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Cory Warshaw

Curator @ TEDxUCDavis, TEDxUCDavis

TEDCRED 500+

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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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    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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