TED Conversations

Cory Warshaw

Curator @ TEDxUCDavis, TEDxUCDavis


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Science vs God?

I am the Curator of TEDxUCDavis, and I wanted to create a page where people could discuss the talk at my event by Bryan Enderle: Science vs God. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn7YQOzNuSc&list=PLsRNoUx8w3rNNNJZyHiIb3MMhM3QQyiAD&index=10

First and foremost, I wanted to make a disclaimer. The views expressed in this talk do not reflect the views of the broader TED-organization. The selection was made entirely by me and the content was produced entirely by Mr Enderle.

I invited Bryan to speak despite the fact that I am an atheist, and knowing how often I would cringe at these types of talks. In my view what Bryan does differently is merely make a plausibility argument for traits that seem too fantastic to many. He is not arguing for the existence of God. I was once a vindictive atheist who cheered for Richard Dawkins in his debates and despised religious thought. Eventually however, I realized that this debate has been raging for centuries and to simply discount all the brilliant people who had faith would be too simple. There is a debate to be held yes, but it does not need to be so vitriolic and people of both sides can learn from each other.

In this debate section please keep your comments specifically to the points discussed in his talk, and try not to stray to other issues. I think Bryan titled his talk to be deliberately provocative, since it is this false dichotomy between faith and science that he tries to break down in his talk. If we can think how the two philosophies can inform the other, then we can have a productive discussion.

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    Jun 24 2013: No contest! No winner and no loser. Science has to do with evidence from the natural realm. In the absence of such evidence Science should, but does not always, recognize and honor the boundary. Matters of the supernatural, aka Faith, are not dependent upon substance and evidence from Nature. Apples do not contend with oranges. They coexist as different entities. Natural Science is tasked with explaining the What, When, Where, and How of the Universe. Explanations of the Who and Why of the Cosmos are not to be discovered by using the Scientific Method. Hurrah for Science, and Hurrah for Man's quest to know God. Proper Science does not dispute the one, true God, and vice versa.
  • Jul 10 2013: Science is not really against gods, falsified gods are just collateral damage. :)
    • Jul 13 2013: God is a situation , where our brain are limited by thoughts , to understand. Other words, if we fail too understand, we call it GOD. In the near past , there have been so many thing which were not understood , & we call them God, but we have understood them & call them science
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        Jul 19 2013: So God equals our ignorance or ability to comprehend?

        Shall add that to the list of meanings for God?

        I suggest we call this what it is and not use a label synomous with deities .

        I suggest in general we don't use the word God of there is a better label or term to explain what you mean.

        In this case I think you are onto something. Perhaps humans personify this feeling of awe and incomprehension, and this is the basis of God beliefs.
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    Jun 28 2013: The priorities of creationism or Intelligent Design? are politics and religious evangelism. Science is not very important to creationists in the first place. Scientists themselves are prevented from publishing in peer-reviewed journals when their science is not up to par.
    Now, publication on a respected journal its not an absolute requirement to show scientific merit, Darwin's own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience — his Origin of Species – not in a peer-reviewed paper.Anyone can publish anything, (like Lord of the Rings is evidence that magic is real !!??) if Creationists wish to refute evolution and propose an alternative, then they need to engage with the scientific community with real data, and publish it within a credible and appropriate scientific journal.
    You see, the reason that 99.9% of biologists reject creationism is not because they are biased or brainwashed, but because there is no credible evidence.In stark contrast to the output of scientific creationism, hundreds of papers are published each month by authors that find that evolution explains their results. One would think that, if intelligent design had any scientific merit, then there would be a significant number of papers published each month presenting evidence of supernatural intervention by an intelligent designer. Surely the many religious scientists, in particular, wouldn't fail to publish results that support Creationism.The complete lack of any credible scientific evidence tells you all you really need to know. Is there any scientific foundation for Intelligent Design? The quick one word summary is “No“.

    With no credible evidence on the table, any and all creationist claims need not be addressed, but instead should simply be dismissed. If they wish to ever assert a claim that is not dismissed, then they need to first go do some science that backs it up. Hmm sounds like hard work...
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    Jun 26 2013: God is a constructed image in the mind of many a person that was put there from stories and elaborated upon through life and that none of them can describe fully and complete.
    Science can't investigate anything that looks different in the eyes of any a person that states its existence.
    If one wants to find any creative force that generated all what we experience as our world than the first thing necessary is to get rid of any image we possibly have of God.

    Science though is born from curiosity to find the ultimate answers by investigating all we can interact with and does many discoveries while trying. Those sought for answers about everything will only arise the moment the scientists include within their explorations the one that is exploring.
    • Jun 26 2013: Hi, Frans !!!
      You say : " If one wants to find any creative force that generated all what we experience as our world than the first thing necessary is to get rid of any image we possibly have of God."

      Thank you for this .... :)

      A disciple said to him, "I am ready, in the quest for God, to give up anything: wealth, friends, family, country, life itself. What else can a person give up?"
      The Master calmly replied, "One's beliefs about God."
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      Jun 27 2013: I was under the understanding that the answer has never changed.
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    Jun 26 2013: I'd like to call into question the use of the Einstein quote by Enderle. ""Science without Religion Is Lame, Religion without Science Is Blind."

    "This is what Albert Einstein wrote in his letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, in response to his receiving the book "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt". The letter was written on January 3, 1954, in German, and explains Einstein's personal beliefs regarding religion and the Jewish people; it was put on sale one year later and remained into a personal collection ever since. Now the letter is again on auction in London and has a starting price of 8,000 sterling pounds.

    The letter states pretty clearly that Einstein was by no means a religious person - in fact, the greatphysicist saw religion as no more than a "childish superstition". "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this", Einstein wrote."

    • Jun 29 2013: Thank you for your reference, which I just read and I believe that's exactly what Einstein was thinking at the time when he wrote the letter. My interpretation of his real meaning about religion is that science could never completely understand the entire cosmos (I purposely use this word is because we are really not sure the current theory about our "universe" is the only thing existed there.) Therefore, we certainly couldn't explain the randomness or "intelligence design" dichotomy, because of our physical limit that we might never be able to explore the whole ""multi-verse" by human observation because of the vast-ness of "it". That's why Einstein used the word "lame" because we most likely will never be 100% sure of the human evolution. However, we live under the condition of , say, 99% probability all the time, so for practical purpose, we could definitely and merrily live and enjoy our life here on earth. Even if we couldn't have 100% certainty, but the evidence from archaeological and paleontological findings are strong enough compared with any other "theories" . We shouldn't deny there could be some mystery occurred long time ago. But, what practical purpose it would serve, say, whether the monkeys were our remote cousins or not? At least by modern science and technology, we know that the earth is not flat, and there is no turtle or elephant "underneath" of us.
      I am not against religion, but for (scientific or evidence based) debate, One can't use the "uncertainty " argument to deny scientific theories without their own research evidence. The latter does not have to be 100% probable, but they need at least a plausible and CONSISTENT SYSTEM/MODEL of the origin of life on earth.
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        Jun 29 2013: One of my issues with this talk was that Enderle uses the notion of "who" is God and never once suggests the question "what" is God.
  • Jun 25 2013: Edward,
    The nonphysical world of soul and spirit must be researched in a higher form of consciousness than what the sciences of today have to offer. The SM has to widen its focus. The spiritual element, which surrounds us in our every day consciousness is again, as real, and as active as that which we see and experience as the physical forces in the world. They are simply invisible to the "normal" everyday,waking form of consciousness that modern man is enveloped in. We are, or at least can be, highly observant to the physical activities and properties that appear to our physical senses. Whatever forces that lie behind these physical properties of the physical world remain unseen to our daily consciousness and its physical sense apparatus. What deeper forces lie in the nature of substances for example can only be explored with a more awakened consciousness that can allow us to penetrate to the depths of the activities of the spiritual realm that surround us in our day to day lives. We continue to remain unaware of these forces due to the fact that we are so succumbed to just these dominating senses that relate primarily to the physical world
    As science developes, the realization of these realities of the spirit / soul existence, not only the human beings existence but the entirety of nature, including the plant and animal kingdom, will discover that whatever the physical phenomena presented to our outer senses has its direct correlation to the non-physical world of soul and spirit. As Bryan Enderle makes his cup of tee. The motivation from his inner being started the whole process of making himself a cup of tee. A will impulse.. An idea!
    The SM per 2013 has no access to this realm of will impulses or ideas. But it is out of place to ask .. Where do these impulses or ideas come from? Where is their point of origin. Per today, the end of the line for the modern SM is of course the brain. But is this really the end of the line? Are we really no more than our brain?
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      Jun 25 2013: "Per today, the end of the line for the modern SM is of course the brain. But is this really the end of the line? Are we really no more than our brain?"

      Can you imagine a world with no brain? No self reflection? No mind? We only know things because we label or dare I say mark of the beast things. To keep track of what could be up and what could be down. In a no mind scenario if a tree fell in the woods would it still make a sound? The answer what tree? what woods? what sound? All of these things have been labeled arbitrarily, but without mind none of these things are possible. I prefer mind instead of brain because things without a brain can show intelligence.


      If this mold was the only thing with intelligence on this planet. What lexicon do you think it would use?
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      Jun 25 2013: This is also why modern science says that we are created from nothing or no thing. We can see up to 15 seconds after the big bang but we can currently see no further This image I believe in the science world is actually nicknamed the face of god. This is most likely where pattern was started and since we are pattern thinkers. Our mind can not imagine a non pattern world. Which would be the single start all of this was created from. How long do you think we can stare at a single dot and wonder if there is something else? Infinity?
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    Jul 18 2013: Cory I see no issue with vigorous debate on the topic.
    I agree however that it should focus on the topic not generalize inappropriately about people of faith and atheists.
    I also see no issue with offending people.
    If you think religion is man made and incorrect in regards the existence, nature, and desires of deities, saying that may cause offence.
    If you believe the seperation of church and state, and freedom of expression up to the point it causes harm not offense, this may offend religious sensibilities.

    I note these days atheists may offend, but theists riot, kill etc in the name of their God. Not all, perhaps a minority in places backward in terms of human rights.

    Ultimately you can take each persons belief and their rationale and behaviour on its merits.

    I haven't come across evidence or a compelling logical argument for any of the millions of God concepts. We know all but one of the millions of God or goddess concepts and associated dogmas must be wrong. Theists should realise their religious beliefs are most likely wrong.

    Still smarter people than me are theists, most often in their cultural religion.

    I think we can point out the problems with faith based speculative subjective revelation based belief systems and still appreciate smart people follow these.

    I support freedom of and from religion within limits. But I also support free speech and rational thought.

    I don't know what you mean by vindictive atheist. Shame on anyone for bigotry unless you have been harmed by religion. How ever no problems arguing your position .

    Obviously in human interaction a some appreciation of the likely response and tailoring your approach to achieve an outcome is also smart.

    I suggest believing your cultural religion, denomination, ever priest or Inman or guru has it right and all the others are wrong is flawed.

    No issue pointing this out or the nonsense of this or that literalist fundamentalist belief, or even deistic con
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    Jul 16 2013: I am an atheist, indicating I don't accept the existence of all gods.
    as a statistician, I can think in probabilities, and know you can assign probabilities to the existence of something.
    Some probabilities are so low that I round it down to zero to simplify.

    If you believe in a certain god, then you imply you accept a factual very low probability for true (meaning a near 100% probability), while you don't do that for a myriad of other things in all aspects of your life.
    This is a severe inconsistency, but we humans are riddled with inconsistencies in our thinking and having no problem whatsoever with it... we are not completely logical, and certainly not all the time.

    The fact that we don't understand reality completely, and discover strange properties of our universe, that is no evidence whatsoever for the assumption of a god.
    Implying god in a theory means you make him a testable assumption and need to reject the assumption once it is falsified. Still people keep on having faith time and time again after their assumptions are falsified. They just invent new ones.
    That is the sophi-phobic god: the god of the gaps, or the god that keeps hiding in the unknown. It implies that god gets smaller and smaller as we know more about reality... I would propose to call that "the unknown" and stop trying to hide a god in there, or even use it as a possible concept.

    I think the arguments of Enderle imply that god-image.

    There is no such thing as science VS god, as there is no such thing as science vs "purple unicorns grazing on the moon"

    Science is a set of methods that can be applied to get a better (less wrong, more accurate) image of reality, and the knowledge obtained by it rests on evidence and observation.
    How can that stand against something with a near zero probability of existing? It can only say that that probability is indeed very low.
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      Jul 19 2013: I agree.

      Perhaps its no excuse but I think some of the bluntness from atheists reflects the frustration of having to deal with thousands of mutually exclusive God concepts based on dodgy thinking.
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      Jul 21 2013: Obey No1kinobe :

      That frustration you talk about reflects rather deep misunderstanding --- it is absolutely normal to exist many concepts of God since nobody really knows God or try to do that .

      Christophe Cop :

      You take God as merely a word backed in the bast case by some abstract ideas and make a string of what you think are logical judgements with it . It is entirely within the scientific spirit to know what we're talking about , do we know that ? do you know that ? Because if you don't there makes any sense neither for you nor for any other theist (like Bryan Enderle) to talk a about God like how you/he did . For example what makes you think that if there is no evidence for God then the assuption of God has almost zero probability ?
      The assumption of what , if you don't know what you're talking about ? Do you think it is the assuption of a omnipotent , omniscient , all mighty......... being ? Do we really know what this traits mean ? It's true we do have a logical understanding of them but the question is : is that logical understanding enough to know a being ? If it isn't then is that assumption the assumption of God ?

      Maybe you'd say : 'I didn't make that assumption , the theists did , I just work with what I have ' . Then in this case you don't talk about God you talk about what people think is God (which is a nonsense most of the time ) . So , you can reject as many beliefs in God you want that doesn't mean that God does not exist nor that there is a low probability for Him to exist .

      A scientific thinking leads to God .
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        Jul 22 2013: we seem to agree it is normal for there to be many contradictory concepts of gods and goddesses.

        Do you agree they all can not be correct.

        I suggest the lack of evidence for any gods is beHind this.

        How is a God belief scientific. God concepts are not verifiable. There is nothing to test or observe. They are the opposite of scientific.

        You say what people describe as god e is nonsense most of the time. I would suggest all concepts worthy of the label God can not be proven to exist.

        We seem to agree most God concepts must be wrong.

        Which ones are reasonable in your opinion and why?

        I haven't come across a single God concept that is verifiable . At best you can say they can not be disproven. So you have a lot of contradictory God concepts that can not be disproven, just as invisible dragons or fairies can not be disproven.

        Seems irrational to believe in things like this.

        Again what evidence is there for and God or goddesses. You can not disprove Zeus or isis or faeries. Not a good reason to believe just because you can't disprove
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          Jul 22 2013: 'Since the all concepts of God are contradictory and cannot be proven to exist , none of them being verifiable (hence not scientific) you say it's irrational to believe in things like this . ' That's preatty much all you said .

          Well, I don't agree with you ;

          If some concepts are contradictory it doesn't mean we should not trust some of them .

          If there are enough proofs we don't need to believe any more , right ? Therefore we need to believe only when there aren't enough proofs. Therefore it's illogical to say : ' I don't believe because there aren't enough proofs' . Also if there are reasons that would make us believe we don't need proofs to start believing .
          So the main question is : are there enough reasons to start believing in God ?

          Now another question : should we have the expectation for the concept of God to be verifiable if God exist ? . Indeed we should .

          As far as the Christian God is concerned I can tell you that the concept of this God is verifiable . It means that we must start to verify this God if we wanna know the truth , it means that we have to put to test this God . We don't just expect to see proofs of God out of nowhere , that would be irrational ; unfortunaly that's what the atheists do .

          How can we do that ?

          Science has a method to prove things it holds as true . But we should not expect the same method to work for God . ( it's obvious why , science proves the existence of worms for example , and worms are very different of gods ) .

          As far as the Christian God is concerned the method to prove God is exemplified by the life and the words of Jesus Christ ; I guess this method looks very vague to you now but that's all I can tell in this comment .
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          Jul 22 2013: The concepts of God are complex things ; that's why we can't say things like this :
          'they all can not be correct.'
          'God concepts must be wrong.'
          I agreed that most of Gods concepts are nonsense but I was talking about each of this concepts taken as a whole .
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        Jul 22 2013: Hi eg, I'm not saying there are no gods or goddesses, or fairies or other dimensional things humans have not imagined.

        Just that until there is sufficient burden of proof it is better to withhold belief.

        There is just as much evidence Zeus exists as Yahweh.
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          Jul 23 2013: "Just that until there is sufficient burden of proof it is better to withhold belief."

          But then we need to believe the most if we wanna make any progress.
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        Jul 23 2013: So show us the evidence and arguments in favour of the God concept you think most likely .

        I note there are many variants of Christianity . Its not monolithic. Who some believe in literal genesis, others don't. Some believe in hell others don't.

        Anyway most variants of Christianity are built upon layer upon layer of unreasonable assumptions .

        Assuming the Gospels accurately represent what Jesus did, said, thought. That the Christian doctrines developed after his death were what he had in mind.

        We don't even know if Jesus thought he was God.

        We don't know if there were miracles or a ressurection .

        Even if there was that doesn't make other Claims in the Bible proven. A resurrection doesn't prove Jesus is A God or that there is a creator God or that the Bible has anything to do with any real gods or goddesses that may exist.

        Just lots of baseless Assumptions .

        Christianity doesn't meet a reasonable burden of proof just like other religions.

        Unless you you new information?
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          Jul 23 2013: Well, I have new informations (not so new for the serious christians but it looks that they will be very new to you ).

          There is no assumption in saying that the Gospels tell what Jesus wanted to say . Why would it be? (the history is not a factor here , we have for example what Aristotel said ) .

          We know exactly that Jesus thought He was God . Unless you didn't pay enough attention to the Bible, you could say such a thing .

          Since Jesus was God the miracles or the ressurection should not be a problem .

          As long as the existence of God is at least assumend the Bible makes sense and when believed can meet a reasonable burden of proof .

          I told the proofs don't come out of nowhere , if you want proofs you must go get them ; what does it mean ? Well , it means you have to take a similar position to God like Jesus have taken .Then the proofs will be obvious -- any person who did this had similar results ; this is a fact as well as Napoleon was a fact . As you see I don't neccesarily need for ressurection to prove other Bible's claims , they would be obvious as well as 1+1=2 is obvious as long as you take the right position .

          Christianity as religion is not monolithic , indeed it's not but I don't see why it would be a problem . In fact any idea that went down to the masses is not monolithic .

          Don't wonder I told you what I told you , the scientific construction we have today took the same path . People assumed and believed a lot of things until they were proven facts ; that's what we people are about .
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        Jul 23 2013: Some very circular thinking in your explanation eg.

        Jesus is god therefore the bible is true

        You could say the same about Islam. Allah is god and his prophet revealed the truth therefore the quaran is correct.

        The reason you don't believe in other religions might be similar to why I don't share your belief in Christianity.
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          Jul 23 2013: You missed the point :

          -what I said is more likely as follows :

          We can find out Jesus is God following the Bible (when considering the truth of the Bible an assumption at least) .

          I can say the same thing about Islam ; the results would judge though . This results make me feel more strongly about the truth of the Bible , make me considering more serious to give it a better shot . Do you wanna me name to you some of those people ?
          The athiests don't understand them , how could they if they ignore the most important thing for them and get lost in Idk what theoretical abstract models ?
          And this are facts, historical facts . God can be proven .
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        Jul 23 2013: Christians following the bible may feel they on on the right path.

        Same for Muslims.

        Same for Buddhists

        Same for Mormons

        Same for Hindus

        Same for individual hybrids

        Its a feeling. Not proof.

        The may be more violence from Islamic parts these days put do you honestly think Christianity only has good results. What about Bosnia. What about burning witches. What about milenia of anti semitism. What about centuries of catholic versus protestant wars in Europe. Etc

        Even if Christianity is useful it doesn't make it true.

        A man called Jesus probably did exist. He may have been a freelance apololyptic rabbi.
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        Jul 24 2013: Why believe the Bible is true. Why not the Koran or book of Mormon.

        I was a Christian and realised my belief was unfounded .

        You seem to be saying if you believe and create a God construct in your mind that is proof.

        Where is the real proof.
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    Jul 12 2013: im all for freedom of and from religion.

    some seem to find an acomodation between science and religion or less dogmatic god and goddess concepts.

    by all means let people speculate about the meaning of life and the universe. to take the feelings of awe and connection and attribute these to some god if they wish.

    however there seems to be something decidedly unscientific in the process that leads to millions of contradictory god concepts that sit outside our scientific understandung or conflict with it.

    there is something about the scientific method that comes up with one continuously improving explanation based on evidence that provides reliable predictions and technology that works. this seems at odds with the outpurs from r based on old texts, authorities and the interpretations of personal w experiences.

    if relifion is supposed to be about truth, it is not particular effective given the contradictory dogmas and claims.
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    Jul 7 2013: I think that secularists are simply just too nice. Religion is foolish to try and coexist alongside science. Science is about the why not and looks for answers. Religion is about the why and claims to have the answers. Religion trying to work with science is utterly going to lead to it's own demise.

    And you're right, we don't undermine the greatest minds who have been religious. Isaac Newton, Copernicus, Einstein, and most if not all of the thermodynamicians of the 1800s were religious. We wouldn't be having this talk if it weren't for them.

    However, their religion had absolutely nothing to do with their science. Science is about questioning and answering. Once they find answers that contradict religion, religion becomes obsolete to them. Religion used to provide answers for everything without any question. Nowadays, we have very acclaimed theories, like evolution and the big bang. Religion trying to adapt to change is just absurd. It goes against the religion itself.
    • Jul 8 2013: The thing is that in the same way that no two people can ever see the same chair because they each perceive it through their own forest of metaphor, no two people can see the same God. Science actually cuts down on the overuse of metaphor. In this way people who believed had to either remove the metaphors that demanded the sun went around the earth, or depart into a kind of spiritually based exile from the developing common reality.
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        Jul 8 2013: i suggest we can do a pretty good job of coming up with a similar description of a chair because it exists in the physical universe. not perfect but pretty close.

        we can do a much job with chairs than gods because gods and goddesses dont seem to exist in this universe. they are subjective concepts supported by feelings, agency assuption and cultural programming. they vary so much because there is no reliable way to know if they exist let alone their nature.

        the best fit explanations involve assumptions of something existing outside of time and space. we are not really sure what that even means. its just reverse engineering a concept to fit the fact that their is no evidence of gods ub our universe.

        anothet line of thought is that god is the universe etc. then just call it the universe and drop the loaded word god.
        • Jul 9 2013: And so God becomes a God of not 'just because', but a God of human action. Regardless of whether He can act outside of the laws of physics or not, He doesn't. Although we may want proof, He still doesn't.

          The real trial is to understand how to put ourselves together. In modern times this is the only place where there has been any evidence of God, in the way that people's lives have been put together. They testify of this only, it's all they can testify of.

          The assembling of ourselves is the only real ground for meeting God. All other places, as in the axiom of "how could a good God allow evil", are false places to find God. There is evil because we allow it. Ah, but what is evil? Is it the absence of God? No, it is pure and utter selfishness to the exclusion of others in the situation. It is us becoming God, in almost exactly the same manner within our inner worlds that those who demand proof expect God to do so in the world in order to give them reason to believe.
    • Jul 9 2013: Actually, there science had a lot to do with their religion.

      An example of religion influencing science: Cartesian, who created the Cartesian coordinate system, was a scientist, an astronomer and a religions man. He observed that the earth rotated around the sun, and all the other planets did as well. The church had said that everything rotated around the earth. The creation of the Cartesian coordinate system and different reference frames was created so that everything could rotate around the earth in our reference frame while everything can rotate around the sun in its reference frame. Without religion, Cartesian would not have invented one of the most useful mathematical and physical concepts: reference frames.

      These scientists were human beings. What they researched and observed was influenced by their beliefs.
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      Jul 11 2013: I don't believe that is true Brendan Olson. In the book The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel he sought to prove God wrong through science, reason, examining the bible, and research. The thing is that science can be used to try and prove the "faults" in Religion but, in another form, it can be used to show the workmanship of God and how technical his mind is to be able to make such complicated things such as the human body, atoms, electrons, the universe, the sun, etc.
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        Jul 21 2013: Apologies for a late response, you might not even realize I replied but here I go anyways.

        You cannot prove God. You cannot disprove God. It is an evolutionary characteristic for us humans to create patterns. If we can't make a correct pattern then we come up with a bad pattern. I.E. religion is a false accusation as to how we got here. It all started when someone said "Hey, maybe if we throw 50 virgins into the volcano, it won't explode tomorrow!" Clearly that's a paraphrase, but the idea is simple.

        The reason for god being the one thing we cannot disprove is that it has an infinite number of excuses. For example...
        Q: Who made God? A: He is eternal.
        Q: Then why aren't we eternal? A: Because we have sinned.
        Q: Why did we sin? A: Because he gave us freewill.
        Q: Why did he give us freewill? A: Because he needed to see who is loyal.
        Q: Well why did he create loyalty in the first place? A: Because he wants people to worhsip him.

        And the list goes on...........

        Very true however of which you said regarding to religion and God. Religion has many fallacies but people cling to it, I don't know why. God however does not. With these excuses in mind, one may build up the idea that "Wow, he really is too complex for us!" While on my side of the spectrum, I say he is too complex to exist. Currently, everything in the universe that we know of can be explained by natural processes, with exception to the origin (we're working on it.) And this is why I have chosen to become an atheist.
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          Jul 21 2013: You bring very good points. But I do not believe that someone, or some being, can be, "too complex to exist." The reason why is because the human body is very very complex and there are still mysteries to that ie. the cure to cancer and many other diseases that we don't have cures for. Also, when it comes to your point about how "we can't prove God or disprove God." As an atheist don't you not believe in a god at all? Therefore wouldn't there be a way that you yourself disproved God? But going off of that I would like to talk about the "number of excuses" argument that you made. Think about the wind and how there it is a "fact" that there is wind. You ask these questions:

          Q: Why are the trees moving? That's wind
          Q: What is wind? It's the sign of air moving?
          Q: Why can't we see it? It's invisible

          And this list continues forever in circles but wind is a "proven fact."

          I'm a Christian, if you haven't been able to tell, and I believe that if there's a being that is complex to the point were He is more complex then we are, then He must be studied and be shown as a more superior being.
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    Jul 4 2013: if you could get people to agree on a definition of god, you might have a more meaningful conversation.

    just reading below nearly every comment has a different definition.

    god seems to be a very subjective concept.

    science tries to be objective.

    gods typically seem to be unverifiable beings or a label for something natural or sonething supernatural that may or may not include agency.

    with such a range of concepts you can only deal with one at a time and see how it relates to science.
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      Jul 5 2013: what would you like to define it as
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        Jul 6 2013: I'm an atheist. I'll leave the definition up to the theists and deists etc.

        They seem to be doing fine coming up with multiple mutually exclusive contradictory gods and goddesses, or calling stuff that exists god.
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          Jul 21 2013: That's illogical .

          You can't be an real atheist beased only on the others opinions. Because in the end you'll have yourself : does really God exist or not ?
          In order to reject God is not enough to reject the others opinions of God as well as in order to reject that , let's say , I have a elephant in my house is not enough to reject whatever theory the others people may have that a huiman being can't live with an elephant .
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    Jun 28 2013: Cory,
    Religion and Science at very distant opposites. Faith and Science are mutually exclusive,think binary opposition. Take for example the Peer Review process. As a part of the Scientific method its purpose its to weed out bad research, pseudoscience, acts like a filter and past it the work gets reviewed by the Scientific community at large. Even some papers that have survived the initial process get demolished when scrutinized further it is like natural selection so do speak. And like any human made process is not perfect, but is one of the best filters to date.
    Creationists feel victimized by the process claiming that is rigged against them since Science is based on Methodological Naturalism which excludes the Supernatural, Science quest is objective natural explanations to natural phenomena. Of course Naturalism has its boundaries, unexplained phenomena exists, but Theism should not be the start of Science (think also about Bias). Or take for Example Evolution by Natural Selection(or Geology, Big Bang, etc) which Creationist have tried to prove inoperative from the Political forum rather than the Lab.ID, Creationism fails to pass the Peer Reviewed Process , so in order to build credibility they create their own Peer Review pubs to neuter the criticism. It speaks volumes when ID or Creationists have to create sham reviews. Like the International Journal for creation Research (IJCR). The IJCR has a few requirements to make sure no pub strays "IJCR provides scientists and students hard data based on cutting-edge research that demonstrates the young earth model, the global flood, the nonevolutionary origin of the species, and other evidences that correlate to the biblical accounts," according to the institute's description,And the three or more people who reviewer each paper are advised that each paper must "provide evidence of faithfulness to the grammatico-historical/normative interpretation of scripture."
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    Jun 26 2013: Casey: Jesus was definitely a man that is until the First Council of Nicaea (325 ACE), that’s when all the deep thinkers of the Christian Church decided that Jesus was an equal to God the father in all respects, longevity, powers and knowledge. I have a problem with God the Father of the Old Testament, after years of study I’ve come to the conclusion that Yahweh [Father God for the Jews, Christians and Moslems] is in reality the brother of the Canaanite god Baal; originally going under the name of Yom. I’ve been working on a book about this subject since 2004 but due to a host of problems, it still is not ready to be published. I believe at this point that the gods are working against me. LOL

    Mythology should be read symbolically and so should the stories in the Old and New Testament. [I don’t know enough to make a comment about the Koran] That is why there is so few intelligent Christians left – the fundamentalist and true believers are stuck on the historicity of the text, which should be read symbolically. Yes, Jesus is divine and so are you. You should recognize your own divinity and those with you alive in the world today.
    You have me on the nature of god – I know nothing about god or his existence. But I’m not about to accept what the good scribes in captivity in Babylon jotted down about the Israelite history and interaction with Yahweh, as fact.
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      Jun 27 2013: I would love to talk more about your book.

      You seem to contradict your self a little you say that the Christian church made Jesus divine. And then turn around and say that yes he is and so are we. For me my problem or concern with Christian was actually having a god die for me and the importance of that. I could never figure out why a god dying for me was important if he knew he was a god. Plus it didn't seem to do the trick infact I think it might of made things worse. I contemplate if Jesus knew his equal but opposite reaction to removing sin to get into heaven, would be that it would create more here on earth. God or gods have been giving us laws to live by since the beginning of time.
      This interesting thing about your comment on all of us being divine is I believe we can use science to prove this specially when you break it down. The only thing that we see is light. We actually can not see anything other then light.

      P.S. hit the red reply word next to the persons name otherwise I get no notice that you relied to me
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    Jun 26 2013: Re: "I was once a vindictive atheist who cheered for Richard Dawkins in his debates and despised religious thought. Eventually however, I realized that this debate has been raging for centuries and to simply discount all the brilliant people who had faith would be too simple. There is a debate to be held yes, but it does not need to be so vitriolic and people of both sides can learn from each other."

    Three thumbs up!
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    Jun 26 2013: Can Religion Be Explained Without God?
    by Robert Lawrence Kuhn

    I want to believe in God, but “religion” stops me. I hope God has less to do with religion, and religion with God, than we usually think.
    Some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural, that religion, without God, can form and flourish. To others, the claim is blasphemous: God exists and religion is God’s revelation. All agree that religion affects humanity profoundly.
    Why is religion a force so powerful? Even those who believe in God should understand how personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.
    Philosopher Daniel Dennett’s book Breaking The Spell describes religion as a “natural phenomenon.” No one naturalizes religion better than Dennett, who defines it succinctly as “belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought.” He suggests that, “the question of whether God exists is actually of less importance to the modern world than maybe it once was.”
    Dennett encourages us “to think not just historically, but biologically or evolutionarily.” He says, “We have to realize that Homo sapiens—us—descended from earlier hominids; we share a common ancestry with chimpanzees going back about 6 million years. Can we see what religion adds to the mix that makes us so different from all other animals?”
    He thinks that we can. “I think we can discern religion's origins in superstition, which grew out of an overactive adoption of the intentional stance,” he says. “This is a mammalian feature that we share with, say, dogs. If your dog hears the thud of snow falling off the roof and jumps up and barks, the dog is in effect asking, ‘Who’s there?’ not, ‘What’s that?’ The dog is assuming there’s an agent causing the thud. It might be a dangerous agent. The assumption is that when something surprising, unexpected, puzzling happens, treat it as an agent until you learn otherwise. That’s the intentional stance. It’s instinctive.”

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        Jun 28 2013: What question does this statement answer?
        This is all very well and good wish you subscribe to what you have described as a personal set of beliefs.
        My question is; why do you feel the need to share them with others?
        • Jun 28 2013: hey little bunny, did you see something funny

          You look like the guy from NYPD-blue! Or was it Law & Order the original series!
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        Jun 28 2013: Again your questions are all personal ones.

        RE: " I know enough neuroscience to compete w/Sam Harris "

        You have yet to establish that to anyone here.
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    Jun 25 2013: I watched the talk. "I'm not sayin' that God is an entangled particle . . . " All things taken together, he makes some good points. Nothing is definitive in the parallel perspectives he presents. But the similarities in concept are there. Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins might "cut him off at the knees" in a debate. But I respect his approach. "What is really real?" Good question.

    What follows is my amateur-hobby attempt to engage as a Christian Apologist. I've got a long way to go to make a book out of this (ever!). But I believe that 90% of all scientists & theologians would find substantial agreement with the following 4 statements. They might not find agreement BETWEEN them, but I think what is here is NOT offensive to either discipline. Not within Theology. Not within Science. Between Science vs. Theology YES! But no offense within the context that Christian Theology uses to approach these issues. Not w/in the approach that Sciences uses, either!

    1. There will always be more that is unknown than known. Science & Religion both tell us this is true, but for different reasons.
    2. No supernatural phenomena will ever be discovered or validated by science. Science & Religion both tell us this is true, but for different reasons.
    3. Religion/Faith/God is Mankind's “Default Theory of Absolutely Everything.” Science & Religion both tell us this is true, but for VERY different reasons.
    4. God is a 'unique, communal, authoritative, transcendent, & personal' experience. Science & Religion both tell us this is true, but for VERY different reasons.

    Please have the courage to 'Black Flag' this if I am either offensive or grossly off-topic here. I will voluntarily remove what's here if requested. Thank you.
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    Jun 25 2013: Hi Cory,

    I watched the Talk and I believe that all he's doing is assigning the God feature to whatever it is science can not yet explain. Like when he explains the thing about quantum mechanics (energy of an atom escaping) as atomic mechanics and since it does not behave as we have predicted by one model it "must be God"...

    I find his arguments weak, maybe you haven't watched enough Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet or Harris?

    And I would suggest changing the title if you want to keep this to the Talk and not the topic...
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      Jun 25 2013: Jimmy, I agree w/you (& I'm the guy who claims to be the amateur Apologist).

      Psychology & "The Theory of Mind;" Evolutionary Biology & Anthropology; Developmental Psychology; even Neuro-Psychology; the picture these guys are putting together makes it really look like we are HARD wired to believe in Something. And as to Something, God fills in that perceived void quite well. For some of us that is more true than for others. For me, my fundamentalist training was well underway by the time I was seven years old. So I might be "Hard-wired-for-God" in such a way that a liberating dose of 'Agnostic Thinking' causes me much more anxiety than not! I can demonstrate at least that much self-awareness. But getting beyond that? Maybe there is another way for me to get where I need to be on that issue. And maybe there is a way to make that work in a way that is transparent and acceptable as valid -- to even the most hard-shell Atheist!

      But the theists have a point. But that much I'll save until I can get closer to what I mean, by responding to someone else on this conversation.
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      Jun 25 2013: "all he's doing is assigning the God feature to whatever it is science can not yet explain."~ is this not the basic idea of god to scientist ...god of gaps?

      before the gaps were called god now the gaps are called science
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    Jun 25 2013: Science deals with the physical world a world that can be measured, length, depth, mass, density and temperature are just a few obvious measurements. What they all have in common is they are limited – they have a beginning and an end or a fixed number. The temperature of a body is a fixed number, not an infinite number. The distance of a star is X numbers of light years but not infinity. My IQ is 80 but certainly not infinite. A god by definition is unlimited – god has no limitations. He or She is almighty all knowing all – whatever. So, if a god were to take on limitations, then she or he would no longer be god – or a god. In order to interact with the physical world – or universe a being or a god must have limits. A god with an unlimited hand could not create, mend or bend anything in a physical world. A being must have a hand or attachment that is small, medium or large in order to interact with the physical world but must remain limited in it’s use. Thus, god must be a spiritual being if she or he exists at all. As such god only stands by and watches the world spin round and round. She’s waiting for you! Maybe!
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      Jun 25 2013: Hi Vince.
      I agree with your analysis. You have just given a potted version of the bible.
      Jesus Christ created the universe.
      He came to earth & lived among us for 33yrs.
      He returned to eternity.
      He will be back shortly.

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      Jun 25 2013: What would you describe as a spiritual being? Within infinity for these measurements, where should we start counting?

      A yard? One postulate was that the yard was derived from the girth of a person's waist, while another claim held that the measure was invented by Henry I of England as being the distance between the tip of his nose and the end of his thumb.[14]

      And to me a yard is green/brown grass behind my house
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    Jun 24 2013: Hi Cory.
    I believe Bryan is exactly correct. Science & God can both be real, but humans tend to have their own agendas which tends to put them in one camp or another. IF there really is a God, then Science should help us find Him. It worked for me!
    The water is greatly muddied by the plethora of claims for pseudo gods, & science making claims for which there is no real scientific backing. If we can narrow down god to one who is indicated by true scientific endeavour, then we may get somewhere. Materialistic science will never prove God however. One must assume that any True God, in the sense of Creator, would have furnished us with 'God Sensing' equipment built in, so it seems only Faith can make the final step.

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        Jun 24 2013: The overwhelming number of candidates for the job are described as males with human characteristics. However modern sensibilities may be uncomfortable with this preconception. As far as the science goes, I agree that the form of god should take should be decided by the evidence.
        Whether we should attribute sex to a god is a moot point. Surely this would only be relevant if here were two of them ?
        I am a Christian, please excuse my bias.

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          Jun 25 2013: One rabbi told me, in Hebrew Saint Spirit is she, a female. So it`s a complete family in Cristianity - God father, Spirit-mother and the son. So how many gods in what genders Christianity has?
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        Jun 25 2013: Gender is not really important for Christians for we are all one in Christ.
        Galatians 3v28
        "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
        Our eternal state is unlikely to have genders.
        Mark 12v25
        "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."
        The Christian God is Triune, or Three in One, Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. The Father & Holy Spirit are Spiritual Beings; so gender does not apply. The Son, of course, is Jesus Christ, who was a man, but is now a " Glorified " human. He is God, the Creator whom we worship. He came to earth as a man, & left earth as a man. Judging by Mark it seems likely that He is no longer gender sensitive. Christian women are quite happy to worship Christ without a care whether He is a male. He came to earth to connect with mankind (That includes women).
        I'm going to stop this nonsense now, it's irrelevant.

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        Jun 25 2013: The fact is that the world is run by men; that's just the way it is. The bible tells us why, but you may have other explanation. I don't think this has much to do with the topic.

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    Jun 24 2013: Because of natures of the two , there can't be any debate about these....even if it happens it will be never ending one. Proof ? TED conversation itself is.....number of such discussions are out there here .
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      Jun 25 2013: So you are saying that the duality of life and the paradoxical nature of existence is why we can not explain in a god?

      It seems to me you might not have a complete understanding of two.

      Check out how the egyptians defined two with Maat and Isfet
      The chinese use yin and yang
      The scientist uses Newtons third law

      All of which are talking about the same thing from a different perspective. Which is all anyone can do is give their individual perspective. That is all I can do, that is all anyone can do, and I would say that is all god can do

      However when you want to talk about nature or the observable world there is no two outside of paper. Everything is an individual representation of what it is to be that one thing.
  • Jun 24 2013: The most disturbing thing about science is that it is viewed as the absolute truth by the masses. Not dissimilar to the religious fervor of days gone by - and in particular where no believers of the current truth were persecuted and often killed for challenging what was the accepted and popular position. This in itself is an abomination as science in it's true form is fluid and evolutionary - there is no absolute truth as what is a truism now will be a misconception or error in the future once we learn more and disprove historic views. In my view there is a risk that science can be viewed as an absolute truth - and therefore exposed to a religious type fervor .
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    Jul 23 2013: Perhaps the most interesting connection between science is what science tells us about the psychology and cognative and cultural drivers behind religious thought, eg hyper active agency assumption etc
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      Jul 23 2013: Don't you think that the psychology and cognative and cultural drivers behind scientific thought were also (and still are) e.g. hyper active agency assumption etc ?

      Indeed they were , if you get blocked of this things and refuse to move forward then you're lost for religion as well as for science .
  • Jul 22 2013: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to todays main event. A battle of biblical proportions. The might of the all powerful, all knowing, the creater of the universe, GOD, takes on the new kid in town, SCIENCE.
    But wait, what's this? I have just been informed and I'm sorry to report that GOD is a no show.
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    Jul 16 2013: I really cannot understand what this debate is about since I have poor English skills (sorry;;). But, assuming from the title "Science vs. God," I have a question to ask: Is there any intersection of those two groups, or are they completely separate?
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      Jul 21 2013: That's a so general question !!!
  • Jul 8 2013: I do not think that religion and science conflict. Science is about studying how the world works.

    Religion is about believing in something beyond the physical world. Maybe it is the why?
    Key word: belief. If you could prove Gods existence with science, then the existence of God would be paramount to the existence of the Eiffel Tower.
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      Jul 9 2013: hi betty, dont some parts of some religions make claims relating to this universe?

      like how the universe and humans came to be.

      alsoo directives on how humans shoukd act in this universe.
      • Jul 9 2013: Most religions have what they call a creation story. Okay, so there is a "creation story." That is what it is called. I sat through church and listened about a sermon about this creation story. The pastor emphasized that it was a STORY.

        Also, think about when the Old Testament was written. If one is trying to explain the formation of the universe to people 10 thousand years ago, you are not going to try to explain it with quarks, dark energy, or even forces. The story would be incomprehensible to the people.

        Also, on the first day, God said let there be light. Well, a day is defined in terms of the sky, the earth and light and dark. More specifically, the amount of time it takes for the earth to spin on its axis one full rotation. The "day" is when it is light. The "night" is when it is dark. It is clear that before the sky and the land was created, there could be no notion of day and night like there is now. Everyone can tell that this is a story to explains creation, but obviously it did not happen in a day or even a year. Native american tribes have stories about creation as well. We view them as stories. Honestly, as a creation story goes, it is rather accurate.

        You need a creation story in any culture. Since they did not have modern particle physics, they could not use that to describe it. I doubt any creation story created before 1900s would be acceptable if you took it for fact. The thing is, it is called a story, and aptly so.

        Yes, there are some people who do not "believe" in evolution. These people, the evangelicals and extremists are the most vocal Christians, but they are not the majority.
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          Jul 10 2013: We seem to agree literal interpretations of religious creation stories often clash with science.

          Whether they were intended to be metaphorical or literal is up for debate.
  • Jul 2 2013: He relates God as something "mystical"... the outlier in scientific ideas. But the first part of his talk didn't really convince me. He's trying to explain a connection when human science is yet at a loss in that topic. Science is about discovering something. Just because science can't explain it doesn't make it something religious. For all you know, all "religious" concepts/mysteries do have a scientific explanation and we just havn't discovered it yet because we are still learning about it. He talks as if we already have discovered every natural law and science has stopped investigating everything and that is i believe his mistake. Just because there is no scientific explanation doesn't mean there will never be one.
    Just for a moment, If i ASSUME that God does exist... im very sure he will operate under the scientific laws he created (almost all of which we are still clueless about).
  • Jun 30 2013: Firstly, i feel that most people get the idea of god wrongly and thus reject it. They often associate god with supernatural stuff. Its wrong.. God is simply someone who we follow/look up to and want to learn their values, maybe because when they were alive , or are stil alive, did something wise/noble/good/charitable/heroic. Thus we feel that we want to look up to them to learn all these values to be a better person. Many of the times you will see supernatural things associated with god in media. I think this is just what humans made up or feel strongly because of the stereotype in the society. For those who are wondering why supernatural stuff is often associated with god, heres my perception: As many people look up to god and think that they are noble and wise, when they are in difficulty, they would want gods to help them answer to their questions(if they are still alive eg in india some ppl pray to human beings who they deem wise) . This is nothing wrong, just looking up to them and asking them like teacher-student relationship. But overtime, more n more people would ask/pray because of other trivial matters eg if you are scared. And overtime, it evolved to relate to supernaturality
    I have many friends who didnt want a religion because they dont believe in supernatural stuff and believe more in factual stuff:Science.
    Instead, i feel that Science and God/religion can be incorporated. Science teaches us about everything around us while Religion teaches us about whats in our hearts(humanity). Religion is basically teaching us to be a better person while science teaches us about everything. Definitely all of you do not doubt religion teaches us good values and to be a better person right? All religion(except cult) teaches us to be good just that it is in different ways be it harsh or gentle.
    Therefore i do not think there should be any God vs Science. Its just God&Science. They are friends that teach us different aspects.
    Hope i have made a constructive view
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      Jul 3 2013: So when a religion says we should kill homosexuals or the tribe next door that is making us a better person?
      • Jul 3 2013: I think Daryl stated her definition of a religion and that is "religion teaches us good values and to be a better person..". Killing others is not part of her argument of what is a good religion.
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          Jul 4 2013: im just suggesting that not all religious instructions make us better people.

          some religious morals or instructions are sexist, homophobic, rascist etc. probably reflecting the time, place and culture in which they were written.

          i dont know ifviolence, sexism, homiphobia is part of daryls religious outliook. i hope not.

          maybe you can cherry pick positive morak guidence from religious traditions. the basis used to determine what is morally good and what is bad in these religious texts is probably a better starting point than what is commanded or edorsed such as slavery or genocide.

          i also suggest you can consider what a good life is with out religious connections. simply asking how can i reduce suffering and improvevthe human condition.
      • Jul 4 2013: I agree with your opinion that not all religious instructions make us better people. Although i was merely raising daryll's idea of God which apparently excludes issues of violence, sexism and homophobia as you mentioned because it doesn't seem to be part of her vision of God. For some people religion is part of life, it is how they were raised OR how they "discovered" life. Unfortunately we cannot just question these people with regards to where they found happiness and that makes dealing with religion very complicated. People will die for it because it is their life structure. Sometimes I do wonder how could a single God teach different things to different people... i try to think that maybe God just wants us to be good and help each other and unfortunately human religious leaders of the past had other ideas which ultimately shaped each cultures understanding of God. When will these ideas unify themselves?... i wish i knew.
      • Jul 6 2013: So, the Pharisees came up to Jesus and asked for a sign. He said, "Only a foolish and adulterous generation asks for a sign."

        You can look at this many ways, but one way to look at it is to say that God wants man to think. The basic paradigm of the Pharisees was one of the worship of power. To them God was a powerful being that demanded obedience. To them, even though he got the scriptures right, Jesus was a pantywaist milquetoast. They couldn't stand his teaching about love. They couldn't see any power in it.

        Several times Jesus described the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law as highly ordered, but lacking in the more important aspects of the law: love, justice, faithfulness, etc. These things take thought and careful deliberation. They need both weakness and strength to succeed. The blind following of who is more powerful or who is to be most venerated does nothing but get in the way.

        Jesus was trying to get them to see that his teaching about love was something they could receive either by believing his words or by examining his arguments in the light of reason. Just as an atheist might say treating people right is something they could arrive at without the need for religion so too did Jesus say that his teaching was something you could arrive at without the need for divine revelation or spectacular proof. The fact that you can doesn't disprove God. Instead it puts assertions of the presence of God into a totally different perspective. Why should God be unreasonable?
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          Jul 9 2013: want the claimed ressurrection a sign.arent there sorts of niracles signs and winders in the bible.

          if signs are so foolish then why are so many asserted to have happened.

          i suggest only a fool accepts extraordinary claims without sufficient evidence.

          by the way a ressurection does not prove a god exists capable of creating universes.
      • Jul 8 2013: People can use religion as an excuse to do horrible things. Just like people use politics as an excuse to do horrible things. That does not mean that religion is inherently bad. It just means that people will use anything as an excuse to do something.
    • Jul 3 2013: Daryl, I wish I would have agreed with your statements but sadly it wouldn't be shared by most religious people. As much as people look at God as a model being, they also look at God as an omnipotent, everlasting being with the capacity to punish those who do not follow him via hell. This however depends on the religion.. Buddhism would probably be similar to your views because the Buddha strives to teach people to improve themselves and help others. The Christian religion is almost the same in philosophy but worship is part of the practice... songs of praise to God and doing good in the eyes of God. in other words.... God's approval is needed. Same thing with some religious extremism like islamist. They will harm others because they believe God approves of their action.
      You are correct that all religion teaches us to be good. But it is a bit more complicated than that.. Religion has its own philosophy and belief systems that are subject to interpretation depending on the culture of the people within it and therefore being "good" is not universal.. you need to fulfill the religion's requirements to be a true "believer" and being good is just one of those requirements.
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        Jul 5 2013: i agree that many god or goddess concepts involve beings that are not human.

        although is history plenty of humans have been considered gods from king to pharohs and heros. even jesus was deified by some.

        if the person is just human worthy of respect then why use the term god with all its supernatural baggage.

        jeff i would add that not all supernatural gods and goddesses are omni gods such as the jewish god evolved to be. the hindu gods, olympian gods etc are not omni gods.

        the core judeo christian muslim gods are just 3 out of thousands.and about as many interpretations of these as there are denominations and believers.

        even yahwehs omni nature is inconsistent when his help couldnt overcome enemies with iron chariots.
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    Jun 30 2013: Science is not a religion. That's what people don't understand. And people also don't understand what "God" is. Or what religion is. To me;
    God=allegory for the harmony of existence
    Religion=allegories for explaining the world without sophisticated means
    Science=rational method of explaining what is going on around us

    Religion and Science are trying to do the exactly same thing; explaining existence. It's just that religion approaches it by worshipping it and personalising it, which in my opinion is not right because the Universe isn't made for humans -we have been there for some thousands of years while the universe is hundreds of billions of years old. Religious institutions, the reasons religion is so corrupt, promote sticking to beliefs too hard, which is in my opinion wrong as well. However, religion holds great wisdom.

    The main innovation of Science, the new way to explain the world, is that you don't have to stick to beliefs; you have to question everything to reach a conclusion. That's why you can't say "I believe in Science" -science is not a belief system. It doesn't tell you how to live your life.

    Actually, nobody should tell you how to live your life. As I see it, the best we can do is take wisdom from both sectors and avoid being superstitious or materialistic. Personally, I don't like religions, because I want to be objective; I want to accept the truth as it is, and this means that I have to be able to alter my beliefs. Religion puts a limit on that.

    Science provides us with an amazing insight of what the world is and how it works, but as it isn't a belief system, it doesn't propose values to live by. Religion does, and it is necessary because in the corrupted world of today, it is hard to have a healthy conscience that lets you be kind and loving without being fearful of some judge that is going to punish you if you aren't as he wishes you to be.So what we need to develop is a healthy conscience, not debate whether science or religion is better.
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      Jul 3 2013: I completely disagree fear of divine judgement is required to develop a healthy conscience.

      I suggest fear is not the source of a healthy conscience.

      A desire to lead a good life, a hope to help others is the source of a healthy conscience.

      Fear is the most unhealthy way to influence behaviour.

      If you onlydo good out of fear it is not really that good is it?

      Only a sick conscience needs fear.
  • Jun 29 2013: One problem nobody mentions is that in order to talk about this the way you are trying to, the first thing you ought to do is to remove the 'science' from God. A huge percentage of what passes for religion is not based on any kind of religious insight or intuition. It is instead the evolutionary paradigm masquerading as religion. In this way gays have always been held down, women have been held down, and men have been emasculated in their approach to God.

    Take away the evolutionary paradigm, which has been afraid of anything that even smells like a cause for the human genome not to be passed along, and then reexamine religion. Then you are left not with an absurdity, but a persona. Not a wall, but a way.

    Judge not, lest you be judged is the beginning of the scientific method. God, in almost every instance of communication with man, has tried to get man to understand what that means. Only by viewing the world with the kind of thinking that comes with the scientific method can an individual free their personal understanding of religion from the evolutionary paradigm. Only with that way of thinking can they actually see God.
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    Jun 29 2013: Have you ever considered that a Jewish Rabbi named Jesus - took reciprocity/compassion and made it militant. Reciprocity as a defiant and intrusive social-interaction? Isn't that the core of what Jesus taught. Abandon yourself for the benefit of others. And over the millenia, what have we done with that? 

    Ever hear of psychological reciprocity? Matthew 7:31 & Luke 6:31 offer between them an exceptionally clear statement of what that theory is. In describing "Theory of Mind," Wikipedia originally cited "The Golden Rule" w/o attribution. Now there is a link. Jesus was not the first. He just said it, & that's how it got to us! Should neuroscience cite those ancient/religious observers as they describe their experiments? And as science validates both their original observations, and their ancient conclusions on reciprocity - should they cite both chapter & verse?

    Did it ever trouble Einstein; or did he ever dare consider that Genesis 1:2-3 makes a fundamental physical statement from which his theory of Relativity must originate. Physical statement! And if he did not dare, was that bad science?

    Carl Sagan was an Atheist. He saw the beauty of the Cosmos & called it Cosmology. My Pastor sees the beauty of the Cosmos & calls that God. Where's the problem? Starting with a very basic observation - made by Carl Sagan: about turtles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down

    To that, I can only offer this notable observation: Genesis 1:2-3, does not read: "Let there be turtles!"
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      Jun 29 2013: Juan,
      Professor Einstein "Annus Mirabilis" papers cites Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Heinrich Hertz, Christian Doppler, and Hendrik Lorentz. It does not have any references to any other publications. The book of Genesis or any other religious book were not required at all.
      DR. Sagan states the infinite regression problem, (who created the creator? and backwards...) Which is answered in Christian circles with a special pleading that states that God " is uncaused,timeless,immaterial,space-less,enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being" .
      Of course all the above mentioned is assumed as true(no proof needed) , Am I doing alright, or Am I doing alright?-Petitio principii.
      Science does not validate all ancient observations and conclusions as true regardless of the source.
      Consider:"And it is We who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it."(The Qur'an, 51:47) The word "heaven", as stated in this verse, is used in various places in the Qur'an with the meaning of space and universe. Here again, the word is used with this meaning. In other words, in the Qur'an it is revealed that the universe "expands". And this is the very conclusion that science has reached today.
      Would you agree Juan that the ancients that wrote the Qur'an Knew about the expanding universe like physicist Alexander Friedmann and cosmologist Georges Lemaitre that theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding.? Or try the observational data of Hubble.
      So while still unknown to anyone the Qur'an was privy to the fact, and according to Christians Relativity originates in Genesis.
      I would love to see the evidence for such lucidly explained.

      "Contra los valores afectivos no valen razones, porque las razones no son nada más que razones, es decir, ni siquiera verdad."-Unamuno
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        Jun 29 2013: Working on a response. This is really good! This is my favorite kind of response . . . one that gets me thinking & doing research to update my ideas. You have given me HOMEWORK! Thank you!

        "My religion is to seek for truth in life and for life in truth, even knowing that I shall not find them while I live." Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (29 September 1864 - 31 December 1936) Wikipedia. Get me on board with that PLEASE! "Un am uno" = "I am one." Me too!

        I was able to download "A Tragic Sense of Life" - which I 1) intend to read TODAY! and 2) intend to ask you about (here) if I have any questions!

        God give my English readers that inextinguishable thirst for truth which
        I desire for myself. MIGUEL DE UNAMUNO.

        I need to learn to read Spanish! Everything is always better in the original language. (Google Image "Juan Valdez" & you'll see where that comes from . . "Mountain grown, it's the richest kind" That stuck in my head when I was a kid. I thought that was really cool - before I had even learned to drink coffee. Now I can't live w/o it!) Wish me luck!

        Also, got links to any more of his works?

        Also, consider turning ON your TEDmail feature. You can email TED members anonymously. I have before and you specific email address is protected. You won't earn any 'spam' by doing that. I can then email you or email you back through TED's server. I've communicated w/several TEDsters that way and I haven't had any bad luck w/that (yet). It seems safe.

        From your profile - you are two years younger than me! And I decided that I was 'almost-old' when it dawned on me that when my grandfather was my age, I was five. I'd thought you were a college student . . .

        Looking over your past posts, you say: "Faith and Science are mutually exclusive . . ." My response: No, they don't have to be. Apples & oranges. I have a very good example of that I'll share (later).
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          Jun 29 2013: Juan,
          I'm filled with joy with your decision to engage Miguel de Unamuno's philosophy. I do recommend to anyone that wants to meet Unamuno's mind the "nivola" Mist or Niebla (sp) http://www.vicentellop.com/TEXTOS/unamuno/niebla.pdf (original text in Spanish),
          http://www.janushead.org/7-2/bradatan.pdf (this one in english!)
          La mejor manera de leer a Unamuno es en Español y cuanto antes,mejor.

          “Without risk, faith is an impossibility.” S. Kierkegaard
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          Jun 30 2013: Juan,
          Unamuno thought contrary to Hegel (all that is rational is real, and all that is real is rational) that what really is real, is irrational; that reason is built upon irrationality, for Unamuno life and reason are two opposite poles, what’s vital is irrational and what’s rational is anti-vital, like two strata of reality: what’s apparent and what’s real. What is apparent covers nature phenomena and the rational. The other is noumenal, the irrational, hidden latent forces cloaked away from reason, thus the tragic sense of life. Man has his back against the wall between faith and reason; mankind is aware that faith is incompatible with reason and yet needs both. Neither can he live sheltered only by reason nor embraced only by faith. The “man of flesh and blood” has not escaped either, rather oscillates perpetually between both.
          Like Goya (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), reason produces nightmares for Unamuno; nightmares arise from the inability to contradict it. The truth is the truth placed at the scene of reality like the afternoon when Colonel Buendia discovered ice for the first time, is undeniable. Or like a chess player solving a mate in 7 moves, once solved the solution is real. There as a true Ghost, whose factuality erases areas of irrationality that are so precious to mankind. Unamuno struggles, for truth is a matter of contention since there is insufficient access to reality to accesses it, only pennies, nickels and dimes and not the whole chessboard, pieces or rules to solve the puzzle. The only thing left for Unamuno is that faith cannot exist without reason and reality without the enigma.

          PS I welcome your Positive Energy, Quite refreshing here at TED! Thank you!
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      Jul 3 2013: Confucius beat Jesus on the golden rule by about 500 years.

      And he has no relation to the evil god Yahweh in the old testament.
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        Jul 3 2013: Yup! I looked it up before I made that post. Jesus just gets cited/credited for that in Christian culture. History & 2000 years of citation within the sum total of Christian theology credit Jesus as an independent thinker on the issue of reciprocity. Judaism cites Leviticus 19:18 as an earlier reference. That reference might be as old or older than Confucius.

        Jesus probably had the most militant take on The Golden Rule. His teaching suggest that his entire philosophy of faith/belief was founded upon reciprocity. There may be hard-wiring in our brains that makes reciprocity work for us - as that concept is now being validated by science (researchers in social psychology) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule

        If there exists a clearer or more militant statement of The Golden Rule (of reciprocity) as taught to the followers of Jesus - I'd like to hear about it! Jesus had some interesting ideas.

        There is an old, Gnostic Gospel that suggests that Jesus was, in fact, an identical twin. Another fragment suggests that King Herrod illegitimately fathered identical twins. That Gospel allegedly contains intra-textual 'commandments' as to secrecy; i.e. (paraphrasing) "God commands this text remain SECRET for all ages - or else! Thunder/Lightning & die a horrible death to burn in hell"

        Allegedly, that text is now in private hands & now remains secret by court order (or the foreign equivalent). You have to make a case before a judge to even SEE the text. And initially, the court won't even admit that the text exists. Apparently, the 'owner' of the text has, thereby, lost control of it.

        That text allegedly gives the 'details' of the fraud from the point-of-view of Priests who engineered it. One twin was going to be crucified (to death) & the other twin, once 'resurrected' - was going to assume his identity and become the next "Kind David." Didn't work out that way. What we got instead was another world monotheist religion replacing old paganism
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          Jul 4 2013: the golden rule seems to have popped up independently in different cultures at different times.

          it is profound but not really rocket science.

          its the best part of the bible imo.

          if jesus promoted this, good on him.

          i just get a bit tired of some suggested jesus invented the idea.

          the gnostic stuff is fascinating. although its oretty hard to know what happened.