TED Conversations

Bernard White


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Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exists?

I just find it hard to believe when people say : "There is no evidence for God". Yes there isn't because we can't design an experiment to prove or disprove this hypothesis.
However a very important thing, Which I devoted a whole TED Debate to (Here is the link to that debate : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17001/can_god_be_defined_or_in_othe.html), is that to work out whether the hypothesis is true we must first define what we mean by "God" (and "existence" for that matter), which I have found doesn't prove to be very successful. Otherwise we can't advance into going to making experiment for this hypothesis.
In science (I believe) theories can only be disproved and never proved to be "certain", so in this sense everybody has to be an agnostic about God, unless some genius in the TED community can come up with an experiment.
While another problem remains that we base all data we have on experimental data we have gained from the past, and expect the future to be consistent.

So in this sense I am a strong agnostic / Ignostic because God hasn't really been defined (and only has subjective definitions) and that I can't genially think of an experiment to determine whether God exist of not. So yes in the literal sense there is no "evidence" but that's only because no experiment have been done.
(Also there remains the slight problem with the fact that there is a degree of uncertainness in everything, and that no matter how logical and rational a hypothesis may seem it can always be proved false, or untrue)

My final point would be I see no correlation with an absence of evidence, and an evidence of absence! (This is very important)

And of-course, I apologize for repeating myself (if I have done so!) and my awful spelling and grammar.
Just so I say now, so I get no confusion, this is just an honest enquiry as to whether it can be done! (Not trying to reduce "God" in any way!)


Closing Statement from Bernard White

I'm slightly worreid I won't do a good job of this summary but here I go :

I must first say this :
I implore everybody to look at my "new" God debate :
What does the theological implications do the "Psychology" and "Neuroscience" (and possibly biology) of religion/ "God(s)" have?
Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/18226/what_does_the_theological_impl.html

This has been a wonderful debate with lots of interesting idea's. However I view, with the majority consensus, (and please correct me if I have got this wrong) that there isn't a experiment which can (dis)prove the existence of "God(s)".
I would just like to congratulate everybody for their amazing contributions to the conversation. It has given me a lot to ponder.
Kind regards (to all),

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    Apr 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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