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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 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.

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