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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 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."

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Science-Without-Religion-is-Lame-Religion-Without-Science-is-Blind-85550.shtml
    • 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.

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