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: 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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