is love. That is why IT heals."
    But with nothing left, nothing there, we can point to that nothingness and we can all say, "IT works, IT really does."
    IT just is.
    Everyone who has ever lived, is living and perhaps those who will live,
    have had, are having or will have, the empirical evidence of The Scratch.
    There is nothing wrong with us humans,
    that a good wound won't heal.
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      Apr 17 2013: And what is 'just is', if there is no such thing as 'existing'?
      I liked it though! :) ('we don't really know...')
      Kind regards,
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    Apr 17 2013: I think we just view God differently then what God may really be. The collective consciousness of all of us together may very well be God. Just like how the individual Cybernetic Animals of Voltron create the bigger being of asskickery.

    If we keep looking for God as this single entity, we'd never find God, but maybe we just haven't got us all in the same room and asked if God was present yet...

    not to mention, I highly doubt that God would even want us to waste our time finding God, since God made us God Would want us to go outwards and live, not try and find God and ask God what's up?

    It's all a matter of perception, I'm not religious I am spiritual.
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      Apr 21 2013: Or anything deserving to be called God may not exist.
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    Apr 17 2013: I cleaned my oven yesterday and when I opened it up this morning there was a cupcake in it. I cannot find an explanation for it! I came back today and the oven was gone. This is the mystery.
    • Apr 18 2013: There is nothing but mystery. :)
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      Apr 21 2013: I found a universe this morning. There must be a transcendent (whatever that means) oven that bakes universes.
      It wont be visible. In fact it will be outside of time and space, i.e. non detectible, deliberately deceptive or aloof,, practically non existent, unexplained.
  • Apr 16 2013: It seems to me the existance of God is a matter of faith rather than a matter of proof. Therefore no experiment or test will ever be able to prove the exsistance of God. If you have faith you will see God everywhere, if not well . . . .
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      Apr 16 2013: I agree. If your definition of "God" is "a personal God"! :P
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    Apr 16 2013: First of all I would like to say that I will try to address this question on the assumption that the God we are referring to is the one that has created everything, the Universe in its entirety.
    I believe that God was created by man. Since man is capable of asking questions, he is capable of designing answers.
    The God question is Paradox. Such paradox doesn't need to exist. It only does exist because of want and need. Do we need God? A lot do. Do we want God? I dare to answer this as 'yes' the human race wants one. This would ensure the everlasting life that religion promises. Now, how enticing is it when somebody tells you that there is a soul and promises you ever lasting life?? Pretty exciting!! They now have your attention and what precedes is a brainwashing process that has the potential of lasting a life time. This happens because religious zealots demand that you do not question, because questioning would put you in the lap of temptation, and not only would you not have a great afterlife but, you would spend it in eternal inferno. WOW This I call, CONTROL, brain washing. Man has a need and man provides the solution. Now to answer the question. The experiment would have to be on the Human brain, however this is no experiment at all. It is a study well in progress. Little by little we will realize what we truly are. Carl Sagan said it best. We are Star dust. Can this truth not be enough??? I find this amazing, wonderful, poetic, beautiful, truly everlasting. ...It is all God!! Therefore the proof is .... LOOK AROUND.
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      Apr 16 2013: So basically your saying your a pantheistic.
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        Apr 17 2013: No Bernard, not a pantheist. That would imply that I see the Universe as some sort of divine place. The Universe is a very dangerous place, it constantly tries to kill us. I was merely trying to imply that for those that need a God, they need only to look around, that it can be looked at as God. Theology tells you that we come from God. I am implying that we are of the Universe and if you want to call that God, then, we are part of God, and there is NOTHING ELSE.
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          Apr 17 2013: "NOTHING ELSE"
          Are you certain? :P
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        Apr 17 2013: Committing to that kind of certainty is a dangerous move. :) :)
  • Apr 13 2013: Any experiment to prove God's existence may look like an attempt within seconds to find a black sleeping cat in a dark room, having a strong suspicion that it is actually not there. And it is the best case scenario :)
    There is no wrong place to find God, when it is within. There is no need to define and believe in God. God is a symbol, a word, it doesn't imply that it is not real.
    Forget about experiment, try ' experience ' :)
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      Apr 13 2013: Hello natasha nikulina!
      Yes I have experienced this emotion you call "God", yet do not find it satisfactory! And it is only inductive reasoning, which is built upon, well, my emotions. :) (Which don't prove to be very reliable...)
      Yet I can accept that if a God does exist it is within! :P (And not an external being independent of the human mind!)
      Actaully just read my reply (somewhere) about the psychology of religion and watch :
      Don't know how this will change your perception!
      Kind regards,
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        Apr 14 2013: uh, sorry if I missed something but... you equate god to an emotion? is this true? no wonder you are quite confused.
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          Apr 14 2013: Well what are you suggesting God is? :-)
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        Apr 14 2013: i am not suggesting anything. god is much more than that and you could never label god. you could only talk about god thru metaphor, symbolism and storytelling... exactly why people who cannot let go of their ego being in control cannot find out what god is. there are at least seven major aspects of god that I can think of.
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          Apr 14 2013: If you could tell me what those "seven major aspects" are, and how you "know" them to be true! :P
          I mean if God is undefinable , or un-label-able, then I must admit asking the question :
          "Does God exist" if God is undefinable! (Because is it like saying : "Does X exist?".
          You can see my problem!
      • Apr 18 2013: Hello, Bernard White ! :)
        Thanks for the link ! I am not to judge about the quality of the experiment , but i would agree with the conclusion, yes , we may say : God is in your mind, but...
        but your mind is not in your head, your brain is. Brain and mind are not separate ( nothing is ) but they are not identical either. When disturbed, brain may have access to Mind ( or field of information ) usually, in normal state it doesn't deal with. You may call it ' cognitive illusion ', altered state of consciousness, insight...non algorithmic knowing, mystic experience ...what have you, but whatever it is , it is not less real than the helmet itself, actually it's where the helmet came from, alongside with everything else.
        Don't take me wrong, i have noting to convert you into, but try to trust your experience, it's the primary data, it's the truest truth you can possibly get.
        Your emotions are important :)

        Thanks for responding !
    • Apr 15 2013: Well said, Natashia!
      • Apr 18 2013: Thanks, Jordan !
        I didn't say anything, actually :) I don't know how to prove what seems to me the obvious.
        McLuhan once said : Whoever discovered water, certainly was not a fish.
        We are swimming in the ocean of consciousness and we don't know what consciousness is.
        There is nothing which is not God and we don't know what God is.
        Funny, isn't it ? :)
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    Apr 9 2013: If God does exist, then it is within human consciousness.

    Which is why science could never reach it - let alone define it.
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      Apr 9 2013: Agree. :P
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      Apr 10 2013: What do you mean god would be in human consciousness?

      Also, how did you come to this conclusion?

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        Apr 10 2013: It used to be thought that spiritual feelings were confined to one particular "God spot" in the brain, but has since been refuted by new research, which in a nutshell is saying that a decreased focus on the self coincides with increased feelings of spirituality. This is as a result of studying impairment or malfunction to the right parietal lobe (the centre of 'self'), and Buddhist meditative practices that effectively decrease activity in this region:

        It's more likely therefore, that spiritual feelings are spread across multiple areas of the brain - different areas for different people. Which leads me to think that there is no single experiment that could ever be devised to determine the existence of God as a collective norm in humans.
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          Apr 10 2013: That is interesting Allan. I have read research in the past that indicated an INCREASE in right brain functioning indicates the "God spot", or higher level of spirituality. The information you provide suggests the god spot/spirituality with "decreased right parietal lobe functioning".

          Whatever they come up with for research, I believe that all feelings are spread across multiple areas of the you say....different areas for different people. Perhaps different experiences, beliefs and background information also influence....which, of course would embrace the idea of "different areas for different people".:>)
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      Apr 8 2013: Re: "You are making a mockery of the idea of God! Call it character assassination!"

      I totally agree. Dragging God into the realm of physically detectable things, subject to scrutiny and analysis does seem like a lack of understanding of both faith and science. God is not a giant squid.

      I totally support the TEDx red flag for pseudoscience: "The fusion of science and spirituality. Be especially careful of anyone trying to prove the validity of their religious beliefs and practices by using science".

      I think, attempts to present religious claims as scientific can lead to much evil as well as treating scientific beliefs with religious devotion.
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        Apr 8 2013: Again I am confused by this statement.
        Have I tried to prove any "religious belief" by the use of science? No, in my opinion.
        You view that God cannot be accessed by science and this was the question.

        Also you are assuming God isn't some massive squid (this is where my Ignostic self kicks in) which controls the universe on a minor note. And if I believed that God was a really powerful squid then you would be doing mockery to my God, saying that God was not a giant squid. (And is a self-aware ultimate squid, the most powerful thing we can imagine, that is all knowing, all powerful and all loving ect.)

        (In relation to your whole subjective thing, I may find what you find "mockery" not "mockery". So is "mockery" just subjective, and I can just say : It is just your opinion. Which is one of the problems I find with subjective(ness), not saying it is true or not)
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          Apr 8 2013: Re: "Have I tried to prove any "religious belief" by the use of science? No, in my opinion."

          You haven't. And I haven't said that you did. However, if we assume that God is detectable by scientific method, we open the doors for religious science and scientific religion. And that's where things can get sticky.

          Re: "So is "mockery" just subjective, and I can just say : It is just your opinion."

          Yes, you can. I will totally agree with you. Defining something as "mockery" is completely subjective. I don't see any problems here :-).
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        Apr 8 2013: Agree, to be honest! :D (I love it when we reach consensus! It feels so rewarding!)
        I find that with these subjective things, then there are subjective objective truths. (In the way you could calculate what makes certain people feel offended independent of what they believe) If that makes any sense. :P
        Also once you have defined offensive you can easily (objectively) calculate what certain people would fine offensive, if you have enough information about them.
        Hope I have explained this well enough!
        Yet yeah I do agree with you the whole "offence" is mostly subjective.
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      Apr 8 2013: If the answer is "No", then the answer is "No!". (In your opinion of course, which I would be inclined to agree with) :)
      This is all I wanted, I just wanted to see whether some people believed there was observational or experimental evidence which could prove (or disprove) God in the physical realm we live in.
      I do not see how this is making mockery of the idea of God at all, this is partly why I am a strong agnostic about God. I see no way, using scientific method (as I understand it, if I have got something wrong, please just tell me! :p) to prove or disprove God.
      I am interested though, did you think I was expecting people to prove to me that their faith is valid, or prove to me that their God is applicable to science.
      I was not expecting this
      While I do not know why, and mean no ill, it is just your comment (intuitively) reminded me of a debate I once enjoyed : "Does the freedom of expression (some would call this pluralism) include the freedom to offend?". (Not going to say anything about my opinion on this debate.)
      However, I can see your answer to this question is "No" to the debate.
      I do not understand your point about Baloney though, I can be sure (if I accept the external world exists) that Baloney does exist, because I can test on it. And see it, and hold it. (Basically what I am trying to say, why have you put "Baloney" and "God" in the same category. If anything this is a slight mockery to God. Baloney is an inanimate (physical) object which is to be consumed, while God is sometimes defined as the most powerful incomprehensible immaterial being we can possible conceive. They are very different things!)
      Just to say : I mean no offence in this reply, I just find your demonstrations, well, rather confusing to be honest.

      EDIT : With regard to the C.S Lewis talk, would "string theory" or solipsism fit into either of the categories of : This universe is all there is, or there is an intelligent "designer" behind it? (Or am I misunderstanding something here?)
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      Apr 9 2013: It seemed too me the question was asked in the interest of honest enquiry, not mocking.

      But that is just my opinion.

      Although it is just reinforcing most ideas about god are subjective and not testable.

      Actually we can measure many things we can not see, using technology. Temperature, infra red, microscopic things. It is just gods seem most often to be conceptualised as something outside of the reality we can observe. Which is rather convenient, but leads to all the different contradictory beliefs because there is no compelling evidence that gods exist let alone their nature and what they want from humans, if anything. The cathedrals and mosques don't make the associated religious claims any less subjective and suspect.

      Also I suggest some of the god related claims can be tested when they relate to reality. If someone says the gods live in a physical villa on mount Olympus, or the universe is 6000 years old, we can test these claims.
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        Apr 9 2013: "It seemed too me the question was asked in the interest of honest enquiry, not mocking."
        That's all it was, couldn't have put it better myself.
        "the universe is 6000 years old, we can test these claims."
        Agree. :D
        "If someone says the gods live in a physical villa on mount Olympus"..."we can test these claims."
        Not so sure about this one though! I mean, they may be invisible and undetectable creature who live in the physical world.
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          Apr 10 2013: I meant physical Greek gods and their villas.

          Also if we can not agree on a definition of god or the gods or goddeses, if we can prove they exist or confirm their nature, intent etc, what conclusions does this lead to.

          For me this supports freedom of and from religion, and hopefully some appreciation ones god beliefs are somewhat speculative, so tolerance for other theists, deist, pantheists, atheist perspectives.
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        Apr 9 2013: Obey and Bernard,
        For what it's worth, I perceive the question was asked with interest and honesty as well. I see no "mocking" of anything. Some folks do not like their personal beliefs questioned in any way!
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    Apr 7 2013: Humans who consider themselves reasonable have a tendency to have a reason or a purpose for everything they do or say or think. And they tend to look for an explanation, or a reason, or a purpose for everything they see. Perhaps, the search for God or even the idea of God comes from this striving for a purpose and the reason for our existence. But these are not to be found outside or determined by any experiment. What's the purpose of finding a purpose? What's does "meaning" mean? These are meaningless questions. Purpose and meaning only mean something in a specific context and come from inside, from our self.
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      Apr 7 2013: What does meaningless mean? (If pondering what "meaning" is meaningless.)
      Also what is "reason" and "logic" to you?
      "What's the purpose of finding a purpose" it is to feel fulfilled with yourself. (As Daniel Dennet says, the secret to happiness is giving yourself to some grander purpose than your self.)
      Yes they could have situational definitions depending on the context, I do not see what the problem is!
      Thanks Bernard. :D
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    Apr 2 2013: The experiment has already been done. It's the experiment of life itself without any rhyme or reason or protection from anything whatsoever. So instead of answering your question, I would ask, "What is the purpose of 'God'?" My answer is, There is no real purpose... other than what man has decided for his own reasons. When you think about it, everything in life has a purpose...even the hairs in our nose, so what is the purpose of "God?" if not to protect and care for Its creation? Is it to create life and then just abandon it to the forces of nature and evil? For the sake of what? Entertainment, experiment? The way I see it, there are only random acts of violence, starting with the Big Bang that eventually lead to our existence. There was no plan for it, no design for it, no purpose for it, no rationale for it, and no order to it. And there will be no final judgement day, no everlasting punishment or eternal reward. Injustice throughout the globe will continue, starvation and greed will coexist, stars will continue to be born, and stars like our sun will eventually die and this planet will no longer be able to support life. And who knows, maybe the perfect conditions for life as we know it will take place on another planet in another galaxy, and maybe it already has. So, what is the purpose of God? Is it just to observe Its own creative masterpiece for over 13 billion years for self gratification and entertainment? If so, that would make It a petty God. Is the purpose to stand idly by and watch some of Its creation starve while others consume more than they will ever need... only to punish the "evil doers" when It has seen enough? If so, that would make it an evil and useless God. I have never bought into the religious argument for the existence and purpose of God and without that, what else is there?
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      • Apr 3 2013: or you can look at it like all of this is gods physical form . the one desired to be many. to let physicality be possible. i see the universe as being perfect in all its imperfections and life being so precious could only form from such power as astrological and geological forces over millions upon millions of years. its the most beautiful thing anyone could give , the chance to be here for whatevr amount of time were enabled. this is it man ,...........
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        Apr 7 2013: Why assume it is a test?
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        Apr 7 2013: Why assume god wants loyal followers?
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    Apr 2 2013: What a lovely question.

    The word "experiment" is more aligned with "science" and implies an open mind with respect to the subject of inquiry along with peer reviewed, repeatable experiments. I think the word "god" is more aligned with religion and implies a more axiomatic "belief" often due to direct experience of various sorts. Seeing "The 10 Commandments" this past Easter weekend reminded me that when Moses asked God who he was, he answered "I am that I am" (or some say "I will be what I will be"). It's neat to see the way you unite these two opposed worlds in one question.

    I suspect each of us could have our own burning bush moment, that would convince us of the reality of God's existence independent of any experiment. Would we then use experiments to validate our belief? Not all of us have had that burning bush moment, but I think it's possible for everyone. And even if you have that moment, you may choose to interpret that as not-God. For example, Mathew Alper makes an excellent argument in his book the God Part of the Brain that there is a part of our brain that has evolved to feel God, for evolutionary advantage.

    It is the nature of an experiment that others can reproduce your results on their own, by repeating your experiment.

    It's an interesting question so just wanted to post my first thoughts while I stew on another response...
    • Apr 2 2013: Now I know where he got his slogan! Lol. Crazy sailor man that Popeye is!
    • Apr 2 2013: So, ultimately, science is a uniting force for humans? Even if machine could confirm there would probably still be non believers. Maybe that part of the brain is nature's experiment letting us know there is more. The universe is imperfectly perfect so logically God should be as well....... Dam...... Humans and all life inteligent enough to ask the question, are the hands of God. We can't think of God as a single entity the way we think of an individual. It's more like nature and all the levels of "being" that most people can't see. That be some machine, of this plane of existence but could see beyond it. "dark"matter, if it could be considered matter is a very interesting find. Can't wait till they find out more. Are the photos of bent light conclusive evidence of dark matter? Sorry to stray but it's all your fault! LOL...... Interesting comment.
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    Apr 30 2013: Bernard et. al.,

    A year or so ago I've had the opportunity to share a meal with a rabbi, a catholic priest and an is Islamic believer. Of course the conversation went into faith v reason, I was clearly outnumbered and nearly at the end of our wits the rabbi said something ( I paraphrase): "Winning or losing these arguments while informative is not really that important, what is important is our capacity for loving care & compassion for one another regardless of faith, or lack thereof ( he looked at me).They all agreed(me too)
    All else is academical even if God were to show up in the next 10 minutes . (and prove me wrong).
    Our capacity to care for one another regardless of faith or lack thereof... I'm with the Rabbi .

  • Apr 29 2013: I think the human intellect is myopic in its perception of god. Lets assume, that if something is infinite in its totality, repeat totality, it can not be grasped through any medium, that is, it cannot be contained in any vessel, box, or the human mind for that matter. Hence the MATH ERROR for infinity. The only place from where god can be perceived in a vague way is i think the heart. What i mean to say is the way to reach god is through the emotional self. The intellectual or the logician hidden in any human asks for a physical rendering but it is the heart which can or can not feel the presence and existence of god.
    So Bernie, we need to design an experiment from the emotional perspective in which the heart plays the most significant role.
    • May 1 2013: Hi Salman, that sounds great and I fully agree with you that we humans cannot imagine infinity or omniscience.
      Maybe it would be possible to design an experiment in which people that do not believe in anything spiritual are asked to temporarily, for 24 hours, fully accept the belief in a higher power. See if in those 24 hours any connection or event happens that would seem special to the person.
      Heh lots of people have changed their minds.. who knows.

      Isn't there also a movie in which people are given a life threatening experience, so that they may have a NDE? Maybe that will do it too :)

      All that being said, here is a serious thought. There are similarities between God and us too. There is something in Revelation for us to understand. God is love itself and wisdom itself. We have a will in order to receive the good from that Love, and an understanding to receive the truth from that Wisdom. Obviously these few words are as one sand particle and the universe, but there is more in this book about God's Providence or governance of the human race. Reading it may be the easiest experiment ever :)
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    Apr 28 2013: Richard and all of like mind

    My point is that if there is no "God", no design, no plan, no reason... the universe just happened makes no sense to me, in fact given the timeline that we all agree upon, it is impossible through any manner of random selection.

    So, why does it have to make sense? Why not?
    Why must nature have a reason? Why must God have a reason?

    All I have ever said is there was God, He set off the big bang... it makes a lot more sense then " I don't know, it just happened!"
    Is that really the best response that can be offered? "I don't know what happened, but you're wrong"!

    Would it cause you to burst into flames to say, "I don't believe (as a matter of faith in) God that He created the universe as we know it, but it is a better answer then the Universe just happened.

    PS... I read physics books. All I learned was they didn't know much more then me, but they were ignorant in much greater detail and had the math to prove it.
    • Apr 28 2013: Interresting choice of words you have there "Would it cause you to burst into flames to say,".
      Because the church often used this argument (burning in hell for your actions) to control people.

      But to get back on topic....
      I don't see any logical way to make a distinction between "God created the universe" and "it just happened". In one case it's a concious act... and in the other it's a natural event.
      But logically you can just put the question of "how did God come into existence" as the same question as "how did the universe come into existence"... and what is even worse... you can use the same answers to that for both.
      Scientists just like to be precise and therefor can't yet tell for sure.

      But that I do not yet know why the (imho) natural event occured is no reason to use some ancient book filled with errors used for power and influence by some pretty evil people to tell me how I should live.

      I can accept that the idea for a god... because I can also accept that I am a brain in a vat. But simply because I have no way of telling I am not going to believe in some magic.

      I will believe that science can eventually show (beyond reasonable doubt) that the universe is a natural physical process. Simply because all evidence I've seen in my life points towards that conclusion.

      If you want to believe some other story and be at the mercy of some entity.... you're free to do so.
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      Apr 28 2013: Mike,
      God is not a "better" answer because it does not answers anything. Actually God makes the situation worse now it needs to be explained.
      Look Mike God and faith come as an inseparable pair , and you are using a prime mover argument( you are defaulting God's existence, but which?) without first defining it, then you jump into an argument from ignorance( not calling you ignorant, ok?) & God of the gaps. It is way too much baggage to fly coach or first class.
      Look around you most of the people that does science for a living refute the God idea as a solution to explain anything ( and there is no conspiracy against God). Now if it's a matter of what satisfies you and you find psychics answers messy and ugly, OK I get the dissonance, and you find consonance in God.- Good.

      But I don't , and I'm wearing flame retarding clothing and a little tank of halon on the side for added measure!

      OK, If you read and understood those physics books throughly and you concluded that the authors didn't know more that you do, minus the math then Mike, I am impatiently waiting to read your book.

      "There is not one jot of evidence for cosmic purpose.
      It's a reverse engineering of the quest for God"
      -P Atkins

      “The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know
      suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.”
      -Bertrand Russell


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      Apr 29 2013: Hi mike as others have stated, your discomfort with a universe without a creator god is not proof for the existence of such.

      I also find it odd you can accept something unexplained, with no compelling evidence as a satisfactory gap filler or alternative to natural forces. But that is your choice. we can all have different opinions. While I think invoking magical agency may limit exploration or investigation, it is often benign. I only worry when supernatural (or any) beliefs lead to demonstrable harm.

      You seem to miss the point that asserting a god caused the big bang or what science has proven, ignores the questions how did a god cause the Big bang. What is a god that does not exist in the universe, where did it come from, why is there no evidence of its existence, and if there is no evidence, why believe in it?

      How do you know humans were part of gods plan. at least as likely we were accidents after it set off the big bang.

      Why does the existence of a god give the universe more meaning? Why does the god exist. It is arbitrary. Why did god masks the universe, and why make it the way it is. Why not create spirits in a spiritual realm. Why the pain, suffering, the struggle to survive. Theists sometimes invent contradictory explanations with no supporting evidence. But then why there is another level of why questions.

      I personally prefer not to speculate this way. I am comfortable with the reality we reasonably know and understand, that while we are not part of a gods plan, we exist, and can find meaning in our lives without supernatural speculation.

      No issue if you prefer supernatural speculation and feel that is a better answer, while I see it as raising even more questions.
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    Apr 28 2013: Glad to hear from you Mike,

    You see design and God , I don't, I see plain 'ole nature. You keep saying that nature is too complex to have "just happened" You see plan & design from end to end by God then all makes sense. And I say again I respect that.

    Let's grant that the Universe was designed by God, then I ask: What is God? What or who designed it? ( I hope that you can parse from the multiplicity of Gods available) . Please do not render the question irrelevant for I think we may fall short of the understanding that the God answer would provide, otherwise we are left with an unexplained being to explain the origins of the universe.The new question(s) raised by the God explanation are as problematic as the question which the explanation purports to answer.
    Science can provide plausible, purely natural scenarios based in well-established cosmological theories that show how our universe may have arisen out of an initial state of nothingness ( there is no "just happened"). And once again just because nature is complex does not means by default that there is a creator ( science has to work a little bit harder than that). Inconsistencies are not necessarily unresolvable and I'm not going into the babble or the flimflam of the inconsistency of the dataset. But what I must tell you Mike is that there is people working hard to solve those inconsistencies and if you look back at let's say the last 100 years of work, see the results. God is not an explanation (to me at least) because is not tied to any objective evidence. In the explaining game cosmologists are far out in front.

    By the way the BBT knows quite a deal more than jut "barely" down to the Planck time unit.

    "Where am I ? Who am I ?How did I come to be here? What is this thing call the world? How did I come into the World? Why was I not consulted? And if I am compelled to take part in it? Where is the Director? I want to see him"
    S. Kierkegaard

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      Apr 28 2013: Hello Carlos Marquez,
      Did you get my message concerning "The Psychology of Religion / "God(s)" ?"
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        Apr 28 2013: Bernard,
        What are we? animated molecular structures, that came alive one day in the past when molecules acquired the ability to become animated? Nah, I'm not going to thermodynamically argue that now.
        Did God created humans? Did Humans created God? Look at this: if you look at the laundry list of Gods & Goddesses by culture you will find that by the invention of writing(think about before writing) by the Sumerians (6K years ago) historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities. and this are conservatives numbers since no dataset is available before 4000 BC. Or Hindu Gods.
        If we stick to Christian-ism or better" Christianities", there are globally about 33,820 denominations with about 3,445,000 congregations churches and about 1,888 million Christians.
        Not all of them are right
        All of them are wrong
        One sect is right
        How to parse this issue? Is beyond me because the nature of the "thing " that needs to defined , measured is not in this natural world.
        Repeat the exercise for all remainder religions.
        Religion has been around for a long time, thus is safe to say that is meeting a human need(s).
        Is it a cohesion tool for specific cultures? Shemmer says we are "pattern seeking myth makers"
        I think that is mankind's attempt to make sense of the world around us, the things we cannot control, pain, suffering, death, life etc. Perhaps as we evolve we will learn to understand nature better,mankind will learn to let go of religion, ie must of us agree that the Earth is not flat, that the Sun is a Star at the center of our solar system, and that an odd man named Einstein did something with energy (wow big steps!)
        Science is abstract, full of mathematical expressions and most people would care not to understand it. But sure do enjoy its benefits (and perils).

        Our mind we are chained by, it liberated by it,
        the meanest tool available to man and with no manual.

        Thank you for the opportunity Bernard!

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          Apr 28 2013: Or as once someone told me they could all be different perspectives of the same "essence" (gained from experience of this "essence", which I don't view is a very good argument but this is a separate matter!), all of which could be true.
          Or the "God(s)" could change, why can't they be like humans at all, and have the ability to change their personality?
          I view that the psychology of religion / "God(s)" doesn't prove nor disprove God, only raises more question like :

          - Why can't certain animals experience God due to them not having the cognitive abilities we have! (Specifically the "Theory of Mind".)

          - Children under the age of two, can't really believe in a God. At least age and belief are strongly correlated, which raises some questions.

          - Look up the "God Helmet", you can force the "God experience" on people. And it was found that 10% (might be 20%) can't have this "God experience". Which ironically included Richard Dawkins.
          Watch :

          So yes, the psychology of religion / "God(s)" does raise more questions then answer about the concept of "God(s)".
          Whether there is existence of such a "Deity" I do not know, and don't think I ever will.

          Kind regards,
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          Apr 29 2013: Hi Bernard, seems like a whole set of related speculation.
          Like different forms of astrology, or paranormal categories.
          Its like saying it is magic, and then adding layers of detail, with no compelling evidence, relying on unreliable processes or unsubstantiated revelation and authority.

          Would you agree that the prevelance of belief in unseen agencies, natural spirits, gods and goddesses is not actually proof of there being unseen agents. I would go further and suggest where ever we gain an understanding of mechanisms, that reliably predict outcomes, no agency is required, just natural forces and processes.

          If these beliefs are based on stuff outside reality we can test or examine, if god concepts are not subject to time, space, forces, then the different beliefs possible are only limited by imagination.

          All the different forms of astrology are not evidence for astrology being correct. Only evidence would prove astrology, ideally examined scientifically, to avoid cognitive bias.

          I suggest the prevelance of religion and astrology points to something about human nature, rather than being proof of the supernatural. Just proof of supernatural beliefs.
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      Apr 28 2013: So Carlos,
      You hit me with Kierkegaard and attribute all this to old nature, but are unsure of God (let me say again, I use the word God as the best accommodation of all the words and phrases of: Supreme Being, Mother Nature, the 5th Universal Force, Intelligent Designer, etc. ad nauseam.)

      I have also said there are two conversations going on here. One where we speak of the universe and it's beginnings and the other which addresses matters of faith held by a vast majority of the world's peoples. I can't address how people say they believe or feel in their inter beings. It is not measurable by any means. So, if Frances I tells me he believes in God and attributes great and wondrous things to God, who am I to dispute him. More so, who are you?

      What I have consistently said in this conversation, is that some.... packed into that little ball of stuff that later exploded into the big bang was all the "plans, drawings and specifications" (pardon my engineering background) that was to become the known universe. Of Course, I have been chided because "none of this can be proven or, etc.,etc. " That is all true, but let me ponder one thing at a time? How did some.... get all that info into the little ball and not have it destroyed in the explosion, now that is a problem to solve...
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        Apr 29 2013: How did god make the stuff and pack it into a little ball?

        How did god get there in the first place?
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    Apr 26 2013: Bernard,
    "There is no evidence for God"- an experiment not clever enough still have not been designed to prove or disprove the statement ( I paraphrase, if I may). God does need to be defined in order for the hypothesis to become operational.

    And that other pesky detail of either "Dasein" or "Existenz".

    Indeed nothing in Science is proven or disproven beyond the shadow of any possible doubt.The "truth" is a moving target , provisional in nature. This is a good thing because we can never be sure what Science may uncover at the next corner.
    And if Science were to find new data that would require the God Hypothesis, in order to better explain how nature behaves it would not prove the existence of God beyond all doubt due to the conditional nature of the scientific method.

    Also consider what God is in question if the hypothesis were to be useful, it could also be true of a laundry list of hypothetical beings, forces or things mankind invents.Zeus?,Odin?, Jesus? et. al. This should apply equally regardless what God is favored.Thus even if we limit our consideration to the possibility of a God, ignoring every other random hypothesis, there's still no good reason to pick out any one god for favorable consideration.

    Maybe Science is not the best yardstick for the God problem , as mankind strives to understand reality with the scientific method we find walls, boundaries that we cannot go beyond, at least for now. And to avoid the anguish of Cognitive Dissonance perchance it may be better to reach for faith.

    Fides qua creditur vs. Fides quae creditur / The ever-going tension between the “the faith by which things are believed” and the “faith that is believed.” The fides qua refers to the act of entrustment made to God; the fides quae refers to the content we believe on the basis of that trust in God Who reveals it. Every act of faith is a belief in something (fides quae) on the basis of a trust in someone (fides qua). and "the faith with" an individual believes.
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      Apr 27 2013: Hi Carlos, you raise some interesting points.

      I suggest the scientific process, critical thinking, reasonable scepticism looking for evidence in support of extraordinary claims are the best tools we have for understanding the universe.

      Otherwise, if you leave it to faith, revelation, personal intuitive beliefs, you end up with a whole bunch of contradictory beliefs, that at best only one is correct, and all could be wrong.

      I support freedom of religion, where it does not harm others significantly. However, if we are interested in understanding the universe, discerning which claims are reasonable, and those that are contradictory or speculative, then religious type faith is of little value.

      Religious faith may have utility in other ways, but not in understanding what claims are most likely to be correct, or are not reasonably supported.
  • Apr 25 2013: To continue with God's problems, and a possible solution of them, Let's remember that basic elements of the Universe, like electricity, are not created by motors and generators, but merely reside there temporarily. And when the motor wears out, the electricity does not "die" or even change quantity, merely flows back into the "Ground". So then with "Life" consciousness. God does not need to worry about dying. As for the Incarnated "Individual " he or she may think "death "is occurring, but that is just another high class constructed illusion, as Life was. So the bottom line is that all conscious beings together are "God", there is no more real separation than there is between the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic, but it is carefully arranged to SEEM that way, otherwise, evolution would not work. By the way, I understand that the original meaning of the Hindu greeting of a "prayerful" stance was at least originally, a mutual recognition of this Divinity in everyone. If you follow out the conclusions from this scheme, you will see that it neatly answers the "incomprehensible-to-humans" puzzles that Christianity , and Agnosticism , provides. At the present time, we cannot say what "electricity " IS, or what "consciousness" is, either,because they are TOO BASIC as "Primitive Terms", but that doesn't mean science cannot proceed.
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    Apr 21 2013: Obey,you are right. The fact that the oven even exists to allow something to "appear in it" really starts the argument off on the wrong tenet. The greatest of all mysteries is where did "anything" (anything!) come from? Pretty hard to explain. "Practically non existent" doesn't hold up. Somewhere in the deep deep distance, obviously beyond all comprehension but definitely connected to us, a circle was broken. You can't tell me that "something" has always existed. Where did "it" come from? Really, there is a much better argument for nothing to exist. Wouldn't be here to argue on that one. I attribute that circle being broken to GOD. A pretty complex individual. I don't buy Hawking.
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      Apr 22 2013: Hi tim, i was just having some fun with what might have been a metaphor, but then more seriously, there is obviously a categorisation fallacy to compare cakes, with life, or the universe. To imply agency is required for cupcakes, so it must be behind the origin of life or the universe, or snowflakes, or the weather, or the tides, or movement of planets etc is obviously fallacious for this reason.

      I guess there is the physics definition of nothing, and the laypersons, are different.

      I agree something changed. We ended up with what we have now, and it hasnt always been this way.

      Also, apparently the total energy of the universe is zero. 0 > +1 - 1. So nothing or whatever it was changed into some other stuff, that kind of cancels itself out in total.

      What there was before the big bang, what is outside this expanding universe. Does before or outside even make sense. Apparently space is curved. You head off in one direction and end up coming back from behind. Reality is counter intuitive for even the smartest primates, the smartest minds we reasonably know exist, us.

      We have some pretty good scientific ideas about the development of the universe as we see it today, down to the early stages. I guess at some point is gets much harder to work out with confidence, or to a point we may never know or comprehend.

      I guess im comfortable with saying i dont know, and apparently as a species there are things we dont yet know with reasonable confidence. I just find positing a god to fill the gaps has no real explanatory power. Whereas it satisfies others.

      Personally i think we evolved to assume agency, and deal with a cause and effect middle sized reality, and so for some a magical inexplicable agency, one that does not follow the rules of reality seems to plug the gap, without answering anything really.

      Something must have done it, works for many. But i think this just raises another set of questions, and is really an argument from ignorance.

      Is god a something?
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          Apr 24 2013: I agree some god concepts posit a being, person, intelligence, mind, a conscious entity of some sort that is not restricted by the laws of physics, that is not bound by time or space, is not material but can create or manipulate energy and matter at will etc

          It is not part of the reality we can see, measure, test, understand, it is outside reality we can examine with our senses, or science, or

          You need to conceptualise another sort of unreality, for which there is no scientific evidence as far as i can tell, no compelling evidence at all. There are many increasingly vague speculative concepts, which do not meet even basic scepticism or critical thinking in my opinion.

          There could very well be an unreality outside of the reality we know and perceive, but i am yet to hear of any reliable way to consistently know anything about it, or whether it exists at
          all. In the same way there could be many universes we are not aware of. Being able to vaguely conceptualise something is not a good reason to assert it exists as more than an idea in my opinion.
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    Apr 18 2013: MESSAGE TO ALL! (Who have participated!)

    I going to admit:
    The summary ending comment is going to be really difficult at this rate, with all the wonderful, intelligent, diverse, well thought out answers we are getting! (Tolerant + Respectful too! How rare? On such a controversial subject...)
    Very hard indeed. (Not sure I am up for the job! :P)
    Many thanks (to all),

    Very interesting to hear everybody's perspective. Seems I have had my perspective changed a many a time! (Mainly about the definition of "God", and what the idea of "God" is here for, and whether we even "need God".)

    Yet there is still another 12 days to reach a consensus! Hopefully one of wonder and amazement.
    What shall my next "TED Debate" be about? Hmm...
    Another "God" debate? :-)
  • Dan F

    • +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.
  • Keith W

    • +1
    Apr 17 2013: Well can science ever prove or disprove the paranormal or ETs. No, because by what means can you really do so let alone replicate the experiment and collect evidence. God is a conception in peoples head and most people of all religions believe "God" represents a force that transcends human thought. So if God is beyond us how can we measure Him/Her. If just one anomaly was found that could be a good start. For instance if one hominoid fossil date back before the Cambryan than that would be puzzling! Every bit of credible evidence supports what some call the "Materialistic" world view of science. However if a single irrefutable piece of data contradicted the existing paradigm than that would be the beginning of discovery toward a new dimension of reality which may be God or closer to him. I doubt that will happen but you never know...
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      • Apr 17 2013: i feel you. The CIA was doing remote viewing studies for awhile, and i wish the results where published. Im not against the possibility of metaphysics but im skeptical of not only when there are claims but the method of the analysis. Micheal Shermmer of skeptic magazine says "before we jump to the conclusion something is out of this world we must make sure its not of this world." A scientific claims has to be both verifiable and falsifiable. A sound conclusion cannot come before sound analysis and all avenues exhausted. Im actually intrigued by the paranormal and am willing to believe if the right evidence was there or i personally had an experience. I worry too, that claims of metaphysics may threat the scientific process. There are people who choose to except bad science when it fits there view while simultaneously discarding oceans of established data formulating the existing scientific notion of reality.
        • Apr 17 2013: Hi Keith!
          I understand your concerns, but strong statistical evidence really does deserve to be looked at. In fact, most all of the reaerchers became interested in this area - not because of personal experience (such as you and I). But, because they learned of the solid evidence. They wanted to test the evidence for themselves. And then they began the endeavor (the classical scientific process), of trying to find the process that allows for this phenomenon to produce the statistical weight it has. An example is Sir Roger Penrose, an eminent mathematician and physicist at Oxford. He (as well as the other highly credentialed researchers I cited), deserve to be seriously considered.
          May I ask you to at least read "Proof of ESP" by Targ first, and then we have common ground to work with.
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    Apr 16 2013: If you assume god has any power that defy the laws of nature, and if you assume that god listens to prayers, you can pray that a solid brick of gold wrapped in a slice of lemon appears out of thin air 10' after the prayer.

    So depending on the assumptions, one can easily make an experiment.

    as for absence of evidence: actually, absence of evidence is informative for absence. Albeit probabilistic.
    (for example: if you look up a word in a dictionary and it is not there, the odds that the word does not exist is very high.) Any finite set that can be searched for X has the property that the more of the set is searched, the lower the odds that X is within (part of) that set.
    So in most cases, absence of evidence increases the odds of absence.
    And if I'm not mistaken, absence of evidence never increases the odds of existence.
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      Apr 16 2013: "So depending on the assumptions, one can easily make an experiment."
      Even if God was a God of intervention, you are assuming it will always answer humans prayers, and that it likes being tested! :P (And are making, probably unconscious, many assumptions about its disposition)
      Also even if you prayer was answered, it could just be correlation, not causation!

      EDIT : And then you couldn't assume anything else about it, but it could intervene in the laws of nature! From your own hypothesis. I hope you see my Dilemma's. I mean it's "possible" there is a God of extreme power, who can intervene in the laws of nature, yet chooses not too!

      "And if I'm not mistaken, absence of evidence never increases the odds of existence."
      I agree. But for someone to convince me to escape from my shell of strong agnosticism (+ a little bit of pantheism) they would have to provide either some sort of deductive + inductive reasoning to tell me that a "God" exists. (After they had defined their terms, of "Existence" and "God".)
      Hope this helped! :D

      EDIT : You have a very high TED Score! :D
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        Apr 17 2013: You are doubting the assumptions I gave as an example...

        One can assume a non-inervening god, but then you assume there are no traces or influences to be found. That would be exactly the same behavior of something that does not exist. So in that case, you can assume it does not exist.

        I can't be sure a pink unicorn is running around on mars, and I'm a teapot-atheist.
        yes, there is always a possibility, but the possibility is so low (well under any p-value, or way lower than the odds of winning the lottery, we are not talking factor 10, but 10 to the x-th factor low values)... I tend to round down to 0 probability.

        As for pantheism or panentheism: if you want to see the "all there is" as something devine or awesome, or as one whole : no problem. If you defing this all as god... also no problem. But then I would say we better speak about cosmos to avoid confusion with all the connotations the word god has.

        (my score is high because of the 25+ TEDx events I organized...)
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          Apr 17 2013: I find that if you can't prove or disprove something it just becomes unknowable. So in that sense there is no point putting probabilities on it!
          Am interested in your reply.
    • Apr 17 2013: Might I just point out that your experiment would fail to prove the existence of anything let alone God. Why would God or anyone for that matter provide you with "a brick of gold wrapped in a slice of lemon." This debate is meant to call upon critical thinking, not bias. I suggest you and your 25+ TED events respect the nature of this conversation.

      As for your experiment you are assuming that you can only measure things by tests that have been discovered and that follow your limited and narrow thinking ( which I say not as an insult, but as a reflection upon the human condition). I am not saying that there is an easy answer, but I am saying that discounting it outright because your limited methods of testing truths cannot prove it is no basis for proving the existence in what many would consider a being that is arguably unlimited. I will also point out that these laws that you refer to are laws that have accomplished one thing which is to show us how very little we actually understand about reality and truth.
  • Apr 16 2013: When you observe a complex object or phenomenon you ask, "where did it come from"? There are essentially two answers. One is that a more complex object or phenomenon created it. That works really well for objects you create. I made a pot, but I am more complex than the pot. So the idea the complexity derives from greater complexity leads you to a belief in the ultimate source of complexity, an omniscient and omnipotent deity. Descartes uses this assumption in his "proof" of a god. The second answer is that complexity emerges from numerous simple interactions. You are composed of cells. Both you and the pot you made are composed of molecules which are composed of atoms which are composed of subatomic particles. The Ted website is composed of ones and zeros. Planets and solar systems are created by fundamental forces. Evolution creates complex lifeforms from simpler one. Science tends to show us that complex things are created by interaction of simpler things. Physicists strive to reduce existence to fewer and fewer equations.

    So you take one of two paths. You say science can't answer the real questions, or that science is a sham, or that science is wrong. (I have seen all these statements in these Ted conversations) You then happily believe in a magical, unseen world beyond the bounds of observation (the root of science). You get to feel confident of your importance in the universe as it is most likely made for you and you can be sure of a grand plan.

    You could also take the other path and believe that there is no grand plan or intergalactic super-being to whom you are special. Life and thought and just self sustaining complex chemical reactions. It seems like a more depressing path and forces you to embrace humility and struggle with the meaning of a life that has no real special meaning. I can understand people not choosing this path.
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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, 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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    Apr 16 2013: When I know I know, When I don't know, I believe in something. When it seem impossible to even guess I call it supernatural or not of this grasp and somewhat rely on others to fill my cup of facts. What I believed 5 years ago some things has changed some am still looking for answers. I was born knowing my mum (Thus no need to experiment whom she is) I was born knowing there is more than logical thinking, though school and programming has tried to reduce me to only a thinking being. I know there is all...though for lack of common term...I don't know what to say...but I call the me and you in all "God". So can we put all the existence into mind and try to comprehend it? Only when we want to play mind games and go round the maze of what we already know the answer to. (It is hard for me to share the real thoughts without trying to sound politically correct, however I just did it).
    After reading some other comments I just remembered my philosophy class debate "Existence of God" ...Epistemology...I could just drift to sleep and wake by end of lecture time...I could not stand to be awake rocking a never moving horse with heated debate....And what amazed me most is using philosophy of logic to deduce "God".....
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      Apr 16 2013: Well what is "God", or at least God to you?
      I swear everybody is a pantheistic or an atheist (including agnostics + Ignostics in the term atheist!) these days!
      Maybe the word God is evolving?
      Would be helpful, as someone who is experienced in the ways of philosophy, to explain to me how a philosopher would define 'Existence'?
      Many thanks,
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        Apr 18 2013: Hi Bernard,
        Sincerely speaking even after studying philosophy and private studies...I have no "definite explanation of God and Existence". The knowledge I have gathered keep on changing but all I know is that If I exist then other must exist for instance whatever holds the universe together.
        Love, Mary
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          Apr 18 2013: :-)
          I like this reply!
          What are your thoughts on solipsism?
          I'm an agnostic about Solipsism, and find it quite unlikely, and even if it was true ; you shouldn't behave as if it was true! (In my opinion that is!) In the way we would all still "exist", just not in the form we think we exist. (In the way I would just be a piece of coding! Or just a chemical in someone's brain being a piece of their imagination!)
          Kind regards,
          Bernard. :D
          P.S : Hope I haven't got "too side-tracked" again!
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        Apr 18 2013: Hi Bernard,
        If everything is fake but you, then everything is real but you. You are real and you are not. What is described as thought or feeling cannot be real beyond the person who is thinking it or feeling it. So in that sense I am real... and you are not. Even during events of heightened awareness, when you think you are linked to someone else it's only imaginary, it's what we want so we push our minds into believing we "connected" to another being, when actually it was only real to the individual. And when the other person think she/he is the only real one...then YOU cease to be real. (I used to like the never ending arguments in philosophy but no more)
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          Apr 18 2013: Hmm interesting! :D
          However if solipsism is true, it has far too many implications.
          Like, for instance, why am I having this conversation? Or do I just give it meaning to myself?
          Why can't I control the world I have created?
          What happens when my physical body die?
          Why am I the only one in existence, am I special?
          What is the point in studying a world you have created yourself... (In terms of science!)
          What caused me? (In the way of what caused me to have this solipsist world).
          However these are all minor concerns. For even if solipsism was true, I think everybody would still "exist", yet not be "real". (If that makes much sense!) And like I said :
          I would still live my life as if it wasn't true! Because there is a higher probability (in my opinion) of everybody existing, than non-existing.
          Also in solipsism, there doesn't necessarily have to be only "one", (I think!) there could be "two", who (unconsciously) share the same imagination world they have (unaware) created.
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    Apr 16 2013: Just on your final point in the opening regarding an absence of evidence. I agree it does not disprove claims of this nature, but it is the weakest possible position to be in. No compelling evidence whatever. People speculating whatever they want.

    The absence of evidence doesn't mean claims are strong or convincing. It means the claims are weak or speculative.

    I can claim there is an invisible dragon sitting on my couch. Having no means to test this, no evidence, does not make it a strong claim.
    • Apr 16 2013: There are still some proofs that God does exist and some strong evidence of how he is present.
      This is a video I found that proves God's existence pretty strongly. It seems that God is not just made up in our minds.
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      Apr 16 2013: Agree.
      Yet for God to be totally disproven, there would be a need for evidence.
      Also if there was a deductive argument for God (which didn't have any inductive evidence) would you believe I God? :P
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    Apr 15 2013: So, can we design an experiment to find God? No so easy since we have not come together on whether there is a God.
    So, in the mean time, we can talk about the number of Angels that can sit on the head of a pin.

    PS Bernard.
    From old Aramaic, Allah translates into God.
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      Apr 15 2013: I'm very interested, do you feel the reason not more people are like you (or hold your beliefs) is because their not "open minded" enough?
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        Apr 15 2013: No, Whether there are more people like me is not important. Don't care. I hold my belief because it answers most questions I have about the "Why" of life.

        Not concerned about open mindedness, that's a function of opinions. The existence of God is a scientific opinion if you will, because He can not be scientifically proven, therefore no
        experiment can be formed.

        What I found perplexing if not funny are all the comments of non believers describing attributes to the Universe, mathematics, natural forces, evolution and a myriad of other euphemisms that could be call God, but, rest assured they say, there is no God.

        By the way "Allah" is old Aramaic for God. Even you are toying with this group of commentators.

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          Apr 16 2013: That is why definition is important. Theists, deists etc have so many speculative beliefs about gods and goddess.

          People say god is love etc. Personifying concepts or natural processes for no reason.

          A conscious super being could be responsible for evolution or gravity. The point is there is no evidence for a god being behind evolution, or gravity, or love being a person. Atheists are just responding to speculative claims of theists.

          Call a spade a spade, not god, unless you have some compelling reason to.

          No issue if your god belief answers questions for you. Thast is your choice. I'm just stating you seem to be filling gaps with god with no evidence. Its just a convenient plug. And your explanation has not explanation. God did it has no evidence or explanitory power. It is pure speculation. You don't know how it did it. What it is or even compelling evidence to believe it exists.

          I find this at least as strange as your thoughts on the atheist position.
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          Apr 16 2013: I didn't know about Allah.
          Also maybe there is no 'why'? (In terms of purpose) I mean there doesn't have to be!
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        Apr 16 2013: when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
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    Apr 15 2013: The other day I looked up : Islamic Pantheism, which I found very interesting.
    Am interested in TEDsters comments on this. Because it seems to me "Allah" is more of a faceless God, which is the primary (uncaused) cause of the universe. Which is the universe, which makes a lot of sense to me! :P
    And that the worship for Allah, is done because it makes people happy and for the sake of worship. (Just like some people research things for the sake of knowledge! And get into a state of "Flow")
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      Apr 16 2013: nice thoughts!
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      Apr 16 2013: Sure the Allah concept is not humanised like Christians belief Jesus was god.

      No evangelical personasl saviour, best buddy business.

      Islam is also about submission.
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        Apr 16 2013: Was I right about Allah in my comment, I admit I could be wrong!
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    Apr 15 2013: I would like to hear from a non-believer of god to explain to me why this topic makes any difference at all to them personally.
    why ask about spiritual truth if you don't want to know and why ask for proof of something that cannot be proven and why ask to define something that cannot be defined? what are you getting out of this topic if you are not interested in the truth?
    I know why, but do any of you..?
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      Apr 15 2013: From a non theist perspective this can be looked at from a purely intellectual perspective. Secondly theist type beliefs impact behaviour attitudes and society. Also hearing some different views may help individuals refine their beliefs and attitudes, it might give them more information on which to make decisions.

      Poverty in Africa does not personally impact me, but I have views. If we can't share them or challenge other related views then ted and debate in general is diminished. I'm also interested in understanding and testing other perspectives.

      Why assume atheists don't want to know? I'm just asking for a valid reason to believe in all the conflicting spiritual beliefs.

      I could ask you the same - why believe in something with no proof or evidence that can not even be defined in a meaningful and consistent way. Why is this question about god, and not gods and goddesses.

      You only think you know why. Personally each non believer would need to speak for themselves, but you seem to have some special power to know what other people think, and what motivates them. Another delusion I suggest and perhaps arrogance.
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        Apr 16 2013: ok, "From a non theist perspective this can be looked at from a purely intellectual perspective"... sure you can. but you'll never understand it from that perspective.

        "I'm also interested in understanding and testing other perspectives"... this is an ego looking for connection with others.

        "Why assume atheists don't want to know? I'm just asking for a valid reason to believe in all the conflicting spiritual beliefs"... I never said atheists(I am one) I said non-believers of god, and no, most of the non-believers commenting here do not want to know.
        to know the opposite side of any "conflicting beliefs", you first need to be willing to change your perspective to incorporate the other side's view. if you are unwilling to allow your own views to change, it is impossible to learn anything. a valid reason? what could be more valuable than clear understanding? what could be more valuable than the absence of fear from your life?

        "I could ask you the same - why believe in something with no proof or evidence that can not even be defined in a meaningful and consistent way"... it is only those who are ignorant to their own connection to god that do not see evidence. I see it constantly and consistently and in very meaningful ways. god is very tangible if you know what you're seeing.
        do you believe in cold? cold doesn't exist! we only know cold as the absence of heat. believe in darkness? darkness is the absence of light. you can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. but if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it?
        death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. seems pretty consistent and meaningful to me. I see no conflicts with any of the spiritual beliefs, they all point the same direction.

        my "special power" as you call it is just observation and perception. learn some psychology and you'll see there are only so many types of you that I needed to learn. arrogance? no, more like confidence.
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          Apr 16 2013: I call myself an atheist. I'm an agnostic atheist. I don't know if thgerte are gods or goddesses, and see no reason to believe. In fact it is hard to believe in something that consciously and unconsciously seems unfounded.

          I have some understanding of psychology. It could also be applied to yourself. You seem to have a particular viewpoint and twist everything to conform. You seem more certain than most atheists and many theists.

          Most points you have raised in regards to some I can counter or point out flaws of logic. You kind of point to concrete concepts then extrapolate into the subjective.

          You seem to see yourself as some sort of enlightened teacher, yet have nothing particularly new or convincing to say so far.

          You need to be careful projecting types. People are more complex and subtly different especially when it comes to god beliefs. We are not a generic utube atheist.

          You are probably not the clichef self appointed guru you seem to come across as.
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          Apr 16 2013: Anyway this thread is getting a bit personal. Perhaps in part because your view seems to be psychology is blocking acceptance of your views, whereas I consider it mostly critical thinking and healthy scepticism.

          Intuition has its place, especially in survival situations, but ....
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        Apr 16 2013: you are correct, sir jedi. I am far from a guru. as iron sharpens iron, so shall man sharpen man... seems I've been plucking nerves, nothing personal. I am just a mirror. when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
        tat tvam asi.
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          Apr 16 2013: Not irritating. Just a little condescending.

          I probably come across as blunt or rude to others as I try to make my comments quickly, without the social niceties.

          Sure the receiver has a part in how a message is received, but so does the messenger and the message itself.

          You seem to have a habit of assuming it is all about others and not yourself. Maybe you are also might look in the mirror.

          Not much we can do if you just look for commonalities in belief systems and ignore the contradictions, and squash it all into your world view.

          I am aware of many different god and goddess concepts. From the universe is god, to depak chopras misuse of the word, to the gods of rreligionss, to god as a quantum flux. From the personified such as Jesus or mithra, to the conceptual omni this and that, global consciousness etc etc. There key similarities seem to be none of them can be proven correct, they often have cultural or experiential dimensions, they evolve and spread like languages or ideas. And they can not all be correct. The religious and spiritual cultural constructs are not compelling evidence for gods. They differ in creation stories, the nature of gods, what the gods want from us, what happens after we die etc.

          Gods seem like a common way of trying to answer big questions. Just not a reliable way.
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        Apr 16 2013: it is said, that plato never told anybody anything. he just kept asking people questions until they figured things out themselves....
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          Apr 16 2013: I wonder if they always came to the correct understanding, or sometimes admitted they didnt know a lot about a lot.
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        Apr 17 2013: "You seem to have a habit of assuming it is all about others and not yourself. Maybe you are also might look in the mirror." - yes, I have several habits unbecoming a guru. and I agree that in my zest for exchanging comments I can be a bit too aggressive. i started life relinquished, orphaned. talk about reasons to hate god? i had plenty of reasons to. I've come a long way from there. i took no offense from your words on any post as i hope not to offend anyone else... i'm a big boy and i live by my words so i am always grateful to have a great exchange with a worthy conversationalist as a master jedi.

        "Not much we can do if you just look for commonalities in belief systems and ignore the contradictions, and squash it all into your world view." - why? where is it written that it wouldn't be a better world if we focused more on similarities than differences..? all would be the same except our focus... and what happens when you focus on something? it grows.... hmmm. growing peace. i like the sound of that. isn't it glass-half-full kind of thinking? my world view is that we are all family. period.

        "There key similarities seem to be none of them can be proven correct, they often have cultural or experiential dimensions, they evolve and spread like languages or ideas. And they can not all be correct" - yes absolutely! you are so right... except for, why can't they all be right? at least to some degree. if you compare religion to language you are on the right track. different interpretations can lead to different beliefs yet still hold a central "spirit" at the heart of the message. in different times and cultures, people are so diverse, how could one religion fit all? with different social issues and needs, religion is the crux of psychology. tho, nowadays a good psychotherapist will do you a lot more good than a priest!

        love what you had to say once again! but remember, all religions, they're no different than you, it's just they're in the "god business".
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      Apr 15 2013: Interested. :)
      Like hearing people's opinions I guess.
      And sometimes commenting on them!
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    Apr 15 2013: Again, all this discussion on the existence of a Deity, regardless of what we call it...the use of gender seems superfluous,
    and the tortuous rational on the reasons a Deity does not exist.

    OK. There is no Deity. So, there is no experiment to design.

    So, who did make the tree? It has been estimated that using the known atomic structures assuming that they were always in existence, considering the ever continuing chaos at the particle level, a random activity of combining those atoms to form molecules, DNA strings, proteins, viruses, microbes, etc.of one every 10 seconds,... it would take tens of billions of years to make that seed to grow a tree. Longer then the big bang .... So, discounting just remarkable good luck, how did that seed to grow Ms. Steen's beautiful trees come about?
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      Apr 15 2013: mike, some people are comfortable in their ignorance. the task of figuring out your relationship with god is entirely one's own. people who have a deficit of understanding combined with a fear of facing truth usually hold on to vague, poorly designed lines of questioning dealing with wordplay and misdirection to avoid changing anything about themselves. you will find very few open minds in this topic. great contributions by you, thanks!
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      Apr 15 2013: Who is saying there are no gods or goddesses?

      The repeating theme seems to be there is no compelling evidence they exist or that any particular spiritual belief from personal experience or some others revelation is correct.

      You still don't seem to be able to grasp natural proccesses as opposed to some conscious agency. Also I suggest the probability calculations of this type are poorly understood.

      Do you know the probability that the exact combination of specific atoms will be in the glass of water I hold. The probability is so remote as to be almost impossible
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        Apr 16 2013: "You still don't seem to be able to grasp natural proccesses as opposed to some conscious agency. Also I suggest the probability calculations of this type are poorly understood."

        sir jedi, you are working on the premise of duality. you argue there is life and then there is death, a loving god and a judgmental god, gods and goddesses. you are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. my friend, science can’t even explain a thought. it uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. to view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
        death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. now tell me, sir jedi, do you teach your kids that they evolved from a monkey? I bet you do... have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes?
        since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. are you not then teaching your opinion, sir? then does that make you but a preacher, not a scientist?

        is there anyone here who has seen richard dawkins' brain? felt it, touched or smelt it? no one appears to have done so. so, according to the established 'Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol', science says that he has no brain. with all due respect, how do we then trust his lectures?

        faith. you could put your faith in things that are finite, temporary and corporeal, or, you can find the connection you always had and always will to the infinite and undying part of yourself and the universe. it's all good. god, is obviously not for everybody, but that doesn't make god any less real.

        atoms? atoms do not exist in this world full-time. where do they go? science can't even tell you that and you want to explain god... lol!!!
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          Apr 16 2013: Just because we don't have a full scientific understanding of every thing is not an excuse to invoke gods.

          If we don't know why not say we don't know rather than look to gods and goddess concepts?
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      Apr 15 2013: Your argument seems to be you don't think life could have evolved without agency.

      Technically this is van argument from ignorance.

      Evolution explains much of this. Abiogenesis is an open question.

      The probability argument is about as useful as assuming a god makes each snow flake as the probability of getting a specific pattern is so small.
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      Apr 15 2013: To help understand where you think gods andvgoddeses might have a role to play, do you agree with science vie evolution. Do you agree mammals share a common ancestor, that vertibrates share a common ancestor?
      That all DNA based life could have evolved from a common ancestor.
      That we have a map of DNA based life from single cells to plants and animals.
      That we have RNA based organisms, eg viruses.
      That we have naturally occurring amino acids and all the necessary ingredients for life naturally occurring.

      Where do you think the gods had a role? The formation of the earliest self replicating molecules? Did the gods guide evolution? Did the gods make sure your parents survived long enough to have you?
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        Apr 15 2013: I acknowledged the string of evolution in the development of life forms. I also claimed that given a steady state of chemical interaction and biological interface over time would require a time scale that is more then other scientist says that there was a time to scale. Of course, our knowledge of the beginning would imply there was no evidence of a steady state of anything. The early universe was as chaotic as can be imagined. So, I say there was an "intellect", a supreme intellect that set certain wheels in motion.

        And I would be extremely proud if I knew that I was so important, he made a special effort to insure my birth
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          Apr 16 2013: Perhaps we will just have to agree to disagree that there is good reason to assume a magical mysterious intellect is responsible for the origins of life.
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        Apr 16 2013: science, science, science... lol! it's like owning a quarter and only believing you can spend only one side of it. has anyone seen evolution with their own eyes? uh, let me answer that for you... no.
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          Apr 16 2013: Has anyone seen Pluto with their own eyes. Anyone seen it complete a full rotation of the sun.

          Ever seen an individual h2o molecule?

          Ever heard of DNA, fossils. Do you agree mammals have a lot in common, then vertibrates, etc. See any possible evidence of evolutionary development or shared ancestor.
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        Apr 17 2013: now you're talking sense! there's hope! I have seen none of those and yet I still believe they exist. I see as much evidence for evolution as I do for god. I may be an atheist but i'm not the one with a problem with "faith". you have faith in many things, tho your faith is unbalanced and very selective. cool with me, what do I know? I just deal with solutions that make sense. I leave the "being right" to someone else.
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    Apr 14 2013: G'day Bernard

    Interesting question as always..........To me God is consciousness that's all no more or less creative than what we are so is it blind faith to believe in something we can't prove exists at this stage? No not exactly, matter & anti-matter exist but where did it come from to create the universe? It was just there which to me is also blind faith because we really don't know but like a God it created us so it's very important that we find out & I believe science one day will do just that.

    So believing in a God anymore of blind faith than believing matter & anti-matter just appeared out of nowhere?

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      Apr 14 2013: Yes I do find faith is needed :P
      In the way we have "faith" in trust, and that the external world is real.
      Yet I do not agree with you about that it is blind faith to assume that "matter & anti-matter just appeared out of nowhere", while maybe everything is just "blind fiaith?" (just like our trust in inductive reasoning!).
      However if we have evidence to back up our hypothesises, then I do not think blind faith is needed. :P
      Kind regards,
      EDIT : I'm interested, what your opinion on religion? And do you think we can learn anything from it?
      Watch : Atheism 2.0 :
      And I would agree with you, that if God is consciousness, then God "probably" does exist. :P
      (Hope I understood properly!)
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        Apr 14 2013: G'day Bernard

        I don't mind faith myself however total blind faith that hides the truth is dangerous like we saw in the dark ages.

        What do I think about religion? Religion over all is psychologically beneficial most of the times as scientists are finding out when praying or meditating, the brain chemistry changes quite a bit for the better but not always for the better. If we consider radicalism then the effects of religion have a reverse effect as we are seeing today with certain Middle Eastern religious groups.

        Personally I think of myself as a spiritually aware person with no doctrines/beliefs to follow blindly. You would think I was a new age spiritualist then but no, in my blog I’m always having ago at this new age stuff proving that it has many flaws as I do of much older spiritual beliefs as well. A new age spiritualist will talk about oneness as everything being one but in the next breath say this & this is spiritual but that’s not, what happened to the oneness. To me everything is of the spiritual including all the bad stuff, many of these new age spiritualists want to escape such negatives which doesn’t sound to spiritually accepting to me. In actual fact I find some of this new age stuff quite frightening in line with Catholicism for example.

        There is nothing hoogly-boogly about anything as science is proving including how witch doctors heal because it is being proved that certain vibrative frequency changes can heal which is what witch doctors do. My blogs not too popular because it pulls no punches, it’s honest & direct, you can’t be too honest these days as people seem to be more comfortable with their heads in the sand than knowing the truth I’ve found.

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          Apr 14 2013: Sorry to bombard you with questions, I enjoy hearing your opinion. :D
          What's your opinion on Pantheism, or for that matter Deism? :)
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    Apr 13 2013: There is a story once told about a priest, agnostic and an atheist sitting in a bar. Each had stated his position on the existence of God. Finally, the priest said " look guys, if you are correct and there is no God and afterlife, when you die every thing will turn dark and that's it."

    "Me, I live to play the odds. "

    "If you are right, when I die, it goes black and that's it. If I am right, there will be a great choir of angels singing the praises of a believer coming home. If you are wrong, you will be met by a great choir of angels giving you a bronx cheer about what asses you made of yourself. Either way, I don't do any worse if I'm wrong, but I do a lot better if I'm right."
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      Apr 13 2013: Hello Mike Colera! Again! :D
      That is basically pascals wager. (If I'm correct!)
      Yet that is assuming God rewards certain behaviours, which I believe (you and me) have no way of knowing...
      I mean God may reward murder, I mean all religions (/ cultures) differ on what God rewards and what it punishes.
      Also if the Christian God is the wrong God, you have a slight problem don't you! :D (Then Allah will punish "us" for all eternity... I do not know whether this is so, for I can't say I have read the Koran!)
      Kind regards,
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        Apr 14 2013: I agree Bernard...we have no way of knowing....which seems a good reason for a person to "play the odds":>)
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          Apr 14 2013: I wonder, whether in terms of rational thought, it is better to worship some form of deity?
          Considering if your wrong, you've just had fun worshipping something which didn't exist!
          And if you are right, you get eternal heaven!
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        Apr 14 2013: I TOTALLY agree with what Glenn insightfully expressed........."it comes down to asking who you really are. being your own psychotherapist if you will."

        As thinking, feeling, intelligent, multi-sensory, multi-dimensional humans, we have the ability to explore information and make choices. As individuals, we CAN and WILL decide what is "better" for us as individuals.

        The challenges in our world arise when others do not accept the choices we make, and try to convince us that the choice THEY make for themselves is the one and only "right" choice.

        You and Mike make a great point....if our choice is "wrong", we've had fun, and hopefully an interesting life experience worshipping something which doesn't exist, and if we're "right", we may get an eternity in a heaven. It goes back to Glenn's insightful suggestion to be our "own psychotherapist"......"KNOW THYSELF" and what beliefs work best for us as individuals. If we can keep our ego out of the picture, and stop trying to convince everyone that we are :"right" it is a bonus for everyone!
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      Apr 14 2013: while entertaining, this anecdote points to a serious fault in this priest's understanding of the god he worships and thus leads to congregations of ill-advised sheep.

      to worship god because of what you'll get out of it completely and entirely wipes out the possibility of getting that which you seek. the only wager to be made is with yourself(not your ego).
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      Apr 14 2013: Mike, Bernard and Glenn,
      Mike expressed what he believes.....I love the story, and lots of people "play the odds".

      I also love what you wrote in another comment Glenn..."it comes down to asking who you really are. being your own psychotherapist if you will."

      So, Glenn, if you honestly believe that "it comes down to asking who you really are. being your own psychotherapist...."....why do you need to tell others that their stories and beliefs are faulty? I TOTALLY agree Glenn..."the only wager to be made is with yourself(not your ego)." Look in the mirror my friend:>)
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        Apr 14 2013: so colleen, if mike expessed he thought the stork dropped him off to his family and that was his honest belief, is it wrong to enlighten him to a more accurate and real understanding of how he became or should we pat him on his head and say "you just keep believing that, mike, it's your world"? I don't believe that in helping lift people up to higher understanding I do anything to tell others their stories and beliefs are faulty, I can only ever respond in a solution-based perspective. I am solution oriented and act so. I build the bridges of logic between the haters to eliminate conflicts. I did the dirty work on myself before I was able to show it to others... I am just a mirror.
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    Apr 12 2013: Several days ago, I commented that only God could make a tree. A Ms. Steen commented that she grew several beautiful trees. That makes Ms. Steen God or the rest of my statement is true.. God can not be scientifically proven, He is a matter of faith. The absence of God can not be scientifically proven. It is a matter of opinion. Some people hold a faith that there is God: some say there is not. The point is how does one disprove what one can not prove?
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      Apr 12 2013: Hello Mike Colera (again!) :D
      How do you define "God", What is "God"?
      Because if God is the "the thing which can create a tree", then God sort of becomes natural process, unless we are talking of a conscious agency which "created the tree", which is unseen.
      "God can not be scientifically proven, He is a matter of faith. The absence of God can not be scientifically proven" (Again depends how you define "God", and "existence". I mean if "existence" has energy or physical form, then this immaterial God you speak of, by definition doesn't exist.) Yes, that is why I am a strong agnostic, because God is just a hypothesis with no "observational" or "experimental" evidence to it. I mean if I claim I have a pet invisible immaterial dragon in my garage, can you disprove this? Not really, unless I admit it isn't real. So therefore you have to be agnostic, and then if I go onto the claim that this dragon has been talking to me, and I have personally experienced this Dragon, then it must be real. I can claim then that because I can imagine (and it is the most powerful thing imaginable) and then I can claim it is is more powerful to exist than not to exist, then by definition it must exist.So my pet (invisible and immaterial) dragon exists.
      And due to science being unable to test whether my pet dragon exists, it must exist, and is a matter of faith.
      See what I mean?
      Look up Russle's teapot. I yes I accept that it may never be touched by science, yet am convinced that I will never know whether it exists. And why your God is more likely than all the others!
      I mean yes, maybe God can only create a tree. Yet I wonder how you know that? And who told you? Did God personally tell you? How do you know that God likes to create trees or whether it had any free-will?
      There will be a part 2. (PART 2 IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN PART 1!) :D
      I hope you don't mind! :-)
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        Apr 14 2013: hey Bernard, may I ask what your dragon has to do with the conversation? intentionally believing in an un-provable entity, such as an imaginary dragon, to attempt to compare it to something Omni-present such as god reveals the cynicism present in the attempted deception. you don't really believe you have a dragon, but you insist upon its existence to clumsily compare it to something like god. as soon you start that argument, you have created its existence. so your dragon is real to you if you use it to argue with. just as god is real to those who know the truth. but I don't think your pet dragon can keep the universe going like god does...
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          Apr 14 2013: Who is to say my pet dragon can't keep the universe going on like God.
          My pet dragon is God! X(
          My pet dragon is all powerful, all knowing. Therefore it is God.
          "you have created its existence"
          Wait, so I can just creates God's existence...
          Never knew I could do that! :P
          And what "truth" is this? That God exists? Yet I thought you just said you could create a "God" from my imagination? So therefore anything I can imagine exists? (Or at least is true to me, yet doesn't that mean that your God could just be true to you?)
          What's you definition of existence? :)
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        Apr 15 2013: you're getting there... still woozy by the sounds of it but you're going in the right direction. isn't existence just being? if you say something exists, and believe it, it exists. now, how well the logic lines up may determine its longevity, but it exists.
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          Apr 15 2013: I feel if you define existence as : "What exists or being". It is just like defining good as : "What is good, or spreads goodness".
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        Apr 15 2013: and so your point is..? an inventor's inventions exist in many cases for years and years before the rest of us get to see what it was that previously only existed in his mind.
        why does that relate to the definition of good? please enlighten me.
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          Apr 15 2013: You still haven't told me what existence is! :P
          Like I said you have just told me existence is "what exists", which doesn't tell me anything!
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        Apr 16 2013: sure I have. you weren't paying attention, sir.
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          Apr 16 2013: Haha!
          Oh dear....
          Would you mind repeating it?
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      Apr 12 2013: LOL! Oh my goodness Mike! I respect your personal belief, and here is the comment exchange:

      "Mike Colera
      4 days ago: Well, has anyone or thing or spirituality claimed to have made a tree? I attest that only God can make a tree. And I don't have to prove it. I'll let others stretch and lean, quote and mathematically suppose or philosophize until the cows come home to prove me wrong. Till then, only God can make a tree."

      "Colleen Steen
      4 days ago: Dear Mike,
      No stretching, leaning, mathematics or philosophizing needed. I have lots of little trees at my home, and I've watched them grow for years.

      A seed is planted, the moist earth softens the seed shell, which causes the seed to sprout. Once sprouted, it grows in the wonderfull earth and the little acorn becomes a mighty oak:>)

      I respect your belief, and I do not believe that she has ever personally made a tree:>)"

      Mike....You say that "only God can make a tree."

      I am suggesting that it is a process of nature

      I agree with you Mike..."Some people hold a faith that there is God: some say there is not. The point is how does one disprove what one can not prove?"

      I stated in another comment that at this time, I do not believe there is proof of a god, or proof of no god, and I'm certainly open to information, if proof should be available:>)

      My reference to "she" making a tree was a joke....hope you can see the humor:>)
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        Apr 12 2013: Did you read my Part 2 response to Mike Colera, It basically sums why I believe we believe in God(s).
        I hope it wasn't offensive at all!
        I'll think your benefit from it as well!
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          Apr 14 2013: hi colleen, it's the part that somehow you think god is separate than nature that I don't understand. if nature is part of god, then how is this not evidence? it has become apparent that most atheists that have questions about evidence of god only pose questions to elicit an opportunity to display their ignorance of god proudly. it's quite amusing listening(or reading) to people talk about things they have no clue about. kinda like watching children playing make-believe. the statement "if proof should be available" is a cop-out. it is already available and in-use. has been for thousands of years. if I said "prove letters exist" or "prove you love your child", where's the proof in that? and if you accept not being able to prove those things then why could you not accept that you cannot "prove" god so the "waiting for proof" part of any argument is laughable at best.
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          Apr 14 2013: Hi Glenn,
          I do not believe in a god. If you believe in a god, and you believe the god you believe in is part of be it......I respect your beliefs as YOUR beliefs.

          Sorry you think the statement "if proof should be available" is a "cop out". I perceive it to be open minded:>)
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          Apr 16 2013: "Glen, are you personifying natural processes?
          Or are you simply calling natural processes god?" -obey1

          no sir. I am saying that "natural processes" are just the way things happen and they are malleable by thought. that said, if one would like to participate in the creation of their own life, they may do so by learning how god thinks. or... you can let your ego drive the boat and live life reacting to things you don't understand. the evidence is overwhelming if you might ever try to let go of what you think you already know. you have some preconceived idea of what the word god means(or doesn't) and that is the foundation of the wall that blocks your view of the "other side".
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        Apr 14 2013: hi colleen, is it not possible to include the process of nature in the way you think about god? why are they separate to you?
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          Apr 14 2013: Glenn,
          Of course it is possible to think about a god in the process of nature, and that is not my belief, which I think I have been clear about.

          I've stated at least a couple times on this comment thread...
          ."I do not believe there is proof of a god, or proof of no god, and I'm certainly open to information, if proof should be available:>)"

          What part of that statement do you not understand?
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          Apr 15 2013: Glen, are you personifying natural processes?
          Or are you simply calling natural processes god?

          If the former, what evidence do you base this assumption on?

          If the latter, why confuse using such a loaded word. Why not just call natural processes natural processes.
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      Apr 12 2013: Part 2.
      I mean did you God can (mostly) be reduced to these 4 psychological mechanisms :

      - "Theory of mind" (Also Kids under the age of 3 or 4, can't remember which, physically can't believe in a "God". Don't know what this says!) Which is were we "attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one's own." Which many argue is slight "over developed" (if you have ever swore at an animate object, or named an object this is why!)

      - "“Artificialism” (as a seen in Piaget’s “theory of cognitive development”) Which is where : "people think that something exists for a preconceived purpose rather than simply came to be as a functionless outgrowth of physical otherwise natural processes." Which is what I think your struggling with!

      - "Wish fulfilment theory" (Wishing God is real for emotional stability)+ "How we find a reduce in anxiety from finding meaning in stress."

      - Cognitive Dissonance. Which is where : "when your actions (for example you kill someone) and beliefs (I’m a good guy) are in dissonance you will make up some justification (The guy I killed was evil) to make you feel better." So in this sense it become very hard for people to admit they are wrong, and often justify their beliefs. The actaul theory came from observational evidence with people who viewed that the world would be destroyed by God one day (and due to this sold all their properties and left their families). And when it didn't what did they do? Did they realize they were wrong? No, they decided their prayers saved the world from God's Wrath. Whether or not it did, is unfalsefiable, in the way I can't prove it either way with scientific method.

      Because they 1. and 2. explain pretty well what you are dealing with, and those 2 psychological mechanism are why you believe in God correct? :P
      I hope I have not offended you!
      This is my main response though!
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        Apr 12 2013: Hello Mr. White. No offense taken. Until you through Piaget at me, and Ms.Steen does the "God is a she". OK, one more time for clarity, My faith is that there is God, He has been called by many names: fate, nature, the universe, and to many more to list. He is defined as the creator of something that exists, we know exists but we can't explain it's creation, not by scientific methods anyway. There are a number of people who do not hold my beliefs. OK, it's not against any law. But what I find amusing is the lengths they go through to convince me that I am wrong. They call it mental emotional or a combination of flaws. OK, what ever. Why is there such an outpouring information to convince me or others like me that we are wrong? Is that some secret fund out there that pays for all this thought, effort, research, that has gone into disproving the existence of God.
        And if you could absolutely, beyond all doubt prove there is no God, then aren't you faced with find what answers all the questions you have just unanswered? I'll stick with God.
        The funniest part when you use as justification those failed actions taken by believers misinterpretation of ancient documents written in long dead languages as proof.
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          Apr 12 2013: :P
          I'm sorry I offended you! I did not mean to suggest anything about you by using Piaget's ("Until you through Piaget at me") discovery. (If you think I am comparing those who believe in God to children, I AM NOT! Let me clarify this! I see how what I said could be interpreted this way! :( ) I find it very interesting myself!
          "But what I find amusing is the lengths they go through to convince me that I am wrong."
          If anything I search for God myself, yet find nothing.
          I cannot disprove a God, just like you can't prove a God to me (or that I own a pet invisible dragon in my garage).

          Therefore I remain a Strong Agnostic, until any evidence come in.
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    Apr 10 2013: Interesting how the TED community is in general consensus that God can't really be defined, and that it is impossible to create an experiment to test 'God'. (Or for that matter find some observational external evidence.)
    It seems one of the most convincing arguments, (or most common) is experiencing 'God', which I am more interested in. How do you experience God, for after this whoe debate, I must admit it is more probable that if there is a God, it isn't an external being. It is probably a being which lies within all of our consciences. And for that matter incomprehensible.
    Am interested in the TED communities opinion in this statement. :D
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      Apr 11 2013: Pretty well summed up.

      Although I'm not sure why you think a god may be in our consciences. Seems we are social animals and will naturally have group dynamics and morality of some sort.

      Personally, I think the personal experiences people interpret as spiritual are most likely just going on in our heads just like epilepsy used to be considered demonic posession etc.
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    Apr 10 2013: The key to this and any experiment is the operationalization of what is to be measured so that there can be agreement as to the definitions proposed. However, because God is nearly impossible to operationalize with agreement of definitions also being nearly impossible, I think, at this time in our history it is not possible to design and experiment to prove the existence of God.
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    Apr 10 2013: Since religions are mentioned here and God too and since Bernard wants to know if an experiment can be devised to prove or disprove the existence of God and since it appears that I am saying 'no', I wish to mention an example how and where human mind and thought can go in pure pursuit of an absolute or supreme basis of spirituality. It started about 1700 to 1100 BC and flourished as a pure thought and called 'Brahman', which was not defined as God as modern religions identifies with but later was adopted as the supreme Godhead in modern Hinduism.
    Thought of as the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world, which cannot be exactly defined, but is Sat-cit-ānanda (being-consciousness-bliss) and the highest reality, it was conceived as personal (Saguna Brahman, with qualities), impersonal (Nirguna Brahman, without qualities) and/or Para Brahman, supreme, depending on the philosophical school. The Upanishada, one of the canonical texts of Hindu spirituality, teach that Brahman is the ultimate essence of material phenomena (including the original identity of the human self) that cannot be seen or heard but whose nature can be known through the development of self-knowledge. According to Advaita, a liberated human being has realised Brahman as his or her own true self. A rather single phoneme is supposed to express the whole idea : Aum.
    Without any 'religious' favor, I find this idea fascinating and very interesting as pinnacle of subjectivism. Also, as essentially it relates to a very personal self, I guess it started with a dynamic very different from Abrahamic religions.
    Bhagabad Gita warns us by quoting:
    “As a man can drink water from any side of a full tank, so the skilled theologian can wrest from any scripture that which will serve his purpose.”
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      Apr 11 2013: Great summary PM.

      I also found it interesting how in some nominally predominently Buddhist countries they still have elements of Bramanism. Our factories had Brahman shrines. So many layers of spiritually in many parts of Asia.
  • Apr 8 2013: Part 3. Or 'Entanglement' is next to godliness. You will need to begin doing something helpful for someone without them ever finding out that it was you - perhaps once a week. And here is the kicker, it should be for someone who drives you crazy! Most of us are developed enough to not have enemies, but we all have those people in our lives who make our stomachs knot-up when we see them. We are now practicing what the Divine does 24-7 and never receives the thanks It deserves. If you are really serious about this, there will be times when you'll not be sure what is right for that person. And THIS question is excellent fodder for your walk / talks with the Divine! Don't be afraid of It. It loves you deeply. Don't be afraid to question It, yell at It, curse at It. It can take it and loves the energetic interaction! At a point- of Its choosing It will open up to you AND BLOW YOUR MIND!!!!
    4. Download and install "Gnaural", an open source app.for our 4th concurrent skill - practice. The upper-level OBE excursions to Its realm, involving an ultra-deep meditative state that will open up your senses beyond the physical.

    A caution here is needed. Theoretically; binaural, frequency-follow brain wave entrainment could trigger a seizure in folks with a seizure condition / disorder. I've never heard of it happening, but a physician's consultation for such folks may be a very good idea.
    Also those with a history of heavy, powerful hallucinagen use - such as LSD. This technology could, possibly trigger a 'flashback'. There is anecdotal accounts of this. But, this tech. is 70 years old. I've used it for years with no ill effects.

    This tech. needs to be used in conjuction with other meditative skills that we can discuss in detail later.
    I hope these two windy posts have been helpful.

    Thanks go to Nathan for the curiousity and courage to ask!

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      Apr 8 2013: Hi Jordan,
      I've read your recent posts. It appears that the practices you advocate, while possibly very helpful and useful in some respects, are subjective in nature. The topic question is:

      "Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?"

      With your suggested practices, one could certainly feel more like a god exists.....or not. I don't perceice it to be "an experiment which can determine whether god exists or not." One person can take a walk in the woods, and convince him/herself that god created everything. Another person can take a walk in the woods, and believe more in the interconnectedness of nature and evolution.
      • Apr 8 2013: Hi Colleen!
        I think the opperative word in our question at hand is the word WE, "can we ...". So, does it need to be a 'we' as a race (corporately), always or 'we' as individuals?
        Our friend Bernard openned up a side question for debate - in relation to us folks who have had profound, life-changing experiences. He noted the almost universal feeling amoung us folks where we will usually say "Don't even try to imagine this experience - you can't! You must have the experience to understand it!" It is THAT far away from our usual, daily, corporate experience as humans.
        The emerging science of consciousness research is in its infancy. There are emminant and respected researchers (from Russell Targ - laser physicist, Sir Roger Penrose - mathematician and quantum physicist, Dr. Dean Radin - PEAR, SRI, Gary Schwartz PhD, Director of Neurology and Clinical Psychology at Yale Medical). But still, interesting experimental data has already begun to appear from numerous research centers. A very short list is available at my site for any looking for a place to start. I think most of the researchers came to this area because they began to hear about this interesting data and were curious about ;
        1. the validity of data concerning consciousness as a separate phenomenon from electreo-chemical brain function And ...
        2. What could the possible underlying process be?
        Us folks who've had these experiences are perhaps more curious than most as to what the underlying processes of consciousness might be.
        Since our buddy Bernard openned the barn door on us folks, it's much too late to now to try to close the barn door and corral us all up again :D ! Even though he may now wish he could :)!
        Very Best Wishes!
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          Apr 8 2013: Jordan,
          How "we" look at the question can be either as a group, or as individuals.

          I am aware of emerging research regarding science of consciousness, and also aware of the researchers......I've been exploring this topic for many point is?

          I don't feel "corraled".....why do you say that? Although your comment is a response to my previous comment, it seems totally unrelated.
      • Apr 8 2013: to answer your question"what makes an experience spiritual" .one of the things that can is ones openness and willingness to accept the idea that we all have a higher power that is us as much as our mind and body and that higher power being connected to everything eternally,(being god. ) to one person everyday all day could feel like a spiritual experience. every second we get to spend here is precious, when its all said and done.
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          Apr 8 2013: Wholeheartedly agree Nathan, that openness and willingness to accept, are important elements. I also totally agree that every second is precious.

          Do you think/feel there has to be a belief in a god to experience open mind and heart, acceptance and gratitude for every moment?
      • Apr 8 2013: as for my perception , its not so much as something ive experienced that was visually different, but more lik lle moments of clarity with epiphanies about connectivity to life, nature and the universe. the more i learn about the wonders of it all the more it streangthens my belief .to me science is gods incomplete,imperfect ongoing bible.
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          Apr 8 2013: Nathan, thanks for responding to my question.....I appreciate that:>)

          I understand what you mean by moments of clarity and connectivity to life, nature and the universe. Do you think/feel one has to believe in a god, or the bible to experience this wonderful feeling?
      • Apr 8 2013: Hi Collen!
        After our buddy Bernard suggested - I believe (?), the side question to our main discussion that dealt with the completely profound nature of the experience of these sort (according to those who have experienced it). Where folks say usually say that it really can't be imagined. Again, you very reasonably presume that exercises I suggested could make a person "feel more like god exists" - your words. This still takes us back to the profound nature of the experience, being personal, experiencial evidence - an individual 'we'. But, beyond our current ability to verbally technically or mathematically discribe. so, 'we' may (at least for a time, until maybe our clunky tech. catches up), may need to rely on some sort of experimental / experiencial consensus.
        That is my point, those that have had this experience (or practice experiencial experimentation in this area), simply can't accept may "feel more like god exists". Consciousness explorers (who are totally differennt from the researchers), believe they are advancing knowledge, even though the tech. is far behind and many folks who have not had this experience assume the experience is "subjective" - again, your word.
        I would suspect that you may feel that I am being dogmatic and even speaking for other folks for whom I have no right to speak for. I'm sorry but, I'm afraid I will need to stand, sit on this point:)
        My comment about our friend Bernard opening the barn door was my sloppy attempt at humor. Bernard, whom I believe (?), opened up this side question, may not (in my mind), have been ready for this can of worms. I'm glad you don't feel corraled! Neither do I! It was again, my sloppy attempt at humor - which obviously needs alot of work!
        MY big question now is this; is Bernard shaking his head in disbelief or regret; or (as I suspect), he is laughing himself silly about now? :D
        Very Best Wishes!
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          Apr 8 2013: Yes Jordan, it does indeed seem like you are speaking for other people....I agree with you on that. Bernard invited me to this conversation, and he didn't say anything about a "side question", so I guess that is something between you guys.

          Yes, I agree...all experiences are personal. You say it is personal, then go on to say..."Consciousness explorers" (you are speaking for lots of other people again?) "believe they are advancing knowledge, even though the tech. is far behind and many folks who have not had this experience assume the experience is "subjective"....."

          Our experiences ARE indeed personal and subjective, and to say that a group of people all experience the same thing, is not very realistic. You seem to be contradicting yourself? I'm simply looking at what you have written, and trying to make sense of it.

          Yes, you are right, you seem to be dogmatic, and speaking for other folks. Stand or sit on that all you want my friend!
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          Apr 8 2013: P.S.
          I get the impression from your comments that you think you are better, above, more enlightened, more intelligent, etc. than other people.
      • Apr 9 2013: Hi Colleen!
        I was beginning to sense that I had offended you. I do want to apologize if I have. You are a very nice person and I regret that I may have hurt your feelings or made you feel uncomfortable in any way. I hope you will believe that this was never my intention.
        I gather you feel that I have been condescending or patronizing toward you. This was never my intention either.
        It's possible that we simply have a personality clash. I will certainly admit to being passionate and unwavering about my experiences and explorations of over 20 years and their implications. And, I will openly admit to a loss of words to express my encouragement for anyone really interested in more than just conversation and speculation.
        But, please don't interpret my strong urging - with beliefs that I must consider myself to be "better", "above", "more enlightened" or "more intellegent" ? :[ I can certainly tell you that I don't feel this way! I readily admit to NOT being the sharpest knife in the drawer! I've got a blown-up of Russell Targ's diagram of 8 dimensional space-time on the wall of my studio for months and months and have read his explanations many times - and I Still can't get it :( .
        With regard to me contradicting myself - could be, but I don't see it, yet.
        So, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I don't see how I could (at this point), better explain my perspective in these area. But, At least you still consider me to be your "friend" and I still feel the same way toward you as well!
        Still,Very Best Wishes!
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          Apr 9 2013: I do not choose to be offended by you Jordan, nor do I choose to feel uncomfortable. It appears that you are condescending and patronizing to everyone, so I realize it is not personal.

          I perceive differences in thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions and beliefs. If that leads to "personality clash" for you, so be it. I do not choose to experience "personality clash" simply because we choose to see things differently.

          Yes, I perceive your "passionate and unwavering" demeanor. I have been exploring this topic for 60+ years, and it is still interesting to listen to other's thoughts, feelings and ideas. For me personally, it is not interesting to have a conversation with a person who is "unwavering" is more interesting to me to share thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences.

          You have explained your perspective just fine, and I agree to disagree:>)
      • Apr 9 2013: to answer ur q. Do you think/feel one has to believe
        in a god, or the bible to experience this wonderful feeling?
        I dont know,I would lean towards no. though i do have a certain percentage of faith in jesus , I dont equate human qualities to god. if you read the intro in the book "sacred magic of angels" by david goddard, that probly represents the closest to my belief.
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          Apr 9 2013: We seem to be on the same page with this Nathan? I think you mentioned in another comment that open mindedness is important? That, to me is an important heart:>)

          I have explored, researched, studied and practiced various religious and philosophical beliefs for 60+ years, and have experiences NDE/OBEs. With the information I have at this time, I do not believe in a god, and I am open minded. If someone comes up with an experiment which proves there is a god, or proves there is not a god, I will consider that information.

          What we are seeing on this comment thread are expressions of subjective experiences, which in some folk's perception may "prove" there is a god, or no god. Based on the information each person has at any given time, they/we form personal thoughts, feelings, beliefs and opinions about everything.

          As soon as we (humans) form those beliefs that seem to be etched in stone in our mind and heart, often times, the exploration stops. So, in my humble perception and experience I LIKE not knowing.....I LIKE being curious about new information....I LIKE the continual exploration of the life experience, and it seems like you do to?

          "Sacred Magic of Angels" sounds like an interesting book.
          "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly"
          (Scottish Saying)
  • Apr 8 2013: 1. EFT (also known as 'Tapping"). A form of energy work that de-energizes impeding emotions connected to memories of events (often submerged) and often occurring in childhood. Emotions that effect the unconscious control of our bodies, senses and thinking. These debilitating obstructions often take some serious, inner detective work to find and de-energize. Think even honest mistakes made by caring, but imperfect parents that can cause a deep-seated fear of an ultimate, all powerful parental figure. (The founder of Analytical Psychology, Carl Jung believed athiesm to be a deep-seated nerousis).
    2. Begin walking - alone, with no music, pets to guide. Try 30 - 40 mins. a day and at least 2-3 times per week. While on these walks, mentally & emotionally, open yourself up to the 'Universe'(?) or the highest god you can imagine. Talk to 'It'. ask It all the questions you have about It and all the questions about you, your life and any problems you are dealing with. Do this projected catharsis for ten mins. Then, as you are still walking stop the chatter and be quiet inside - just listen. After 5 mins or so, start in all over again. Continue this cycle of 'call and listening' all during each walk. You won't 'hear' anything back to you for the first few weeks. But, you will begin to sense a presense and an active listening. This sense of 'something' intently listening to you will intensify as weeks go by. (Do you have a dog? If so, you will begin to experience the same sense of excitement a dog does when you're ready to take fidoe for a walk.) This is becoming a shared special time for you and It. you'll begin sensing Its presense more and more - even when not walking. So, we are talking a real investment here. It really is a 'courtship'. It expects you to invest in It - before It will be willing to reveal Itself to you. It has feeling too and doesn't want to be taken for granted - hense your courtship investment. We can expand on this later. This ends parts1 & 2, for now.
    • Apr 8 2013: I know exactly what you mean though ive done it otherways as well. I do know what you mean though.
      • Apr 8 2013: Hi Nathan!
        I'm curious about your approach to dimensional exploration. Do you feel comfortable sharing this?
        • Apr 9 2013: is that what you call it? I dont do it on a daily basis , sometimes ill be meditating and focusing on the singularity.. the very beginning. there were times where i would ask my higher self a question and get an answer. not every time though. I definitely need to exercise it. connection with the higher self is definitely have faith is imdependant of "facts" and the things most people have faith in will elude scientific explanation indefinitely, so it seems.
      • Apr 9 2013: Hi Nathan!
        Thanks for your input / description! YES! I think your approach would be very workable - indeed!
        Question; do you see The Higher Self as an aspect of your 7th chakra or another form of connection process to the Divine? Very interesting!
        • Apr 10 2013: im not too familiar with chakras .thus far,I believe the higher self to be the soul,to be the one,God the Creator,connected with all there is was amd ever be. I believe there to be miraculous occurrences but to call one part devine lessens the other which I believe the sole purpose of it all was the other.this is it,the gift,this is what i believe God,our higher self intended. The One desired to be many. one of my big influences would be David Goddard; the sacred magicof angels_ and his artivle on "the immortal body" his websight is the rising phoenix, i believe. hes kinda like me but before me borrowing bits and pieces some more heavily influenced than others.
  • Avi Dey

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    Apr 7 2013: It is not useful to design an experiment on a topic that is subjective based on culture. Obviously you are thinking of God as a some scientists have defined such as Einstein . But what may be more productive is to carry the "Carl Saga" hypothesis further to ask are there other "intelligent beings" like humans even within the billions and billions of stars within our own Milky Way. Probable Answer : Probably No as we have not encourntered any other intelligent beings via the SETI program for many years now.

    Thats makes "humans" very very precious . And spirituality such as Buddhism says God is within each of us makes sense as to where to look for God, within the heart and mind of every precious intelligent being known as a human.
    • Apr 8 2013: Hi Avi!
      Some really good thought here! The name of the cosmologist who typed 'intelligent' beings on a scale of 1 to 3, escapes me, right now. But, we don't even register on that scale, yet. I think we would do well to practise a little more humlity here - with our clunky tech. and 'science'. The lovely gesture by Buddhists who greeting each other with a bow to the god within the other person, I think recognizes the 'non-local' nature of 'Its' presense. Historically, Jesus said much the same - that "the kingdom of God is within you".
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      Apr 8 2013: Most the universe seems inhospitable to life such as we have on earth, so I suggest all life on earth is precious.

      Suggest it is more likely there is life on other planets than there is a god. At least we have a real testable example of life. I'm not sure our feeble efforts via seti are much cause to write off life on other planets in other galaxies.

      If there is life in another galaxy we most likely will never know.

      In fact it may be more likely that intelligent life has evolved and died off more times than there still is intelligent life.

      Not sure you appreciate 100 billion galaxies each with billions of stars and who knows how many planets.

      Life on other planets is an open question. I mean we only had the technology and techniques developed to detect planets outside our own solar system in the last decade or so, in a 13 billion year old universe.
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      Apr 8 2013: Hi Avi! :D
      No I was just thinking of how to make an experiment to find out whether an "external personal God" could (or does) exist.
      With regard to intelligent life, (on a side subject if you don't mind! :P) if they did believe in a "God" of some form. Would this make a "God" more or less likely in your opinion?
      However I do agree with you. In regard to the probability of intelligent life.

      Yet I do get confused with this saying, intelligent life, does it mean : Life which could have an IQ? (Haha!) Because that means Humans are probably the only intelligent life!
  • Apr 7 2013: Sorry Obey No1 ...,
    TED's software is not letting me respond to your good point and implied (I believe), question at the point of its insertion. So, Im going to have to put this response up at the top of the heap - sorry.
    I think you'll agree, Buddhism (as a religion / ideology), has many permutations. There are some similarities when reading the literature - specifically "The Book of Going Forth By Day" ('Egyptian Book of the Dead'); "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" (which I can't put my hand on this moment .... Gurrrr!) and Qabalistic writings concerning the experiencial/exploration known as "Throne Chariot Rising".
    But back to buddhism; If you have a Buddhist temple and or book store near you, you may find an informative little book called "Short Descriptions of Gods, Goddesses and Ritual Objects of Buddhism and Hinduism in Nepal",2002 by Handicraft Association of Nepal, P.O. Box 784, Kathmandu, Nepal. There is an entire chapter on this, as well as "Taras" or Buddhist saints that are prayed to (such as "Green Tara", an early woman follower of the Buddha).

    To a larger point, the early greek consciousness explorers, such as Plato are taught only in 'philosophy' coarses. The closest the western ed. system has to meteaphysics studies are psi or consciousness research. But, his (Plato's), ideas of a hidden, unseen 'ideal' form - existing beneath our 'physical', perceptual experiece has been resurrected by quantum physicists as a metaphor to describe David Bohm's "Implicate Order".
    Just as humans have turned the inner explorations of the Buddha into either a religion on one hand or a 'phylosophy' on the other - rather than actually following The Buddha's work example. The same could be said for 'followers' of a god head, known at that historical time as Jesus.
    The (and I will say), great Buddha experienced the great, vast 'void' and the heart of all reality. The fact that he did not anthropomorphize it, did not make it any less real to him.
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      Apr 7 2013: Sorry to interrupt in this conversation. (I just thought from your reply to Obey No 1, you might know about this topic!)
      But I personally have never got why Buddhism is held in such high regard compared to other religions.
      It believes in reincarnation, and that the dalai lama is the Buddha "reincarnate", (which from many of the New Atheist perspective or there needing to be evidence to make any claim valid, I don't see much evidence to suggest that reincarnation is correct, at this current moment in time.) and that "desire is the root to all suffering". While I would say rationalization was, but am happy to debate this with many.
      I mean, do Buddhists want us just to be zombies? With no desire, or wishes. I am afraid I could not live in a world like that.
      Buddhism, has a focus on getting rid of consumerism (and focus more on happiness economics), yet when my brother visited some Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka, some Buddhist monks forced him to pay to see the monasty, and made him pay more if he wanted to stay. Which seems rather ironic.
      Also I find it rather odd when people say Buddhists are the most "peaceful" when they have extreme discrimination against Islam, which goes contrary to their own beliefs.
      I hope you can help with this dilemma I have.
      While I am willing to accept that Buddhism does have some amazing insights into what people fulfilled and happy (Which to be honest, I feel is quite amazing, and the main reason they are held in such high regard. And their research into meditation) I just disagree with (from what I understand of my very limiting knowledge of Buddhism) with some of the things they say!
      I just view Buddhism in the same light, as I view all religions. (Which is strong agnosticism concerning their spiritual beliefs)
      • Apr 7 2013: its not like you have to go all or nothing . take what you like and be on your way.there's truth in a lot of different religions. i don't see any thing wrong with taking bits and pieces to form your personal belief.
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          Apr 7 2013: :D True! Sometimes I forget that...
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          Apr 8 2013: I totally agree Nathan....well said:>)

          Many religions and philosophical beliefs started out with some good ideas.....the golden rule for example. Many times, however, dogma created after that is sometimes not so useful in our global community.

          Actually, it makes more sense to me, to evaluate all beliefs and practices and see what works for us as individuals. As thinking, feeling, intelligent humans we have the ability to sift through information to determine what feels like "truth" to us as individuals:>)
      • Apr 7 2013: Hi Bernard!
        I'm not a Buddhist and no an expert. But I will try to express my thoughts in this area - as always, subject to change and revision.
        The real man, who recieved the title Buddha, meaning 'enlightened one', was a high born person who turned his back on wealth and privilege of his position to try to find out what is real and important, for himself. If nothing else, he was certainly a courageous fellow - hence my admiration.
        The main question most associated with him is the search for an answer for the reason (if any), for human suffering. I believe his answer is often misunderstood - ie. the need to extinguish all human desire and passion. This was obviously a very (com)passionate person! Still, I disagree with him on this. This boot camp is to spawn questions.
        Again, we have the disconnect between 'religion', theology - and experiencial exploration on the other side - pun intended:) with regards to reincarnation. Which by the way was believed in by greeks and jews of Jesus' 'physical'/historical time (see Gospel account of Jesus' short eulogy of his cousin John, when hearing of his cousin's murder) and Qabala. I don't like religion, theology and dogma. I try to rely on personal experience instead. I have found (through personal exploration), evidence for past lives (for me,) not as a theological mechanism - such as in Buddhism or Hinduism. And there is some interesting documentation and research on this area. I, at this point think core-entities (along with their family of lives-experiences), come back at specific times and for specific reasons or projects.
        So, is the current Dali Lama the once historical 'Buddha'? I can't say and won't judge. During a prayerful meditative consecretion of my ascension studio, the god-head Jesus AND Its (apparently), very close companion Gautama Siddhartha did chime in with effectionate best wishes for me! A completely unexpected and wonderful surprise that still warms my heart! Problem? QED non-locality?
      • Apr 9 2013: Hey Bernard!
        This could be a very interesting idea for an other side discussion!
        ObeyNo1 ... has more direct experience with Buddhists and Buddhist teachers. I think he may be willing to give us his input.
        I think part of the Buddhist 'mystique' is the life of the man, himself. I'm sure alot of this is now shrouded in legend and religious paradigm, But, what we believe we may know - is facinating, inspiring and ponderous, even if we may not agree with his conclusions that were based on his dimensional explorations.
        I wouldn't want this side discussion to become too complicated. But, it might be interesting to compare / contrast his experiences and teachings with more contemporary practicianers of the west; such as Emanuel Swedenborg, Dion Fortune, Sylvan Muldoon, Robert Monroe, Robert Bruce, William Buhlman or even Russell Targ. Just a thought, Bernard.
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          Apr 9 2013: I'll think I'll write that debate right now, before I forget! (and might start it up!)
          I'll need help writing the description though! (Because I don't much about Buddhism!)
      • Apr 10 2013: Hi Bernard!
        It may be possible that we could have some practicing Buddhists in our discussion group who may also like to contribute too!
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          Apr 10 2013: Agree.
          I can't thumb you up any more! How annoying!
          How do we find them though?
      • Apr 10 2013: Hi Bernard!
        Ha,Ha - I can!
        If they choose not to come forward from our group, for there own reasons. We could try to find interested folks in the "Religion" conversation areas. I'll start looking with you tommorrow in these areas, if you wish. We'll see what happens ...
        I think you should try to give me an idea of how you would like to present this idea to them (for me first), - assuming, of course you think my help would be useful to you.
        Meanwhile, my wife is STRONGLY encouraging me to get off the computer and get ready for bed. It's 11:50 PM here and old farts like me need our rest you know!
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        Apr 10 2013: I dont claim to be an expert or a buddhist, but seeing it inpractice really broiadened my understanding.Don't get me wrong there is some good stuff in the core teachings of Buddhism. Its probably the cultural practice that can be sexist, e.g. don't hold your breathe for a female dalai lama. Buddhist leaders are men.

        other thing I found was reincarnation was sometime used to reinforce status. If you were born into power and money you must deserve it. If born dirt poor you must deserve that. But I guess most the issues were a sexist culture.

        As to why it is held in so high regard, I guess in part it might be because it is less familiar than the abrahamic traditions, so we see it divorced from the culture, and there are some powerful concepts that reason ate with people. I think it compares very favorably with the the old testament god and the apocalyptic aspects of the new testament and aspects of Islam.

        Buddhists are also not seen as a threat to western countries and not tied to the mess in the middle east etc. But we tend to forget Tibet was a funeral Buddhist mess. Buddhists are fighting other groups in Myanmar etc.

        Overall I find the core Buddhist teaching less objectionable than other Morality and evil god of the old testament, ordering genocide, regulating slavery, ordering homosexuals to be killed, and drowning everyone except Noah's family etc. Maybe others do too.
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          Apr 10 2013: Actually If you don't mind me asking, would you be willing to start up the debate. Seems I don't know very much about Buddhism! :) (I can try and help you though!)
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          Apr 10 2013: I had a similer experience Obey....participating in the practice of Buddhism, broadened my understanding. There are some powerful concepts that resonate with me, many similar to Sufism, in my perception, which I also practiced and explored.

          One thing I discovered, and was disappointed with, is that with both these beliefs/practices (Buddism & Sufism), as well as the other religious/philosophical beliefs I explored and practiced over a period of many years, people within the group did not walk their talk. They were not "living" what they preached, and that never made sense to me, even as a child, when I witnessed that in the catholic church.

          I see no point in aligning myself with any group of people who preach the good "stuff", and do not truly "live" what they are preaching. To me, PRACTICING the beneficial concepts in our everyday life is more important than preaching it, while contradicting the beliefs in the life experience.

          We see this all the time here on TED....people who claim to believe in a god who is unconditionally loving, and yet he/she/it will send a lot of us to everlasting suffering in hell??? Those folks who claim to believe in a loving god support that belief??? It doesn't make sense to me.

          Actually, although this is not an "official" belief in Buddism and Sufism, the "idea" was certainly there that some folks were just "better" than everyone else....some folks, who reached a certain level (in their perception) seemed to feel that it was ok to preach the words, and NOT truly LIVE the beliefs.
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          Apr 10 2013: Well here the general theme of it is :

          Hope you look at it, and give me advice! (:D).
      • Apr 10 2013: Hey Bernard!
        Stop the presses ... ! Always wanted to say that!
        After talking to you last night, I experienced what felt like a cautionary nudge. Here is how it came out.
        If there are any practicing Buddhist in our group, why would they want to raise their heads from cover and make themselves a target of skeptical scutiny? Think of a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck!
        We are after all, a known quantity. Our conversations here have not always maintained a consistant quality of civility.
        Any Buddhists (from within TED's 'Religion' areas), if asked to join in on a discussion would probably first look at our record or demeanor - which could well be a deal breaker. So,why should they bother?
        Might it actually be more fruitful for those folks (with these kinds of questions), to find a Buddhist discussion group (in TED or else where), and ask their questions of practicing Buddhists on their turf? Perhaps (for them), a safer feeling place?
        One last thought for us folks to consider is the meaning of 'peaceful'. Does that always mean passive(ist), - a sort of 'roll-over and play dead', ... 'turn the other cheak' ... ? I don't remember that we have ever really discussed or defined this? Can people who are willing to defend their culture, family or selves still be be considered 'peaceful' as apposed to aggressive or expansionist?
        Anyway, my thoughts for the morning, Bernard.
        Have a great day! Talk to you soon!
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          Apr 10 2013: Hey Jordan,
          Good points on several levels:>)

          TED encourages staying on topic with discussions, and because it is a public forum on which people can pop into a conversation at any time, it seems considerate to follow this preference.

          This discussion topic is..."Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?"

          If this comment thread turned into a discussion of Buddhism, it may be confusing for new people coming into the discussion, and the TED TEAM may simply delete off-topic comments. So, your idea to start another discussion for a different topic is a good one:>)
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          Apr 10 2013: Haha! I shall start that new conversation right away, before I get too side tracked!
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          Apr 10 2013: Well here the general theme of it is :

          Hope you look at it, and give me advice! (:D).
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        Apr 10 2013: Bernard,
        Are you aware that the link you provide indicates "page not found"?

        Looks like it connects to a site now.
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          Apr 10 2013: Oh dear, no I wasn't.
          It is still being submitted to TED conversation people, so that may be why!
          Oh we'll, in 24 hours it 'should' be up!
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      Apr 8 2013: Hi Jordon I lived in a Buddhist country for several years, read and discussed a lot about it, went to temples with Buddhist friends, even Buddhist funerals, spoke with monks etc, also aware it is not monolythic. Its actually quite sexist in some practices but some of the teachings like the middle road etc resonated with me, an atheist.

      Buddhists are humans and not necessarily as peaceful as many assume, but perhaps the teachings have less potential or focus on warfare compared to their abrahamic traditions.

      I remember a great discussion with one Buddhist about whether the Buddha believed in gods. I suggested he probably did, but found them unnessary to escape the cycle of reincarnation. I note mythology about Buddha facing Mara etc.

      I'm not surprised about all the commonalities people can find, especially where mythologies may have influenced each other e.g. the Hebrews borrowing from the babyloniuans etc. Seems people looking for connections gloss over all the profound differences in many traditions.

      I agree the institutions are sometimes at odds with core teachings, but I personally think it most likely all religions and as spiritual beliefs are human constructs and the existence of gods and spirits is highly speculative and not necessary at all to end up with what we have in regards to religious beliefs and experiences so called prophets and conflicting scriptures and revelations.

      Each to their own exploration I guess, but the certainty people exhibit in this'd most speculative field is amazing. So many conflicting beliefs held with such certainty.
      • Apr 8 2013: Hi Obey No1 ...!
        I agree with you, It's a fuddly mess - to be sure! I work (through diligent introspection), and skeptical, critical self-observation to find and release religious thinking. Religions / ideologies are a hinderance to stepping out in front of the status quo and find answers - dispite our still primative technology, stiff paradigms, and 'angle of perception' issues. Until then, I'll have to follow the personal existential way of accepting personal responsibility for what I find in my explorations and keep an open, skeptical mind to my best effort.
        Your experience with Buddhism exceeds mine and your points are well taken. I have begun collecting Buddhist sculpture from Tibet. The fascist chinese government is systematically trying to dismantle that culture. Beautiful sculptures, hundreds of years old are being chopped up for fire wood. How they choose to respond to this - I'm not going to judge.
        As I responded (Ithink to Bernard), I have personal experience with what I believe maybe past life experiences - using ultra-deep meditation. I can't verify the religious Buddhist tenent of reincarnation as an automatic mechanism leading to the eventual end of the Karmic process. But, I do think it may be highly individual - for each, individual (as a family of soul sets?).
        Anyway, thanks for your helpful and intersesting input. Much appreciated!
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          Apr 9 2013: I've enjoyed the discussion too. Thnx
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          Apr 9 2013: You know what, this would make a really interesting debate in iteself :
          "Why is Buddhism held in such high regard?
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          Apr 10 2013: It was also tragic when the buddhist statues in Afghanistan were blown up.

          I feel for the ethnic Tibetans. However, its probably no worse than what happened to indigenous peoples in the Americas and elsewhere colonised by Europeans. Although 2 wrongs don't make as right, and its kind of thee way things work, the strong thrive and the weak struggle to survive.

          Reincarnation is not something I subscribe to, so I won't comment on the supposed mechanics. It is all very speculative to me. Plenty of stuff on the web I guess.
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          Apr 10 2013: Put my comment in the wrong place. Some thoughts on perception of Buddhism above.
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        Apr 9 2013: Bernard,
        Why is Buddhism held in such high regard?

        Perhaps because it is a little more open.....less dogmatic? At least the original beliefs are less dogmatic. I think some segments of Buddhism are getting more dogmatic.
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          Apr 9 2013: Agree, it is worrying.
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          Apr 10 2013: In a way Buddhism doesn't treat humans as sinners that need the blood sacrifice of a god to be saved. We can improve ourselves etc etc.

          Many of the negative aspects I saw reflected the underlying sexist and heirachical culture. Westerners seem to focus on there core messages more than the sexist and heirachical aspects in Asian culture.

          While I don't subscribe to the speculative and mythical aspects, there are some breast teachings for all. There are some good teachings in the bible too, but more negatives as well. You have to cherry pick more in the bible to find the bits free of violence and sexism.
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          Apr 10 2013: Well here the general theme of it is :

          Hope you look at it, and give me advice! (:D).
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        Apr 12 2013: That is my understanding as well Obey...Buddhism does not tell little children they are sinners when they arrive in this earth school! Children come into our world trusting, honest, curious, loving little beings, and they are sometimes told they are sinners, and will have to spend their whole life struggling, suffering and sacrificing in order to repent! What a horrible thing to do to children!

        These same children, as grown adults, are asking the questions... How can I experience peace? Contentment? Happiness? Passion? What is unconditional love? etc. etc. etc.

        When children are indoctrinated with the idea that the life experience is about struggle, sacrifice and suffering, THAT is what they will experience. That bit of information, is enough to convince me that there is no god. I do not believe a god would create this beautiful world, send beautiful little innocent, curious beings here, and tell them they have to suffer and repent for something they did not do!!! Simply doesn't make sense.

        Buddhism seems to encourage more exploration, improvement through learning and being present in the moment. I like the opportunity to be free of certain structured practices and dogma, so I can explore EVERYTHING:>)
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    Apr 7 2013: Yesterday, I saw a tree. Only God can make a tree.
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      Apr 7 2013: How do you know only God can make a tree? (How do you know that it wasn't "Gods" that made the tree, in a joint collaboration. And couldn't you accept that the universe (in its grandeur) could make a tree.)
      And what is (/are) "God(s)" from your perspective.
      Thanks :)
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        Apr 7 2013: Well, has anyone or thing or spirituality claimed to have made a tree? I attest that only God can make a tree. And I don't have to prove it. I'll let others stretch and lean, quote and mathematically suppose or philosophize until the cows come home to prove me wrong. Till then, only God can make a tree.
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          Apr 8 2013: an argument from ignorance;

          Invisible Dragons make tree not gods.
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          Apr 8 2013: Dear Mike,
          No stretching, leaning, mathematics or philosophizing needed. I have lots of little trees at my home, and I've watched them grow for years.

          A seed is planted, the moist earth softens the seed shell, which causes the seed to sprout. Once sprouted, it grows in the wonderfull earth and the little acorn becomes a mighty oak:>)

          I respect your belief, and I do not believe that she has ever personally made a tree:>)
  • Apr 7 2013: No. God is within you. You can only feel him. Do a good deed and you will feel him. He is within each of us. Make yourself free of evil thoughts and intentions. This is VERY difficult to do but believe me, the day you will achieve it, you will see HIM everywhere, in everybody. Dont waste your time searching for him through experiments coz he is within you. Understand?
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      Apr 7 2013: What is "evil"? (Is it going against "God", and if so, how do you know what is "going against God", and how do you know what his "will" his.) Thanks.
      And what basis do you know that the "God" (almighty) is a "he", except for cultural upbringing?
      And Yes, why label (playing Devils's advocate) various positive emotions, such as happiness as "God". For if that is how you choose to define "God" then I can accept that God probably does exist, using your definition of God being happiness. (Hope I have understood properly!)
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      Apr 9 2013: Why is your god a he?

      Are you suggesting these feelings confirm the existence of god without any doubt?

      Couldn't they just be feelings.

      Also seems to me you are suggesting we visualise a god and over time it will seem real. No surprise there. You have just constructed a mental pattern that could be completely unconnected to any real gods.

      You could visualise and converse with a football, or a tree and over time your cognative processes would take over.

      Or you could visualise the devil or demons in people with a similar result.
  • Apr 7 2013: paradigm paralysis keeps people from seeing that which is evident.......that there is something that we are a part of that many people intuitively feel and see in many different forms. the underlying theme is consistant.we are more than what we can see we consist of levels o f energy that cant be detected with current devices as well as physical forms which we all agree on,and connection with our higher self is very beneficial.some people connect with it without realising it or possibly even believing in it.
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      Apr 7 2013: Could be, or people might be imagining this cosmic connection and personifying it.
      • Apr 8 2013: unless you had that moment yourself all the explainin in the world wouldnt help change an indiffere attitude.
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          Apr 8 2013: I have had some profound experiences. I'm not indifferent. I just realise that most of the contradictory explanations must be bunk, and all are highly speculative.

          I don't deny there may be gods, afterlife, ghosts etc, but am yet to find compelling evidence, rather than all the subjective contradictory explanations. I'm , but not convinced as by any of the theistic or deist explasnastions. I guess you also reject most supernaturasl explanations.

          I think most religious type experiences are just in our minds, like when we dream, or have imaginary friends as children, or experience differrent brain states similar to when I meditate or are falling asleep or when people take drugs.

          It could all be in our mind. And if it isn't we obviously don't have a reliable way of seperasting fact from fiction. The uncaused cause arguments seem so flawed to me. Everything we understand now, that used to attribute to gods or spirits seem to have natural causes. While many mysteries remain, I prefer to say I don't know rather than put forward another subjective interpretation. No problem with people following a subjective or intuitive path until they assert it as a fact, which I'm happy to debate, or object to if it leads to harm.
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          Apr 8 2013: Seems a bit weak if you need to have a religious experience in order to believe bin some speculative subjective proposition that is just as reliable as all the other conflicting subjective beliefs.

          I suggest the fact is these experiences do not prove a god exists any more than imaginary friends are proof of invisible people.

          I believe many people honestly believe they were abducted by aliens, or saw ghosts, just we havent been able to prove aliens or ghosts exist.
      • Apr 8 2013: re; "I have had some profound experiences."
        I'm sure you've had some, just none spiritual.
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          Apr 8 2013: Nathan, I'm curious. What makes an experience "spiritual" in your perception?
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          Apr 9 2013: How do you know these experiences I class as unexplained or most likely naturally explained are not the same as those you would call spiritual.

          It is very presumptuous of you to jump to this conclusion based on such little data. It may be indicative of a poor critical thinking ability to jump to intuitive conclusions based on insufficient data.

          I've cast out demons, seen ghosts or spirits, talked to god, had an out of body experience etc. Suggest we may just becoming to different conclusions from similar data.

          Perhaps you are stuck in your paradigm and are not open to the possibility you could be completely wrong in your subjective beliefs.
      • Apr 9 2013: thats the thing. I never claim to have the "answer" , only my "answer" and even that answer will morph and change as i grow. what i say is not representative of everyone, as i can only draw from my own life , it is only representative of myself. and for you to use the examples you use doesnt even explain me.if there is one thing that i truly believe ,without empirical data, is that we are mind body and soul.all equal parts and just as important. there is no such thing as "super natural" theres only natural. even the parts that puzzle people, however they may, if its within any realms of this universe its all natural being the nature of our universe. super natural always sounded like a misrepresentation of part of the natural universe.ive never seen a demon, i know someone named angel I sometimes say god when i talk but never had an exchange or a back and forth with god but then again my version of god is probly not what you imagine it to be.
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          Apr 9 2013: I LOVE this Nathan, and I live my life adventure in a similar way....never claiming to have "the answer"....only "my answer" at any given time. I also have the wonderful experience of morphing, changing, learning, growing and evolving with new information all the time:>)

          We are multi- sensory, multi- dimensional humans, with the capacity to explore the life experience on many different levels. I see no point in limiting myself and the possibilities.

          TOTALLY agree...."there is no such thing as "super natural" theres only natural". I believe that what people sometimes call "super natural", are experiences that we may not yet understand on a human level. I agree.."if its within any realms of this universe its all natural being the nature of our universe". YES, YES, YES!!! I never accepted the term "supernatural" either!

          I would give you 100 thumbs up for this comment if I could....unfortunately, I've maxed out for you....sending you a hug and a smile:>)
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    Apr 7 2013: your question has been answered at least a few thousand years ago. there is an experiment already that's been designed to prove god's existence... you keep running east looking for a sunset.
    • Apr 7 2013: Hi Glenn!
      Ha ha! Yes, I think I know where you're going with this. Please lay it out with some detail - should you wish, of course.
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        Apr 7 2013: I would never take the pleasure of discovering it for yourself away from you. you will find out eventually... everyone does.
        • Apr 7 2013: Hi Bud!
          Point taken!
        • Apr 7 2013: Hi Glenn!
          Exploration for The Divine can't but cause us to look at ourselves critically also - I think. Us common folk can also participate in the exploration process - dispite our limmited 'physical' senses and our laughably, still clunky technology as a race.
          I would reference the explorations of a rather ordinary guy (who was originally not all that concerned with the above question), Robert Monroe. If you're interested, you can also check out my 20 something years of experiencial explorations at
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        Apr 7 2013: thank you Jordan, I will definitely check this out. your point is very profound, as is the simplicity of the answers to the questions we all have. ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find... it's all in the questioning and how we phrase our questions that will determine the satisfaction of our answers. let's keep asking solution-based questions! I look forward to conversing again, have a great day!
  • Apr 7 2013: the fact that were here proves a force of creation was set in motion. I think what scientist scrutinize mostly is the bible.(though all religion is spiritual,you needn't be religious to be spiritual) I also understand the need to prove ones faith, everybody looks up to this essential part of our society and rightfully so.its just crazy how quickly skepticism becomes ridicule.
    • Apr 7 2013: Well said!
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      Apr 7 2013: without the ridicule, the reward of self-discovery is useless. in a universe of dichotomy, why in the world would anyone expect something else..?
      • Apr 7 2013: the rewards i get from self discovery are independent of and do not require ridicule. I dont take anything personal, but its just an observation ive made while being an active TEDizen.Im sure its a learned behavior passed down over several generations of scientific scholars.
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          Apr 7 2013: you see only what you want... your rewards depend solely upon the ridicule, either self-imposed or from another(imagined or experienced, which the brain does not decipher the difference) that you receive for not growing and achieving as a person. that is not independent but interdependent. your self-development and or enlightenment(whatever you want to name it) is your religion. as iron sharpens iron, so shall man sharpen man(i'm paraphrasing). you can only experience beauty because there is ugliness... I mean, c'mon. philosophy 101, no?
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          Apr 10 2013: I agree Nathan...self discovery certainly CAN be free of ridicule, and this is preferable in my perception. I see no reason to ridicule myself or others while discovering. In fact, if we are spending time and energy with ridicule (either self-imposed or from/for others), we may not actually be discovering as much as we could, without the dynamic of ridicule coloring our beliefs and experiences:>)

          I'm still maxed out for thumbs up for you Nathan.....sending appreciation your way for your insightfulness:>)
      • Apr 7 2013: thanks for the lesson bro. i understand what you mean now. though calling one a quack because s/he has a belief in something without using the qualifying factors someone else would is just being a jackhole....reflection on the deliverer , not the reciever.I guess that's why I'm here...mental sharpening.
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        Apr 7 2013: Haha.
        You should have this conversation with Gail.
        She believes that there are no such things as morals, and that it is cultural myth that there has to be unhappiness (ugliness) for there to be happiness (Beauty). (For she believes happiness is a complete choice, and that you can achieve happiness but just wishing it so. Which I disagreed with her completely. Yes I could accept that happiness was a choice to a certain extent, but not a complete choice.)
        While I have never got people who say : Certain things need to be experienced. It is like saying : To accept my business module, you must first experience it, and become enlightened enough. Which in my opinion wouldn't do very well.
        Yet I accept your point to a certain extent.
        Would be interested in your opinion non this.
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          Apr 7 2013: you guys don't see that what i'm saying is yes, you're correct, but not completely. you can't get wet from the word water and you can't learn to swim by watching. maybe you reduce the uncertainty, but until you DO something you cannot KNOW something.

          happiness is only a choice because there IS unhappiness. what is happiness? people are "happy" when they are making progress from where they are toward where they want to be. this goes for a champion sports figure to the single parent hustling to raise a child to the terrorist ready to die for his/her cause... it is the meaning we assign to the experiences of our lives that shapes our lives, nothing else. circumstances are irrelevant.

          our view of god is directly evident in the snap-shot of who we are at this very moment. what does that say about you..? (rhetorical set-up questions here..) what god do you serve? where is your attention focused on a consistent basis? do you have difficulty in relationships? how do you present yourself, as a member of a human family or do you see yourself as an animal fighting for survival on your own...?

          this is what's real. these are the questions you need to ask yourself. if you're not asking these types of questions of yourself then none of these conversations will do anything but feed your need to be right by always having a subject to vent your fear of self-realization.
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        Apr 7 2013: I can accept that experiencing bit is learning. Yet in an argument using logic this isn't usually a very valid argument.
        In the way I could say anything, and then just add : "You just have to experience it". (E.G Zeus is real, just not many people have experienced him!) Or 1 + 1 = 4. "You just have to experience it."
        While living in the present, with no real goal around just being happy isn't "making progress from where they are toward where they want to be". Also you are talking about Natural happiness here.
        "circumstances are irrelevant", so a Jew about to be gassed should be just as happy (if (s)he chooses to be) as someone who just one the lottery? (While I can see where your coming from, for there is statistical evidence suggesting that : Lottery winners and Paraplegics after 4 months have equal levels of happiness! Watch Daniel Gilbert's talk : The surprising science of happiness!.)
        Also if you are talking about morals, how "circumstances don't matter", in the way no person should ever kill themselves. I would disagree. (But will only go into this, if you want me too!)
        Not sure whether or not God reflects our current emotional state or dispirit-on. For instance if I was angry (and was quite cruel), and I viewed that God was "all loving" then this wouldn't be consistent.
        While this is an interesting hypothesis nonetheless, which I believe does have some credibility to it, after having given it some more thought!
        To be honest, with you I find your thoughts very interesting indeed. And will give them further consideration! (Sorry to sound so negative in this response.)

        What do I believe is real : Uncertainty. That is the only real thing I know to be true. (As well as possibly myself!)
        I have been uncertain about many things, and still am. So I choose to seek advice, from people like you, on whatever springs to mind. :) And am usually (with some difficultly) always willing to accept I am wrong, if someone finds a flaw in my logic.
        Kind regards,
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          Apr 7 2013: wow, where do I start... ok, your zeus argument, while I completely understand your point, does not account for the quality of the logic itself. math is already a set system of logic we all agree on because when applied accurately, it works for everyone.

          you cannot compare this to religious philosophy in which the meanings and relativity of language and symbolism are more abstract generalizations of conduct rather than rule of laws to be obeyed.

          yes, i am familiar with mr. gilbert's talk and his point with the winner/loser scenario, circumstance irrelevant to happiness. I do support that. maybe you are confusing peacefulness with happiness? I don't know. but you can choose to be happy when it seems you have nothing to be happy about. of course, it is easier said than done and this is why people spend their whole lives on the brink of depression.

          now, morals... no, I wasn't touching on that. but suffice to say that, to me, morals are just another name for a belief system that run your decision-making, sometimes very aggressively, and I believe this falls back into the category of "choice". your point about god reflecting your state is right on. whether you are a Christian or jew or muslim or atheist, it is our "idea" of god that rules our lives. if you have no god, then your god may be truth, or love, or money or success... but you serve god. the thing is... how's that workin for ya? ask that.
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        Apr 7 2013: REPLY 2. (:D)
        Actually after thinking about it. That statement you made about God being a reflection of who we are, and what we want it to be. Seems pretty reasonable to me!
        Considering the fact that when the old testament was written, it was written by some people who lived in a extremely violent time, with no real deterants (where there was endless warfare between small nations). Who dehumanized all other people, outside their in-group, and how life was probably quite cheap back then. (Due to life expectancy).
        So in that sense a "Jealous angry God", would be reflection of what they (most probably) felt. And the fact that it would help to dis encourage various behaviours. (Like stealing!)
        Would be interested in your opinion on this.
        So in that sense you would expect people's perception of "God" to be a more "loving nice God". (Depending on their perspective on the world!)

        I hope you don't mind me going on!
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          Apr 7 2013: love to converse with a beautiful soul about truth my friend, thank you for your honesty and sincerity!

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        Apr 7 2013: I will reply later. Sorry for the really long reply(s).
        Hope you didn't mind! :D
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      Apr 7 2013: The fact we are here seems to be the result of natural processes or unexplained

      Not some agency.
      • Apr 8 2013: it was the result of natural processes. conducive conditions for life to develope and thrive for the life of its local star, u.less one species becomes inteligent enough to spread before there star dies out.
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          Apr 13 2013: hey colleen! thank you for your sharp questions!
          -Do you honestly believe, Glenn, that all people who do not believe in a god are resentful and do not believe because of spite?" great question, and for the record, I said atheists not all people who don't believe. huge difference(some are just ignorant of the truth because of circumstance). short answer, no. I should have said "most" atheists. since I myself am atheist, I must allow the possibility for every other atheist to wake up and know god instead of fighting christians or jews or muslims... yes I am most certain, indeed.

          "Is it possible for you to even consider that some of us have done a GREAT deal of research, study, and practices of various religious and philosophical beliefs for many years and choose, with information that we have at this time to not believe in a god?" fair question, but I would say what is your source? a great deal of research with no demonstration is unfinished business as far as i'm concerned. I have done extensive research myself, so what makes you assume mine was as unfruitful as yours? evidence is available in the very spot you sit.
          I can see that god is life. not living nor does he give life, but life itself. god is truth. not truthful but truth itself. some things are true certain times or places but god is absolute truth. god is love. not loving but love itself. "...god is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in god and god in him" (1john4:16) god is intelligence. an engine intelligently designed has no unnecessary parts and neither does the universe or ourselves which leads to god is soul. soul is that aspect in which god individualizes into parts, the silent obserever behind our thoughts. like drops of water separate from their source, same but not whole. god is also spirit. matter wears out but spirit is eternal. god is principle. water seeks its own level, triangles are always 180degrees, true now, true forever.
          that is why I am certain. and yes, we already have.
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          Apr 13 2013: Hey are welcome:>) I am pretty clear with your statement it is again "for the record", as you say:>)

          "Glenn Bromiley
          3 days ago:
          "I think atheists are just resentful toward god for what stupid people do in god(s) name and they just cannot bear to align themselves in any way. disbelief out of spite."

          And for the record, here is my question:
          Colleen Steen
          3 days ago: "Do you honestly believe, Glenn, that all people who do not believe in a god are resentful and do not believe because of spite?"

          You now say that "since I myself am atheist, I must allow the possibility for every other atheist to wake up and know god..."

          Once you start believing in a god, doesn't that take you out of the "atheist" catagory according to the accepted definition?

          My "sources" are too many to even mention here....60+ years of studying and practicing different religions and philosophical beliefs. I totally agree with you that research with no demonstration is not as valuable. Nowhere did I say or even suggest that your research or belief was "unfruitful".

          I am very curious about you calling yourself an atheist and believing in a god. That seems contradictory if one is looking at the accepted definition. How does that work?
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        Apr 8 2013: physical form is the manifestation of thought. everything around you started with a thought. the fact that we are here really has no bearing on "why" we are here.

        when you ask why we are here, eventually you come to understand that you are not that which you see in the mirror. you begin to see that spirit is cause and physical manifestation is the effect.

        the universe is the organic inventory of unlimited possibilities in which our conscience has access to build our own reality with. there's a finite supply of iron in the universe... only so much to go around. some of it is swooshing around in your blood. where was that iron before you showed up? and where will it be when you leave? you are not that material.

        ever wonder why the universe is expanding faster and faster? ever wonder how karma and reincarnation work? instead of being kooky religious practices and dogma, have you ever tried to understand why people use it? ever tried meditation? how far have you ever gone to understand something you had difficulty understanding?

        are you open-minded? how can you learn anything if you already know everything? in the tao te ching there is a passage that states, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears". this, to me, means all you have to do is be ready to learn, and you will. keep asking questions, but ask better and better questions!
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          Apr 8 2013: Hi glen,

          I'm not sure how you reach that conclusion in your first paragraph, unless you are confusing perception with existence.

          We probably disagree about why we are here even more than how we got here.

          I disagree with your assumptions about spirits and causes. Suggest you might be right, but do could a million other speculative assertions.

          I understand the scientific explanation of why the universe is expanding. I don't speculate in these sense you might as to why questions. You might be looking for meaning where there is no inherent meaning.

          I meditate. Wife is a yoga instructor. Some friends are into gurus etc. I lived in a Buddhist country for some years and learnt quite a bit about buddhism. Not an expert. I see no compelling evidence for supernatural karma or reincarnation.

          Not sure why you would assume I'm close minded just because I disagree with you on some issues and reasonasbly point out god type beliefs are contradictory, speculative, and most must be false and possibly all are, and you have not given any reasons why yours are correct.

          An open mind does not mean you have to give up being logical and reason ably skeptical.

          I agree questions are important for understanding.

          Are you certain your beliefs about gods and spirits are correct?

          Do you concede they could be completely wrong?
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        Apr 8 2013: thank you for your perspective sir jedi. are you saying that because you meditate and your wife teaches yoga make you open minded? I will not assume you to be dishonest, but my experience has shown me the folly of such an assumption.

        just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there and just because you settle for less meaning doesn't mean others could not or should not find more meaning in their universe. I am completely prepared to recant and repent when evidence points elsewhere. and yes, I am certain because all evidence of how the universe works points to the existence of "god".

        if you were to have a slice of apple pie, and you took this slice and asked it "what are you"? the apple pie would have to say, "well, I must be like what I came from, so, I must be a slice of apple pie." is this scientific enough for you?

        your soul/conscience weighs nothing. why would you settle for scientific explanations if they can only tell you who you used to be and when things happened? science makes the map, you have to explore it, pal. I use logic and reason to bridge the gaps that stubborn thinkers create.

        of course, the proof is in the puddin' so yeah, I understand some folks who think they did a lot of things, been lots of places and hang out with gurus may feel like they have it all figured so why push? if nothing is done, then nothing is left undone... yup.

        I am just someone who was asleep at the wheel most my life and now has awakened to self-development and self-education and learning as much as I can on religion, sociology, psycology and even some economics... learned from a hindu swami and all denominations of Christianity. read as much as I could as fast as I could and readily admit the self-education was long and difficult, especially being self-employed with family of four, but I am a thousand times more certain in what I've come in conscience contact with on my journey than in anything on earth. I wish the same for you my jedi friend.
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          Apr 9 2013: I'm just saying I don't live in an atheist bubble.

          Also I have changed my world view over time.

          Im also happy to borrow or absorb ideas that I find superior to mine.

          Are you implying if I don't find your subjective beliefs convincing I must be closed minded.

          If you have benefited from your personal spiritual journey, if it has enriched your life, great. Please don't assume my own personal journey has not been just as rewarding without a current belief in gods.

          Do you accept that equally certain people having similar experiences have come to different conclusions?

          Do you accept that this type of spiritual journey is subjective. That your beliefs in 10 years may be very different than today.

          Your certainty in your interpretations of your experience is the aspect I question. What makes you think your beliefs are correct and all those who disagree are wrong. Can you see that it is all very subjective. If one man has one vision of god and a woman has an equally profound but contradictory experience of god, they can not both be correct and there is no way to tell if it is just going on in their brains.

          I don't know, so I don't have a belief in gods. People accuse atheists of being close minded while holding their interpretation of gods and subjective experiences with certainty. Ironic?
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        Apr 10 2013: I respect your sincerity and your obvious wisdom gained from your experience, and I accept your opinion. no, i'm not trying to convince you or anyone of anything. I wouldn't consider offering food as "feeding" no more than I would my simplistic analogies and metaphors as convincing or persuading. it is just what it is, a simple logic that unveils a compelling, absolute truth. if you ignore it, that's on you.

        no, I do not assume your personal journey and mine should line up in any way. we are merely at an intersection and I am learning from you and you are (possibly) learning from me. "as iron sharpen iron, so shall man sharpen man" 1john 4:16

        my beliefs have changed almost constantly for many years now and will continue to evolve, no doubt. one thing is for certain though, you cannot go back or stay the same. we can only go forward. if you don't change your mind, life steps in to change it for you. my temporary conclusions only serve as stepping stones to the next lesson.

        as for my certainty, why would my certainty bring to question the validity of my point? I am certain in my beliefs because they cannot be wrong. my beliefs are formed from the best logical arguments anyone ever managed to argue. I can see where atheists have superior scientific and secular logic at the same time I see the superior attention to the needs of the soul by religious groups. my view encompasses yours, and everyone else's because I exclude no-one. in your exclusivity is your weakness. same for all the rest of the religions. you do believe in god, just not everybody else's god... now, if you don't know that, then you may need to pay attention to your attention.

        in closing, no, I don't think you are closed minded and accuse you of nothing other than being a beautiful soul in which dwells the light of all light. I think atheists are just resentful toward god for what stupid people do in god(s) name and they just cannot bear to align themselves in any way. disbelief out of spite.
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          Apr 10 2013: Glenn,
          You say..."I am certain in my beliefs because they cannot be wrong. my beliefs are formed from the best logical arguments anyone ever managed to argue"...."I see the superior attention to the needs of the soul by religious groups".
          "my view encompasses yours, and everyone else's because I exclude no-one".

          Glenn, There are many different beliefs regarding a god/no god, and yet with your statements and beliefs, you apparently group ALL atheists...."I think atheists are just resentful toward god for what stupid people do in god(s) name and they just cannot bear to align themselves in any way. disbelief out of spite".

          Do you honestly believe, Glenn, that all people who do not believe in a god are resentful and do not believe because of spite?

          Is it possible for you to even consider that some of us have done a GREAT deal of research, study, and practices of various religious and philosophical beliefs for many years and choose, with information that we have at this time to not believe in a god?

 you think/feel we can ever "design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?"
  • Apr 6 2013: GOD.creator ........Creator of "all" , which "all" can only be of and be that, from which it was created. ...
  • Apr 6 2013: Hey Bernard!
    Haven't heard from you for a coulple of days. I'm still interested in your thinking re:
    1. my understanding of cognitive dissonance - still, "A Mistake Was Made ..." sounds very good. I'm going to push it up a few spaces on my 'to read' list.
    2. your reactions to my verbose, rambling of a web site. I hope I didn't scare you! Oooooo! :o
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    Apr 5 2013: No. But we can design a God that will delude all experiments and take our lives away. In fact we did exactly that.
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      Apr 6 2013: Hmm.
      Depends who to, this "God" you speak of hasn't deluded everybody, and it does depend what you mean by "take our lives away". I mean some scientists I have known, have been "religious" and has their life been wasted? (I mean they enjoy their religious identity!) and have they been deluded from all science? (and all experiments?)
      No, in my opinion. They are not deluded people.
      Unless quite a lot of people, are just an exception.
      Basically what I am trying to say is this : Is the head of the Genome project deluded? (Because he is a Christian, and a very bright man!)
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        Apr 6 2013: Let's take the God of Lala religion such that devout Lala parents insist that their little child is a Lala child and never prefers to conduct the experiment to raise her without ANY religion and observe if she voluntarily adopts Lala religion when she is an adult. I would say her life was taken away by Lala
        God even before she has a choice.
        Experiments do not necessarily be of science.
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          Apr 6 2013: Sorry I did not understand this comment very well.
          Are you saying that people (and families) of certain religious identities should not be allowed to teach their children what they view is right? And should decide teach their children what they view as wrong?
          It's like parents who believe in capitalism being told that they should be teaching their children communism (for communism is the right way to live!)...
          Also I feel I need to understand what you mean by "her life was taken away by Lala", I mean I know that she wasn't killed. So I need more data.
        • Apr 6 2013: you just explained my was raised catholic it was forced on was very anylitical i called him the backyard physicist. they never forced religion on us and left it up to dad had a spiritual outlook that did not require the bible though there were sections of the bible he big thing i got was no matter how much knowledge he shared he was never dogmatic about it. he was very skeptical but somehow taught me to keep an open mind and look for answers. dont mean to ramble butu hit a spot...thanks.
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        Apr 7 2013: The scientists may be deluded if they believe in a god concept that does not exist.

        If the Jews are right than Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, well let's say 99% of all who ever lived are deluded in this regards.

        That doesn't mean they can not function in the real world. People were deluded in thinking the sun moved around the earth. This didn't stop them working, raising families, etc.
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          Apr 7 2013: I feel that I may have a slightly different definition of deluded from you.
          For I feel that your definition goes slightly along the lines of "wrong", while mine would be similar but with this bit added : Making a conclusion which is obviously wrong with the data they have.
          While all these people(s) would have made rational and logical conclusions with the data we have. When I was talking about the scientists, I find they usually believe in some form of "pantheistic" of "Deist" type of God. (Usually not the a personal God, a God of intervention!)
          This is all anecdotal evidence, and would love to see the real statistics. (And feel I am getting quite out of my own territory!)
          Which with the data they have, they usually find it is a rational and logical belief.
          So yes in a sense I do agree with you, yet also disagree with you. :)
        • Apr 7 2013: does that make you deluded in opposition? being skeptical is not the same as having comfirmation bias.
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        Apr 7 2013: Hi Bernard I suggest theists of all the different contradictory beliefs, but one at best must be deluded.

        With the information they have they all believe in contradictory beliefs.

        I suggest they have enough information to know their beliefs are speculative. Theists must know if they are correct then all the others are wrong.They must know it is highly unlikely they have the correct interpretation and all others are wrong. Yet they choose to believe.

        Surely theists have enough information to realise how speculative their beliefs are, how unlikely to be correct. I think this classifies as delusion. Or maybe I'm not using the word correctly.

        Nathan how am I deluded in suggesting there seems to be no compelling evidence for god or what its nature is, its plan for humans if any, that all religions seem manmade, that at best one theist or deist or whatever view of gods or goddesses is correct, and that we have no idea which it is if any.

        That we have no way of telling if religious experiences are just misinterpretations of natural brain states etc. How many different beliefs are there about gods and goddesses.

        It may be god decided he was bored a billion years ago and willed himself in existence.

        I don't think I'm deluded in suggesting not all the conflicting god beliefs can be true, that par tof the reason there are so many is that it is based on subjective experience and there may very well be no gods. And am I deluded in suggesting if there are gods we dont seem to have a reliable way of knowing anything much about them.

        I'm happy to concede I may be deluded if you have a sound argument. But I don't think this position is deluded. You may be misinterpreting my position. First off I don't know. But it seems know one else does either. What we do know is there are a whole bunch of conflicting views often based n subjective experiences. I'm happy to believe in one if there was a decent evidence for it.

        Seems reasonable not to believe yet.
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          Apr 7 2013: Just playing the Devil's advocate.
          I could say with all the conflicting beliefs it could be people just interpret the same thing, just in different ways. Like We can interpret the same event (or person) in many different ways.
          Many "clever" theists I know often have quite complicated reasons for believing what they do, usually based on the argument of the "fine tuning of the universe". On this topic I'v always loved this quote : "If God does exist, it probably has an extreme fondness for Beatles and stars" (Might have got the quote slightly wrong.)
          While an interesting debate you could have with yourself is this one :
          Does Man distort and use religion, or does Religion distort or use man?
          I mean Carl Jung, thought that all religions were in some way or form held a "truth", and religion was just trying to interpret these "truths".
          While I thought about God for a very long time, and have to conclude something similar to you. I believe we will never truly know. yet not many people even know what "God" is, so until I know what it is, and know what existence is, I can never truly comment.
          Hope this helped.
          I have always been confused by people who go : "You have to experience God".I would gues it is people who have experience something which they can't explain, and feel mystical and label it "GOD". (This is just a pure hypothesis, I am probably wrong on this!)
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        Apr 7 2013: So if the Jews are right then everyone else is wrong, rather than deluded. Okay.

        Suggest we have enough information to know they are probably wrong, especially on the details.

        Its getting pretty close to delusion to think your scriptures, religious tradition, preacher or pope has a reliable link to the divine and all the others are wrong.

        Nathan, if I'm deluded in admitting I don't know, and pointing out all the theist beliefs can't all be correct and seem to be in the realm of the subjective, and could possibly just be incorrect interpretations of natural cognitive engines, then please point out how I'm deluded.
        • Apr 9 2013: I dont see why different interpretations cant both be correct. you assert that due to conflicting spiritual or religous views one "must" be wrong which is an assumption.
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          Apr 9 2013: "So if the Jews are right then everyone else is wrong, rather than deluded. Okay."
          Yes basically. Or as I said, it could just be different interpretations of the same "thing".
          "Its getting pretty close to delusion to think your scriptures, religious tradition, preacher or pope has a reliable link to the divine and all the others are wrong."
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        Apr 9 2013: Depends how you define delusion.

        If it is holding false beliefs then only those whose god beliefs are correct are not deluded in this regards. The others are deluded.

        If the Jews are correct, the muslims , Christians, mormons, Buddhists,Hindus, are deluded.
        • Apr 9 2013: whos to say it has to be that way?that they all cant be correct.
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    May 1 2013: Adrian,
    Thank you for sharing, and to tell the truth Swedenborg The New Church and his dreams, revelations, circular arguments & beings out of thin air, brings no answer. Is more of the same. Allow me to suggest to you Dawkins God Delusion & Krauss Universe from Nothing to start the quest.

    “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

    • May 1 2013: Thank you for looking Carlos (even with a negative mindset). That quote says it all, it is precisely "How it thinks"!!
      If you would like some answers about how the mind thinks (and thinking is a spiritual process) than this might be of some help. If you can put your mind to it..
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    May 1 2013: Bernie,
    You had me feeling a little overbearing about my comments on hard science vs. the social sciences... until you hit me with the the Nobel prize card. The prize has lost all my regard in the last years as to a note worthy symbol. It's the check that is the only noble thing left.
    But I digress. Some of the soft sciences do have measurable factors. But, too often,proponents of social sciences make claims with all the infallibility of the Pope and keep a serious face doing it. .
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    Apr 30 2013: Salman,
    OK, you assume by default a creator that requires no explanation as to its existence and that is part of his creation ( but which God?)
    The soul,the concept of an immaterial consciousness-'vessel' that somehow retains systematized information and leaves your body to go to some other realm as the body dies seems unintelligible to me. There is no way I can come up with a mechanism for how such an entity could function, and so it would have to be taken on faith as 'magic'. I can't see that ballpark. If I were in a Physics conference and said: "X exists, but don't ask me for evidence"-it would be a short conference. But if ask for evidence for the supernatural i get stuff like: "You need to believe before my evidence convinces you", "You can't understand", "You are spiritually blind", reason don't apply", "why trample on other's hope", "the demon insults God" etc (when ego, hope and identity attach themselves to so-called claims asking for evidence becomes a threat).
    Your assumption of self criticism is too bossy.
    In the other hand I love "Motown" music
    Death? Why people has to die? What is after death? I cannot follow you there Salman
    I'm familiar with Popper, I suggest for you L Krauss Universe from Nothing

    Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor,
    nor should life rest on a single hope.
    - Epictetus

    I'm running late...

    • Apr 30 2013: Hi Carlos, if you'd like to read something about after death (of the body) this may help. The first section is about heaven, the next is about the 'world' we are in now and what happens when our body dies and the last section is about hell. Some people rather go to hell than heaven. Here we also can say One person's junk is another's treasure.
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    Apr 30 2013: It can, and it can't the common denominator is the human psyche.

  • Comment deleted

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      Apr 30 2013: Kahneman's prospect theory, which won a nobel prize, was gained from a social science.
      Martin Seligman was a "Social scientist".
      Dan Ariely, to some extent, was a "Social Scientist".
      Philip Zimardo was a "Social Scientist".
      The list can go on.
      For example, skinner's box taught us reinforcement schedules and operant conditioning reliably shape behavior.
      Or about the placebo effect.
      All this has been found from observational or experimental testing. And can easily be duplicated.

      Is he basically saying the whole of psychology, behavioural economics, sociology are all "Pseudo sciences"?.

      EDIT : However he was willing to admit he was wrong. :-)
      I mean if you take this link "RSA Animate - The Truth About Dishonesty" : That knowledge was gained from a social science.
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          Apr 30 2013: What is a law in science?
          I apologize for my lack of knowledge! :-)
          For from my own research (done when I find the time to) it does seem there are things in psychology which have become "theories".
          I find psychology also a worthwhile subject to research in my free-time. Which has taught me things I never could have imagined. (E.G Synthetic happiness).
      • Comment deleted

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          Apr 30 2013: I mean I think a question which could sort it out, is do you view (that to a certain extent) sociology, geography, economic, and psychology are all "sciences".
          And is Neuroscience more of a science than psychology?
          I mean psychology is certainly not a "Pseudo Science", considering the amount of verified repeatable conclusions (/theories) it has gained.
          Yet at the end of the day, I don't feel I am qualified to answer. Due to me only really studying psychology in my free-time.
          And I may have some biases of-course, considering it is the only science I really consider myself "Good" at. :P
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        Apr 30 2013: Bernie, I got to go with Don. Just because it ends in "ology" doesn't make it a hard science. You know, it's hard to add it up or put it in a test tube. And too often, when tests are replicated, they answer in statistical averages never all or 100%. I hold low esteem for computer generated models. I have dealt with computers for over 50 years, they are nothing but big dumb adding machines and no better then the weenie who entered the numbers to start with. I put all this up there with those that tell me they are smarter then me and I should believe what they tell. me. I hope I am smart enough to recognize those who are smarter then me without being told.
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          Apr 30 2013: So is maths a requirement to be for something to be a "hard science"?
          (Because discoveries like Kahneman's prospect theory, have won nobel prizes! And are very mathematical.)
          Because I do believe that certain experiments in psychology (e.g (found by B.F Skinner.) operant conditioning, and (found by Ivan Pavlov) classical conditioning or (Stanley Milligrams) Obedience experiment) do produce repeatable verifying results.
          And sometimes end up being quite statistical...
          However I may be wrong! :(
          (Read my comment to Don Wesley!) :-)
    • Apr 30 2013: back when Feynman was still alive social science was as he describes it... nowadays (mainly due to Zimbardo and Millgram) as well as the research on game theory by Nash and the inclusion of correct statistics the existence rights of social sciences are growing.

      The main problem that social sciences have is that you can't prove causality. You can only show correlation. In the clasical sciences (math / physics / chemistry) one can, usually, show causality. Or at least make correct predictions based on the assumption of causality.

      Also you cannot control all variables in a social study because you simply can't control all people's lives in a statistical relevant way for a simple study. But math (statistics) have shown us how we can, more or less, eliminate these effects.

      Anyway.... I'm a big feynman fan but the sciences do continue to evolve. And I would say that the studies did provide a valuable increase in knowledge.
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    Apr 29 2013: Salman,
    IMO God is not an answer, I know physicists that hold ( a variety)religious beliefs , but none of them bring them to work, as to say: Gd is behind fluid mechanics or dark matter. Theory in Physics is not speculation, you can speculate with a hypothesis but eventually you have to do the hard work to assemble a theory via the scientific method and peer review. Who re the WE that assume God? And is not part of the created? And beyond nature, Salman what do you mean by that? What does that mean? What is the interface between the "above nature " and this reality ( the only one I know) . And you are so correct I cannot see that supernatural, Is that like Saint Nick? or Zeus, Osiris? Ra? ???
    I mean Salman you are pulling a hypothetical being out of thin air...
    What if I were to tell you that the whole universe is a supercomputer creation like The Matrix film? Or that the whole universe shrunk by 20 cm so fast that we could've have not detected it (rulers included).
    Look, I respect your beliefs and will defend the right all of us have to express our views.
    Things that do not exist cannot be the cause of other things, or maybe the supernatural; is the cause of things but in order to play in the game it has to exist first. This is baseline.
    Three categories: Things known to exist(my phone bill), things known not to exist(Superman), things that may possibly exist(A cancer cure), // thus things known to exist are the most plausible explanations. And until we can demonstrate their existence things that do not exist and possibly exist just don't exist.

    -"Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a
    problem which he has to solve"
    E Fromm

    • Apr 30 2013: The quote from E FROMM is all what im saying.
      Absolutely, im not looking at god from the perspective of proving a physical phenomenon. Let the scientists deal with HOW and WHY things occur Im more into why the WHY and HOW occur.

      we are trying but are still a bit on different planes. Lets take it from here. The WE as in we humans, those of us who think of a god or believe in one.
      Well it goes like this. When a sculptor sculpts or an artist paints, does he become part of his creation or not. Or is it that he imparts the creative intuition in the creation so that when other people look at it, they know whose efforts are these?

      The interface between that reality and this reality is the soul.
      Even i can't see the supernatural That's what makes it interesting.
      Well my mind can perceive supercomputers and matrix and isaac asimov and l hubbard. So it would be easier to conclude.
      God another ball game in another ball park so to speak.
      For any person, god can only be discovered after man discovers a few things on his own.
      Like why do we die and what is the need for any human to die. The purpose of human life generally.
      What after death? Does the soul exist in myself? when sufficient criticism is done by an individual on his own self, then and only then a plausible answer is reached.
      But I'm not here to convince you on either side. It is yours to decide in the end.
      You can also read Karl Popper and Fasificationism and the science of the soul by kevin t favero
      Anything for me too read as well? i keep an open mind.
      PS i do respect you views and also believe that it is everybody's right to express their views and stand by them.
      • Apr 30 2013: On different planes indeed.
        There is absolutely no way anyone can provide proof of anything spiritual on the natural level. Impossible because that's how God protects our freedom. Our freedom to believe in (and love) a God, oi not.
        The spiritual realm cannot be proven. We can love someone or something but there is no way to measure that like temperature or weight (or anything else physical). That's wny we have to proof our partner that we love them by action. Just saying "I love you" proofs nothing.
        Neither our partner or science can tell w h a t we think. It can be determined t h a t we think because our brain reacts to it. That's how ly-detectors work, they don't read our thoughts.

        Humanity is created so the God of love, can love everyone in heaven, be part of them and make them happy to eternity.
        If anyone would like to read about it, this is given in detail and consistently in this book. Many times people start reading this for the soul-reason to find fault and ridicule. Only to find it makes sense.
        One more point, please do not think this is the only way to go. I do very much believe God accepts any person that is good, whatever their beliefs. So, take it or leave it.
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    Apr 29 2013: Was it Douglas Adams that wrote?

    "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

    "But," says Man, "this formula is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have come about by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED." (quod erat demonstrandum) disambiguation.(or Quite Easily Done, your choice)

    "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

    "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed at the next zebra crossing.


    • Apr 29 2013: And was it god who said that
      "By time (which flows towards it's end)"
      "Verily, humanity is heading towards eternal loss"
      "Except those who believe and practice good, exhort to what is the truth and exhort to steadfastness"

      compared to what i think a man with a limited intellect says relative to what i think god says, i think i should go with god. why? what good is d adams to me today when tomorrow i can say to adams i was wrong, you were wrong and god was right.
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    Apr 29 2013: A number of you have used the sins of man in the name of God. Again, I have tried to separate the God that formed the universe with the God of Faith that most people attest. They may be one and the same, that is an individual choice of belief.
    But, that is an interesting point. I have heard mentioned by a noted theologist that more sin has been committed in the name of God than for any other reason. I have given this some thought. Let us say that I am a person who has some motive to take property or inflict pain on someone else, but I need help. I can go to my neighbors and tell them that I want to do bad things to this other person for my personal gain and I need their help. I probably not get a great response.

    But, if my neighbors are people of faith and I say that God came to me and told me to gather them and smite this other person, I got a mob to do my bidding. History tells us that in the past, if I was wearing the garb of religion, it was even easier to rally the faithful.

    Now, is this a problem of the God of the faithful? Is this a sin of the faithful? Or is this a sin as some theologist say. a multiple sin to God, to the faithful, to the victim. I like the idea as that old Italian guy said about levels of hell.

    But, there is no test about Hell, about Heaven, about the belief of the faithful. And as it has been roundly pointed out to me, a test for the "God" who created the universe.

    So, Bernie, we are at that point were we have had a good shot at it and fell short on your question. It was fun while it lasted.
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      Apr 29 2013: Mike,

      You raise a point that I've never heard before, I'm curious , you say that there is a God that formed the universe and a God of faith that most people attest.

      Please do expand on this no-faith required God, that according to you created the universe.

      Thank you, Mike

      -"No hell bellow us, above us only sky..."
      -J Lennon Imagine

      PS we should open another debate to keep the conversation going... What say you?

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        Apr 30 2013: Carlos,
        There is a God of faith held by billions of people. There are varying beliefs and concepts and worships held for the God of Faith. I believe that the God of Faith is truth as there is truth in faith. Every believer holds his faith in God as he may. I also believe that there is a God" that created the universe from the big bang with all the evolutionary forces that has come to be in the I use the term God as I don't know any other word that better describes the creator of the universe. It is the same God as those of faith believe? Most believers will say yes. It is for each of us to answer that question.
    • Apr 29 2013: Right... so your God is not any God which is described by a religion.
      He just started the big bang and started to enjoy the show?

      How is that any different than "The universe just happened". Aka why do you need a God to provide a reason for our existence?
      You said that "otherwise it doesn't make any sense" in which case I'd ask why does it have to make sense?
      I can rephrase this question in many ways... but in each way I cannot see any difference between your idea of a God and my idea of physics other than that yours is planned and mine is natural.
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        Apr 29 2013: OK, You say natural and I say God. (Again, I use the word God as I have no other name for it)
        Natural as you imply it all was an accidental big bang and things just happened and low and behold there is a universe and we have living beings and creatures and stars and galaxies and all.
        I say it was someone or thing, smarter then me put all this together in the big bang and when it went off all the information, be it in the form of mathematics as some have said or in some unknown manner, it all came together as planned to form the universe and all that is in it. So, did it happen by accident per your point or did it happen per my point. Neither of us can prove either point. What I will say is my position is the way to bet.

        PS I know that I am right about a Creator... as he had a sense of humor. He created man didn't He!
        • Apr 30 2013: Mike, I've made one comment about a year ago, miles down below LOL and I'm amazed how well you have kept up the good works. Congrats!

          At some point I have opened up my mind to the concept of a higher power and have never felt it didn't work. But then, I'm a Swedenborgian and, to me, that means making sense. There is nothing in the Bible that does not make sense, if understood spiritually.

          This includes the Creation Story, the fact that we have been created in His image and likeness. How we, as human beings, all go from 'Egypt' to 'Canaan,' if we want to.

          Well, one more day to go :) and it is the humor that keeps us going.
        • Apr 30 2013: Apparently something in you "needs a reason" for things to happen and you "need an understanding of why" it happens. I don't have these feelings so I don't need such a God.

          My personal bet is on science ;)

          p.s. no at best he created a single cell organism which could self replicate. Mankind just came around due to natural selection. We are not special compared to other animals except that our ability to survive comes from a logical understanding and being able to communicate this to eachter.
      • May 1 2013: Hi Richard,
        "Apparently something in you "needs a reason" for things to happen and you "need an understanding of why" it happens. I don't have these feelings.."
        You don't have these feelings?????? Of course you do, and you ask Science.

        You also don't see any difference between humans and animals because you do not look beyond the body. Our bodies are indeed sometimes so similar that we can use the organs of animals. It is all made of the same stuff. It is the spiritual side that makes us completely different. We can believe truths for the sake of truths, and do good for the sake of good.
        • May 1 2013: I am perfectly fine accepting that we don't have an answer for every question (yet). That doesn't mean that I am not interrested in the answers it just means that I am fine with the idea that 'I do not know'.

          I also don't really ask science.... science just describes reality in a way which is objective and seems to be (in pretty much all cases) consistent with how I percieve the world. Which is why I know that at least for me science makes a lot of sense.

          And because science makes a lot of sense and science can't really make a distinction between animals in terms of how the physical processes work etc. it seems to be a huge arrogant idea to think that we are somehow different from them.
          If you want to call that spiritual then go ahaid :)
      • May 1 2013: Yes Richard, science makes a lot of sense, but only in our physical environment. And don't get me wrong, I have nothing against science. It really has made this life so much easier in so many ways.

        But science maintains we are out body and I believe we are more, even to the point that we have a purpose. You have 100% freedom to look at things the way you do, including to see yourself as an animal.

        Any chance you are going to be the pet of an animal? Would it be too arrogant to not even consider that?
        All the best in your efforts.
  • Apr 29 2013: "Let the fools disprove god and even in that, proof I have found god"

    Niaz Khailvi
  • Apr 29 2013: First, humans should solve their own existential problems like life and death. Why are we born in the first place? Why do we die if we were born to live. Why people behave and act in a certain manner? ( not talking about chemicals in the brain but the cause of actions). and then maybe we can debate god.
    The only question which bugs me is if the sole purpose of being born in this or any world for that matter, is eating sleeping, merry making, having a good job, then why die? If im having the time of my life throughout my life, why do i die? To let others be born and have a good time too? Really now, who really wants to die?
  • Apr 29 2013: First of all you cant disprove the theory of the existence of a higher entity just because it cant be proved. You have to have basic proofs and facts that say. yes there is no god. as far as i have read in my humble opinion, god can not be dis proved because science has not given even a single evidence for that notion to be further investigated.
    Throughout history, things which were previously dis proven were proved later on and proved theories were dis proven.Even in this day and age, most of the major theories are still theories because they have not been proved in the ultimate sense of proof.
    Ultimately, science is assumptions which in the course of time, became proven theories, and even god is a theory which may or may not be proved through science. Science can't prove everything. It can show us the way maybe.
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      Apr 29 2013: Salman,

      You are stating that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, now I see a misunderstanding of evidence and empirical science. Absence of evidence certainly is no proof of absence -- there aren't any empirical proofs in the mathematical sense -- but it is evidence of absence. That is, it does not falsify absence, and in fact gives reason to suspect absence. Just how good evidence of absence it is depends on how hard evidence of presence was sought. If we try really really hard to find evidence of life on Mars, using every technique we can think of, and yet we fail to do so, this is strong evidence that there is no life on Mars. If I say that that I can't find any elephants in my room is overwhelming evidence that there are none (at least in my room)because they ought to be easy to find. Now notice that I state evidence not proof.(100% certainty, maybe i miss the elephant on the ceiling fan). Absence of reports of elephants is evidence of something, because of the meaning of the word evidence.
      Plus he who argues to the positive existence of God also carries the burden of presenting evidence for his (her)assertion.
      I think you have the term 'theory" confused with a guess(educated hunches in science lingo are hypothesis) A theory (science context) does not imply uncertainty, instead is a coherent group of general propositions to explain phenomena.In the other hand theories like the Aether were replaced for better explanations via experimentation, imagination and lots, lots of hard work. No absolute proofs (sorry).
      God is not a theory, or a hypothesis is an article of faith.

      -"If the facts don't fit the theory,
      change the facts"

      • Apr 29 2013: All i am saying is we assume that either there is a god, supreme being, etc or we assume that there is no god. On god, science up until now does not have the capability to deliver basic presumptive theories which can be turned into unquestionable facts.
        What you call facts are essentially assumptions that are either proven to be facts or proven to be false.
        Theories are not guesses. i know that. It is these assumptions that eventually give rise to theories.
        I understood this when someone told me that you cant have faith in god, but you can have a belief in the assumption that there is a god which grows into faith as the belief gets stronger.
        And I strongly believe that no single human being is capable of grasping the whole reality of god' presence or absence intellectually or through modern scientific method.
        Theory = Speculation, Contemplation,Rational type of abstract or generalized thinking. and empirically proven or falsified behavior of NATURE in CERTAIN conditions.
        WE assume that the god that creates creation is not part of the created. Hence scientific phenomena can be applied to something which is part of nature, but what if something is separate, free from or above nature, can the same laws be applied?

        For the layman, you can't grasp something which is not in your reach.
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    Apr 29 2013: Sorry for all the comments. 12 hours in an airport.
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    Apr 28 2013: Mike,
    I still don't know what you mean by God ( Supreme Being, Mother Nature, the 5th Universal Force, Intelligent Designer, etc. ad nauseam.). And I'm open to any operational definition within the realm of this world (the only one I know).
    If a person believes in a Deity that is a personal choice. And correctly you state that I am no one to argue on religious choices individuals make, Freedom of worship is fine. I do find objection when religion finds its way into legislating its views on all disregarding other peoples right to or not to worship, and other social issues.
    Take for example the Salem witch trails , Inquisitions, religious driven terrorist acts etc. or the diseased treated as a demon infested parasite: Copernicus? Galileo?
    At that point religion needs to be disputed. Since they have all the answers(God) no further investigation is required. Mike is not an argument from authority ( me?, no way) .

    In Physics we can explain how that "little ball of stuff" became this universe with all the specs, no magic( really amazing, but no hocuspocus) .
    And again the fact that the vast majority of people has some sort of faith based belief does say something about our tendency as humans to fill in the gap of our ignorance. Why we know diseases are not caused by demonic forces, there are no witches that have a connection with the supernatural, but Neptune (not the God) takes 164.79 Earth years to orbit the Sun. BTW Neptune was discovered on Sept. 23,1846 (about 166 years ago)
    There is no "problem" with the explanatory power science offers, It's all about choice.
    Engineering? Way to go mate!

    Of course,

    "Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but

    I have to see the NBA playoffs (very real) Heat @ Bucks

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      Apr 29 2013: Hi Carlos, I agree with much of your perspective.

      FYI people accused of witchcraft are still being killed in Paupa new guinea. They have introduced to criminalise murder for these reasons.

      I note even in the us, some people of faith still see the hand of an angry god behind natural disasters, linking them to any cause they choose. I heard some say god made HIV to punish homosexual men.

      Great quote.

      I also suggest reason, logic, critical thinking, scepticism, requiring evidence also works outside of science in history, economics, public policy, law, personal relationships, etc.
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    Apr 28 2013: Mike, I am with Obey.

    I prefer the explanatory power of L Krauss( check out his book Universe from Nothing) cosmology as wacky as it is, it offers me more predictive ability. The "agency" as you call it does not explain how energy formed matter etc. This sounds like a fist cause argument or a sidewinder like "intelligent Design", Not to mention that the"agency" or agent" or agents" requires explanation itself or themselves, namely that the "agency"must have had a cause leading to infinite regression, and if the "agency"is exempt from infinite regression there is no obvious reason why this also be applied to the universe, is the "agency" just is, why can't the universe just be? . I suggest that in the face of complexity we must be brave , buckle down and drive through using naturalistic explanations- it is more simpler. It is known how atoms , molecules etc formed, and just because something is complex I just can say the "agency" did it!.

    Yet I must admit that not all the rabbits are out of the proverbial bag, and I am humbled by it, Science does not have all the answers. That said progress is being made.

    What happened before the Big Bang?, I don't know(but is not unknowable, stay tuned) but I cannot take a leap of faith to postulate that an "agent" or "agency or prime intelligent mover if you wish is behind the whole caboodle without evidence for it; both positions are not the same Cosmologist will not take that leap, a journey towards truth that accepts statements with very little or no evidence will be a short one indeed.

    And Mike I respect your opinion, we just see via different filters.

    “The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.”
    -Bertolt Brecht

    " That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed
    without evidence."

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      Apr 28 2013: No one knows what happened before the big bang, correct. We barely know what happened after.
      But you can not take a leap of faith that it was designed. You're right, most cosmologists don't address before the big bang, but that's not what I am saying... The universe all it is and all it means that we can measure is too complicated to have just happened. I say it must have been designed and planned. Nothing else makes sense.
      You can say that there is no way of knowing... you are right. My point is that if we don't know, can't prove, doesn't mean it didn't happen. All the psychobabble and philosophical flimflam fail to answer the question..
      If it wasn't God, then how. The response of "Well, everyone knows there is no God but we don't know how it happened" rings just a tad hollow.
      • Apr 28 2013: "Nothing else makes sense." why does it have to make sense?
        Why must nature have a reason?

        and like I said... if you really want answers to "If it wasn't God, then how" buy a book on physics.
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          Apr 29 2013: Half the human race don't make sense to me, but that's just the way it is.

          Gravity acting across huge distances doesn't make sense to me. Must be invisible beings.
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    Apr 27 2013: OK Obey, I guess I am the other side.
    We have an "agency" to explain the universe as it is. We do not have an explanation how the agency came to be.. it was always there? I refer to the agency as God primarily as that word seems to cover every other descriptive noun I have heard. A personal choice.
    Unlike what you have suggested, I am a little undone to believe that the universe just happened. Consider how energy formed matter and then atoms (over 100, they say) and molecules and and and some formed biomass that recreated into life and and all in 14 billion years.... The complexity of it all and it just happened.... Yeah, maybe, but I like my "agency" explanation better.
    I am not alone in not understanding the universe admittedly, and I am in good company with just about every cosmologist on the planet. Further, I can not explain something that is invisible, intangible and to all practical purposes non existent... sort of like how the universe came into existence.... not after the big bang, but that minute before....
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      Apr 29 2013: Hi mike, no issue if agency suits you.

      Just I find it leads to pushing the same questions back a level and explains nothing. It actually adds more questions.

      Why is there a universe, how did it come to be, why is it this way?
      Same for life.

      Your answer ....god

      Then why did god make a universe, how, why is it this way.

      Plus why is there a universe creating god, how did it come to be, why is it the way it is defined.

      Personally, the modern deistic god concept seems to be something conveniently conceptualised as outside reality, because it does not exist in reality, and capable of creating reality. Basically saying something magic, capable of anything can explain everything and is unverifiable.
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    Apr 27 2013: Summing up some comments lost below.

    Some posit a god exists to explain and give meaning to life and the universe.

    Yet this god is unexplained and there is no meaning to its existence. It just is.

    For some reason an unexplained universe is something they are uncomfortable with.
    But they are comfortable with an unexplained universe creator.

    They cant accept the universe is the way it is without agency, but they can a universe creator the way it is without further agency.


    Perhaps it is harder to accept you don't understand and can not explain the existence of the universe, what we can see and touch, to not , than to accept you don't understand and can not explain something that is invisible, intangible and to all practical purposes non existent.
    • Apr 27 2013: hmmm your replies are better than your summaries :(

      How do you think that a line which sais:
      "Some posit a god exists to explain and give *meaning* to life and the universe."
      can be logically followed by the line:
      "Yet this god is unexplained and there is no *meaning* to its existence. It just is."

      If God gives meaning to their lifes.... how can this god itself have no meaning?
      Isn't ithe meaning of such a god to 'trick people into believing that their life has meaning'?
      (I believe that through personal growth someone can gain meaning in their life btw)

      Also one could argue if God actually is unexaplained... because religious people tend to think there is enough evidence for his existence.

      I'm not saying that I disagree with your views.... I'm just saying that you are not really understanding the religious point of view if you summarize, a part of, the debate like this.
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        Apr 28 2013: Hi Richard, re god being unexplained, I mean why or how did this god come to exist.

        These are the same questions about the universe theists ask, and answer with god.

        We reasonably know their universe exists. Its another point to look at what evidence there is for a god, other than the universe needs a cause.
        • Apr 28 2013: I know what you mean... and I agree.

          But it's not what's written in the summary post :)
          Or well... it might be written there but it's too ambiguous/vague for the reader.
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        Apr 29 2013: Apologies for any vagueness.

        I understand believing you are created gives some the impression of meaning. utility from a belief is not proof the belief is correct.

        Personally I find an existence at the whim of a god, just as arbitrary as existing via natural processes. For me a god having some arbitrary plan for me, plodding me in this terrible and beautiful life and universe provides no more meaning than I can find myself without a god.

        Of course this is assuming a universe creator god had humans, and me in mind. A less speculative god concept is that an agency created the universe without humans being the central focus. Assuming the universe was created for us, billions of galaxies, with billions of stars, is nearly absurd, but so human.

        But why does god exist. What is the meaning of gods existence.

        Isn't gods existence without some agency causing it just as arbitrary as the universe existing without agency.
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      Apr 27 2013: Some, I can imagine, would argue that this God meaning would be to give other people meaning.
      It's creation can be argued quite easily, it just requires a little bit of imagination :
      - God is all powerful
      - God can travel in time, if all powerful.
      - Therefore God could create it self with the use of time travel.
      - God is an eternal time-loop.
      There that's the creation of God sorted out.
      Yet whether "God" exists I do not know.
      EDIT : Of-course, as mentioned depending on your definition of "God(s)" + "Existence."
      I thought of an amusing logical tautology yesterday :
      Existence=All that has material property (energy or mass)
      God=A being which doesn't have any material property.
      Therefore God = outside existence. Therefore God does not exist, under that definition of existence.
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        Apr 29 2013: I get it. Imagining a magical agent, designed to be capable of designing universes works for many.

        Humans seem to have evolved to assume or prefer agency as an explanation for the unexplained or things difficult grasp. The scientific process helps address this bias to find the explanations based on evidence not instinctive intuition.

        As discussed, and when examined critically assuming an unexplained magical agent impervious to any examination, unbounded, offers very little for me.

        Here's a universe. Now lets imagine a universe creator. It has to be smart and powerful. It has to exist outside of the universe, outside of time and space that come I to being with the universe. Now don't stop to think what it actually means to be outside time and space, keep it vague. Easy. And it has the benefit of being defined as something that can not be tested, which is consistent there being no physical evidence for its existence.

        I don't really understand gravity. Let's imagine invisible beings everywhere pulling matter towards other matter. Now they are made of magic stuff you can not detect.

        We can invoke immaterial (whatever that is) beings capable of delivering anything you want, and by their very definition, there is no evidence they exit.

        Personally, considering these constructs critically, they could be correct, but being able to conceptualise a magical solution is not evidence. I see no reason to assume they do exist. I guess I'm not predisposed to gods existing as much as many others.
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        Apr 29 2013: I guess it may have unconsciously created the universe. Our universe may be a sort of dream by a transcendent entity. Is that what you meant? Or the god may have triggered the universe by accident?

        Maybe the creator god is not that powerful. Maybe it just gave a small nudge in the right direction sparking a chain reaction.

        Maybe it is dumb and not that powerful and blindly or mistakenly set off the big bang.

        Given it is completely without evidence, there are many possibilities.

        I guess powerful and smart gives god believers more options to speculate with. E.g. being smart enough to decide what is good and , or to plan everything out, or to know the future etc.

        Our future is probably evolution into something that can not reproduce with current humanm s, or genetic manipulation into something else to stop aging, perhaps most likely extinction at some stage.

        I guess smart and powerful are relative. This god might be smart or powerful compared to us. But it might be like a speck of dust to the mega god one layer above the transcendent that created our god.

        The mega god in the mega transcendent reality is watching what we call god in the transcendent reality, and also our level of reality.

        There could be no end of layers of reality. Why stop at the first layer of transcendent reality where our universes creator god resides. The god realm could have its own mega gods and uber transcendent reality above it.
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    Apr 27 2013: Oh dear...
    The end is coming soon to this debate.
    Any last words from anybody? (Or comments they have been dying to make!) :)
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      Apr 29 2013: Hi Bernard, there seems to be general agreement that most god concepts are outside the realm of what we can test scientifically.

      The closest we can get seems to be showing brain activity while praying meditating on a god concept. Even then, the transcendent connection (whatever transcendent means) is something we can not detect. It could just be natural brain activity interpreted as some connection or communication with a god concept. Or it could be something more.

      Most the evidence for god comes down to this type of subjective experience or arguments. The latter is not evidence really e.g.
      A gap filler for explaining life and the universe via an unexplained entity that is often defined as all knowing and powerful, and therefore is conceptually capable of being responsible for anything you can imagine. This is discussed in more detail here, but basically several have pointed out the circular reasoning, fallacies, and lack of explanatory power in claiming an unexplained magic being did it by magic.

      Others don't like idea that morality is something humans have to figure out for themselves and prefer divine command, which is arbitrary, and defined as good, no matter what.

      Others point to miracles such as the Quran and ressurection. Just taking the latter there is no compelling evidence it happened, but lets assume jesus ressurected himself, why doies that prove he is the creator of the universe, or that therre is a creatior. It is only evidence of ressurection. While impressive, i suggest universe creation is many orders of magnitude more difficult than healing and reanimating one man. It is a fallacy to assert resurrection proves a creator god exists.

      I could go on. Some seem to accept these arguments or subjective personal experience, but it seems speculative or fallacious to me, and that is perhaps where faith comes in, and perhaps our unreliable intuition cognition, hyperactive agency assumption, and cultural programming.
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      Apr 29 2013: I forgot to add while most current god concepts involve untestible concepts, if they make claims about a god acting on material reality we may be able to test for evidence of this.

      For example, if it is claimed a god drowned as army in the red sea, we might look for evidence of this. Some paranormal claims can be tested under controlled conditions. If we found evidence of our current understanding of natural laws being broken, such as a christian healer healing amputated limbs, then we would have evidence of something worth furthest consideration.

      Sometimes physical evidence is contrary to the claims, so the science is rejected by the believer, or an omni god is invoked to explain descrepencies.

      I'm interested in what people who are reasonably sceptical would accept as evidence of something deserving of being called a god, or even a god capable of creating universes. Maybe the next topic.
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    Apr 27 2013: Thanks Obey,

    I agree with your views.

    You know, it seems universal an feature of mankind (minus a few exceptions), that religious thought is part of our internal psyche in an attempt to find order in nature. And that same feature spins of and gives birth to Science , a more evolved mechanism to manage reality in an attempt to find order in nature.

    SIR TOBY: Does not our lives consist of the four elements?
    SIR ANDREW: Faith, so they say; but I think it rather consists of eating and drinking.
    SIR TOBY: Thou'rt a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.
    Shakespeare (Twelfth Night,1601 II iii)

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      Apr 27 2013: Your right! :)
      Read :

      - "We are programmed to believe in a god" By Jesse Bering for the Guardian :

      - "Is God an Accident?" By Paul Bloom for the Atlantic :
      Both atheists, who delve into the "Psychology of "God(s)" / Religion".

      The only real controversy is whether religion is an actual evolutionary mechanism (e.g it helped us survive by encouraging pro-social behaviours and stopped us from cheating when we easily could have). Or whether it is a by-product of other evolutionary mechanisms. (E.G just like "music" is.)

      However a great quote from Justin L. Barrett, a Christian psychologist who is an expert in the field of "The cognitive science of religion" (and has written many books about it!) response, about the existence of God :

      "Christian theology teaches that people were crafted by God to be in a loving relationship with him and other people, Why wouldn't God, then, design us in such a way as to find belief in divinity quite natural?” Having a scientific explanation for mental phenomena does not mean we should stop believing in them. “Suppose science produces a convincing account for why I think my wife loves me — should I then stop believing that she does?"

      Which is an interesting in debate in itself, considering many animals can not believe in a God (or it is thought) due to them lacking the cognitive capabilities of us (Specifically not having as a good of "Theory of mind" as us!). And that humans below the age of two can't believe in a God(s) either, so I don't know what theological implications this has!

      Here is the link to a really interesting debate between Paul Bloom and Justin L. Barrett, about "Why people believe in God(s)", while they agree on the facts :

      Kind regards,
      Bernard. :-)

      P.S : Hope this helped!
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        Apr 29 2013: Regarding humans evolving to assume agency and being predisposed to gods being consistent with the idea of a Christian god. Sure it is in some ways.

        We can invent god concepts that create humans the way we are.
        God made us so we breathe air
        So we eat
        So we reproduce sexually
        So we are always in tension between instincts and reason
        So we like sports
        Are bad drivers
        Like fatty foods
        Don't like brussel sprouts
        So we can talk, farm, build, write etc
        So we can sing its praises and bow down and worship it and wear silly clothes.
        Yes, that wasn't hard was it.

        On the tendency to god belief.....seemed god choose not to make all of us strongly enough inclined this way. Maybe stuffed up with the atheists.

        If God is connected to any specific dogma, it also made us so we believe in all sorts of contradictory beliefs.

        If there is just one creator god, and not a committee, it didn't make it specific enough to be monotheistic.

        Actually this god might be responsible for a universe with suffering naturally, or by its human creations.

        God is responsible for creating humans that sacrifice animals and other humans, that rape, murder, and get dementia, myopia etc.

        I suggest a natural universe, evolution, science provide better explanations based on evidence.

        This is just another unverifiable aspect to god concepts that are designed to explain anything you want, but in such a way that there is no evidence or explanation of the mechanism of how a god did it.

        I suggest space dogs seeded human on earth to give them shelter, feed them, and pick up their poop.

        Or it could have been some aliens that like to watch human reality TV. They waited a few billion years for us to evolve and develop the technology.

        There is just as much evidence for these two scenarios as a god waiting 13 billion years for us to evolve to worship it and get it wrong most often. I guess that's why it made the universe so big, so it had something else to look at while waiting.
  • Apr 26 2013: In march 2013 the Higgs Boson particle's existence was proven after scientists tested the Large Hadron Collider. This particle is everywhere in the universe, and it's pretty much its base layer. It is also called the God particle among scientists because of its omnipresence. This all relates to Quantum Physics, so if you're really interested in learning, I would suggest you look that up and make your own deduction with your own reasoning.
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      Apr 27 2013: Are you suggesting detecting this bosun, is evidence of something deserving to be called a god.

      Doesn't it just support atomic theory, where the bosun model or hypothesis seemed to work.

      Gravity, space, time, matter and energy are counter intuitive and complex. Stretch my primate brain that evolved to avoid lions and cooperate in small groups. But that doesn't seem to point to any god entity.
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      Apr 27 2013: Scientists do not themselves call it that.
  • 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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    Apr 24 2013: Someone asked me about dinosaurs and God, I guess the question was did they believe in God. Having never spoke with or read any works of dinosaurs, I was hard pressed to answer.
    allow me to reiterate my position again. I believe that there was a pretty smart fellow who set into motion the elements of the big bang. And in that cluster of energy/matter, whatever; where all the plans, specs and drawings of everything that in in the universe. I believe there are a number of cosmologists that will hold to this premise or something akin to it. Other cosmologists believe that it all happened by random chance and the have been a serious of big bangs followed by big collapses that in each case the elements of the universe became more and more relevant to the existing universe and when this one collapses, the next one will be even better. There are a few that believe that there are co-existing universes where things are either the same as on this one or different, whatever.
    The there are those that believe in God by their faith. And I have addressed those beliefs and my belief that
    there is truth in faith as there is truth in science.
    I have also expressed my dismay over the number of people who have ridiculed believers whatever their specific religious faith as.... mentally inferior or delusional or , or , or.
    And I am further amazed that the comments keep on coming and no one seems embarrassed about making them.
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      Apr 27 2013: Being wrong about something does not make you mentally inferior.
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    Apr 24 2013: We still want to blend the concept of God as believed by the faithful with the concept of God as conceived by those who look at the cosmos.
    Let's see, every civilization in recorded history and even before have had a belief in a supreme being. I still have trouble faulting millions, even billions of people that they are wrong in their beliefs. I know that there are a few modern philosophers, psychologists, and others that scoff at these beliefs. It's easy to rationalize, criticize or even ridicule these beliefs. Maybe I was not so blessed (pardon the religious reference) to be absolutely correct and everyone else absolutely so incorrect. I know there are a number of those who do think it's all delusional. I wish I could be so sure.
  • Apr 22 2013: I found the comment about your dog very amusing Mr Tinklenutz. But could you ask your dog if he/she believes in a doggy heaven? Or is he/she an agnostic, atheist or something else? Does your dog sit of an evening staring longingly at Sirius.
    Does your dog think therefore Iams. Does it chase it's tail like we are doing in this on going debate?
  • Apr 22 2013: Hi everyone. I've been trying to keep up with the flow in TEDland but it ain't easy. Well, you seem like a friendly lot, so I hope you don't mind me joining in with me ravings. All comments welcome. I'm just going to eat this piece of pie.

    On something from nothing - I do not believe that the universe came from nothing or that God/god created the universe or that it started with a singularity. I would like to suggest that this universe is one of many that have exsisted. That it started when the collapsed matter from the previous universe reached the Alpha state, that is when all the indivisible finite parts of the universe reach a state of maximum unity at which point there would be no space/time between them. I believe that the Alpha state would have built-in instability as the number of finite part is equal to an ultimate prime number. That gravity inverted to cause expansion. That the evolving universe is a construct of the progressive relationship between those finite particles and that we along with the rest of creation are a result of those complex relationships. I also believe that gravity acting throughout the whole of the universe can never have a value of nil or infinity. That when the energy in the universe has finally been spent that gravity will cause it's collapse and in it's final moments all creation will break down into those fundimental parts and the whole thing will start again.

    That if there is a God/god it is merely a wave function expressing the eternal expansion and contraction of the universes. That God/god might therefore be expressed as both the whole and eternal but also the individual and finite. And that belief in God/god is a natural occurance brought about by the feeling of separation from the whole.

    The pie was nice! Thank God/god/whatever for pie ( and cake).
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      Apr 22 2013: There is a theory that the universe as we know it is a repeat of previous universes that had expanded to their max and collapsed into a ball that exploded into this universe.. OK, it's a theory and has it's supporters among cosmologists. And that is one possible explanation of the big bangs kept reproducing until this time when we have biomass of living, reproductive sentient beings. That could lead credence to the random selection over an extended period of time. This would imply that in the previous collapses, the pattern selections were inscribed in the tiny mass that created the big bang. I got to admit that gravity and the 3 other universal forces are part of the complex evolution of universe. However, is this theory anymore then my contention that an "intelligence" created the patterns and this is the original bang.....? So, God is a wave function, I've heard Him called a mathematical algorithm, the fifth universal force, and a figment of my imagination.
      So, is this whole conversation about semantics? You say tomato and I say tomahto? Like there is no God, but there is something else?
      You guys are giving me a headache.
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        Apr 22 2013: Welcome to the atheist dilemma in part. Everyone has a slightly to very different concept of gods or goddesses.

        Some of the concepts barely warrant the name god or goddess.

        Each one needs to be assessed on its own merits.

        Headache indeed.
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          Apr 23 2013: Here is where to draw the line. People of faith believe in God, A great number are monotheists and a bunch more are polytheists. then there are the Buddhists and others that are sort of "non-theists". In each case, these people find their belief in faith and there is truth in faith.
          Atheist and other non believers give all sort of rational why the believers are wrong. Here is my question: WHY? and WHO CARES? If you don't believe, is it that important to you to find find fault, impute mental defections, all sorts of things that have been even listed here. Does this castigation imply mental superiority by atheist?
          Have bad things been done in the name of God?
          Have bad things been done not in the name of God?
          Is there some secret fund that pays atheist to find constructs disproving the existence of God as held by the believers?
          Personally, I find it petty to criticizes someone else's beliefs. Worse, they might criticize mine.
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        Apr 24 2013: For me, as an atheist, i just point out there is no compelling evidence to support a belief in gods and goddesses.

        The theists, deists, etc assert there is at least one god, the buddhists assert reincarnation. The burden of proof is on you. And all we get is fallacious arguments.

        All im doing is disagreeing with you on the existence of gods and goddesses. Im reminding you no good reason has been provided to believe in the existence of gods, other than utility, and a psychological plug etc.

        Its an intellectual discussion. No one is forcing you to partake or change your mind.

        Personally i find it strange to consider disagreeing with others for good reason, in a peaceful way, something petty. Is it a tactic when your arguments are flawed and weak, to revert to stating criticising the views of others is something bad?

        Whats the big deal if people disagree or criticise your beliefs, if people think you are wrong? You are free to go on believing what you want.

        If you dont want your ideas discussed you dont need to put your views forward, or find a forum where you can proclaim your views without others being able to feedback, to converse, to agree, disagree, build on or whatever.

        Freedom of speech should include the right to disagree and critique ideas, even to offend imo. Religious beliefs should not be off limits.
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          Apr 24 2013: I find no compelling evidence to either support a "God" or to devalue a "God".
          So the most accurate label for me, is just an "Agnostic".
          However, I do find it "possible" that a God could exist.
          Yet recently with my I have been discussing the definition of "existence", and my mind kind of exploded. Because it does seem an awfully hard word to define.

          While I did think of a way to settle this debate once and for all.
          If you define existence as "all that is physical and material", then God being an "immaterial, non-physical being", by definition doesn't (and can't) exist. But then a Vacuum doesn't exist, and a "idea's" don't exist.
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        Apr 24 2013: Also, theists, deists etc have conflicting views. Im not sure how you can ignore people of different faiths have contradictory beliefs.

        Some believe in gods that want homosexuals killed, that donkeys talked, that jesus travelled to the americas, other theists have very different beliefs and dogma.

        The greatest threat to a particular theist is probably other theists, not atheists.

        I guess more christians have been killed by other christians historically, than atheists. The history of europe is filled with centuries of christians killing each other, often in the name of religion.

        I dont think im better than theists. I just think theists are wrong in regards to the god question. And it doesnt really matter what i think, the arguments have more or less merit inpedpendent of who might thing they are superior. Actually ive met plenty of religious folk who think their beliefs make them supier to atheists.
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        Apr 27 2013: Hi bernard, im an agnostic atheist

        Agnostic not gnostic, not claiming to know.
        I mean i dont even know of all the different god concepts through history. How can i know they are false.

        Atheist, not a theist, not having a belief in gods. Because i dont know if any are reasonbly correct, there is no reason to believe, based on whether the claims are correct. There may be social, cultural or economic or psychological reasons to try and believe.

        I agree gods could exist as conceptualised by humans, or more likely something very different to human imaginings. There could be ten billion gods on my tablet, or in every atom.

        If there were some compelling evidence of their existence i would believe. Even if there was some convincing rationale to support a particular concept i would shift from them all most likely being wrong in most respects, to something more likely, even without hard evidence. However all the arguments i have heard from the uncaused cause on seem flawed, fallacious, built on false premises, or speculative, or relying on personal experiences that for all we know are just cognitive or natural psychological states, with subjective interpretations, or someone else's revelations or whatever, perhaps recorded in various old or new scriptures.

        Having no compelling evidence, i personally put god beliefs in the same bucket as extraordinary claims that are speculative, absurd, or without any proof, that may be proven one day such as alien abductions, faerie (some do believe in faerie) etc.

        Again, we know at best only one specific god belief and associated dogma could be correct, so virtually all god beliefs must be false. If the mormons are correct then all the rest are wrong.
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        Apr 27 2013: Bernard,

        There could be more than space, time, matter, energy, dark matter and energy etc. or other universes. just no evidence to support these existing, or to understand their nature. So people can speculate all they like, yet believing in any of these as anything more than a possibility seems to indicate a lack of critical thinking or reasonable scepticism imo. Others have their reasons to believe. Often a mix of cultural programming depending on when and where born, as well as more philosophical consideration. No issue if others come to their own conclusions different from mine. I note atheists are in the minority.

        Actually, a vacuum does exist, it takes up space, just no matter. It may contain energy. But i get your point. Perhaps considering non existence as a concept makes the point clearer.

        Suggest considering different categories of existence e.g.
        Those that are material, matter, or take up space
        Ideas or thoughts or words or feelings - associated with Minds and being produced by brains as best we can tell.

        Just thinking about the edge of the universe blows my brain, or what time is, what matter is, energy etc.

        As above there may be other unproven or undiscovered categories. But at this stage most god concepts seem to exist in the idea sphere in my opinion.
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    Apr 21 2013: G'Day Bernie,
    Per your last comment about the experiment to prove the existence of God, comments by those particle physicists involved in the isolation and study of the "God" particle would give them great insight into the energy/matter stuff of the big bang. Also note I have used God as an acknowledgment of that what created the stuff that became the big bang.
    I also acknowledge the great faith of most people who believe God as a truth. I unashamedly used Love as an example, sorry, it was low.
    But, It is really not productive for those who find question of the faith of people to criticize, deplore, explain or smugly assume a superior attitude of self importance in the attempt to debunk that faith. No more then it would be appropriate to do the same to those in great love. I believe it shows a lack of intelligence and a sense of appreciation that a thinking person should possess. My opinion of course.

    But back to the experiment. Can we isolate the God particle and will it give us insight to how it was created? Can we prepare an experiment to duplicate the results of the big bang and how it was created? Maybe! But, not in my lifetime, I think. I am not sure it can be done. For example, if we did recreate the big bang, where would we be standing... it's an old Greek Mythology joke.
    I leave to ponder the question and all the answers you've gotten.
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      Apr 21 2013: Wait, I am confused!
      So the "God particle" is "God" in your opinion?
      Or am I just misunderstanding you quite a lot.
      Please define (in a easy to understand manner) what "God" is to you.
      Kind regards,
      Sorry for my stupidity! :P
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        Apr 21 2013: You are not stupid, I am not communicating well.
        In a scientific manner, I hold that "God" (whatever, whoever, however that means) created the preprogrammed stuff that turned into the "big bang" and the universe as we know it. The "god" particle if it is truly there, maybe just a clue for mankind to give some insight into that process.
        I know that there are a great number of people hold "God" in great faith in a truth that they can not deny.
        These people in their faith, may attribute things to God that non-believers can not or will not believe and thus the term non-believers. Are either correct? How do you prove faith?
        My point is that there is nothing wrong in fervent belief as there is nothing wrong in non-belief.
        What I find a tad distasteful, is the vain arrogance of the non-believers, in their condemnation of believers; you've heard all the adjectives. To me, that's unkind and uncalled for; it shows a lack of class.
        And yes there are some believers that go way over the top to maim and kill non believers. That is much worse and violates tenets of most of the faithful.
  • Apr 21 2013: So Moses and his followers fleeing from capivity and the Pharaoh's soldiers were camped at Pi-hahiroth next to the Red Sea. They had word that their where-a-bouts had been discovered and with nowhere left to run Moses appeals to God for help. God tells Moses to gather his followers to the waters edge and then to ' lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea,and divide it'. So Moses did what he was told and the Red Sea parted and Moses and his followers escape. A scientist who witnessed the whole episode was recounting his experience that night to his wife
    ' . . . and Moses stuck out his hand and the sea parted and they all escaped across a dry river bed and then the sea closed and all the soldiers drowned. I must go and take some measurements tomorrow and work out how that happened' he said. ' I have a theory that strong east wind that was blowing all night had something to do with it'.

    My point is this. You will never find God at the end of a ruler. There are no experiments to prove God exists. People of faith and people of science both see the same universe. For instance, if I didn't know St Thomas Aquinas was talking about God the creator. you could mistakenly believe he was describing the big bang! I think there are more pressing problems in this world then trying to determine whether there is a God or not. And either way I still have to get up in the morning and do a bit.
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      Apr 21 2013: Seems you don't find gods or goddesses anywhere except as speculative cultural concepts.
  • Apr 20 2013: hello thank you for your good question
    this question have a simple answer when you define yourself you can define a god
    god award us some power to flying in spiritualizations and reach to the amplitude
    our goal is amplitude
    and amplitude is defining a god
  • Apr 20 2013: In order to design experiments to test "God" you first have to define which god you are talking about. Given that you might be able, or not, to design such experiments. Example, a god claimed to hear prayers could be tested by checking outcomes with and without prayer involved.
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      Apr 20 2013: "Example, a god claimed to hear prayers could be tested by checking outcomes with and without prayer involved"
      Not necessarily. :P
      You could not know the "right way" to pray, the God may reject the prayer (or not like being tested), there are so many options!
      • Apr 20 2013: We would still eliminate the gods that are supposed to answer prayers independently of we testing. As I said, it all depends in the god in question. If it's a capricious god as you describe, then that god is not testable this way. So look for other claims. The point was, when there's claims, there might be ways for testing. If the claims become elusive then we have a case of pure fantasy to begin with, and there's no reason to bother.

        Anyway, for another example, if a god is claimed to have made everything close to 6,000 years ago, then that god is false, since it is well demonstrated that the universe is way much older than that. Thus, testing for the age of the universe proves that god false.

        Again, my point is: try and be specific about which god (there's plenty of gods to choose from), and there might be testable claims. Don't take gods for granted though. When you say "Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exists?" You are already thinking of some specific god. However, how would you know if you are talking of something real if there's so many options though the history of humanity? So many options today?
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          Apr 20 2013: Hello Entropy Driven, :)
          Yes I agree with most of what you say to a certain extent.
          However I do feel even when "claims" are made about this God (unless there is a logical contradiction in the description of the "dispositional qualities" of the God in question) you can't experimentally verify anything about "God's" existence. (Or "God(s)" for that matter.)
          "If the claims become elusive then we have a case of pure fantasy to begin with, and there's no reason to bother."
          This could make a another debate in itself, for instance : I claim God talks to me.
          Now does he? (And is it a he? Is that verifiable, or is it just something cultural?) Is that experimentally verifiable? (Yes you could classify him / her as "insane")
          Kind regards,
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      Apr 21 2013: It could hear them but ignore.

      But not the christian god. It just needs two believers in agreement and anything asked will come about. But this god concept does not seem to exist or there are not two believers in agreement about anything.
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    Apr 19 2013: Hi, Richard, OK, I am fixed on "God". So ask me "why" I am so fixed on this position. No one has asked.
    And that is usually the first question one would ask if they were curious about another position.
    No one has asked me yet, so thank you for asking.

    Here's my point. Unless there is God, or an Intelligent Designer, Universal Force, Mother Nature, Mathematical Algorithm, etc., call Him what you will. Some thing so "Supreme" in every sense of the word that created all this universe or maybe more universes, then you have to contend that all this is some sort of random accident.

    I have a hard time believing that particles of energy came together to form matter, then elements, then molecules, some of which came together in a biomass that ultimately formed homo sapiens and not to mention maybe other sentient beings in other parts of the universe.

    I just can not believe that it is all an accident or random chance. That is even a really big stretch for the chaos math guys.
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      Apr 19 2013: Your argument is basically the "Teleological argument".
      That the design, and probability of the universe is so low, that there must be a "God".

      Which has been criticized many a time, for why does complexity imply some form of "God"? Some would argue this is an argument from ignorance, and that the designer would have to be "far more complex" which becomes too complicated. I mean natural selection is mostly just random, why can't creation be? (Unless you believe natural selection is being "guided" by some creator!)

      I'm interested are you a "theist" or "deist", or do you not believe in an agency at all which created the universe.
      I am not sure I could accept a "Theist" God, for there are too many assumptions made, without much forethought.
      I mean you could possibly convince me of a Deist God, yet I don't see how I could ever know this, without an amazing piece of "deductive" reasoning. (Which I find very unlikely considering most of these arguments are false in my opinion!)

      However I do find your argument the most "convincing" along with the "cosmological" argument. (Yet I don't feel they imply a "creator" at all!)
      Kind regards,
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        Apr 20 2013: When I say God, I am not implying that some old guy was sitting around one day and decided to create a universe and on a minor planet around a minor sun on the outskirts of a minor galaxy, put some material that would turn into a bio mass of which one portion would become a rational creature that has inane conversations on PCs.
        What I am saying is that some "supreme being" for lack of a more descriptive term put into place all the components of that which became the universe and all that is in it... It made the little pile of compressed stuff that gave off the big bang. And in that stuff was all the plans, specs and drawings for all we are in the universe. Now, I believe that is a scientific fact that can be and has been demonstrated.
        Further, there are those who have a truth in faith that gives this God more substance and cause, they speak of heaven and spiritual life. I can not find fault in this. Truth in faith is a truth after all. It is not proved nor does it have to be. Another example, you may tell me you love your wife. I say, prove it scientifically. You'd say, "get stuffed"! How would you prove you loved your wife? I know of no methodology to prove "love". I know of no methodology that would prove "God". Does that mean He does not exist? Does it mean that Love does not exist? Do we have the argument that one exists and one doesn't? Not worth the effort and that was my original argument in this conversation.
        There is no experiment to set up because there is nothing to prove.

        PS... I agree.. a lot of questionable arguments and a great number of opinions... a surprising number.
        It must be that an opinion is an argument. I guess they are.
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          Apr 20 2013: Is your argument at all correlated with the "God of gaps" argument?
          Everything which we don't understand is "God"?
          "you may tell me you love your wife"
          Put me in an MRI scan show me pictures of my wife, and measure my dopamine levels or serotonin levels. Or even just do the "attachment" test.
          Yet I admit this isn't a "very good test".
          "Does it mean that Love does not exist?"
          Love does exist, I mean if I can prove "how" something happens does that diminish it any-more? I mean if I loved someone, and we knew "how" I loved them, does that diminish my love in anyway?
          Just like what Justin :. Barrett said in better words than I can ever describe :
          "Having a scientific explanation for mental phenomena does not mean we should stop believing in them. “Suppose science produces a convincing account for why I think my wife loves me — should I then stop believing that she does?".
          "There is no experiment to set up because there is nothing to prove"
          For science to "verify" the God hypothesis, we would need some "experimental" or "observational" evidence to make the "God hypothesis" a "God theory".
          Kind regards,
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        Apr 21 2013: I like your explanation for Love and I am sure that we can find an individual that will light up a MRI when he is asked about "God".
        But, Bernie, you keep going around the the point. Faith in God as a religious concept is just that.
        One more time with clarity. As I said: God or however you may describe Him, set into motion the big bang and all it came to be. People of Faith have given Him a description, a purpose and meaning for their lives. So be it.
        Now the only alternative to my point is that all we know and are today is a result of random selection.
        Cosmologists tell us that the big bang came about 14 Billion years ago. Some will say that all that happened since was as result of universal random selection and not a planned series of events. Therefore there is no "God" as I describe. I say, it is possible that all that has happened could be a matter of random events, but, I find fault in the time line. There is no series of math that would bring together the universe as we know it in 14 Billion years using any random selection I am aware of. In fact, the number of years could be 10 to the 7th number of years. So, unless there is a serious underestimate of the big bang date, it had to be planned.
        Now, all these contributors to this conversation who address the illogic of prayer and miracles, and turning water into wine, etc., there are better qualified people then me to address issues of faith.
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          Apr 24 2013: Where are you at with Dinosaurs? Did they have a god or were they more of I am bigger then you "power"? If they had a god how would they express that or should we just assume the didn't have a god? And that "god" came into the picture when man became self reflective? We do have 2 reptilian brains right? One in the back and one in the front?
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        Apr 24 2013: Bernard and Mike,

        Here is your test?

        Also can either of you show me something that would be out side of mind?
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          Apr 24 2013: Nice to meet you Casey Christofaris, (:D)
          Now let me address your two points.

          "can either of you show me something that would be out side of mind?"
          Is the external physical world independent of your subjective perception (or you "self")?
          In other words, does the world continue to exist while you are asleep?
          If it does that (the external physical reality / the world) is something which exists independent of your mind.

          Or is this not good enough? :P (Hopefully it is! Unless your a solipsist. Then I can't really do anything... And yes everything is just within your mind if your a solipsist!)

          "Here is your test?"
          However with regards to that "Test", it just explains the psychology of "God / religion" not whether it's premise is true. (That question is more dealt with by philosophy and theology!)
          The two quotes I quite like by Justin L. Barrett, a psychologist who specialized in the cognitive science of religion (who's a Christian) : "Why wouldn't God, then, design us in such a way as to find belief in divinity quite natural?" and "Having a scientific explanation for mental phenomena does not mean we should stop believing in them."
          For instance it was found that children thought that objects exist even when they don't see them.
          Now is this true?
          I don't know... (I mean maybe they cease to exist when we don't perceive them!)

          Kind regards,
          EDIT : P.S I do find the "God helmet" very interesting though! :)
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        Apr 24 2013: Good day Bernard nice to meet you as well,

        I am not a Solipsist, at least not by the quick google search that I did, I still believe in "others" mind as well as the outside world I just can't get passed the idea of reality external to mind or observation. So let me see if I can explain it this way. Does a tree make a sound when it falls in the woods? For me if no mind was present that being a simple ants mind or my mind, we simply could not have the concept of tree or sound. So with an "absolute" no mind present for observation or reflection. Then even the idea of tree could not exist. Does this make sense? So therefore nothing can be outside of "mind"(think broad definition)
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          Apr 25 2013: So basically if everybody was asleep and many tree's fell. Did they fall?
          I would argue yes. For reality (in my opinion) exists independent of any mind witnessing the fall of the tree.
          However I can see your reason for believing what you do, and find it quite "reasonable".
          While from your logic many things do not "exist". For all the places still to be discovered by any mind then do not exist, and spring into existence once found? (Or am I misunderstanding you!?)
          So basically the world did not exist before the first self-aware human (or any creature) was born? Which becomes a bit too "problematic".
          Kind regards,
        • Apr 26 2013: God Is it what Dalai Lama meant "deep Mind is always there"

          Re : 'Mind on its most fundamental level has always existed, that level would be light..

          It may be true for photon has no antiparticle therefore eliminates the dualism that exists in the particles that are matter which is finite.

          Thanks, Casey !
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        Apr 25 2013: There would be no need to argue because it obviously did, even if we were all asleep. For we would all be "in" mind and would still have the concept of what a tree is even in our dream. The problem comes in is lets say trees do exist but there was no mind or sensory organ/device to interpret or even observe a the simplest idea of what a tree is. It would literally be nothing or no thing. For there would be no idea. This is why science says that existence was created from nothing. For nothing can be out side of mind, except for the very thing that created us/mind. So could a single star/atom the size of a seed, but truthfully it would be relative in size and shape. Could a single star case a shadow? i am implying that it would, So when the light travels back to its source how would that single star interpret it own light coming back to it's self?

        "Well I would trust that the Dean is educated enough to understand Einstein's point that any ray of light ( a straight line ) send out will eventually return to its origin and therefore he would understand that there are no "straight lines"" ~Ed Schulte

        I believe that it was a single star/atom that existed before the big bang, and that it wasn't until the bang that we created "patterns" which we are pattern thinkers and since there was no pattern there could not have been mind. I believe mind or god came about when man became the first thing that was self reflective. And since nothing can exist outside of mind that is why we say that the universe was created from nothing.

        Where are you at with Dinosaurs? Did they have a god or were they more of I am bigger then you "power"? If they had a god how would they express that or should we just assume the didn't have a god? And that "god" came into the picture when man became self reflective? We do have 2 reptilian brains right? One in the back and one in the front?
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        Apr 25 2013: So basically the world did not exist before the first self-aware human (or any creature) was born? Which becomes a bit too "problematic".

        Mind on its most fundamental level has always existed, that level would be light. Light is I believe the fast thing that carries information. Would carrying information be the same as brain? Many have worshiped the sun as a god or deity

        This really makes you have to question what is intelligence
    • Apr 19 2013: Nobody is saying that everything is random.

      Physics assumes that there are natural laws which describe the world we can observe. So how atoms/molecules move and how they react etc. etc. is described by mathematical equations. But those equations are found in nature. So nature dictates the laws we find in physics. (this has many implications)

      Now physics is the "logical search" for these equations and it has come a long way in describing how everything works. By that I mean that we can predict the outcome of almost all experiments within an extremely small error margin.

      Physics does not concern itself how these laws came into being.
      You could say that some God / Force / Whatever made those laws... but who/what made it is not a question which can be answered at this point. That these rules are in place is just an assumption of science.

      Therefor believing in a God also doesn't eliminate the scientific findings.... but many scientists can see that when the rules (of physics) hold then there is no real need for a God (at least not as described in any religious book).
      Also many scientists are frustrated that the church (notice that it's not religion / God) has done it's best to retain power by pressuring scientists not to reveal their findings as it is not corresponding to their interpretation of the bible (gallileo being the most famous example but there were many others).
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        Apr 20 2013: Never said that there is an incompatibility between science and God
        • Apr 20 2013: Good.

          Then I mainly disagree with the logic that "because we do not know everything -- there MUST be a God".

          I'll tell you a small story (which you probably don't really want to hear).
          In the ancient world (say old greece for example) there were many gods for phenomena we can now just explain. These gods were worshipped by organisations who therefor "gained a form of power" in the world.
          Then came along Jesus who was told by his mother (who was too scared to admit to adultry) that he was the child of a God. He believed that and lived his life in a certain way as a result of that.

          Then the people who wanted power put together a book (bible) of old stories which had remained to be true and added certain parts about the life of Jesus. This, in the long run, gained them so much influence that they could tell the people what was true and what was not true. So they said everything in their book is metaphorical and used the stories in it to broaden their influence even more (into the political realm and even daily life)... And we're now in the situation that we actually can explain most things without any need for a god but many people still believe that what the church tells them is true.

          Isn't that a more logical explanation? Also explains all of the crusades and much more "wrong doing" by the church in the past.
    • Apr 20 2013: That there's no gods does not automatically mean that the whole we see is due to "random chance." Random events have a lot to do with how stuff happens. Yet, we know that there are properties to stuff. Therefore, if such is the way of reality, random chance would be a silly way to describe it.

      I truly have never understood why creationists think in these false-dichotomy terms: either gods or random chance. Why can't it be no gods then figure out how the stuff works rather than assume that it should be pure random chance? Really. Where did creationist take than "random chance" idea from? Do we not have gravitation? Do we not have positive and negative charges? Do we not have inertia? Do we not have chemical properties? Do we not have atomic properties? None of these is a god, none of these is random chance. Random chance plays roles in some compound processes, like evolution, but even then evolution is not just random chance either. So where do creationist get the idea that either gods or random chance? Really, where from?
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        Apr 20 2013: Let's see... no God, no random chance... just gravity, and inertia, oh, and atomic properties and these came about how?
        • Apr 20 2013: They just are part and parcel with reality. Do you see any reason why not? I bet you are happy to say that your god has no origins, that it just is what it is. Then why would it be so hard to accept that maybe reality just is what it is? You still did not answer the question: why this false dichotomy? Why the absence of a god should mean utter random chance, rather than just what things are, just as they are?
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        Apr 24 2013: Entropy,

        Can you explain to me how us living on a flying/floating/falling rock in space makes logical rational sense? Because I sure can't I can make common sense of it but not logical? And then our science goes on to tell us that it our visible world is mostly not there.

        I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

        The material world is much like this word trick (which I hope you can read). Our mind fills in the material world and makes it solid (or you could take the religious view and it was god that filled everything in for us). All while our science tells us that we have never touched anything and that nothing has ever touched
        • Apr 25 2013: Hi Casey,

          What does your comment have to do with mine? I see no connection. Can you explain what the purpose is? Does it relate to what I said here? To what I said somewhere else? What?
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        Apr 25 2013: Oh I just trust your opinion and Its something that has been puzzling me, and I guess it has to do with the idea of reality and what it means to be "real"

        Sorry I did not mean to come off as an attack by any means , as well as the "origins' of god and existence.

        Once again I am sorry if in any way it came off as I was attacking you Sorry
        • Apr 26 2013: Hi Casey,

          I did not take it as an attack, I just could not understand what point were you trying to make and how it related to what I said. I was more confused than anything else.

          As an attempt for an answer. Whatever scientists discover in quantum mechanics does not invalidate what we experience. In other words, it is not that we never really touch something. We do really touch something. Only touching does not mean the same thing at the quantum level as it does at our level(s) of perception. Also, there's lots of physics that explain how those "empty" things you were talking about, translate into the way we perceive things, only the populace goes viral on the apparent inconsistencies and contradictions, not so much in the solutions.

          I hope that helps. (I really don't know if that's what you were asking/commenting about.).
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          Apr 27 2013: I also found it a bit hard to understand. Spelling didnt help.
          Best guess is life the universe and everything doesnt make sense, or have a clear meaning if the universe and us was not created. Please correct me if this wrong casey.

          I suggest the universe and life and humans appear to have originated without any apparent agency. There is no reason a universe due to natural causes needs you to be comfortable with this for it to be the case.

          Secondly, how different is the brute fact that natural conditions existed that led to our universe as we see it today, without supernatural agency, to a god existing capable of making universes.

          Thirdly, a universe made by god seems just as arbitrary as one from natural processes. I dont see how a god deciding what it thinks the meaning of your life is any more meaningful than you deciding what gives your life meaning.

          Finally, i understand that humans are used to things on a human scale having causes. We evolved to assume agency. We also look for patterns and make intuitive models for reality, that may have helped us survive, but are often wrong. Scientific enquiry seems to be one of our best inventions, to address our tendency to jump to conclusions without sufficient evidence. Assuming invisible agency for many things where there is none is natural. The origins of the universe, the quantum and cosmic scales bewilder most of our brains. Our cognitive processes have evolved more to figure out how to find medium sized food and avoid medium sized predators, and applying these to the origins of the universe is not a natural fit.

          It amazes me how much humans have figured out in the last few hundred years once we stopped accepting unsubstantiated supernatural causes and followed and sought evidence for our models of the universe.

          So i get how counter intuitive it is for many, especially if programmed religiously.

          But logically, the uncaused cause is just so fallacious, i don't see how people can not see it.
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      Apr 21 2013: But you can believe a supernatural being can exist as a random accident and make the universe and life? Seems like you can accept one set of conditions for an unexplained god but not for a universe and life from natural causes. This is a fallacy- special pleading. Also, not knowing or not being able to accept life without supernatural agency is an argument from ignorance, another logical fallacy. Your not being able to accept or understand how life might originate without supernatural agency is not an argument for or proof that a god did it.

      What i find strange is you not being able to accept the possibility of natural processes, but can accept a magically, invisible, undetectable, unexplained being could somehow exist, and create life. You accept an even greater mystery with no evidence or understanding of how it created life, or even that it exists.

      Its like saying unexplained gods must be responsible for disease or lightening, or a particular snowflake pattern, which they can magically create, because you cant accept this could happen via natural processes. How did they do it. Dont know. Positing a god to fill a gap has no explanatory power.

      Fyi the positions of electrons are completely random as far as we know and can not be predicted. The time at which a particular atom radioactively decays is random. So any creator god created a universe with randomness.
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    Apr 18 2013: Here is one for all those skeptics.
    They are looking for the "Higg's" particle. The thought is that if found it will explain on the quantum level how energy particles get held together to form matter. Quantum weenies refer this as the "God" particle.
    OK, tomorrow, son of a gun, that particle collider in Switzerland works and there it is... the God particle.
    Now, we know what causes energy particles to form into matter and we also figure out how it forms into differing kinds of matter (elements) and we learn how these elements interact to form molecules and and and.
    We are on a roll.
    Now we have to learn on how these formed matter forms into biomatter that forms into life and subsequently reproduces and evolves into high levels of biomatter. We ain't scratched the surface yet.
    Hey, Hawkin's doesn't have black holes fully down yet....
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      Apr 18 2013: "Hey, Hawkin's doesn't have black holes fully down yet...."
      I know this will probably be quite unrelated, have you watched :
      Stephen Hawking: Questioning the universe
      Link :
      Also I do think they named the "God" particle the "God" particle, because they thought it was so elusive to all experiments (and undetectable), just like "God". :-) I mean it could have been called so many other things.
      Not sure whether your arguing this though! Sorry! :-/
      Sorry, if that was the most unhelpful, random comment ever.
      I was just compelled to do it!
      Kind regards,
      EDIT :
      Also watch on Youtube (or TED) :
      Brian Greene: Why is our universe fine-tuned for life?
      Link :
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        Apr 18 2013: Sorry, I got ahead of you. Sometimes I think faster then I type.
        What I was trying to point out for the 100th time in another manner, Is that God or what ever you want to call Him has to exist or too many questions go unanswered.
        • Apr 18 2013: Good logic....
          It HAS to be true!!! Because if it's not true I don't understand it!

          Science is the search of finding answers to those questions... religion is just believing that you don't need any answers because you cannot understand them anyway (only God can do magic).

          I can understand Richard Dawkins' "Viruses of the Mind" when I read your posts.
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          Apr 24 2013: God of the gaps.

          Something cant come from nothing right? But god is something. Special pleading if you claim the cause is doesn't need a cause - fallacy 1.

          Fallacy 2 is thinking a god is the only solution, an argument from ignorance.

          Whether you are talking about the origin of the universe or origin of life, plugging in god has the same fallacies.

          As Richard implied, this logic is so flawed. It doesn't matter how often you assert god makes sense for you, the argument is fallacious.

          Still, if it makes sense for you even though so obviously flawed, fine, but don't be surprised when others find such flawed thinking no proof of a god.
    • Apr 18 2013: Skeptics on what?
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        Apr 18 2013: Skeptics on His existence..
        • Apr 18 2013: And you're not skeptical on His existence but just take it for granted?

          Blind faith... well congratulations on that.... I don't think that anyone can change your mind if that's how you feel about it.
    • Apr 18 2013: Let me get this straight. If there's plenty of open questions, therefore gods?

      Hardly convincing. If we have plenty of evidence of the way gods are invented (curiously out of ignorance plus human tendencies to anthropomorphize), and one ingredient to imagine gods is ignorance, relying on ignorance to propose that there's gods only comes to confirm that gods are imaginary. More of the same.
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        Apr 19 2013: Not open questions, plausible answered questions. Without a Supreme Creative Being", you got bupkus for all the most basic philosophical questions.
        • Apr 20 2013: Well, you were talking about physics as if being answering these questions, like the Higgs Bosom, and such, yet having still other open questions meant that we have to just say god and done. As such your "plausible answered questions" are not really answered. you put your god concept in the worst possible position, one where we discover answers by scientific means, while you seem to tell us: the answer is god. I find that quite wrong.

          You had not mentioned philosophical questions, but my position there is that some questions might be nonsensical. That not because we might have some questions in mind does not mean that there's an answer. That not because a question has been asked it should mean that what looks so imaginary, namely the gods, are any more real.

          Have you some examples of such questions? Otherwise I am talking a lot in the air (I confess I have heard so much that I doubt that you have anything new).
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          Apr 27 2013: Doesn't asserting a supreme being just raise a whole host of questions.
          Where did it come from
          What is it
          Why is god the way it is
          Why does god exist
          What is the meaning of gods existence
          Why is there no evidence for its existence
          How did it make the universe.

          I don't get how you don't see you are answering a mystery with a speculative unsubstantiated even greater mystery.

          A god has no explanatory power. You just the push the questions back a level.

          Its strange theists and deists are often uncomfortable with a universe that just exists, but can accept a god that just exists, has no explanation.

          the only reason you posit a gods existence is to explain the universe. yet there are no explanations for why or how a god exists. in fact the only reason it exists is to explain the existence of the universe. Yet you can not explain the cause. Push back the questions. Very circular.

          Speculating a god gives you nothing but a flawed illogical psychological plug imo.

          I could assert my dog is god and he made the universe 5 minutes ago, giving us memories beyond that, as a joke. Just as much evidence, just as little real explanatory power, as your god concept.
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      Apr 21 2013: Is your position, that if there remains some unknown questions about the origins and nature of life and the universe, that until we have a complete understanding and proof of natural processes for everything,then believing in gods is reasonable to fill the gaps?

      Surely you can see how flawed this position is.
  • Apr 18 2013: Hi Natasha!
    Thanks for your reply. I now have to decide if I should thy to continue here or if it is waste of my (and our), time together. The minders (I can conclude), are the same sort of self-limiting - 'afraid to look through galileo's telescope' people that are holding ted back and hurting its over-all reputation. A real shame!
    Again, thanks!
    • Apr 18 2013: The message of this particular medium ' online TED conversations '
      is ' you never know who is watching/reading ' , what you write may be useful for someone... invisible, it's a field.
      Frankly, i don't have any expectations or plan, i have nothing to teach and not too much to share.
      I simply enjoy reading and thinking aloud sometimes, try to type it and let it go.
      As long as i enjoy it, it's not wasting of my time.
      Remember The Four Noble Truths ?
      The second tells :
      The origin of suffering is attachment.
      Just don't !

      Enjoy ! :)
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    Apr 17 2013: Brain in a vat, illusions, are there no end to the ways to talk this to death? He is or He isn't. People of faith believe He exists. People of little faith thinks He might. People of no faith believe He doesn't.
    We have come to the point where people are quoting themselves as authorities. So, it only took 500 comments to go from the sublime to the ridicules. I am not sure if it is a record, but it is a pretty good score.

    Thanks, Bernie..( I feel close enough to call you by the familiar ) I had a great time pulling these various chains.
    • Apr 18 2013: How exactly is the 'brain in a vat' argument ridiculous?
      I would say that it is very similar to your God.

      Doesn't the bible, almost literally, state "God created a vat" on page 1?
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        Apr 18 2013: I am sorry, what are you saying?
        It does not say "God created a vat" and the 'brain in the vat" argument is the height of skepticism.
        Hey, you don't have to believe, you just have to explain if He doesn't exist, how did all this happen. Then you got me.
        • Apr 18 2013: God created everything that we can observe right?
          Explain to me how that is any different from creating the "brain in the vat"?

          On the explaination of how this all happens..... buy a book on physics!
          Even as early as Napoleon there is no "need to have a God" in order to explain the world.
          "'M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator.' Laplace, who, though the most supple of politicians, was as stiff as a martyr on every point of his philosophy, drew himself up and answered bluntly, Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là. ("I had no need of that hypothesis.")" - stolen from wikipedia about Pierre-Simon Laplace ;)
  • Apr 17 2013: Increasing your iq can be described as reaching for your intellectual potential, it"s about drawing a line in the sand and deciding it"s not enough to just "be", you want to be smarter and mentally sharper ... see
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    Apr 17 2013: Bernard, Even if you did make a test for God's existance who would you convience. Only those who already have doubts or are non-believers. So why go to the effort.

    If your test fails does that conclusively prove God exists?

    These tests are for little people with small minds. Which state grows the best potatoes, oranges, whatever .... If you don't go to church every Sunday your a Athiest .... silly fights ... silly claims.

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      Apr 17 2013: I don't really know what I would do if it turned out God existed...
      I suppose I must have a small mind, considering I would need a 'test' to prove or disprove it. :P
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  • Apr 16 2013: I have this two interesting thoughts:

    1. If time is endless and the principle of mass conservation is true ( then there is a mathematical chance for repeating yourself, and also this moment in the future. Providing that everything is built up from the same substance, just in other energy condition.

    2. At the beginning of the life on Earth organic things get from inorganic things. Everything is coded. First amino acids were coded how to become proteins, and now DNA in us, or every coded habits in animals (e.g. bees gathers pine-needle size to protect themselfs from bacteriums. How they know that they should do that? They don't live so long, they can not teach each other. Its coded). We just discover everything, the whole complexity of the world. We simply feel love for somebody, but can not explain why. We can describe the basic process in the brain, but we don't know the brain either. Like we were programmed.
    So I think maybe somebody sent this amino acids to the Earth with a code in it. It could be an other planet's inhabbitants, and whats funny based on the first point it could be us. What if we would send bacterias, amino acids all over in the space to other planets? Maybe after x million years of the Earth dissappearance life will also unfold on other planets.
    But the question is: who did the first amino acids, and who created him/her?

    +1: We are built up from substances from around us. We eat plants and animals, what ate plants, the plants used minerals from soil. When we will be burried, than we will be tear down to substances, and that substances will go into plants, animals, and again in humans/mothers. It is a cycle. So imagine that you are built up from your ancestors. 80% of you is water. That water was everywhere in the world. In rivers, oceans and in other humans. And again refering to the 1st point: If the time is endless everything can happen again, and again. I like to think over this things:)
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    Apr 16 2013: G'day Obey

    Other intelligent beings would believe like in the man of God to the extent of their intelligence & reasoning, the less intelligent the more they will believe in the unexplainable as they would think quite irrationally I believe.

    Yes I agree that Christians & other religions would evolve to adapt to any circumstances however you will get the diehard dogmatics that would rather kill themselves than adapt sadly or stupidly enough.

  • 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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      Apr 16 2013: Maybe.
      But so many other ideologies are used to "sway the masses", like a strive for equality!
      Are "ideologies" used to "sway the masses"?
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      Apr 16 2013: "Religion is old world thinking."
      So encouraging compassion and forgiveness (+ community) is old world thinking? :P
      EDIT : And for that matter "self-control" + "self-monitoring".
      I mean read my comments about the "psychology of religion".
      Also you can press "REPLY" in the Top Right! (Will help me, and others a lot more...)
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        Apr 17 2013: Perhaps we now realise we dont need edicts from the spokesmen of gods to realise compassion and empathy help improve the human condition and reduce suffering.
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      Apr 16 2013: "The world is flat! There is a God!"
      Sorry was this meant to be comparing God, to the world is flat?
  • Apr 16 2013: Well, if we assume that all religions have a different approach to God, then maybe some of them have a point of view that can be approached to science.

    As in God, maybe you could expand the meaning, and assume to be all creative act, every type of holiness to be believed but not seen, or simply, pure energy.

    Take for example the Buddhists, it could be interesting as an experiment, to prove that everything that we can think of, can be created. In truth, this is almost a fact.

    Another example, i don´t know if you are familiar with Dr. Brian Weiss work, but in is own way, and as a psychiatrist , based on his patients experiments, he as countless examples of the many lives that a spirit can possibly live. Even if you don’t believe in such things.

    These are just some considerations, and I hope not to absurd. :)
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      Apr 16 2013: "All the religions are based on superstitious fear created by highsociety to control the global population"
      Oh no! :P
      Not this type of comment again!
      Religions aren't based on this, if anything they are based on a want to do "empathetic + altruistic deeds". And making a system to find meaning in our lives (which reduces anxiety!).
      I mean to truly find out whether that comment is true, you must all religions and find out which ones encouraged control and which ones didn't!
      EDIT :
      Religion also encourages a sense of community, and acted as a moral reminder to yourself. So in this sense, if you define control as "encouraging certain behaviours" then I see no problem with control.
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      Apr 16 2013: Sorry how does this have much relevance as to whether you can find out whether or not God exists?
      I mean it makes an interested story, if true!
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    Apr 16 2013: Wow.
    Here's an odd thought :
    This TED Conversation has 500 comments, from quite a high number of people.
    Yet only about 4 or 5 thumbs up.
    While other conversations, with less commenters have far more thumbs up. :P
    Seems strange to me! :D
    Sorry if this seems rather egotistical!
    I might make a separate debate (with roughly the same title) because it's getting quite crowded here!
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    Apr 16 2013: Im not suggesting we have room for brain potential including psychic powers or anything like that. But if for the sake of the arguement were to agree on an evolutionary point of view (sparked by a higher being or not) early man's brain was more advanced than our animals in the time period, and in our evolution our brains changed and we developed conscious, sense of being, family, emotions, thoughts. Is it to out there to think that it could be possible in a distant future we have a more advanced brains capable of understanding different inner workings or nature and the universe? And if we would say evolution is true and ever happening then we will be subject to change regardless, and i guess i would assume our brains to come along for the ride and become more advanced some how.
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      Apr 16 2013: I know! :)
      I reckon we will be quite different in brain power a 1000 years from nwo!
  • Apr 16 2013: Berndard,
    Coming from a person who follows no particular religion, what more evidence do you need? Yes science explains how chance has allowed life to be sustained on this planet, but from where do you think science is derived. God is both good and evil and everything in between. Do remember that "good" and "evil" are both concepts that we created and defined. When it comes to the harmony of the universe, everything is good and evil at the same time as balance will always be sought.

    When designing any experiment you need to first determine what are the variables you wish to measure and focus on. When it comes to your question, you should first try to determine how you define "God" and to what extents [if any]. You may realize that god does not exist or that god is ever present but in any case don't allow yourself to be limited by the connotations dubbed by societies and religions around the world.

    When asking a big question, you have to be ready to conceptualize a big answer (maybe even bigger than you think your question is), otherwise you wouldn't be able to grasp what you seek. What ever you do Bernard, don't stop asking those questions man.
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      Apr 16 2013: :D
      However I must admit it seems problematic to even do the first two steps :
      Define "existence" + "God". :P
      I haven't even got past that stage yet!
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    Apr 16 2013: One would assume if a person would be living in a distant time with this higher brain functioning and capacity, and the realization of god as a cognitive illusion, then said person would accept such a thing. As far as the idea or definition of god evolving to suit our needs and knowledge well im not sure, maybe, maybe not. I always like to try to think of examples of whatever idea or thought im trying to express, with this it is difficult. I suppose it's almost like how earlier in history we knew of dinosaurs, yet knew them as lizards. As we have evolved in knowledge (and who know possibly brain functioning) we now know for a pretty certain fact that most dinasuars are more closely related to birds. Right now we tend to think of god as an abstract spiritual being, if in the future we figure out that over time our brains "made up spiritual worlds/things" and we knew for a pretty certain fact that god, ghosts, demons and all things spiritual were simply clicks of advancements in neurons in early mans brains to give a higher sense of being, providing another reason to survive, pass on your genes and protect your species, well then we would recognize and list it just as such. Likewise if we find in the future that god is a real flesh and blood being or organism that helped guide our race and species to our place now then we would recognize andrealize god as such.-so yes the definition would evolve, at first always to suit the needs for our brains and species, until if ever we find the true anwser where it would then become a fact, much like recently as many TED fans have seen the giant squid of legend is now a known fact to exist still in our world today. Thanks for the input
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      Apr 16 2013: Who are "they"?
      Are you hinting at some conspiracy theory? That the USA are actually trying to find out whether God exists or not.
      Without even defining the words : God, and Existence.
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    Apr 16 2013: A theologian once said that he believed that God was a supreme, superior being that created the heavens and earth and placed a rational being on Earth who was gifted by imagination. He says that God did it for His bemusement. I can understand that concept. I know smile when I read some of the stuff I have read here.
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      Apr 16 2013: Can God be evil? :P
      Just a thought!
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        Apr 16 2013: The is an old story, a legend, whatever, that tells of God being the leader, the King of a society of
        spiritual beings referred to as "Angels" in a kingdom called Heaven.

        In this story, God's most trusted advisor Lucifer, had designs on the throne of Heaven. He made a play to overthrow God and was defeated. Lucifer was banished into a place of great miseries and fire, we call it Hell. Lucifer on his way out of Heaven, cursed God and said that he would steal the souls of God's favorite children, mankind, and bring those souls with him to share Hell. So, as the story goes, Lucifer's agents roam the earth looking to corrupt the soul of men for Lucifer and spend their time in hell.

        It's a great story, has that ring of Kingdoms and treachery that was the hallmark of middle age literature.

        Yet, you would be hard pressed not to think of some person who has a corrupted soul doing great harm to the children of God.
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          Apr 16 2013: I would be on Lucifer's side, considering God didn't pay much attention to him!
          And Lucifer seems a lot more accepting, than God (who is rather intolerant of other views).
  • Apr 16 2013: yes, it's called the bible. we know from the very first few pages that god gave shape to the earth, the heavens, the moon, the sun, and the stars. what we learn from this is that he did not create the other planets, the pulsars, quasars, comets, asteroids, black holes, nebulae, nor any of the other galaxies, therefore he is not god, and god is disproved.
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      Apr 16 2013: Maybe Satan created the rest?
      • Apr 16 2013: or... God and Satan are one in the same. Or they are on the same team.

        Do we really need to fear or hate "evil." For that matter, what is evil? The guilty pleasures of lust and greed? Or are they just extremes of the pleasures of life.
      • Apr 17 2013: if he did the bible would say that. it's very specific that only god created anything. also satan is not a god, and so he cannot create anything anyway.
  • Apr 16 2013:
    I found this video. It seems like good proof for God.
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      Apr 16 2013: Are you suggesting the highs boson has something to do with supernatural gods.

      You do know the name is just a metaphor right?

      They could have called it the elusive particle, the final particle, jacks particle, Darwin's particle, toms particle, the missing piece whatever.
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        Apr 16 2013: You can verify that the author of the book wanted to call it the God-___ particle, because of how elusive it was. The editor thought the "God particle" would be catchier. It has, as you say, nothing to do with any diety.
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    Apr 14 2013: G'day Bernard

    I had no idea so I looked them up on google........They seem to be inline with what I'm saying however I don't like following or acknowledging just one ideological belief system over another, I try myself to understand as many modes of thought as I can within reason of course as I wouldn't bother myself with belief systems like Catholicism because they hide the truth where's I love the truth even when it hurts.


    PS I don't mind the questioning Bernard, what are your thoughts on this?
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      Apr 14 2013: My thoughts?
      If I had to give myself a label, it would be a "strong agnostic Ignostic pantheist". If you could say that.
      Why Pantheism? Well, because the universe doesn't have to be as it is, and it could crash at any moment (I know this is extremely improbable of course!). I can believe in a inpersonal God, which is just a mathmatical force which governs the universe.
      Look up the golden ratio for instance.
      Why Ignotisicm? Well, because God is poorly defined, and has too many subjective defitions. So if often a meaningless word to me, unless someone defines it!
      Why Strong agnosticism (about a personal God)? A personal God just remains a (poorly defined) hypothesis (which just remains a hypothesis) for explaining how the universe came into existence, with not much observational or experimental evidence. (To my knowledge). I mean God can be explained in about 5 psychological effects, I have mentioned them quite a few times in this conversation, so I won't mention them again!
      While I do feel that the "gnostic atheist or theist" needs to provide evidence to their claim, if they want to follow by their own princible. However, I do view that "faith" is needed in something, like "Trust" and "inductive reasoning". (Yet what I would call "rational faith" :P)
      Hope this helps.
      Also I am a slight strong agnostic about the external world, for I find no experiment which can prove that we aren't living in the matrix. Yet I find even if we were, we would still exist just in a different form. (as a line of coding!)
      Kind regards,
      EDIT : Also I find that "if" God does exist,it is something within our consciousness, not something external.And that if it is something external, we assume far too much about it! I mean what says it has to be "all knowing" "all powerful" except for cultural aspects and scripture.
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        Apr 15 2013: G'day Bernard

        Yes I would say rational faith...blind faith has no rational reasoning so this is probably why I clash with it, a lot of this new age spirituality has no rational reasoning to me & don't the new age spiritualist get upset when I show their irrationality in their ideologies but of course there reaction to me isn't very spiritual in my mind either.

        I don't believe we live in an illusion, in a matrix probably but not an illusion because everything that exists vibrates & an illusion denotes non-existence, what I am saying illusions in themselves don't exist because it's just another vibrative form of energy so all illusions have to exist in one form or another not necessarily to our conscious understanding.

        My point about the God of man is there are obviously other beings living within this one universe so what is there God called if the God of man is supposed to be representing all of creation including other beings? There is no rational reasoning here.

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          Apr 15 2013: "there are obviously other beings living within this one universe"
          :( Unfortunately Steven Hawkins disagrees!
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          Apr 16 2013: A hundred billion galaxies, each with billions of stars.

          I would be surprised if there was intelligent life on other planets.

          However it would be quite a fluke if there was one near enough for us to find evidence.

          If there is life on another galaxy we probably will never know about it.

          Interesting to consider if aliens would have concepts about gods or not. If they evolved similarly to us they may still have the cognitive flaws such as hyperactive agency detection, child programming, hallucinations, imaginary friends etc. Who knows?

          Some of the human centred belief systems might struggle, but even Christians with their man god would most likely to find a way to fit in extraterrestrial life with their core dogma, just like the Anglican and roman catholic churches accept evolution.
  • Apr 14 2013: Hi Bernard!
    Ha Ha! good points - I have to get to bed Buddy! I'll talk to you tomorrow for a chat on these good points!
  • Apr 14 2013: Hi Bud!
    It's O:k
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    Apr 13 2013: @Jordan Burrill
    Am replying here, is becoming too confusing and crowded in comments below.
    If your main reason to believe in God (if you don't mind me asking) inductive reasoning, and experiencing God. Becuase I have always found this to be unreliable, I mean even if you do "genially experience "God"", then you still wouldn't know its will. Also there is still the risk of it being a cognitive illusion! :(
    Look up :

    Did you read my 4 points about the psychology of religion will send it to you again in this reply. Sorry to spam!

    - "Theory of mind" (Also Kids under the age of 3 or 4, can't remember which, physically can't believe in a "God". Don't know what theological implications this has!) Which is were we "attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one's own." Which many argue is slight "over developed" (if you have ever swore at an animate object, or named an object this is why!). Which some psychologists like Jesse Bering, believe is what created (what he calls) the "Cognitive illusion of God".

    - "“Artificialism” (as a seen in Piaget’s “theory of cognitive development”) Which is where : "people think that something exists for a preconceived purpose rather than simply came to be as a functionless outgrowth of physical otherwise natural processes."

    - "Wish fulfilment theory" (Wishing God is real for emotional stability)+ "How we find a reduce in anxiety from finding meaning in stress."

    - Cognitive Dissonance. Which is where : "when your actions (for example you kill someone) and beliefs (I’m a good guy) are in dissonance you will make up some justification (The guy I killed was evil) to make you feel better."

    Yet I am happy to admit that God may indeed exist! :D
    Hope I didn't offend! :(
    • Apr 14 2013: Hi Bernard!
      I own an early commercial/experimental version of the 'god helmet'. We'll talk more tommorrow on this Buddy!
    • Apr 16 2013: Hi Bernard!
      Oh I guess this is your unlucky day - three replies from me in one day, all as catch up! Sorry buddy.
      I think your negative expectation of never knowing "God's will" is a presumption on your part. Here is why I say that. I believe your assumption of my definition of 'experiencial evidence' is just an experience of 'cosmic consciousness'. Period. Not so. It is an ongoing conversational 'entangelement' of interaction analysis - over a long period of time. Again, it is a long process of experimental interaction. Other-wise, your hypothisis would be plausible and reasonable for me. But, It is the overwhelming weight of experiencial interaction with 'It' that has clinched it for me.
      It is always subject to introspection and self-critique. This level of involvement demands serious self-introspection, for sanity's sake! Self-delusion is always a possibility. This ia serious, hard work! But it has yielded many dividends in addition to my present acceptance of the nearness of a divine presence. It has also caused me to become much more introspective and critical when observing my inner thought processes - which is very important in and of itself!
      Your Buddy,
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        Apr 16 2013: :)
        Yet must admit, I still don't think I would know whether its had a will at all!
        I mean I get the general feeling your trying to use Freudian psychology o me to try and explain why I don't believe in God.
        Yet I could do the same to you with 'Wish fulfilment theory'. :P
        This becomes an interesting debate in itself, is it all just 'wishing'? :D
        You friend,
        Bernard White
        • Apr 16 2013: Hi Bernard!
          Ha, Ha! If any one needs psycho-analysis, on an on-going basis - it is yours truly! :>
          The questions I asked you to consider for yourself (as introspection), are the kind of questions I continually ask myself.The implications of the questions and possible answers are potentially pretty important for us and our futures.
          So, we can say a number of things about the possible outcome of a future experiment that 'proves' Its existance in a wide or universal context.. A negative result can't be confirmed - for logical reasons that we have already discussed. A positive result would get a number of responses from people; 1. Temporary facination - like any new discovery, but no long-term personal desire to find out more or even to put that discovery to use in their lives. 2. The result goes basically un-noticed. 3. Some may stop, think about the personal implications and develope a plan to begin trying to put this new discovery to use for themselves.
          There are many examples in nature of lots of critters having abilities that defy current understanding of how and why such abilities developed. And there is now an overwhelming amount of evidence that we "talking monkeys" (as Christopher Walken put it in a movie), have abilities to percieve and communicate 'nonlocally' or inter-dimensionally. An important question is; do we already have the ability built-in to connect with it - should we choose?
          If It exists, It seems to have no need to prove Itself to our world. Historically, some have wanted to know, very much. Eventually they reported to a mostly apathetic world, to have found the tools within themselves to discover AND involve themselves with It.
          Is a personal positive result delusion/wish fulfilment? Or is it the process of taking down emotional /unconscious barriers or paradigms to find and use the tools to experience It?
          Maybe It only cares to be known by those who care to know It? Could this be Its plan, is it up to us :) ?
          Your Respectful Buddy,
  • Apr 13 2013: Hello Bernard, I do believe in the existence of God and am often strengthened in that idea. There is a reason for the impossibility of us (science) to proof the existence of a mind, or God, or love. Anything spiritual is above or apart from anything physical.
    The basic reason for that is to preserve our human (spiritual) freedom to believe (and follow) what we want to believe. Even a spiritual experience as a Near Death Experience is not proof, not even for the one having the experience.
    Many events in the Old Testament happened to the Israelites, which also (because of their external, non spiritual state) was not proof to them. The same happened 2000 years ago. Everything Jesus healed and brought back to life was not seen as proof of who He said He was.

    What makes me a Swedenborgian is the explanation that this man gives of the Bible's literal text. To me it is not the literal, historical text that makes it God's Word but it is the spiritual, or internal, sense which does. Also when it say that we've been created in His image and likeness, in Swedenborg's writings there is made a perfect connection between what we are, and his explanation of what and who God is.

    Please allow me to leave a link to his book about God and His government of the universe, us. These are actually two books because, again, their intimate connection/relationship between the spiritual and natural connection.
    I hope this will help your search and question in some way.

    Actually there is this intro to Swedenborg's Religious Thought written by J. H. Spalding which I really like and will share too.
    (It also deals with the pain in this world, as was brought up by Obe).
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    Apr 13 2013: hey colleen! thank you for your sharp questions!
    -Do you honestly believe, Glenn, that all people who do not believe in a god are resentful and do not believe because of spite?" great question, and for the record, I said atheists not all people who don't believe. huge difference(some are just ignorant of the truth because of circumstance). short answer, no. I should have said "most" atheists. since I myself am atheist, I must allow the possibility for every other atheist to wake up and know god instead of fighting christians or jews or muslims... yes I am most certain, indeed.

    "Is it possible for you to even consider that some of us have done a GREAT deal of research, study, and practices of various religious and philosophical beliefs for many years and choose, with information that we have at this time to not believe in a god?" fair question, but I would say what is your source? a great deal of research with no demonstration is unfinished business as far as i'm concerned. I have done extensive research myself, so what makes you assume mine was as unfruitful as yours? evidence is available in the very spot you sit.
    I can see that god is life. not living nor does he give life, but life itself. god is truth. not truthful but truth itself. some things are true certain times or places but god is absolute truth. god is love. not loving but love itself. "...god is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in god and god in him" (1john4:16) god is intelligence. an engine intelligently designed has no unnecessary parts and neither does the universe or ourselves which leads to god is soul. soul is that aspect in which god individualizes into parts, the silent obserever behind our thoughts. like drops of water separate from their source, same but not whole. god is also spirit. matter wears out but spirit is eternal. god is principle. water seeks its own level, triangles are always 180degrees, true now, true forever.
    that is why I am certain. and yes, we already have.
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      Apr 13 2013: Hey Glenn,
      It looks like you posted the same comment again, so I will respond in kind:>)

      Hey are welcome:>) I am pretty clear with your statement it is again "for the record", as you say:>)

      "Glenn Bromiley
      3 days ago:
      "I think atheists are just resentful toward god for what stupid people do in god(s) name and they just cannot bear to align themselves in any way. disbelief out of spite."

      And for the record, here is my question:
      Colleen Steen
      3 days ago: "Do you honestly believe, Glenn, that all people who do not believe in a god are resentful and do not believe because of spite?"

      You now say that "since I myself am atheist, I must allow the possibility for every other atheist to wake up and know god..."

      Once you start believing in a god, doesn't that take you out of the "atheist" catagory according to the accepted definition?

      My "sources" are too many to even mention here....60+ years of studying and practicing different religions and philosophical beliefs. I totally agree with you that research with no demonstration is not as valuable. Nowhere did I say or even suggest that your research or belief was "unfruitful".

      I am very curious about you calling yourself an atheist and believing in a god. That seems contradictory if one is looking at the accepted definition. How does that work?
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        Apr 14 2013: hi colleen, that would be a common misunderstanding of atheism. it comes down to asking who you really are. being your own psychotherapist if you will.
        most people live entirely in their ego and "other people's idea of god" is a threat to your ego so naturally, the ego avoids facing such annihilation. making an enemy of this "god" that other people created... "I don't want him judging me or punishing me" it says.
        ego wants you to be happy so it won't let you believe in such a thing. problem is, however sincere your ego is, it is very possible to be sincerely wrong. alas, people are so chained to this false identity they are not seeing the truth of the matter.
        the truth is, not only is ego is perfectly normal and necessary, but in "knowing" this, you can rise to a higher consciousness than ego.
        you cannot control what appears in the flow of thoughts that continually pop up by rationalizing and identifying with them but you can control the "type" of thought you attract by how you "choose" to make your daily decisions and what you "choose" to be you core "beliefs".
        this self-identification in itself is the crux of ego. it is not the enemy, it is the "you" while here on earth in 3d land. when you separate the whole(god/source), the parts need names(ego). you need it. it makes automatic "choices" for you according to your "chosen" values and beliefs. underneath it all, is just a silent witness that is above all the pettiness that is our lives. that is real. that is god.
        so, in closing, atheism is more defined by disbelief in a "creator-type" god or the various deities of more mystical religions and should focus less on attacking others and more focus on getting in touch with that silent observer in each of us. god is not the enemy.
        stillness is the master of motion, silence the master of sound. to know one is to know the other, to ignore one is to ignore the other. you ignore yourself if you do not take it upon yourself to discover this personal connection to god.
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          Apr 14 2013: Glenn,
          I agree that our own exploration of ourselves is important in the life adventure. I do not agree that "most people live entirely in their ego". No, "other people's idea of god" is not in any way a threat to me, nor is "god" an "enemy" to me. It's kind of difficult to perceieve something that I believe does not exist as an enemy. I DO ABSOLUTELY agree with you "that other people created" the concept of a god.....well said:>)

          I agree with you that "ego is perfectly normal..." and, my perception and experience is that in "knowing this" we can learn, accept and integrate the ego in our lives in a beneficial way. Part of the "beneficial way", in my humble perception, is trying not to be "right" all the time, and encouraging all people to believe as they long as the beliefs and practices do not adversly impact other people. I agree with you that "people are sometimes chained to a false identity, and not seeing the truth". I perceive fundamentalists/religious enthusiasts doing this all the time.

          No one makes "automatic choices" for me Glenn. If someone does that with you, I seriously suggest paying attention to your advice..."being your own psychotherapist if you will".

          So, in closing, atheism seems to be well defined, and the accepted definition does not seem to be consistant with your definition.
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        Apr 14 2013: sorry for the abrupt ending but I ran out of space... I babble. thanks for the great questions colleen! I hope this helps you understand my perspective a bit. I guess you could say we are to god as letters to the alphabet or numbers to mathematics(loose analogies but serve the point).

        have you not known anyone in your life who had something dramatic happen to them and it completely changed the way they looked at things and their lives became completely different as a result? when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

        albert einstein said "you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it", meaning you have to change your mind to solve the problem. if you have a problem with god(as I did), whether it be yours, somebody else's or no god, it's your problem. you have to change your mind to solve it. maybe it takes 60+ yrs to do it, maybe less. you can only change yourself. from the inside.

        I've been an atheist since the day I was born, but I can't tell you how many times I've changed my mind about what that means to me until I found the truth. waiting on other people to change in order for you to find peace could be an ill-advised philosophy. yet most people have their list of "should(s)" n "shouldn't(s)" as their backdrop for how they receive the world. sometimes you just have to change what something means to you in order to get past obstacles and in a world of infinite possibilities, why even allow negativity in your heart? to me, war with god = war with self and this would never lead someone to peace. pretty bad philosophy in any scope of reality as far as I can tell.
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          Apr 14 2013: Glenn,
 are welcome for the questions. I think I understand your perspective Glenn, and it appears that you are trying to convince me that your perspective is "right", when I personally have a different perspective. While I DO indeed have a different perspective, I wholeheartedly encourage you to believe whatever you choose, as long as the beliefs and practices do not adversly impact other people.

          Of course I know people who changed dramatically with life experiences. That does not prove in any way that there is, or is not a god. I totally agree Glenn...when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at may change....well said.

          Glenn, I do not "have a problem with god", because in my perception, it is simply a concept that some folks embrace, and I encourage people to believe whatever s/he chooses.

          YOUR belief may bring YOU peace, and MY belief may bring ME peace....which it does. You seem to be intent on convincing me that YOUR belief is right for me. I can think, feel and make decisions for myself, and it feels like your ego is directing your argument Glenn.
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        Apr 14 2013: thank you colleen for your insight and opinion. when I look back at all of my posts, I see how in everything I post is a response to a question or misunderstanding by another person posting on these great talks and conversations.
        the world is a mirror for your consciousness to experience itself. when you ask questions, answers come automatically.
        the quality of your questions create the quality of you answers. you asked me some questions and didn't like the answers, that's your ego learning something about yourself that makes you uncomfortable which, in-turn, elicits this urge to somehow stand pat in your own opinion without accepting new information that in spite of what you believe, is making your ego very uncomfortable. ego is terrified of change.
        rejecting new information is the only way to keep your beliefs that you've grown attached to. it is what people do. yes, most are completely ego-driven, and to deny it is to only admit that you aren't really looking for an answer or solution, so why bother asking about god in the first place? because in all your "searching" you never allowed the possibility for real change.
        for whatever reasons, our paths crossed, you may not like it but you got yourself a dose of truth. you say I need to be right? ha! who's asking the questions? I know about god and I answer questions. don't like the answers? ask better questions. and don't ask about what you really don't want to know. ignorance is bliss they say...
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          Apr 14 2013: You are welcome Glenn. I agree that the world is like a mirror, and I also believe that we are all mirrors to each other, reflecting information back and forth all the time.

          There are NONE of your comments that I did not like Glenn. I have said several times that I respect YOUR beliefs as YOUR beliefs. We apparently do not share the same beliefs, and that is ok with me. I AM NOT uncomfortable with your comments Glenn.....I simply do not agree. What part of that do you not understand?

          In spite of what you may think Glenn, you are NOT providing any "new information", you are simply promoting your own beliefs.
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          Apr 15 2013: If new information seems to be correct, we should accept it, and consider the implications.

          If new information seems to be false or speculative it should not be automatically accepted.

          Seems hubris to claim your views about gods and goddesses are the truth. I'm open to understand why you think your views are the truth, the evidence to support these claims. It is a bold claim, that requires compelling evidence.

          Honestly at this point your views just seem to be another speculative, subjective belief system contradicting other speculative spiritual beliefs related to gods and goddess etc.
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        Apr 14 2013: are you promoting your beliefs colleen? is all information transmitted between humans tainted with personal agenda? hmmm. if so, what is the difference between opinion from truth if they are aligned? if someone knows the truth and aligns with it, what part of that is wrong for you?

        unless you hold the belief that the truth is unknowable. then it would be extremely unlikely you could allow another person's opinion of the truth, no matter how reasonable, to affect your previously conceived notion of what you want the truth to be. in such a scenario, the very skepticism of new information is what blocks you from the self-discovery of the truth.

        these are not "my" beliefs if they are true and tested by time, logic, personal experience, and actual demonstration. there is your truth and my truth, but then there is what actually happened, and that is an aspect of god. absolute truth.

        if your truth and god's truth were in alignment, would that truth still be your opinion? is it your opinion that 4 plus 4 equals eight? am I promoting my own beliefs in talking about math? then why would it have to be "promoting my own beliefs" if I am someone who "knows" answering questions asked by those who "don't know"? and even more importantly, why ask questions if you aren't interested in changing your mind? kind of an ignorant process don't you think?

        you keep saying you respect my opinion but do not agree, that is polite of you. the fact is, we do share the same beliefs about a great deal. it is almost like you believe in engines but you don't believe in cars.

        I am not the one with the questions, I have solutions. science, logic and knowledge of god/source are my tools. you don't need to believe in them for me to know they are true. you don't need to believe in gravity to fall down either.

        you will change your mind eventually. it is inevitable. it has nothing to do with me, i'm just the "why guy". you asked, I told. no promotion, just truth. enjoy!
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          Apr 15 2013: No Glenn....there is nothing to "promote" with my beliefs.

          I respect and accept each and every person's belief as THAT PERSON'S BELIEF, and support each person's belief, AS LONG AS THE PRACTICE AND BELIEF DOES NOT ADVERSLY IMPACT OTHER PEOPLE.


          You are preaching and promoting YOUR beliefs Glenn, and it is tiring.
  • Apr 11 2013: HI Nathan!
    I'm sorry, It has taken me too long to get back to you!
    I tried to get an idea of your direction by looking up rising phoenix and got no where. Did you mean
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      Apr 13 2013: @Jordan Burrill
      Check my reply to you at top of conversation.
      Hope this helps!
      Also I forgot to add, 20% of people can't experience God according to the "God Helmet" experiment. (This 20% does include Richard Dawkins!)
      Am not sure what that says about God.
      Yet I do feel I must say this :
      All this psychology I speak off, I feel can go either way with God. For you could equally claim that this was God's way of contacting us!
      Yet I do feel that the 20% of people who can't experience God, and the fact that children under the age 4 or 3 (I can't remember which) can't believe in God, because they have not acquired a "Theory of mind", does have many theological implications. I mean does God just hate certain people (permanently) and hates children? :P
      • Apr 15 2013: Hi Benard!
        I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your interesting questions. But, I do think I have some ideas for you to consider.
        First, let's start with our 20% population question. I am aware of this set of experiments and the results are interesting on a number of levels. I'm sure you are also aware of the many sets of experimental trials showing the "mind over matter' or "Placebo" Effect". Our unconscious mental processes can control or even over-ride many of our mental and bodily functions. The mechanism for this is not understood, but is well documented. A person already predisposed to a particular paradigm could easily shut-down a process that they consider to be threatening or dangerous without realizing that they are doing so. If Carl Jung was correct that atheism is a deep-seated neurosis (an irrational and debilitaing fear that limits a person's quality of life), then this explains much about our abilities or lach of abilities. From the atheists that know personally, this appears to have some credence. Some choose a 'fight' mode about this area while others choose a 'flight' mode. The first group will not engage me in a civil conversation on this topic, while the second group will express discomfort - so I avoid the topic to keep them as freinds.
        Regarding the experiments showing very young children unable to believe or conceptualize god; Very young children can't conceptualize alot of things! This is THE formitive period to begin to build a (hopefully), healthy paradigm for loving, responsible, unselfish and nurturing 'parental' figures. This serves two purposes: One; how they will treat others and parent their own children someday. And two; what they will 'expect' of an all-powerful divine parent to be for them. In the case of atheists I know personally, this stage of their lives did NOT go very well!
        For your last ques. Which I will answer with a ques. Is god "hating" some people your unconscious paradigm, personally?
        Your Friend,
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          Apr 16 2013: If God exists I feel sorry for it.
          If God exists, I would understand it.
          Yet I do not really mind whether it exists, or not. I just want to know.
          If I had to rate it:
          9/10 for building the universe
          5/10 for revealing itself (I mean we all know what 'God' is!)
          7/10 for the amount of happiness it has created in this universe.
          My parents were always there for me, yet I can't see what this have to do with my perception of God.
          The way I imagine God, is a bit like Morgan Freeman, who wants you to find out answers by yourself, and doesn't want his creation to live in an illusion of happiness!
          Yet there are far too many assumptions here, on my and your part! :P
      • Apr 15 2013: Hi Bernard!
        I'm sorry, but I have an additional comment regarding Perssinger and the "God Helmet". It related to some of my points above.
        Perssinger is a self-professed "athiest". Now for a psychologist to break this fundimental rule of logic - that we can't prve a negatve, because we can't be certain if we are looking at an open or a closed system, This is a problem from the beginning. His paradigm is closed to certain possible ... er, possibilities :)
        The proof of this is:
        1. He accepts that psi (consciousness functions beyond the body), is supported by the data. But, chooses an electro-magnetic field effect as the process (he proposes). This limited hypothosis does not explain the strong evidence for long distance psi functioning. And begs the question - how can psi function work at astronomical distances (see: Apollo Astronaut Dr. Egar Mitchell's psi experiments to and from the moon, in his "The Way of the Explorer" and in "The Reality of ESP" by Russell Targ). If an 'electro-megnetic' process is that powerful, why is it not overwhelming for us at close proximity?
        2. His experimental protocals are very sloppy because of his paradigm (bias). For example; "the God Helmet" is well known to produce a number of effects such as feelings of a presence with the test subject. Since he sees no one in the test booth with the subject, he assumes it is a hallucination. But what if there are sometimes non-coporeal, former faculty or students (as example), who are still there in the university because they loved their time their? He already assumes this could never be - because of his prejudicial paradigm. So, no attempts to ascertain this is ever thought of.
        The same goes for OBE experienced by subjects, as well as other energy-body effects - those are simply discounted as hallucinations cause by these electro-magnetic manipulations of brain electro-chemical processes.
        But, consciousness explorers (such as myself), coveted this device, as a tool to test!
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          Apr 16 2013: Interesting.
          I don't really know what to say.
          I'll just wait till you have replied to my comment,
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    Apr 10 2013: I've been in a rather spiritual mood for the last day, and felt that if I was God, I probably would create the universe as it is.
    And I do pray to 'God' and find my prayers do gets answered more often than not! Yet this does go against my 'Strong Agnostic Ignostic' self.
    Hmm. I mean I accept God existence will never be known, and is beyond almost all method known to man. Like scientific method.
    Strange huh?
    Am interested in people's opinion, for I realise this could be a slight experiment for God? :)
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      Apr 11 2013: Hi Bernard,
      I probably wouldn't make a universe with so much suffering.
      I'd make one where animals dont need to kill or eat other living things to survive for starters.
      Child birth a bit easier etc.
      • Apr 11 2013: Hi Obey No1 ...!
        I sure understand what you mean! It can be pretty awful, much of the time!
        But, (from my obviously very different perspective), I have to ask; could this experience here be a really tough boot camp to get our attention - to begin to get us to ask some very important questions? And then to perhaps to move toward individual steps for answers.
        With the many years of acummulated evidence from my personal experiments; I've had to conclude that the boot camp scenario is a viable one.
        Question; you are now signing your comments with "ob", is it o:k for us to address you this way?
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          Apr 12 2013: (On a completely different matter, if you don't mind. I am just responding to this comment, because I'll know you will get it!) :-)
          If you read my Part 2 comment to "Mike Colera", that is pretty much why I doubt my intuition.
          I finally managed to put it into words which can be understood! :)
          Hope you enjoy, and it isn't offensive at all. (This was not my intent!)
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        Apr 11 2013: Obey,
        In reply to your question "do I think that God has a mind?"

        Based on the accepted fact that all of reality emerged from a singularity known as the big-bang, and the accepted fact that fundamental particles, upon which all of reality is based, are universal in nature, leads to the conclusion that everything has a common denominator. I do not believe that God is apart from this common denominator, I believe that God is just another expression of it. This changes the question to "do I believe that the universe has a mind?"

        Based on my own experiences, I believe that there is a collective consciousness that we can tap into. It is reiterated in many books regarding cosmic consciousness.
        Edgar Cayce, also known as the sleeping prophet, claims that the universe itself has a memory. He referred to it as the akashic records. There are books on this subject as well.
        Does this constitute a mind? I don't know the answer. I believe that our consciousness is not limited to the space between our ears, that there is a collective consciousness, and that this collective consciousness has often been referred to as the mind of God.
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          Apr 15 2013: Thanks for clarifying Roy.
          So some sort of cosmic consciousness, with memory, but perhaps not something we would consider a person, with intent? More of a collective with some momentum from combined vectors, but perhaps not a single intent.
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        Apr 11 2013: I probably would.
        Because then there would be no hard for gain (watch Dan Ariely new talk!) and that there has to be suffering (in comparison) for there to be pleasure.
        Also I would probably create something for my pet species to strive for, because realist ally life would be so boring if it was easy! And I would create something along the lines of synthetic happiness, yet most of all I wouldn't really care if my own pet species worshipped me or not.
        So the world I would create, would very similar to what the world is like today. Not saying that this makes God any more likely. :P
        I cant see any valid reason why I wouldn't want people to live in an illusion where everything is "okay", I would want people to prove their worth by struggling against my own creation, yet at the same time be happy to a certain extent (with synthetic happiness and the "hard work" thing.)

        Also with the availability heuristic there appears to be more suffering there actually is! How we remember the most "intense experiences" not the "most likely of time", just think of shopping Ques if you want a good example! (Like how the media creates this illusion, when we are actually living in the most peaceful time for our species!)

        However I can see what you mean! (There is no grantee though that I wouldn't change my mind of course like the old testament to new testament God does! :P)
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        Apr 15 2013: Obey,
        A collective consciousness with memory yes, but absolutely not a PERSON. We are talking an entire universe here. The entity we call God is the universe with all its processes collectively, not some being apart from it. The belief that God is separate from the universe was a claim made by organized religion so it wouldn't have to share its authority with science. It was a step in the wrong direction, and until it is done away with, religion will continue to delude people to the truth. I believe that meditation (prayer) allows us to integrate with cosmic consciousness to expand our awareness.

        The evolution of the universe follows a progressive evolutionary order. We are the product of that order. Could the collective consciousness fine tune conditions to allow life to evolve? I am leaning in that direction. Does such collective consciousness conform to what religions are teaching? The teachings are built on associations, metaphors, myths, personifications, etc. They are controversial because they are dealing with a multitude of conditions. Little of it can be taken for face value. It is meant to inspire, instruct, edify, warn, etc. But it also admonishes us not to judge another. Early cultures fell victim to idol worship and the outcome was horrific. Science allows us to weed out the misconceptions that religion fosters. Anyone who ignores science is asking for trouble.
    • Apr 11 2013: Hi Bernard!
      I don't think this is strange at all - just part of our special, individual journey. I would like to ask a (hopefully, non intrusive), question. Were the experiences of prayer and apparent answers ('call and response'?), an asking for help with a problem or a purposed experiencial experiment? If you feel comfortable with giving an answer - a simple 1st, 2nd or both would be interesting to me in understanding you as a person.
      I applaud your courage / humility in making this disclosure and it's dilemma for you.
      If our current evolutionary or developmental path is similar to other species. we may well have unrecognised abilities / technologies built in already which our current intellectual paradigms have no place for - sort of like the amazing properties of spider silk.
      If quantum physicist David Bohm was onto somethimg concerning 'implicate order' (or energy information fields, that order and record scales of organization that move upward into atomic and molecular organization of energy systems), then this could be a partial answer to the question of sensory functioning on scales we are currently only scraping the surface to understand.
      But, then we have the problem currently, of inter-communication. (Wittgenstein's thought experiment "Suppose everyone had a box with something in it; we call a beetle. No one can look into anyone else's box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle.")
      Then add to this our propensity for over connecting things and experiences (ie. Is that a face in the clouds?).
      Is it the random, presenting itself as connectedness or is it syncronicity?
      What I applaud is that you are willing to have experience - so that you can then actually have something to critique and scrutinize.
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        Apr 11 2013: I mean I often find, as C.S Lewis said : "Praying is sometimes like posting a letter to a non-existent address".
        While sometimes I think I probably am deluding myself, yet accepting this brings me greater pleasure in an odd sense of way. I mean even if I knew (which ofcouse I view you never can) that God didn't exist, I probably would still pray to it for stress relief purposes.
        Yet if a "God" (after it was defined of course) was proved, I would never assume anything more than it existed, I would accept that it may be cruel or nice, and would never claim to know it's will.
        However I accept that I may be seeing order in randomness and it may be just me looking for the times "it did happen" rather than the times it didn't. And this is sort of what drove me to pantheism, this thought, and the thought that the universe didn't have to be as it is. It just doesn't, I mean we could live in a universe where the laws of nature change every few seconds. (I don't believe this requires a personal God in any way though, and often get confused when people says it does!)
        While I accept that most of the arguments which are Pro-God are usually not very valid. (E.G the ontological argument!)
        Yet with the whole "prayer" thing, I must accept that there are many possibilities, maybe God like me more than other people (a possibilities no matter how cruel) or that God answers everybody prayers in ways which aren't bound instantly, God gives you what you need not want sort of thing. Quite hard to explain.
        Yet I am ready to admit I may be deluding myself, which in my opinion is the most probable, and am probably falling for a form of "wish fulfilment theory".
        I mean I can explain the whole of God in these 4 simple psychological effects :
        - Theory of mind
        - Artificialism (as a seen in Piaget’s “theory of cognitive development”) where we view that there is purpose in things, when there isn't.
        - Cognitive Dissonance
        - Wish fulfilment theory + Reduce in anxiety through finding meaning.
        • Apr 12 2013: Hi bernard!
          Some good points also! I can't give you a thumbs up - when I tried. It seems that TED believes that you have exceeded your alotted number of those - you naughty boy! :D.
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        Apr 11 2013: Jordan,
        In reply to your comment to me;
        I believe that religious leaders in Galileo's time saw modern science as a competitor rather than an ally, and have done all in their power to alienate their followers to any scientific information that would challenge their authority. As a result, any scientific information that could've provided credence to the notion of God (as the supreme power) has been dismissed by the religious community as erroneous since it would infringe on their territory. To support their view, they have put their focus on a God that is apart from reality, but in fact, have created a fictitious God to replace the real thing.

        The scientist has dismissed this fictitious God, and rightly so, but is discovering something transcendent in its own field that is paralleling mystical views of a transcendent power, but doesn't call it God because it doesn't coincide with the modern definition of God.

        Bernard is trying to find a way to scientifically prove that this fictitious God promoted by fundamentalists is in fact truly fictitious.

        I wrote a book trying to merge science and religion together. A Moody Bible Institute student commented on it claiming that like other books on the subject, it asks religion to bend its knee to science. He's right. And the sooner it happens, the sooner we can start to weed out the misconceptions on what God is not.
        • Apr 12 2013: Hi Roy!
          Some good points! Competition for adhernts by groups (religious or 'secular' ideologies), are competition for power - often political. It makes them feel more secure.
          So as you suggest, religions and ideologies are faith-based in one way or another. Honest inquiry and personal, experiencial or experimental exploration shows much more promise in getting to an answer that works.
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          Apr 12 2013: I can't remember where it is now!
          Yet I can wrote a comment somewhere saying that religion and science shouldn't be in conflict for they are just two different ways of looking at the same world, one relying on "rational logical thinking, which usually has to be backed up by evidence" and the other relying on a perspective on a "intuitive, emotional, subjective, experience" view of the world.
          It's interested that you note that most ideologies are faith based as well, that would make a lot of sense to me!
          However, as I have said, I will never know whether this God you speak of exists, for it could just be a giant squid. I'll never know, and I'm happy with this.
          Unless you can see a flaw, in me saying : Ill never know! :P
        • Apr 16 2013: Hi Roy!
          I've been to your site, very interesting work!
          I'm definately adding your book to my 'to read' list!
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      Apr 12 2013: Bernard,
      What I find is that people deny God based on the current definition.

      Someone shows you a drawn picture of a cell and tells you that this is what a cell is. Then they tell you that you are made up of cells and you try to imagine yourself as made up of a bunch of these pictures. The fact is that you have to see beyond the picture to what a real cell is before you can come to any true understanding of what you are made of. If anyone tries to convince you that the picture is real, well you know that it is not. But there is such a thing as a real cell as opposed to the picture. That is the problem that we have in our current understanding of God.

      "I will never know whether this God you speak of exists, for it could just be a giant squid."

      From this context, your analogy is correct. Ancient cultures personified what God is, and now the focus is on the personification. You are correct in assuming that the personification is not real. The Catholic Church further aggravated the problem by declaring that God is apart from reality. So now concepts of God are not reality based but are non-reality based. Science is looking at the creative forces of nature and religion is proclaiming that there is a God responsible for creating the creative forces of nature, and then tries to convince you that the two are separate ideas. Take the God responsible for creating the creative forces of nature out of the picture and try to see the creative forces of nature directly as God. God is not apart from quantum energy fields, quantum energy fields are a scientific expression of what God is. Religion has created a false image, and you are correct in denying that any false image exists.
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        Apr 12 2013: So what definition of God would you say people could accept?
        I mean I have met some scientists (who are very clever people) who are convinced that there probably is a deist / pantheistic God. While I do not see how a "Deist/Pantheistic God" would interven in science, as many say : Science is the "how", Religion is the "why".
        I would be interested into how you would respond?
        Because I believe that according to the Catholic church, as you said,, God was originally just mean to be the "un-caused uncomprehending essence that is the primary cause of everything which governs (+created) the universe", and then to make it easier to comprehend they kind of personified it into a big man with a white beard sort of thing.

        As I have said many a time (:D) I just find God is a poorly defined hypothesis which tries to explain the cause of the universe, which has no observational or experimental evidence to it. And therefore just remains a simple hypothesis.

        Therefore I find I have to be a strong agnostic, unless someone finds some evidence either way.
        ( I have never got the belief argument, which goes knowledge and belief are separate. I'v always felt that once you "know something" there is no point in believing in it sort of thing. I mean if I know this glass of water is poisonous (beyond reasonable doubt, I mean I know there is a slight probability of it not being poisonous) then there is no point saying "I believe it does".
        I'v explained this quite badly haven't I?
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          Apr 12 2013: Quantum energy fields are the most fundamental basis of matter. They are everywhere. They are invisible. They are perfect. They are what is doing the creating. They are in essence, the creator. God is not apart from them. They are all part of what God is. This is hard to accept because every time we hear the word God, a personification pops up into our head. We have to push the personification aside.

          Science deals with structure; quantum energy fields > subatomic particles > atoms > molecules > cells > organic systems > organism, and so forth. There is no problem in seeing the world in this way. It doesn't go against any true notion of God, it goes against all false notions of God. So get rid of the false notions and hold on to what you know is true.

          Religion deals with morals and ethics. I believe that harmony with the laws of nature and spirit constitute true religion. Religion deals more with the spiritual than the physical. What we can do by working with the laws of nature is all that we have done, and all that is possible that has not yet been done. By the same token, disregard the rules and see what happens! Industrial accidents are tragic. Religion is about rules and they are all derived from the foundation up. Our laws are based on creating peaceful coexistence and eventual co-creation with the creator (with exception of those that are tweaked to give certain people advantage over others).

          Take the big bang; we can explain what happened after. We cannot explain what led up to it. To use this as evidence of God is false. this is not an explanation for God, but a complete lack of it. So don't use it. The creator is that which is doing the creating. The word is built on right brain associations. Thus, the hand of God is the shaping forces of nature in action, not that God actually has a hand. It's only a metaphor. Fundamentalists are caught up in the words and can't see beyond them. You are smarter than that.
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        Apr 12 2013: (Sorry the reply thing is becoming slightly odd now, :P)
        Interesting, so maybe we have mis-defined God, if we still want it to have the attachment of a creator?
        I must admit, I do not feel I understand you well enough, if you don't mind me saying. I agree with the gist of what you are saying (if I understand it correctly!), yet do not have a knowledge of science (in physics, so I don't really know what a Quatum energy field is! :S)to compare to yours. :)
        And I feel I can only really comment on things I know, so I will try to keep my questions simple. :)
        I find your thoughts on God and the Big bang very reasonable though to be honest, that is why I ask :
        Maybe we have mis-defined God, if we still want it to have the attachment of a creator?
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      Apr 12 2013: Bernard,
      The right brain perceives things in associations, so that is why the creative forces of nature are regarded as "a creator" by those who perceive in a right -brain perspective. All of the forces of nature were personified by ancient cultures as a means to try and understand them. We must understand that the personifications were imaginary characters meant to represent forces that were not understood. But history also reveals that the personifications were later regarded as real by those who slipped into the false ideas of idol worship. They couldn't distinguish between what was real and what was imaginary. This was the task of the Israelites, to get rid of idol worship, but they later succumbed to it themselves.

      The big bang begins with a singularity. It then unfolds into the myriad of forces that make up the physical world. These forces follow an evolutionary progression. The singularity is represented as God by the mystics because it is not quantifiable (cannot be measured or explained). The reason the imaginary character remains with us is because it allows us to transcend into the spiritual realm, the realm of pure thought where nothing physical exists, but where ideas alone exist. We take the ideas and then convert them into physical realities through creative expression.

      God is not a character, it is the life force of the cosmos. It permeates everything that exists. That is why ancient cultures saw nothing that was not attributable to God. Modern religion tries to define the character as if the character itself is real and uses it to argue against the evidence of science. I saw through this misconception. At first I was an agnostic. But spiritual experience led me to explore the matter further. My conception of God has gone through a metamorphosis that is now in total harmony with science. I had to weed out the misconceptions and abandon all my prior notions of God.
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        Apr 12 2013: So your pantheist? :)
        Then I would agree you, yet many would accuse "us" of playing semantics, how would you respond?
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      Apr 12 2013: According to Karen Armstrong in "A History of God", the conception of God has never remained constant. All ancient cultures had their own separate gods. The similarities are apparent, yet the differences are quite notable. These too have evolved over time.

      The Catholic Church has their doctrines, yet the history of the church has its dark side, the witch hunts being the most severe. The thought process they present is that after 2000 years they should've been able to figure it out by now. But their contrast with science is constantly being shot down by overwhelming evidence.
      When Martin Luther nailed his 95 treatises to the church door at Wittenberg, he saw discrepancies in what the church taught. Since then, there are over 40,000 different versions of Christianity throughout the world.

      Pantheism is the belief that the laws of nature and all that has come about because of them is God. But the belief coincides with the notion that the universe has no spirit. Although I agree with the former, I don't agree with the latter. The experiences that I have had are similar to what others refer to as cosmic consciousness. the Catholic Church regards communion with God to be in a celebration of the mass. My communion with God is in communication with a transcendent realm. It is in this communication that God becomes personal.

      As far as Christianity goes, I can correlate the Judeo-Christian tradition with the National cycle of the Mayan calendar as if the events were predestined. I am a non-denominational Christian with Pantheistic beliefs. How's that for semantics?
      • Apr 13 2013: Hi Roy!
        Interesting input! Question; do you mean pantheistic or panpsychistic (many gods, or god in or underneath everywhere, everything)?
        From looking at your comments over all, I'm beginning to feel that we may have experience in common. You can checkout my experience at;
        Perhaps we can compare and contrast our experiences?
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        Apr 15 2013: I enjoyed that book by Karen. Very enlightening.
    • Apr 13 2013: HI Bernard!
      I'm not affended at all! We both respect and enjoy each other - perhaps because we are at such different places. You make some good points, which I appreciate and accept. And yet you say (if I'm understanding you correctly), that you are looking and have yet to find evidence that you feel can't be easily explained away by the well known mechanisms that can delude us. We are both at a point where we are talking about assessment of personal evidence. Experiencial evidence (like all evidence from experiments), should proceed from a premise or a hypothisis, proceed to evidence gathering, which must be repeatable - over and over and over ... This takes time - alot of it. It takes serious work of analysis of results, before sharing said results. It takes peer review by those who are working in the same experimental areas, for consensus building.
      All of this is now going on, in the subject area we are discussing - how to interpret the results of experiencial evidence. May I suggest a couple of fairly light readings (they need to be light for my dull wit to comprehend): "Entangled Minds", by Deen Radin of PEAR, SRI and Institute for Noetic Sciences and Russlell Targ's "The Reality of ESP". Both of these books cite the ongoing evidence accumulation for consciousness functioning, as a seperate phenomenon from electro-chemical brain function. These are not hypothetical ponderings.
      Personally, My money is on a David Bohm like functioning of our 'physical' senses on an "Implicate" energy- information scale. But who knows at this point.
      So, I would posit that if a community of explorers are reporting certain results to experiments, then an answer could lay in joining the experimental process.
      This point of insistance has not endeared me to some, but you may see that it does make logical sense. Some talk and others do - and then, talk.
      If a divinity exists, on a level of energy-information scale/dimension below our usual experience, then ...
      Your Friend,
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        Apr 13 2013: Jordan,
        I had to look up the word panpsychistic as I was not aware of it. Pantheism is the belief that the forces of nature are the expression of God, not that some God created them, but rather that God is those forces.

        I briefly viewed your site. I say that we do have something in common. Mankind is capable of transcendent experiences. We are not limited to learning from outside sources, we are capable of inner experiences that lead to deeper awareness, what Eastern philosophy regards as awakening.

        You have rightly said that the word God has been misrepresented, which makes Bernard's question a difficult one since most people have preconceived misconceptions of what it means. How can you develop a scientific experiment to prove or disprove what you cannot define?
        Personal experience helps one to develop an understanding of what the word God means. This was the challenge of Eastern philosophy. A lot of Eastern philosophy is presented in the bible, but none of it is explained in the bible. Anyone who uses the bible alone to validate their faith has little to no information to expand their faith. And yes, many churches have misrepresented the word God to intimidate and control their converts. I believe that Bernard is trying to find a way to determine the truth by his question.

        I too have a website;
        Check out the youtube video. It will give you a hint of my background experience.
        • Apr 14 2013: Hi Roy!
          Thanks for your comments and your web site URL. I have created a shortcut to it and will check it out tommorrow first thing. Its 9 PM here, Ive been working until about 15 mins. ago. My wife just came home and we need to have some dinner and get some rest.
          I agree with you about christianity. All religions are human constructs. Many are based on kernals of truth and true inspiration, but they are relying on second-hand revelation. I think people often prefer religious thinking and behavior because it is a useful self-deception / defence mechanism - a way of trying to hide in plain sight. They secretly fear personal involvement with Divine but, can 'feel' good about going through the motions and being part of a group-mind that are also doing the same set of defence behaviors.
          Thanks again! I'll talk to you again soon!
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        Apr 13 2013: Sorry which was this replying to!
        Am getting quite lost in all these comments!
  • Apr 10 2013: Simply by definition God must be all mighty otherwise it is not God, just a superior being. Imagine a human scientist 20 years from now creating a new kind of living things... would that make such human God???... We humans have power far beyond any other living thing on earth does that make us "Gods"???... If we ever make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization much more advanced and mature than us, must we call them Gods just because they are capable of doing things we are unable to replicate or even understand???. Your remarks imply the answer to all this questions is: Yes, but forgive me if I disagree. I think the laws of physics imply that any "very powerful" being is mortal by necessity and the true God (in case it exists) is immortal by definition.

    And just to give you an idea of what "all powerful" means, God (if it exists) is cable to create a rock so heavy that is unable to move it and yet at the same time and in the same reality it is able to move such a rock, which means that an all mighty being is capable of inserting two contradicting facts or events within the same reality, so: "all powerful " is a concept clearly beyond human reason.
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      Apr 11 2013: Gets a bit confusing doesn't it, the all mighty and omni stuff. Its full of contradictions and issues.

      I'm not sure a creator of the universe needs to be all powerful. Just capable of making universes.
      But I get your point about positioning god this way, just I don't think it is necessary to define a creator god this way.

      I mean there could be a super god that creates gods that make universes for all we know.
      • Apr 12 2013: It is not confusing, you just have to realize that if there is in fact a God, then there are certain things that the human mind will never be able to understand. And like I said, "very powerful" means mortal by necessity, only an all mighty being can achieve immortality. So if you are right and there is a "very powerful" creator of our universe, it might already be dead or even be a member of an already extinct species... so how could we call "God" someone who is already dead???.
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          Apr 15 2013: Hi george , there are probably many natural non god or goddess related things that human minds struggle with. Infinity is one of those.

          At this stage I think there are a lot of premises and assumptions in your position that are speculative, unfounded and unnecessary.

          If a god concept can not will itself into non existence it is not all powerful, it is limited.
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    Apr 10 2013: What was before the big bang? Where was the big bang?
    Where is God? Where is Heaven?

    Questions i think we cannot prove yet and may not be able to have the capacity to understand. Say, hypothetically, that by an amazing feat, one of us discovers the reality of God and we know without a doubt about his existence, and we choose to share this with the people around us, how would we go proving it? Well, maybe God has reasoning beyond our comprehension and maybe we are expected to have this type of thoughts? But whatever it is, people take the existence of things as proof enough of the existence of God, though there are others who ask the question for more, and there are people in History who claim to have seen God and been in his presence, yet there are further still who want more, perhaps the only way that some of us can believe in the existence of God is through firsthand experience, but i suspect that may be a bit too late to do anything about it then.
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    Apr 9 2013: Can that which is created prove scientifically whether or not the creator exists?

    You have stated the first dilemma; how do you define God? There are numerous religions that all have their own definition of God. Some can be correlated with science and some cannot. A day and night of Brahma can easily fit in with the big-bang theory. A male deity as it is defined by the Catholic Church presents issues. However, a male deity is controversial with biblical interpretation, so that hurdle has to be overcome. This is a philosophical problem. You have to establish what God is and what God isn't. Since this debate has been going on for centuries, you will have to narrow down the parameters that all can agree with. Have fun.

    The second dilemma is that you are comparing apples to oranges. The whole idea of God arose in the age of mythology. Mythology uses personifications to represent abstract ideas in human terms. Trying to prove that the character is real is a lesson in futility. It isn't the character that is real, it is what the character is alluding to.
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      Apr 10 2013: Hello Roy Bourque! :)
      My question to you would be :
      What is the metaphor of 'God' alluding to? (in your opinion that is!)
      Thanks Bernard!
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        Apr 10 2013: Bernard,
        While meditating on God, I had an experience that opened my understanding. Information was streaming in seemingly telepathically, but the gist of it was this;
        If you want to know who or what the creator is, look at what is doing the creating, for the two are one and the same. I became aware that everything in nature could be broken down to a common denominator. What the ancients called God was this very common denominator.
        Eleven years later in a nuclear physics class, I learned what the common denominator was; quantum energy fields. They are everywhere. They are invisible. They are the alpha and the omega. They are the same for all that exists. Different configurations create different properties, but the fundamental is always the same.
        Once you make this connection, misconceptions begin to reveal themselves;
        God has no sexual gender. It transcends all forms.
        God has no specific location, its power fills the universe.
        All that exists is the manifestation of that power.
        Science is the examination of that manifestation. Science sees things different from religion because it uses left brain analytical rather than right brain associative functions.
        Good and evil are subsets of cause and effect. All is relative.

        The Catholic Church divorced itself from science after its attack on Galileo. It drove a wedge between the two. Since then, people have been pushed to making a choice between science and religion. The result is that rather than coming together to find common ground, they are focusing on what is different. The fundamentalists are the worst offenders because they refuse to accept that religion is built on metaphors, allegories, and myths that have deeper meaning.

        Science is completely reconcilable to what God is. It is at total odds to what most people think God is
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          Apr 10 2013: Agree.
          I can remember when I watched a Oxford professor of philosophy (lucky me!) come to give us a talk about God and science at my school. And he claimed there shouldn't be any divorce between science and religion, and it is partly Richard Dawkins fault, with his battle against the creationists.
          I honestly have no problem with the religious people I have experienced, and their usually quite nice people who genially try to practice what they preach! So yeah.
          Thanks Bernard. :D
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          Apr 11 2013: Hi Roy, do you think god has a mind?
        • Apr 11 2013: Hi Roy!
          I think many physicists would agree (at least privately)!
          The spiritual / mystical inclination has a strong current (as it is down-played by devotees of 'Scientism' and old-fashioned materialistic modernism).
          This current runs from Coppernicus, Keppler, Newton, Pascal, Einstien, Bohm ... and into our contemporaries, such as Penrose.
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        Apr 10 2013: Bernard,
        I read Richard Dawkins book "The God Delusion" so I could know how he thinks. I was actually quite surprised because it wasn't the bible bashing book I expected it to be.

        His problem with creationists is that they not only interpret Genesis literally, but they want to teach it in schools in lieu of evolution. I have to side with him on this issue. I never saw Genesis as literal and have no problem accepting evolution as a creative process. The only difference between Mr. Dawkins and myself regarding this issue is that Mr. Dawkins sees no intelligence acting in upward causation, whereas I do.

        The second issue is that Mr. Dawkins does not see any continuation of life. Although I might disagree with how other religious people see it, I believe that life continues on in some fashion or other, be it reincarnation or spiritual beings. We know that matter and energy are conserved. We don't know about consciousness. But we know very little about consciousness, so with the information I have read about near death experience, astral projection, the akashic records, and my own spiritual experiences, I feel optimistic that this is not some open and shut life existence. We are connected in ways that we don't yet understand.

        I once asked the question; how is it possible for every electron in the universe to be exactly alike (the same being true for protons and neutrons), being that they are scattered all over the universe seemingly connected by nothing. The answer I received is; don't you dare ask that question. But it is a valid question and it has certain implications. Although I don't believe it is possible to know the answer, I believe that we are all part of a greater whole. Our individualism is what sets us apart from the whole, but we can never be separated from the whole.
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          Apr 10 2013: Interesting!
          I find that with the continuation of life, there is no evidence to suggest my life (or soul) is finite (there is a promised 'after-life' or that i just cease to exist) that life (or soul) is infinite (in the way of reincarnation). So I remain, strictly. Strong agnostic about there being an after life, or for that matter there being a 'God'. :)
          Unless there is some good logical (with true premises) that suggest one of them is true.
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    Apr 9 2013: I did not take your question seriously Bernard, honestly. I mean I still find it difficult how one can propose an experiment that can prove or disprove the existence of God. Experimentation is an idea more concerned with physical entities, their interactions and effects while God, by all religions, have been kept outside of physical realm. I don't think either the believers of God or non-believers will even accept such a question as admissible or worth pondering over.
    Now, if you were serious about the question, I'd assume/imagine layers of inquiry beneath your question - layers that will involve the history of religions, the evidences, archeological finds and ancient texts that will enable us to examine how proto-religions came to exist, the social evolution of tribal faiths etc.
    I don't think that I imagine the construction of God hypothesis by mankind as one of the strongest ever, kept carefully out of bounds for rational inquiry and a tremendously powerful tool in the hands of clergies to have control over human conduct in every possible sphere and most importantly morality. The moment one forsakes the idea of God, one's moral make up need to be reconstructed. Don already calls you an assassin :), well, of character.
    God can take care of himself, they say. We need more humanity to take care of ourselves.
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      Apr 9 2013: Hello Pabitra Mukhopadhyay! :D
      So basically your answer is "no" to the question? (whether or not you took it seriously!) :P
      I have met many "believers" and "non believers" who have taken this question seriously, I have put all of archaeology, history of religion ect in one of two categories : "observational" or "experimental".
      As other have realized, all this question was just an honest enquiry to whether we could. Because, this is one of Richard Dawkin's main points, where he calls himself an (weak) agnostic in the terms he believes God is just a hypothesis, yet criticize strong agnostics for believing an experiment can never be created to prove or disprove this hypothesis. Or for that matter : A piece of observational evidence.

      If I wished to explain how such an idea of "God" would be created I would explain it was created by our "theory of mind" (and how we extend it to events and animate objects in our lives! And how children below the age of 4 or 3, can't believe in "God" for they have not acquired a "theory of mind" yet), and on some levels "wish fulfilment theory". Then go onto explain the psychological mechanism which is called: “artificialism” (as a seen in Piaget’s “theory of cognitive development”) where we believe there is purpose to things when there isn't. And then go onto to explain the theory of cognitive dissonance with regards to religion, then go onto explain the sociology of how religion forms. How it creates norms ect... (And how the evolution of the idea of God, and how it has become more peaceful over time.)

      Yet I did not see how this had any relevance to whether an experiment could be set up to prove or disprove God. (For you could equally argue all of these psychological mechanism were put into us by "God", whatever "God" is.)
      I hope you can see what I mean now.

      So yes maybe I am a assasin of God, and if it is real, I look forward to meeting it one day! (I'm a strong agnostic / Ignostic if you haven't realized by now! :D)
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        Apr 9 2013: I can see what you mean. But I was wondering if Russel's teapot would suffice for you.
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          Apr 9 2013: :D
          Basically I am a strong agnostic about Russel's teapot (Just as I am about God, and all mythical creatures!), and I could explain how we would all perceive there is Russel's teapot. (With psychology, at least if I had the knowledge to!) Yet whether or not this makes it true, is a separate matter! (Which I view cannot be proved or disproved, so I usually label myself as a "Strong Agnostic", or an Ignostic if you haven't defined God. Which not many do!)
          That is basically all I am saying! (Hope I have explained this to a sufficient level!)
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        Apr 9 2013: As long as you are not militant, fine by me. :) Cheers!
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          Apr 9 2013: :D
          That comment reminds me of Richard Dawkin's TED Talk : Militant atheism. :P
          Thanks Bernard.
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      Apr 10 2013: I suugest some god beliefs have or had physical gods. The Greek gods had physical forms. Jesus was supposed to be a god. Many rulers from the pharaohs to the emperor of Japan were gods. Etc etc
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        Apr 10 2013: Very true. In Indic religions there are gods who can be your son or your lover. Very physical connection. :D In India there is a tradition of worshiping young girls who have not attained their puberty. They are called Kumari (virgin).
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    Apr 9 2013: @NathanCook
    I find it very unlikely that all religious beliefs can be completely correct.
    I mean if one religion says : God like mushrooms, and another says he doesn't it seems rather dubious to me.
    Yes you could say at one moment in time he did like mushrooms and then he changed his mind. (That is one way they could all be correct!) Or that people perceived it doing different things with a mushroom. (It eats the mushroom goes "this is yummy" and then another civilization see's him vomit the mushroom, and then assumes God does(n't) like the mushroom)
    There are just too many possibilities if you assume that all religions can be correct. I can accept, as Carl Jung said : that all religions could have certain truths about the human psyche produced by our unconsciousness mind, yet not that they are all right.
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      Apr 9 2013: Bernard,
      Didn't most religions start out with some very basic, similar ideas? Do unto each other.....we are all one....those kinds of beliefs?

      It seems like they seperated because of specific dogma which was created and added by humans throughout history?

      I believe the basic foundation of most religions is valuable (or "correct"), so I agree with Nathan on that part.
      What you refer to as "too many possibilities" are off-shoots of the original basic ideas, created by humans......yes? I agree that most of the dogma, created by humans is not always beneficial to the whole of humankind.

      I think/feel that with the exploration of whether or not a god exists, people often consider their own personal beliefs and experiences regarding beliefs in a god, which are often based on information they received from their particular religious organization....information which was/is created and reinforced by humans.
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        Apr 9 2013: Hello Colleen Steen (again! :D)
        With regard to your " Do unto each other.....we are all one....those kinds of beliefs?"
        Obey No1kinobe, created a very good debate about whether the Golden rule was perfect. Which I argued it wasn't (very simply because if you were someone who inflicted pain upon yourself, then by the logic of the golden rule you should be allowed to inflict pain on others. And that from a utilitarian perspective the golden rule may sometime be invalid.).
        I am a strong agnostic concerning God. Because I see no reason to believe or not to believe in any diety.
        Whatever the foundation of religion (as mentioned to before whether it was created by our "theory of mind", "wish fulfillment theory", “artificialism” (as a seen in Piaget’s “theory of cognitive development”), Cognitive Dissonance, a method to reduce anxiety in finding meaning in stress, or wanting norms to increase empathy ect...) then I find that whether or not it is true to be the most true part.
        On this matter of "I believe the basic foundation of most religions is valuable (or "correct")" have you read : Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton. (Which was a times best seller!)
        Here is his TED Talk on this matter :
        Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0 (Link :
        And if there is a God, I find it highly likely that it is beyond human cognition, or is within each of us. (And probably isn't an external being independant of the human mind).
        Sorry to get quite side-tracked, now where was I? :P
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          Apr 9 2013: Hello again Bernard:>)
          I didn't say the golden rule was perfect....or not. I simply said the concept was often a belief embraced by some religions. I don't really want to debate whether or not the golden rule is valid or invalid. There is a basic understanding of the golden rule, and it seems pretty clear to me. People may debate it however s/he wishes:>)

          I do not like to label myself, and with the information I have at this time, I do not believe in a god. If an experiment is ever designed to prove there is, or is not a god, I am open to that information:>)

          You often get "side-tracked", and I am not surprised by that any more. Perhaps you are not surprised that I tend to stay on topic??? LOL:>)
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        Apr 9 2013: Haha!
        I see I must have misunderstood something. :D
        To be fair, I find there isn't really a good label to describe myself, the closest would be :
        An Strong agnostic Ignostic Pantheist. But even that doesn't really do it justice. (I know what you mean! I don't really like using labels as well! But I do, for some odd reason!)

        "You often get "side-tracked", and I am not surprised by that any more. Perhaps you are not surprised that I tend to stay on topic??? LOL:>)"
        :D I do don't I?
        Have you watched that TED Talk though? (Or read the book?)
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          Apr 10 2013: Aren't labels fun.
          I quite like thinking of the heirachy of labels

          I start with child of this universe and end with all blacks supporter.

          Lots of stuff in the middle

          On this topic agnostic atheist, but also a skeptic tending towards humanism
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          Apr 10 2013: If that label "doesn't really do it justice", Bernard, why do you use it? I accept the label of "EXPLORER":>)
  • Apr 9 2013: The experiment in question is in place for hundreds billions of years. It's difficult for us to perceive it rationally because you/we/i is the Result of this experiment AND the Experimenter AND the Experiment itself.

    It's the way i see it, it's not a statement :)
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      Apr 9 2013: So in this sense you are a strong agnostic, and I assuming either an (agnostic) theist, or deist? (Or none of them?)
      Unless you have an amazing logical (and rational + philisophical / theological) argument for why I should believe in a particular deity? :P
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    Apr 7 2013: "Mean - Intend to indicate or refer to (a particular thing or notion); signify"

    To mean something is to refer to something else. When we say that something has meaning to us, we indicate that this something is connected to something else in our mind. What does "meaning" refer to? It refers to itself. Without context, there is no meaning.

    Another definition of meaning that I like is from here - "meaning is exclusion". To say something meaningful is to draw the line between "A" and "not A". One can only define "A" by defining what "A" is not.

    With this in mind, to find meaning in the universe, we need to connect the universe in our mind with something else which is not the universe. I think, this is how people come up with the idea of God or "multiverse". It is simply an attempt to invent a larger context to the universe. Science does not deal with things that are not the part of the universe.

    Logic and reason seem to be the way to establish connections and divisions between things and ideas - see again.

    Dennet's idea seems to be consistent with my idea of context.
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      Apr 7 2013: "Logic and reason"
      Yes but the problem remains that even if something is logical and rational it still may be wrong.
      For example : Low expectations lead to happiness. Yet this isn't actually true, as shown by Tali Sharot in her talk. (This is one of the reason, the stock exchange is so unpredictable!)
      Yet I admit it is the best method, also there remains the uncertainness principle, in the way that we base all conclusions on what has worked in the past, and expect the future to be consistent. Yet we do not "know" for certain just only most "probable". In the way, (I think, yet am not sure about this one!) that according to string theory that our universe could collapse any time soon, yet it is very improbable. Just like how in Quatum physics (and I feel I am getting into terrioty I don't fully understand so please correct me if I am wrong) the Sun could transport somewhere else, and just disappear, yet it is so improbable we just call it "certain".
      I can remember a long time ago, I was told that you could never "prove" a theory to be true, just most probable.
      Sorry got slightly side tracked there? Haha.
      So on another subject, do you view the question : "What is the meaning of life?" a useless question?
      While I must admit, intuitively and I'm not sure why, I do find your definition of meaning lacking in something.

      EDIT : Yet I must admit, without logic all things are possible, contradictions can run rampant. And I can say anything I like. So this comment was not to say we shouldn't be as logical and rational as we can be, with the data we have. Yet just to know that logic and reason may sometimes not be altogether reliable. I HOPE THIS MAKES SENSE. Quite hard to explain, eh?
      Thanks Bernard.
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        Apr 8 2013: Re: "Yes but the problem remains that even if something is logical and rational it still may be wrong. For example : Low expectations lead to happiness."

        Valid logic does not guarantee true conclusions. Valid logic leads to true conclusions if based on true premises. You need to validate premises independently. "Low expectations lead to happiness" is not a logical statement at all. First of all, I have no idea on what premises this statement is made, much less what kind of logic was involved to make this statement.

        Re: "do you view the question : "What is the meaning of life?" a useless question?"

        No. I like the maxim expressed by Mark Meijer in some other TED conversation: "What is true and what is useful are completely different considerations". Usefulness is completely subjective. What is useful to me may be useless to everybody else.

        As I said, meaning depends on experience and context. If I ask you what does "CD" mean, you may answer "compact disk". If you are a banker, you will answer "certificate of deposit", if you are a semiconductor process engineer, you will answer "critical dimension". Other meanings include "Cadmium", "cardiovascular disease", "cause of death" or "change directory" + 10 more pages of possible definitions here . Everyone finds the meaning which is the most useful in their context.

        Re: "I can remember a long time ago, I was told that you could never "prove" a theory to be true, just most probable."

        Albert Einstein is reported to have said: No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. (paraphrased) This quote is from Wikipedia which quoting 3 other sources for it.
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          Apr 8 2013: Yes, I agree with : "Valid logic leads to true conclusions if based on true premises". Yet it is hard to know whether your premises are true or not. This is the entire problem.
          Unless I test my hypothesises. And if I can't, well then I just have to make the "best valid logic" I possibly can with the data I have.
          The logic of low expectations leading to an increase in happiness is this, if we have low expectations we will never be disappointed, therefore we shall always be happy.
          I am not entirely sure I agree with you about meaning being entirely subjective, (and you have revealed your definition of meaning to show some correlation with "usefulness", unless I have misunderstood), I mean we can all agree water has meaning, and is useful for our survival. That is an objective fact. We can all agree that is I put poison in the water, then that is probably not useful.
          Yes things can have many definitions (depending on the context), I do not understand your point here my friend. :-).
          Just like "God" can have many definitions to different people. (And depending on the context...)
          Agree with Einstein.

          I apologize if I sound far more patronizing than I mean to be.
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    Apr 7 2013: Mr White:
    You said it all in the last sentence. I have said that only God can make a tree. Is it really important to analyze that statement. What is there to prove. If we prove there is no God, then we have to find out who made the tree.
    If we prove there is God, so now we know who made the tree. It seems like a lot of mental effort to reach the status quo..
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      Apr 7 2013: Not really.
      Maybe there is no creator of the tree. Or the universe (which is by no means is the personal God you speak of!) created the tree.
      I am confused by this statement, because you still have to find out what created God, and how God came into existence (after you have defined what you mean by existence, and "God") and if it is eternal, why it is eternal. Because if you say "it just is", and can say the tree "just is", and was created by natural prosses.
      Why assume there is a "mind" (Look up "Theory of mind") behind the creation of a tree at all. There is, scientifically speaking, no observational or experimental evidence to claim that is true. (Unless you have some logical or philosophical reason to support the fact that God exists.)
      Also there are more questions to ask, if a God exists like :
      - What was his or her motive for creating the tree?
      - Why did it create the tree, was did it have to gain?
      - Did it have any free-will when it created the tree.

      And yes to find out whether something is true, you have to test it, and submit it to scrutiny over and over again. (In my opinion that is)
      Thanks Bernard.
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        Apr 8 2013: The tree is one of the most beautiful creations. Why would God create something ugly.
        What is the point of proving if God created a tree or not. I suppose you can view all the known universe, Get those tiny particles from that Swiss machine. Solve the math, get totally into particle physics....
        Will any of this make a tree more beautiful?
        Why don't you work on curing cancer. There is something I can get behind.
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          Apr 8 2013: Depends what tree. Also that is a subjective statement. (I may find the tree ugly, and find the marsh beautiful!).
          Yes the answer to the question may make the tree seems better or for worse. Yet sometimes it doesn't matter what happens to the tree. (In terms of beauty. All that matters is what is "true".)
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      Apr 8 2013: Ever hear of natural causes? Not everything needs a creator or god or agency to explain it.

      But I kind of agree it is pointless to try and prove an untestable god concept. Yet people claim to know it exists and lots of contradictory information about it/them.
      • Apr 9 2013: HI Obey No1 ... !
        I'm enjoying our chats too!
        And your from Australia ... that must be incredible! An entire continent all to yourself, with all the amazing enviornments, cultures ... and super cool CRITTERS!
        I hope to get there some day. Maybe we will find a way to have a beer together.
        Now, (besides the fun of talking to you), I want to give you a friendly 'heads-up'. In a reply to Nathan's question to me as to my personal skill set for dimensional exploration; In part 1. I referenced Carl Jung's analysis of aethiesm as a deep-seated neurosis. This was a referance to EFT energy work, that works to discharge hurtful and debilitating emotions from memories of harmful (usually chidhood), memories.
        Then yesterday, you mentioned being an aethiest. I want to be very sure that you aren't hurt or offended by this citing. I am becoming fond of you and our chats. I never want to give anyone offence if at all possible.
        I have already (unintentionally), offended one soul in this conversation, who still seems rather defensive and offended by me - dispite my attempts to apologize.
        So, I hope you will take my contribution(s), in the spirit I tried to offer it - not as a personal judgment / condemnation on you or any one else! Life (here), is just too short to be offended by differing or strong opinions of others I think.
        Still, Very Best Wishes,
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          Apr 9 2013: LOL!!!

          Am I the "soul" you refer to? Here is my comment again...nothing defensive or offended on my part:>)

          "Colleen Steen
          10 hours ago: I do not choose to be offended by you Jordan, nor do I choose to feel uncomfortable. It appears that you are condescending and patronizing to everyone, so I realize it is not personal.

          I perceive differences in thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions and beliefs. If that leads to "personality clash" for you, so be it. I do not choose to experience "personality clash" simply because we choose to see things differently.

          Yes, I perceive your "passionate and unwavering" demeanor. I have been exploring this topic for 60+ years, and it is still interesting to listen to other's thoughts, feelings and ideas. For me personally, it is not interesting to have a conversation with a person who is "unwavering" is more interesting to me to share thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences.

          You have explained your perspective just fine, and I agree to disagree:>) "
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    Apr 7 2013: Feel I must post this at the top of the conversation, to form a sort of "sub debate" within this debate.
    For many people are mentioning how they have "experienced" God.
    "I have always been confused by people who go : "You have to experience God".I would guess it is people who have experience something which they can't explain, and feel mystical and label it "GOD". (This is just a pure hypothesis, I am probably wrong on this!) And then try and reinforce that belief with various arguments."
    This the comment I wrote in response to Obey No1Kinobe. :D (This was said, in a more positive light, by William Lane Craig who roughly said : "I have personally experienced God, so of all the arguments from my career are just reinforcing, and trying to understand that experience with God I had")
    Am interested, in everybody who has participated in this debates, comments on this. :D (Hope no one takes offence!)
    • Apr 8 2013: Hi Berard!
      We've returned from our walk (and I enjoyed a nice cigar too)! I've had my favorite Sunday afternoon snack - a pomegranate Pop Tart and a cup of hot 'Constant Comment' tea with a splash of fruit juice ... Mmmm, Mmmm! My magic digits are poised above my keyboard and what should I see, but a subtopic on folks who have experienced god!
      Now on 'experiencing god' - for lack of a better phrase for it here. No offense taken, bud! I'm sure you understand when folk's inability to properly communicate an experience beyond normal every day life. Our communication between each other, depends on a common reference store and an agreed upon set of symbolic elements - and even then, we often misunderstand each other.
      Yet, for folks who have had this 'profound' experience, it is often truly life changing. The experience is so very concrete. It can involve all the senses and at the same time be powerfully 'telepathic'. I suspect it involves an "Implicate" (to reference David Bohm), form of our 'natural' senses. They often want to have more of it and to try to understand the energy-mechanism that can cause it to happen - this is at least my personal experience and of others' I've read of. I've referenced several examples; such as Neural Surgeon, Eban Alexander. But, you will have to ... you know. Again, I reference the Monroe Institute's resources as a starting point.
      If you are interested in trying to connect with ... you know who (or what?), as a personal 'scientific' experiment - just let me know. I can offer four specific exercises for you (and anyone else, reading this with interest), that may well produce an interesting result. I am assuming here that a real investment of time and energy will be given to this pursuit!
      The thing about sitting on the fence too long is .... er, your butt gets sore!
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      Apr 8 2013: I don't dispute people have profound experiences.

      I mean I have amazing dreams that feel real. In some I'm flying. The most vivid were on medication after surgery.

      We known about half of children have imaginery friends.

      Humans hallucinate. We also see or hear what we expect to hear. If you see lips making a p sound you hear a b sound as a p sound. Our brains interpret whats we perceive.

      I heard of a doctor who started seeing angels and demons erupting from the ground. Instead of believing what he saw is real, he went to hospital and told them which part of his brain he might be having a stroke in. He was correct.

      If you hear the voice of god audibly, I suggest you record it and play it back. This is what some people do to confirm its in their head, not real outside of their head.

      It seems there are either lots of tricky gods telling people different things, or people are misinterpreting god, or they are imagining a being, its just happening inside their head. If you spend years imagining a god I'm not surprised it seems real. Attributing feelings rather than conversations or visions to being touched by god is even mother subjective.

      My understanding is psychologists differentiate between cultural religious delusions expetriences and those that sit outside the norms. So if you hear the voice of Jesus or believe you have been touched by the holy spirit, this might be treated differently to hearing the voice of napolian.

      Our mind is amazing but subject to misfiring etc.

      I suggest hearing the voice of napolian or of god are equally most likely to be the product of our minds, not contacting some supernatural being.

      In summary the god experiences lead to contradictory conclusions and could be similar to dreams or meditative brain states or misfirings etc.

      Maybe some people are experiencing a god, or talking with the spirit of napolian. How do we tell if it is just going on in their heads?
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    Apr 7 2013: Thank you for the invitation you wrote on another discussion thread Bernard

    Many thanks.
    I would be very interested in your opinion, and input in this subject Colleen Steen. "

    I have popped into this discussion a couple times and read some of the comments.......

    Your question asks..."Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?"

    I honestly cannot predict what the future holds for us, so I cannot even speculate as to the possibility of designing an experiment which can determine if there is a god or not. At this point in my evolution, it is beyond my comprehension. It seems that anything that is said about this topic is imagination, speculation, presumption, assumption, etc.
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      Apr 7 2013: To be honest with you : I agree.
      I don't think we will ever know...
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        Apr 10 2013: Dear Bernard,
        I do not perceive your comment as agreement with my comment.....just to clarify:>)

        I said..."At this point in my evolution, it is beyond my comprehension. It seems that anything that is said about this topic is imagination, speculation, presumption, assumption, etc."

        "At this point", seems different than "I don't think we will ever know".
    • Apr 7 2013: through your years on earth youve never had that moment?
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        Apr 7 2013: What "moment" are you refering to Nathan?

        The topic question is:
        "Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?"
        • Apr 7 2013: so you believe we are Mind and Body with no soul?
        • Apr 7 2013: Hi Again Colleen!
          Oops, I forgot to mention what I think(?), Nathan may be getting at, an experiencial epiphany - such as experienced by early Existentialist, Blaise Pascal. Carl Jung or Neuro-surgeon, Eban Alexander.
          Am I correct Nathan?
          My wife and I are now going on a nice walk on this beautiful afternoon!
          Cheers to all!
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        Apr 7 2013: Nathan,
        I believe the body, including the brain/mind is powered by energy. If you choose to call that energy "soul" that is your choice.
        • Apr 7 2013: it is indeed energy, not testable with current devices. what lead you to believe that? intuition? thats what i meant about that moment . unless you mean something different when you say energy.
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        Apr 7 2013: Actually Nathan, I think it is scientifically proven that energy moves through the body, including the brain.

        That is what I experienced with a NDE/OBE
        • Apr 7 2013: you mean electricity?
        • Apr 7 2013: Hi Colleen!
          I'm afraid it's true ... I'm baaack :) So, you've experienced a NDE/OBE? Interesting! I'm getting the feeling that this experience is simply too personal to share for you?
          I began having spontaneous OBEs when young. I was told it was a bad thing and that I could become possessed by a demon if I continued to allow this to happen. So, I suppressed it, only to realize later that good ol' St. Paul talked about those (I believe including himself), were who able to visit the 'Third Heaven". This was the beginning stage for my distain for religion, theology(human interpretations), etc. and my letting-go process of previous, unproven (blind faith), security-based models of 'reality' and my reliance on personal, experiencial evidence to slowly build a model closer to 'reality'. Because it is more based on my personal experience and I am taking complete responsibility for it (not always easy or fun), I am much more at pease with where I am and feel no need to defend it to anyone.
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        Apr 7 2013: Nathan....not just electricity. Based on your other comments, you are apparently aware of different kinds of energy....different levels and frequencies of energy, energy in the universe that we are a part of. There may be energies that are not yet discovered by humans.
        • Apr 7 2013: so you do believe that we are mind body and soul?which would be a sort of faith. since we cant confirm visually.
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        Apr 7 2013: Nathan,
        There is evidence that we are mind and body....that is confirmed.....yes? It is also confirmed that energy moves through our body/mind/brain...yes?

        My personal belief is that the energy that powers the body is the same as what some people refer to as soul or spirit.
        • Apr 7 2013: is the energy that is confirmed to run through our body the fact that we use electrical impulses for all our physical workings. do you believe this energy is eternal? .....then again all things are eternal in the sence that atoms dont just dissapear. they are recycled indefinitely.....I think.
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        Apr 7 2013: I agree with you does not just disappear. I believe energy, including the energy that powers the body, is recycled.
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        Apr 7 2013: Hey Jordan.....welcome back....hope you had a nice walk with your wife:>)

        Yes....NDE/OBE...23 years ago after a near fatal head/brain back riding accident....I guest lectured at the university for years about it, and have mentioned it here on TED several times.

        Glad you are at peace:>)
    • Apr 7 2013: so you dont believe in the soul part of us?
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        Apr 7 2013: I'm afraid to say.
        I have am confused what people mean by "soul", I find the idea of the "soul" a bit too problematic, just like the after-life. But I can't really "know". (Yet I don't find the concept of a "God" odd. :P)
        EDIT : Just unlikely. (Depending on your definition!)
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          Apr 7 2013: hi Bernard, maybe it would help to think bubbles in soda, the gas in the bubbles were created by a force into the liquid and are temporarily separate from their source, yet they are the same as their source. soul is individual "spirit" like we are individual gods of one source god. when you separate the whole, the parts need names, eh? this make sense?
        • Apr 7 2013: or just knowing that there are levels and frequencies of energy, existance that comprises the universe that we are most definitely a part of so the idea of a soul is not really far fetched at all.
        • Apr 7 2013: read about about dark matter. play " what ifs" ask people smarter, people less inteligent,ponder, conclude, take it back.....repeat.
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          Apr 8 2013: Oh glen, I don't think you understand carbonation of soda.
          The carbon dioxide is different to the liquid water etc. Its dissolved in the liquid under pressure.

          Your metaphor might be more useful if you were talking about boiling water and bubbles of steam.

          I suggest our mind or consciousness etc are most likely emergent properties of our brains. There could be more to it, but this seems speculative as evidenced by all the conflicting spiritual and religious interpretations.

          NDE may reflect the self continuing after death, but equally they could be hallucinations. Even our dreams are amazing brain experiences that feel real. But they happen all the time and most of us don't read too much into them.
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          Apr 8 2013: Bernard, Glenn, Nathan, and Obey,
          How does it feel to think that the words "soul" and "spirit" may have been created to try to describe the energy that moves through the body/mind? Could that which is called "consciousness", and subconscious also be energy? It could still be "emergent properties of our brains" Obey, because we have energy moving through the brain. I agree that religious interpretations cause quite a bit of conflicting, confusing information, thoughts and feelings.

          Science has now proven that energy moves through the body/mind, and I think it has been known by some folks for a very long time.....even back to ancient times.

          For me Obey, the NDE does not reflect the "self continuing after death", because that suggests that I might be the same "self", which is not what I experienced.

          In my perception and experience, hallucinations and dreams are also energy. I believe energy moves through the body/mind and is a carrier for lots of information in many different forms, which are all interconnected.

          When we try to seperate the different forms...soul...spirit....conscious...subconscious...dreams...hallucinations....etc. etc., it may become confusing.

          When we recognize the interconnectedness, it feels more my humble perception. Energy connects powers everything in our world as we know it...... and beyond:>)
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          Apr 9 2013: Thanks for the clarification colleen.
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        Apr 7 2013: How's the homework going Nathan?

        Regarding your comment....I cannot get my response closer....sorry....

        "i really am curious as to what your take is on the idea of an essence that comprise us as humans that is not currently detectable.i.e soul,energy,mana , dark matter..... whether u know it or not i look up to u,through ur answer won't change my outlook I'm jus curious."

        I did NOT know you looked up to me, and I am honored....thank you for that feedback...I appreciate it:>)

        I'm not sure if this addresses your curiosity, and it's really nothing earth shattering....

        I believe the body is matter (I don't think that is a secret), and the material body is powered by energy, which can be called soul, spirit, etc.
        • Apr 7 2013: homework was going but I'm easily distracted but myemail allert chime. i agree somewhat but i didn't seeif they believed in a soul though they did say existance precedes essence but i don't know what there definition of existance is,but i will read further.thanks
    • Apr 7 2013: Hi Coleen!
      Nice to meet you! I'm not quite so doubtful as my buddy Bernard seems to be. I think the emerging science of consciousness research, much more advanced technology, new paradigms of thought - from experimental work, new experimental protocols AND time ... may give folks new insights and direction for this question. At least for those interested. Whew! ... sounds a little like a cake recipe!
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        Apr 7 2013: Hi Jordan!
        Nice to meet you too:>)

        I agree....with the emerging science of consciousness research and more advanced technology, we usually find answers to questions, which often lead to even more questions! So, yes...we put all the information together and blend.....see what kind of cake we come up with! LOL:>)
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          Apr 7 2013: I wonder what that cake tastes like.
          Yummy (Hopefully?) :-)
        • Apr 7 2013: i really am curious as to what your take is on the idea of an essence that comprise us as humans that is not currently detectable.i.e soul,energy,mana , dark matter..... whether u know it or not i look up to u,through ur answer won't change my outlook I'm jus curious.
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        Apr 7 2013: Jordan,
        Regarding your comment...I cannot get a response any closer.

        "Hi Again Colleen!
        Oops, I forgot to mention what I think(?), Nathan may be getting at, an experiencial epiphany - such as experienced by early Existentialist, Blaise Pascal. Carl Jung or Neuro-surgeon, Eban Alexander.
        Am I correct Nathan?
        My wife and I are now going on a nice walk on this beautiful afternoon!
        Cheers to all!

        That is what I suspected, and I thought I would let Nathan clarify his question:>)
        • Apr 7 2013: you just gave me some home work to do..I gotta go now guys...ill be back..toodles.
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        Apr 7 2013: Sorry. If you don't mind me asking :
        (I am getting confused with all this information! :D)
        Your not a theist are you? (Or a Deist.) Sorry my memory isn't the best in the world. (Kinda bad for exams!)
        • Apr 7 2013: Ha Ha Buddy!
          I know the feeling about memory ...
          HELP! HELP! My wife is physically dragging me out the door for our promised walk on this beautiful new england day!
          I WILL get back to you a little later today!
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    Apr 7 2013: No. This is fundamentally impossible. Science has limitations. It cannot answer philosophical questions. I think, scientists who try to prove or disprove the existence of God do not understand science or philosophy, and believers who try to do that do not have faith.

    Science will never answer the fundamental cosmological question "where everything came from?" Whatever everything came from, must be a part of everything. Therefore, everything could not possibly come from anything other than itself. If we assume that everything came from nothing, then we have to define what we mean by "nothing" and, as we do that, it becomes "something".

    If God is the maker of "all that is, seen and unseen", he must be the maker of himself. Otherwise, he is not "all that is" (does not exist).

    If we want to preserve our sanity, it's best to postulate one position or the other and leave it at that.

    Here are a couple of articles by the physicist Sean Carroll who also thinks that this discussion needs to stop.
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    Apr 5 2013: Measurement is at the heart of reality testing, it's the bridge between the real world an pure conceptualization. Also all measurement are limited in accuracy because of errors introduced by the nature of the measuring instrument and the object being measured. Like measuring the diameter of a fuzzy tennis ball-no sharp boundary between the ball and the space in it-ultimately on the atomic scale, all surfaces are fuzzy. And every measured value must be accompanied by a statement of uncertainty (as in the height (h) of a cylinder is 11.5 cm +- (plus minus) 0.1 cm, the +-0.1 cm is the limits of uncertainty in the measurement. Meaning that the actual height of the cylinder is probably between 11.4 cm to 11.6 cm. These limits are not absolute but only probabilistic, even the uncertainty has its uncertainty. Now accuracy is the ratio of the limits of uncertainty to the measurement (usually expressed as a percent or percent uncertainty) .
    +-0.1 cm / 11.5 cm X 100% = +- 0.9%. Also the more accuracy there is in the measurement the more significant digits will be in its record
    Anthropologically speaking, religion is an complex set of interrelated phenomena including myth, belief, ritual, and magic; every human society will have some sort of ritual, which has positive social functions as well as potentially mystical ones. The God matter because is not empirical is out of the realm of Science and into Theology. No empirical footprint exists that converges this world with the supernatural (as off yet).
    "What we mean by God" you ask, well is impossible to be specific when there are so many versions of God, you would have to assign a probability that each possible God exists and work a conditional probability formula.
    All human cultures had or have a God of spirits of sorts, not all of them are true as a matter of fact some are mutually exclusive and for example Christianity has Christianities . Gods are a Human Creation, with no measurable conduciveness in the measurable world.
    • Apr 6 2013: one can only say gods are human constructs with uncertainty.our measuring capabilities are incomplete. it would show a bad quality of character in humans if we really thought we were able to measure all that is measurable with the present day technological devices.
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        Apr 8 2013: Do not confuse healthy skepticism with lack of moral & ethical strength. Don't forget that naturalism is not a presupposition from doing science, but a conclusion from doing science.If a "supernatural" event were to be assimilated by the scientific process it will stop being so, like the "demons" causing the plague.
        Science is a method that is let's say agnostic, it says nothing about the untestable nature of the supernatural or imagined entities, it simply deals with what is. The supernatural defines itself out of existence, is best leftover to Philosophy or Theology, until a point in time in which the supernatural interfaces with known reality and then the unknown will be known.Science can change its view of reality example from Newton to Einstein to Quantum Mechanics, so is not dogmatic or fixed.

        Every culture in one form or another created a "god" or "gods" to explain the unknown and also morphed into a psych control tool for the masses. There are a myriad of gods to choose from and all claim to be the true and only "god".
        The more science uncovers the less the "supernatural" has to hide,true science is the science of the real whatever it's nature.
        Your absolutist claim that "bad character"= science inability to measure the supernatural is presumptuous, at best ad hominem .
        There is evidence to support that gods are human constructs not actual "beings", with a high degree of probability. I
        • Apr 9 2013: take my statements.
          " one can only say gods are human constructs with uncertainty."
          one can only say that for anything, right?
          "it would show
          a bad quality of character in humans if we really thought we were
          able to measure all that is measurable with the present day
          technological devices.
          let me know where i said" "bad character"= science inability to
          measure the supernatural"
          really??? mr.spin doctor.that was an ad hominem, towards you,apersonal attack on the person not the idea. perpetuating the falsehood that we know all which is measurable is presumptuous and spreads an attitude of indifference towards anything "outside the box" . and im suppose to be the absolutist one?
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        Apr 9 2013: OK, Mr. Cook I think that you really misunderstood my postings. That said, I just submit what I think . I am cognizant of the fact that science do not knows or understands everything regarding the Universe and its nature nor that we have all measuring devices to see and measure all that there is. And probably we will never "understand it all". When the supernatural is measured Great,! It would be a rather fascinating discovery.

        I also seen how other rather intelligent people here in TED have reacted to your postings, hmmm.( That is a measurement of your "exchanges" with other people that you don't even know.)

        So carry on cogitating Mr. Cook, I do wish you the very best! Honestly
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    Apr 5 2013: Thanks for the email.

    No offense taken.

    I ordered the book you suggested and will read it on the plane next week.

    Thank you very much.

    • Apr 5 2013: Thanks Denny,
      You have eased my mind. Their are times (regretable), when there is little choice in getting someone to think about something tough (causing offense), because we care . But, it should (as I'm sure you feel too), only out of love or concern for them.
      Thanks for forgiving my bumbbling.
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    Apr 4 2013: disbelief is spiritual pre-school, gotta start somewhere... however, i see correlation with the absence of answers and the quality of your question, if there really was one.
    • Apr 4 2013: Hi Glenn!
      Some good points. I maintain that if a god is even proclaimed loudly, publicly and with a unanimous 'scientific' consensus - so what? What will that really mean to most people - those people not bothering to look for experiencial evidence for themselves? Infact, probably most of those people really would shrugg their sholders and say "so what?" or "Oh, cool!" and that would be the end of their interest.
      Seems to me only those folks who are really, really looking are going to find experiential evidence for themselves - from serious, thoughtful reading to OBE exploations, such as Robert Monroe's work.
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        Apr 4 2013: hi Jordan, that's right. it can never be anything other than personal experience that provides the necessary proof so why ask if you don't want to learn? this guy is not seriously interested in learning as much as he is setting up an argument to bully spiritual people.
        • Apr 5 2013: Hi Glenn!
          Good to hear from you!! Hmmmmm .......Personally, I think I'll wait and see (from further contributions, which I don't wish to discourage), how serious folks may or may not be about considering the experimental approach (and needed protocols), to finding evidence of the 'Big Guy' ( no gender slurrs, prejudges or preferences intended to anyone ... whew).
          In the now closed, food fight over Sheldrake's and Hancock's shabby treatment by TED's 'science board', who are two prominant consciousness researchers. We were fortunate to recieve input from folks like Larry Dossey and Russell Targ - who are at the forefront of the emerging new science of consciousness research. Not everyone realized who these folks were, their importance to that debate nor its possible implications to the questions of human consciousness to a 'divinity' reality. I think you'll agree that the potential link-up these two areas of research may be lost on some. But, it is not lost on the militant, athiests (who cling to a an unworkable, 19th century, matterialistic-mechanistic world view). Becauses it causes them such discomfort. It's' fight or flight' - and they choose fight. [ No disrespect intended to thoughtful athiest or agnostics intended. ] Our interesting debate was priodically side-tract by ubber-militant athiest "Jimmy" (aka; "The Amazing Randy"). If you get in, to look at this now closed debate - you'll find it interestting or at least entertaining stuff.
          Oh, I'm rambling now ... a sign I should shut up, shut down, have dinner and go to bed!
          Have fun, but don't get caught! :)
          Cheers! your bud',
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    Apr 4 2013: read some books, then read some more...
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    Apr 3 2013: Experiments are based on hypothesis. We usually try to explain things based on our own observations.
    Such explanations would be based on perception, or experience, or what we focus on in our observation. Yet, real things are real, despite our perception, or experience, or expectation.
    The question is: what if the God, whose existent we are experinmenting on, does not reveal himself in the way we want him to be?
    • Apr 3 2013: Hi Feyisayo!
      Good point. Dispite large world-wide and historical beliefs in god or divinities, "IT" chooses (or seems), to not need to prove ITs existence to us, in a super-duper display of bravado. So, It sure seems that it wants to be sought out on It's own terms, not perhaps on our's.
      Yet, dispite It's apparent lack of need to be easily proved to us, billions of folks still believe.
      Another interesting side question is in what ways the created (us), directly or indirectly, mirrors our creator - interms of how we can recognize It?
      Again, I'd kind of like to see this conversation move from speculative conversation to examples of attempts to do science trying to ferret-out this 'wascally wabbit'! So, I'll again cite an interesting work "The After-Life Experiments", by Gary Schwartz, PhD.
      • Apr 7 2013: looked the book up. it sounds very interesting. I know viewpoints really dont help much but when I see humans making big leaps in technology, its akin to a child and there parent. communication technology and online connectivity brings us as one (the one.god.propegated the big bang from single point to present day )a child actin like there parent. reach out in space is like a kid trying to find there parent.
        but that's just what i see
        and also if u use that metaphor that would make humans still in the "womb" so to speek.or a newborn.
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        Apr 7 2013: Or humans could be the creator of conceptual gods and related dogma.
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      Apr 9 2013: If we don't know gods exist then we don't know.
  • Apr 3 2013: I am talking about the true God, and not about the "God" worshiped by any particular religion. The true God (if it does exist) must be omnipotent otherwise it is not God. Whatever "God" who is not omnipotent is just a superhuman and to call him/her God is not the proper way to reefer them. I don't think existence requires more explanation, obviously (since we are talking about science) I mean that it has some kind of physical presence (sample, count, measure).
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      Apr 7 2013: Why must it be all powerful. Why not very powerful.
      What does all powerful mean in reality?
      An all powerful god could make all powerful baby gods right.
  • Apr 3 2013: Religion is about what you feel, not what you know. Curious that organized religion tends to mold this feeling and define it at will.
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      Apr 3 2013: I'm interested, what religions are there which aren't "organized"?
      • Apr 3 2013: None you would have heard of. Just because one has a set of beliefs does not mean that they are required to build a church around it, write a holy doctrine, make rules trying to decide the will of their god who they admit they could not understand to begin with. By nature, an unorganized religion remains pretty low profile. Organized religions, on the other hand, have books, buildings, rules, societies, interests in politics, all in the name of how man has organized their belief of god into a set of rules. If one just quietly believes in god and doesn't try to force it upon the world at large or over define the general notion I would call this an unorganized religion.
  • Apr 3 2013: What you request is simply impossible, God is by definition: all mighty (omnipotent), in order for God to be omnipotent, it must know all (omniscient) and in order to be omniscient it must be omnipresent. Now, regardless of if your definition of omnipresent includes time or not, the fact that God is omnipresent implies necessarily that its nature and substance cannot be separated from the rest of the universe, which means that you cannot sample, count or in any (human or superhuman) way measure anything related to God. If you cannot sample, count or in any way measure something, then that something is outside the reach of science. Which leads you to the unavoidable conclusion that any "evidence" in favor or against the existence of God is necessarily FALSE!!
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      Apr 3 2013: So with your definition of "GOD" the Ancient Greek Gods aren't Gods?
      Because the Greek Gods weren't "omnipotent" and "omniscient" because they could be tricked.
      Yes that is why I am a strong agnostic. (With regard to any evidence if favour or against the existence of God...)
      Also hate to go on, but would be nice if you could define "existence" as well.
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      Apr 7 2013: This is just your definition. It is not the only definition.

      Its a philosophical definition, that tells us very little. Just some vague terms. Does it care if humans exist?

      What does it mean to be all powerful. Why not very powerful.

      If it knows everything then it knows the future? So it knows its future decisions, it has no choice.

      If it is everywhere it must have come into existence when space came into existence?

      Does it intervene in the universe, or deist. Is it good or evil
      Why this partial definition? Why does this have more merit than others .
      Its completely speculative and untestable.
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      Apr 7 2013: Also nothing testable.

      In fact it could have willed itself into non existence a billion years ago.

      No reasons to assume any relevance to humans.

      We can also conclude it has not made any decent attempts at showing us it exists
      • Apr 7 2013: nothing were capable of testing ..if its responsible for the universe then its very relevant any conclusion made is on an assumption that ,had it made attempts, you would see them. your presuming god be obvious the way you would be but there's plenty of people that would say its right in front of our faces . just a different viewpoint never claiming to be the"answer".
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          Apr 7 2013: Yes I have heard the evidence for yahweh, or Allah is the world around us.

          Its not a very convincing argument, would you agree. Technically an argument from ignorance.

          Sure a god may have made subtle contact with humans. So subtle and open to interpretation we can not be sure they are anything more than conflicting subjective interpretations of natural brain states.

          I suggest if there is a god or goddesses, then it is so remote or unintelligible, we seem to know very little about it or what it thinks about humans. We don't even know it exists, let alone its nature. So if it exists it might as well not for all practical purposes. There could be a billion little gods sitting on my computer or in every atom.

          We just have a lot of speculative interpretations, culturally shaped, of psychological experiences, perhaps imaginary ffriendss, and arguments from ignorance often with special pleading. And maybe one god view is correct or there could be gods so different from all human concepts.

          The point is no one seems to know anything reliably about gods. Who of all the conflicting views has it right?
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          Apr 8 2013: George didn't say it was a universe creator.

          What we have is a human concept of a god that can not be tested or proven.

          We don't know if it exists or existed in the past.

          We don't know what it wants, whether it intervenes in human affairs.

          Sure it could exist, and not bothered to reveal itself in an obvious way. It might not even care if humans exist.

          We just dont know and have no reliable way to find out if it does exist and whether it wants anything from humans. It is probably no more relevant than every other untestable speculative iteration of a creator god.

          This god existing is no different from this god not existing as far as we can tell.
      • Apr 7 2013: you want a group consensus when its a personal endeavor. find your higher power.
      • Apr 8 2013: he didnt say that he wasnt either and my creator differs from the biblical. im part of the SBNR crowd and even they vary from subject to subject.
      • Apr 8 2013: I think hes saying he is the universe.
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    Apr 3 2013: to define god would be to limit god and this creates the very paradox you will never solve, either intentionally because you are afraid to admit you were wrong about everything or unintentionally because you are afraid to face your own power... you seek with your eyes closed and say "nothing is there". how's that working for you? apparently not very well.
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      Apr 3 2013: No I am open to logical reasoning, to tell me whether God exists.
      Considering there can be no "evidence" on this subject.
      Yes you do have to "define God" otherwise I do not know what you are talking about...
      Otherwise just replace "God" with "X" or "Zeus".
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        Apr 3 2013: you are not seeking truth, you are lost.
      • Apr 6 2013: god . the creator of all things ,that can only be of that, from which it was created.
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          Apr 7 2013: What created this creator, or is this explanation exempt from explanation. Is magic.
  • Apr 3 2013: Hi Bernard!
    I think (therefore I am :), that I understand cognitive dissonance - as the discomfort of trying to deal with more than one belief at a time, often when a 'reality slap' comes out of left field. Do I have it about right or do you have a better definition / understanding? Let me know. I have heard of "Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me". It is on my 'to read' list and sounds really good. But, my 'to read list' is always and continually way ahead of my 'have read' list. Whew! ... I'll eventually get there.
    In regard to "Pantheism" - the understanding I have (at this point), from my explorations is that it is a bit more complicated or takes developing a new frame of reference. Then, there is what is called the 'angle of perception' (for example; "did you see the sun rise this morning?").
    Think of the old saying 'birds of a feather, flock together'. My personal experience of what I would rather call 'The Great Center of All Being' is actually a huge community of perfected entities that posess a unity of understanding, purpose and motivation - way beyond my comprehension.
    Also, are what 'It' explained to me were "god heads". These are members of this community that have agreed to move into this dimension to do projects that the whole-part has decided needs to be accomplished. An example of this is the god-head, historically known at 'that' time as "Jesus". If it has another name - I don't know. But It will answer / appear if this particular name is called. I'm referring to an OBE, upper-level, positioning, obviously. These 'experiences' have to be 'experienced', to make it possible for two folks to relate, understand each other's experience. It simply cannot be imagined or understood without having the actual experience too - it is simply that outside usual, daily life.
    Whew! ... Did I mention that being long-winded is another one of my super powers? We can talk again soon. I need to eat dinner and get to bed - got to work tomorrow.
    Best Wishes,
  • Apr 2 2013: Hi Renee'
    I was just dragged over here, kicking and screaming all the way, by that rascal Bernard! Well, maybe not screaming. Nice to meet you!
    Actually, the experiments are beginning to be done. If you're able to do a little fun, light reading - I would suggest "The After-Life Experiments", by Gary Schwartz.,2002. Schwartz is a credible researcher. He got his PhD in Clinical Psychology and Neurology from Harvard and was Director of Clinical Psychology and Neurology at Yale Medical. His experiments are related to the subject of this group, at least in a secondary way I think.
    The interesting part for me (aside from his interesting data), is how his peers reacted. In the beginning he got lots of critiques on flaws they saw in his procedures. Eventually he had produced a really tight set of double-blind protocols that could no longer be criticized.
    Then the really interesting reactions began. Many of his peers began to 'say wow, this is really interesting - stay with it we're intrigued'. While others began to accuse him of fraud and deception! So, here we have a highly credentialed and respected researcher (with much already peer reviewed and published work) being accused of deception. For his findings? Looks a little like freudian projection to me.
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      Apr 2 2013: Haha :p
      You done it again!
      You need to press "reply" (top right corner of repsonse) and then press submit, after you have written the message, if you want them to get the notification and respond! Very important. :)
      Just to say you seem like a very positive intellectual. (If you don't mind me asking, what do you "do"?) :P
      You can always delete comments, or edit them.
      Or you can do @Jordan Burrill at the beginning of your comments! (Not obviously your name, but the person you want to sent the message to, I think!)
      • Apr 2 2013: Hi Berard,
        I think I've managed to confuse both of us - Hey! another super power! Cool!
        Sometimes I press "submit" on a contribution and then I see more of my creative typos, etc. (I'm a bit dyslexic - I don't want to brag over my amazing number of super powers)! I then try to "edit" my "creativity" by hitting the red "edit" which makes my goofy contribution 'editable'. I am able to usually edit my over-creativity, but when I try to re-"Submit" my corrected contribution, It often doen't return to a posted format. I admit it, computers just don't like me! Another super power?

        I'm a professional sculptor and a practicing occultist. You can read about my 'tails of daring and adventure' at . Which is, like me - a work in process! It (my site), will maybe help explain my continued effort to be relaxed and hopefully encouraging to folks. (Yes it IS true God does have a sense of humor and I am the proof :D!) My belief system / model of reality is organic and based on my personal experiences. I've had experience with religion / ideology (blind faith). These are what make people defensive / offensive. They are usually accepted - built for security or comfort reasons. So, people feel the need to defend it. I have little to feel protective about in this because I work continually at introspection when dealing with cognitive-disonance. I am looking for 'reality'. I'd rather accept the discomfort of ambiguity than to feel good, but defensive. So, I have no robot in the fight. Whew ... I'm betting you're now sorry you asked! :D.
        Best Wishes,
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          Apr 2 2013: :)
          I will make sure I check out your site.
          I don't know why but Cognitive Dissonance seems like the most know, yet most misunderstood psychological effect out there. (Not saying that you don't understand it!)
          Have you read a book called "Mistakes were made but not by me", really good book explains "Cognitive Dissonance" in quite a lot of detail.
          For me reality is basically uncertainty, and what I perceive (Consciously).
          In the way everything has a degree of uncertainness to it from my own perspective, due to the fact that nothing is really "certain" and is just "most probable", for instance we base all discoveries on the past, and expect consistency yet we don't know whether the laws of physics will suddenly change. (As Einstein said, roughly on these lines : The universe doesn't have to be as it is, and it doesn't really. Not sure why it is, maybe it just is...)
          Got a bit side tracked there. :)
          I mean I'm an agnostic about solipsism, yet out of process of elimination, view it as incredibly unlikely, but still call myself an agnostic for I see no way to prove that I exist (and aren't just a produce of someone imagination) or that other people exist. Yet have decided that I am going to live my life as if the external world exists, no matter what! (SORRY! I got so side tracked didn't I! :P)

          EDIT : I am reading your blog now! And was just wondering, do you believe in a form of "Pantheism"?
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      Apr 7 2013: Not sure why an afterlife implies any gods or goddesses.
      • Apr 7 2013: Hi bud!
        A very good question! After you have had a chance to read and reflect on it, I think the answer to this question (and perhaps some others), may present itself to you. In the mean time, I'm reminded of an old saying; 'birds of a feather ... '.
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          Apr 7 2013: I'm just pointing out even if humans are conscious in some way after brain death, after the body is completely decomposed, this could happen without any gods or goddess.

          Perhaps the Buddhists are right and we reincarnate with or without the help of gods.
  • Apr 2 2013: Oh Bernard,
    I just had a devilish idea! I had wandered over to the 'definition of god' conversation from the raucous food fight (now closed) over Dr. Sheldrake and Graham Hancock's shabby treatment by TED's 'science board'. This conversation could become psi-function or conscious research related adjuct to the now closed conversation. But, this is your area. You and your folks have the purogative to decide - this is just a suggestion from a guest. This new conversation area is ripe with potential. But, respect and civility must prevail. This can be tough when folk's belief systems get challenged. So, this is your group, I'm only making a suggestion. You folks decide.
  • Apr 2 2013: Hi Bernard!
    Thanks for the invite to this group. I've quickly looked through the posts - and it looks fun and interesting! Now, you rotten scoundrel, how do I keep up with two fun conversations and still get any work done? :D.
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      Apr 2 2013: Haha.
      Keep with this one!
      (This one is more updated and recent, the summary of the other conversation (in my opinion) was :
      There is no objective definition of God. God is whatever you really want it to be, which is very problematic indeed...)
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      Apr 2 2013: Haha.
      Good method. But that assumes God was the "creator" and created it at the beginning of time, not the end.
      Also it assumes we should be able to build a time machine (I am not good enough at physics at all!)
      But yeah, better method then any I can think of! (Summoning God using satanic rituals... Maybe not the best way)
      Imagine if God was just one massive penguin.... (Is "possible" just unlikely.)
      Or that only "Satan" existed, that would make everybody feel a big stupid wouldn't it?
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          Apr 7 2013: I don't know. Never claimed to know.

          Actually you don't know either do you?

          There could Be gods and no afterlife.

          There could be an afterlife and no gods.

          For all we know the great goddess could have gotten bored a billion years ago and willed itself into non existence before modern humans evolved.
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      Apr 2 2013: Creating out of clay is a little like created light, in that for a long time humans assumed created light meant the sun and now many think the light he created was a spark that triggered the big bang.

      So was the clay god use a glob of blank DNA strains and not what we think of as clay today?
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    Apr 2 2013: Philosophers have developed several classic proofs for the existence of God:

    1. God is the greatest concept we can imagine, and since it is "greater" to exist than to not exist, God must exist.
    2. Someone must have set this whole universe into motion
    3. Some people proclaim to have experienced God themselves, so he must exist

    Only the third type I list here is I think amenable to scientific experimentation. Rick Stassman, MD, performed government sanctioned experiments with test subjects on the drug DMT - experiences with "God" are reported on such drugs. Also, the now banned infamous TED talk given by Graham Hancock mentions the naturally brewed version of this drug several times.

    But it does not take a drug, as seemingly similar states of mind may be evoked or provoked under other situations, such as: A near death experience, intense prayer or meditation, or rhythmic drumming, chanting and dancing such as you might see at a Haitian dance.

    Numerous times, willing subjects have had their brains scanned while communing with God, whatever that means to them, and we have identified a part of the brain that consistently lights up when people are in such a state. Some call this the "god part of the brain".

    If you experienced god while under the influence of such a drug, would that suffice as sufficient evidence? Or is such an experience only valid while not under the influence of any drug?

    It seems the story of the Jews exodus from Egypt as retold on Passover is all about God proving his existence. First he has to send all those biological weapons of mass destruction down like locusts and boils, then he sets about murdering innocent Egyptian children, then finally the Pharaoh lets the Jews go. What's it take for a god to be taken seriously around here?
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      Apr 2 2013: I don't think the psychology of "God" gives more "evidence" for any side.
      Am willing to be corrected, but you could argue : "God put the psychology into us for us to understand and connect with him" or you could just say : "God is just an cognitive illusion generated by our brains".
      And both are equally probable and valid statements in my opinion.
      There is no way to prove or disprove either of them, unless there is way to test them.
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      Apr 7 2013: 1 circular reasoning.
      2 why not something rather than someone. Argument from ignorance.
      3 they may be experiencing something but this is not proof of god, maybe incorrect interpretation.
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    Apr 2 2013: Bernard White: “Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?”
    Think about this;
    If god wanted us in our earthly lives to have proof that he exist then we would have it, so clearly he does not want us to know in this life.

    Religions and many of those have survived from being dead for a short amount of time, say that we will know god after this life.
    So if we know god exist and have proof in our next/real lives, it is plausible that there is a reason for god not to wanting us to have proof in this life.
    Personally I believe the meaning of life here of earth is to learn things we can’t learn in heaven, and not knowing is part of the lesion plan.
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      Apr 2 2013: I am not sure it logically follows that there is an after life, if God exists.
      I mean there may just be "God" and no "afterlife" or there may just be an "afterlife" and no "God".
      Depending on how you view it.
      I mean God may not permit there to be an afterlife for some (or for all), and just make them non-existent.
      I find it difficult to believe in a form of "heaven" as well, but don't dismiss it entirely. Because how on earth :
      1. do we get there?
      2. Are we like as we are when we died, because I would not want this?
      3. Do we all share the after-life or do we each have our own speperate heaven?
      I could go on for a while... :)
      You can see my problem with it can't you. While I see no method in human kind to disprove or "prove" and afterlife.
      Also it does depend how you define an "afterlife" doesn't it? :D (e.g Reincanation, or what is "Heaven"?)
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        Apr 2 2013: Some religions teach god and/or heaven is beyond our imagination, and that seems more likely than what other religions say it is like.

        As to “no” or “rarely going to” afterlife, I think that leads to the question are we reborn. And if so does how we live in this life effect what we are reborn as. Ai a Nazi prison guard was reborn as a dung-beetle or into a hard life.

        So Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether pass lives exist or not? And even if we did, we still would not know if god for sure exist or not.
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    Apr 2 2013: Hi Bernard,
    try this experiment.
    Stand in front of the mirror. What do you see ? Technically speaking you see 300 TRILLION cells; each one subtly different, each one much more complex than the Space Shuttle, and all of them working in partnership to keep project Bernard on schedule. None of them is older than 10yrs or so, they replace themselves continually to keep you healthy.
    Now ask yourself. How did this happen ?
    Next go out to your driveway & sit in your car.
    Now ask yourself. How did this happen ?
    If you leave your car in the drive for a million years, do you think it will become a Space Shuttle?
    Some will say; but Bernard is alive, the car is not. Press the starter; the car is alive, it consumes fuel, & does work. The most simple form of life.

    This is so obvious to me. Our bodies are nothing more or less than a veeeeeery complex machine. They have motors, pulleys, switches, cables, transport systems etc, just like your car. You know how your car came to be; remove the preconceptions & think hard.

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      Apr 2 2013: There is an odd dilemma though which "can" arise.
      If solipsism is "true" then the thing you see in the mirror is not "you" so to speak, because the external world is not real.
      (Just a mind-blowing thought) I am personally and agnostic about Solipsism, but through process of elimination (possibilities) I view it is far more probable that the external world exists. (And that we should act as if the external world exists).
      Sorry for this, got a little bit side-tracked didn't I?
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    Apr 2 2013: It also really depends on your beliefs as to what God means to thyself? Oprah says God is in everything. I am not sure about an experiment but I have discovered a way to understand how God or The Higher Self can be all knowing of all knowledge.
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    Apr 2 2013: This is just a hypothetical experiment. If you asked out loud whether God exists, and you heard him answer out loud with your own ears that he does indeed exist, and then engaged in a whole conversation with him, would you then believe that he exists? Laughing, I am reminded of the "Oh God" movies with George Burns, where ordinary people were presented with apparent hallucinations, or - could it be the same God that visited Moses? Or Noah? He chooses just a select few people here and there, just to keep us wondering? Are we mad? To see a God today would seem to make us insane.

    Has anyone here had a burning bush moment where you really saw god? I would love to hear about it.
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      Apr 2 2013: I have thought a lot about this subject as well.
      I personally got quite annoyed in one debate with "Sam Harris vs William Lane Craig" where someone asked William Lane Craig if they thought that God was communicating with them, and told them that homosexual marriage was okay, would this be valid. (?)
      The William Lane Craig refuses to answer, and called him a "Nutter".
      Now I have many problems with this, because this makes the issue arise where if there is a God, how do we tell who are the "nutters" and who are the people who have been contacted by God.
      Quite a big dilemma here. (I mean we all know,realistically, that if Jesus came back from the dead, with no real "proof" that he was the "original Jesus" then he would just be put into a mental asylum, even if he was the "original Jesus". You can see where I am coming from now, can't you?)
      I mean when I was younger (and still do) I found there was a strong correlation between what I pray for, and what I get. Now I honestly can't decide even whether it is correlation or causation.
      On one hand I may just be getting delusional and having a placebo where I look for an answer.
      Or a some external being is giving me these things.
      Yet it is Ironic how I am a strong agnostic, yet still pray to "X" (Because I haven't really defined God myself).
      While one big problem I do have with God, is not a lack of evidence, but a form of sympathy / empathy for the being, because nobody ever prayers for its "well-being" only their own. So in that sense, why does this being have to satisfy our needs, when we never pray for it.
      Just a few thoughts. Even though most of these thoughts go against my rational self.
      Yet a more interesting question to me, now I view I can never know whether God exists, is "can" god exist? :)
      P.S I apologize for my awful spelling and grammar.
  • Apr 1 2013: Hello Bernard,
    I assume you intend only material scientific experiments, with tools, formulas, computers, plans, people, lab equipment, space exploration, sensing equipment----any specialty tools or machines. I would agree with Peter. No such man-made equipment exists or is possible to exist to prove what is spirit. The only real experiment that would work is to design a query to be available to every possible human being in the world in which a person would testify. Only experience with spirit personalities via faith, prayer, thoughts et al could prove God. A massive, truly massive data base of testimony of beliefs based on persons actual experience would be useful.

    Who could or would organize such an extensive enterprise? Perhaps such an experiment has been underway for a 100,000 years in the form of religions based on beliefs. Such experiments may not satisfy precise thinking scientists, but such evidence cannot be ignored. The religion-experimenting activities of humankind mind may not be omniscience of the ideal levels, but personal experiences cannot be disproved. In other words, what experiment developed to date can prove no person ever had any experience with God? What machine or experiment can prove Gabriel did not appear to Elizabeth and then to Mary? Imagine Mary working at a low stone table in her day and suddenly this apparition appears and announces to her she is to bear a child of promise! Imagine telling 1,500 people they never saw the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth appear to them after his crucifixion. Many people did see him in several weeks after his death and they went abroad to announce what they saw and heard.

    Experience is difficult to prove it never happened.

    What is to be gained by attempting what cannot be done?

    Food for thought.
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      Apr 1 2013: "What is to be gained by attempting what cannot be done?"
      A very good question. I (from intuition) would answer : You gain the knowledge that it the knowledge concerning God is unattainable by physical means, and then therefore everybody has to be an strong agnostic, and that belief (in my opinion) of course become irrelevant. (Unless a "God" can be logically proven or dis proven, which I don't really think it can to be honest, but am always open to correction)
      Not to say that "Faith" becomes irrelevant at all! If anything, if this conclusion was found, it would strengthen the position of faith, yet belief does. extremely probable, (for nobody has dis proven it yet, and I don't think ever will, yet I can't predict the future), while it is not really a matter of belief whether you evolution is true or not. So then you can believe evolution isn't true, but this doesn't really effect whether it is true or not.
      So if you apply this to God, it is unknowable to know whether a "God" exists, yet believing either way doesn't really change the fact. While you can have "faith" either way.
      I hope I have explained myself to a sufficient level, for I struggle explaining these complicated thoughts to people. And most of all : I hope I have not offended you in any way, I was just typing what I was thinking really.
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        Apr 2 2013: RE: "I'm not really sure how you could. . . " You are correct to doubt that the confirmation of a hypothesis will lead one to have faith that God exists. That is not how it works. According to Biblical doctrine things not seen have evidence of their existence, and things hoped for have substance. You can discover what it is for yourself in the first verse of the eleventh chapter of the New Testament book of Hebrews (King James Version)
      • Apr 2 2013: "So if you apply this to God, it is unknowable to know whether a "God" exists", quoting you Bernard.

        This is the point: God is knowable because millions have said they've had some degree of experience and religions developed. Events happened in peoples' lives and they were witnesses. To say that God is unknowable is to disregard others' experiences. Personal experience trumps scientific theory.

        Why ask if an experiment could be developed if the conclusion is final---that God is unknowable?

        We are all non-omniscient beings; let's do our best to seek truth in whatever thoughts come to mind and whatever philosophy is helpful at hand.

        Best regards.
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    Apr 1 2013: Hi Bernard.
    I doubt that an experiment would do it. There is loads of evidence, but people take it either way.
    Eg. Pretty much the whole landmass of the planet is made up of water-deposited layers, many of which contain fossils. Some say this happened slowly over millions of years, others say it was the worldwide flood of Noah .
    It depends on pre-conceptions, the empirical data can fuel both views.

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      Apr 1 2013: A good point : ", the empirical data can fuel both views".
      I am personally a cross between being a strong agnostic and a Ignostic.
      While if someone did press me into a definition about God, I would probably claim I was a pantheist (even though there is no evidence to support the claim that God is the universe, it just seems like quite a logical and rational claim to me).
      But this is interesting for it claims something about humanity. I don't think we will ever be able to solve the "Does God exist" argument.
      For quite a number of reasons, which I won't go into.
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        Apr 1 2013: Imagine how liberating it is to believe that the answer to the question of God's existence becomes immediately clear and real to every human being. . . at the moment of their death.
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          Apr 1 2013: I'm not really sure how you could confirm that hypothesis, scientifically speaking, I supose you could get lots of people and put them in an MIR scanner and watch their brain activity as they die, and if it goes to the region responsible for God and a rise in dopamine, then you "could" conclude something. This is pure speculation. (on my part!)
          While I must admit I can see the logic behind that comment, yet can't quite comprehend "why".
          I mean it is perfectly possible. Yes that would be a liberating thought, but a rather soul crushing one as well for all the theologians out there, to know that they have wasted their life to only realize that at their death they find out it become knowable.
          However on a completely different note, I am not even sure that you could know whether God existed "after" you had died for two reasons : The existence of a Deity does not require an afterlife by an means, and that if you lose conciseness after death then in the literal sense it is unkowable. (If you believe in materialism, unless you gain your body / brain back in the after life)