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Harun A.M Hassan

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GOD vs SCIENCE

Most of the worlds population believe in some sort of higher being, deity, god... even though the world of science has produced things that would make many people think twice about how things function... there are much more simpler things such as yawning which actually has no scientific explanation I'd like to know what the TED community has to say...?

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    Jan 29 2014: I've never seen any conflict between science and religion. Science is God's rulebook for running the universe. What's the problem with that?
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      Jan 29 2014: nuthing at all mate :)
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      Feb 5 2014: What about religious beliefs or claims or writing that conflicts with science, such as the universe is 6000 years old, donkeys can talk, winged horses exist, people can walk on water, that babies come from blood clots, invisible beings control weather and cause floods, and earthquakes, and that the rule book does not apply to many god concepts?
      • Feb 5 2014: well is not all religion made by humans? if we believe in an all knowing god, that does not mean that we know all, so we can make sometimes wrong assumptions.
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          Feb 7 2014: Humans can get it wrong whether any gods exist or not.

          science is a relatively useful tool for understanding objective reality, and works whether there are gods or goddesses or not.

          the problem with the initial claim that science is gods rulebook is probably that there is insufficient evidence or train to support most god concepts.

          it presumes a god exists for no good reason as far as I can tell

          it's probably a side issue that the claims about god's and their nature and instructions are found alongside false claims about reality.
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        Feb 10 2014: If you read a thousand year old science book, I’m sure you could find conflicts with today’s science. The earth is flat and you can fall-off, leaches can purify the blood, the earth is the center of the universe, some humans are a different species, alchemy can turn lead into gold, etc.
        So what about old science beliefs or claims or writing that conflicts with modern science? Should we dismiss all science because old claims? No!
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          Feb 11 2014: It seems you are confusing science and false beliefs. There was many discoveries made by the early cultures.
          " From the 18th century through late 20th century, the history of science, especially of the physical and biological sciences, was often presented in a progressive narrative in which true theories replaced false beliefs.[1]"
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science
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    Jan 29 2014: the real question is one type of person vs another type of person.

    the fact that there is a versus in the equation is quite revealing about how many people feel a need to set parameters for their own beliefs by denouncing what they consider to be an opposing view.

    considering that god is an element of humanity's spiritual side and that science is a method of observing the physical world, i'm not sure why people continue to rehash this somewhat banal topic as a tit vs tat.

    maybe a development and moving on from this rut would be to ask why people care what others think about their beliefs..?
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      Feb 1 2014: could not of put it any better way myself
      Lakum Dinukum Waliyadin= you follow yours and I shall follow mine
    • Timo X

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      Feb 9 2014: Banal? Your naive dualism is the real banality. I'm sorry, but your 'innovation' is as old as Plato's cave. Unlike you, thinkers of the past at least considered the implications and problems of dualism. The idea that there is a realm of existence for the unobservable, i.e. your 'spiritual side to humanity', is an audacious and completely unsubstantiated lie people tell themselves to soothe their fear of death. There is no greater form of self-deception than fencing off religious ideas from scientific method. The price of this lie is the halting of self-development, the condemnation of curiosity, and, ultimately, the occlusion of scientific progress.
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        Feb 9 2014: yes, god and science are both obvious and boring in the context of this kind of debate.

        innovation? no, not from me. just an opinion, like yours.

        people are the central point here - god and science are hobbies and past-times.

        self-delusion is insidious, i agree. it's humankind's strongest trait and the hardest to spot when one is wallowing in it.
        • Timo X

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          Feb 9 2014: My initial comment was deleted because it apparently violated Ted's terms of use. Although I have trouble understanding this judgement, I will nevertheless rephrase.

          ""just an opinion, like yours."
          Not all opinions are created equal. Some are better than others by virtue of being based on logic and observation. A lot of time and effort has been invested in the formation of such an opinion. Espousing that one's opinion is as worthy as anyone's, simply by virtue of being an opinion, is comparable to arguing that the brown stains one leaves in the toilet bowl are as worthy of being in a museum as Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. In my eyes, the people who do so look rather foolish.
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    Jan 31 2014: Suggest it is actually religion or some religious beliefs versus modern science....
    not god versus science.


    Perhaps it's a bit presumptuous to say god when there is no agreement as to whether there is one, many, or none, and.no agree ment even amongst mono theists .

    if you ask people to define God you get many different definitions which may indicate there is little evidence of any gods or the details of such, leaving it up to human speculation.

    which to me brings up the most profound issue of god beliefs and science, the lack of reason and evidence for most god beliefs at their core, the leveraging of our cognitive and psychological weaknesses, whereas science is the very opposite as much as humanly possible
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    Jan 29 2014: I understand the human phenomena people call God.
    I understand the rational application of Science.

    So why is it God VS Science?
    • Jan 31 2014: It should not be "God" versus science, it should be fantasy versus science. Reason being that some people have come to believe in some fantasies and think that those fantasies trump evidence. That is dangerous to the extreme. From people battling against scientific funding, against vaccination, against homosexuality, against whatever. So, one more change, it should be why is it fantasy versus reason? Answer: because when fantasy challenges reason we have problems.
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      Feb 1 2014: Linda and Entropy,
      I've asked this question a lot since participating in TED conversations.....why do people see this issue as god VS science? I have lots of friends and family who believe in both science and a religion/god. It makes sense to me, that if there is a god who created everything, she/he/it would have created the process of evolution, and also, the processes of scientific exploration. So, for some folks to say that there is a god who created everything and everyone EXCEPT evolution/science doesn't make any sense at all.

      But then.....there are quite a lot of religious/god beliefs and dogma that do not make sense, so this appears to be another contradictory element to some religions.

      Lejan brings up a good point... "peace of mind". What beliefs give people peace of mind? Contentment? Those are the beliefs people will probably embrace....which seems fine.....UNTILL they impose their beliefs on others.

      I agree that the challenge occurs when people who believe strongly in their personal beliefs, protest the teaching of science and evolution in schools, battle against scientific funding, vaccination, against homosexuality, bomb women's health clinics injuring and killing people because they do not believe in abortion, etc.

      When those practices, which adversely impact other people, are carried out under the guise of religion, it becomes a problem and a challenge for the global society.
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    Feb 11 2014: God has been defined by humans and science has defied those definitions.

    If people would accept the fact that we are incapable of defining something divine then we would be more open to the science that could prove the existence of divinity just not in a way that we ever thought of before.
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      Feb 11 2014: Deities come in many various forms. One of the fallacies of the question here, "Most of the worlds population believe in some sort of higher being, deity, god..." is that many many people belief in more than one god, such as Hindu beliefs. Divinity, from Latin divinitas, from divinus, means ‘belonging to a deity,’ but which deity? The fact that humans worship many different gods allows us to speculate that deities are invention of the human mind. And there is science to support this.
  • Feb 6 2014: Here's some food for thought. One of the main achievements of science (in my mind at least) has been the lengthening of our life expectancy. I just came upon an article though that states the average life expectancy of the amish is 72, and has been for about 300 years now. There is a lot of criticism of the amish way of life in our society and I'm not sure this is the place to debate it, but this seems to me to be an example of the idea that there are many paths to living responsibly and healthily.
    • Feb 11 2014: I highly doubt the life expectancy of any group that shuns modern medicine is that high.
      Or perhaps it actually is that high, and they're simply more accepting of modern medicine then other modern things.

      Don't blindly believe everything you read.
      • Feb 11 2014: Ha! Thats fair of course there's a lot of nonsense on the internet. The article said the Amish use home remedies when possible and modern care when necessary. If I recall, the study relied on the family histories of the Amish for some of the data, I suppose there could be inaccuracies there too.
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      Feb 11 2014: I agree Jacob, that there are many paths to living responsibly and healthy. Do you have a link to that article? I did a quick search and cannot find anything to substantiate your claim, and it would be interesting to read.
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          Feb 11 2014: Great Jacob.....could you post at least one of them here? Thanks:>)
      • Feb 11 2014: gerontology.umaryland.edu/documents/Advances_in_Aging_fall031.pdf

        Sorry, took me a minute to find it, its a link to a university of maryland pdf. But I found it in the internet so it might not be true, ha ha just giving you a hard time Nadav. I actually had to go to the university of Maryland website and search for "Amish".
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      Feb 11 2014: There is evidence that many things in our life style will increase our life expectancy. Spiritual belief is only a small part of this. See "Blue Zones."
      http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html
      • Feb 11 2014: Disregard my other response, I had my wires crosse about the obesity. The pdf said they have a similar rate of obesity but half the rate of diabetes.

        Edit: ill check out your link, even though I don't really have any desire to live to a hundred, ugh. Wears me out just thinking about it.
  • Jan 31 2014: I have come to see religion and science as different languages that we use to describe to ourselves the nature of reality. I imagine this could offend the sensibilities of some of the atheistic members of the TED community. Many would claim that the scientific method is the only way to truth and I would nottry to argue the practical benefits the this method has brought us, but consider this, that the scientific method doesn't give us truth, only information. It is up to us to interpret this information and therein lies the catch. All you have to do is look at the evolution of scientific theories over the centuries to see that though the information given to us by the scientific method is verifiable, our interpretation of that information is not always the "truth". Iadmit that it is a difficult thing to do and may(or may not) slow progress, but I think we should loosen our death grip on facts, if only to recognize the fact that we are capable of misinterpreting things and have consistently done so through the ages. I am no scientist and have no formal education to speak of but I have in the least been entertained by books like THE TAO OF PHYSICS and THE DANCING WU LI MASTERS that compare some of the concepts put forth by Taoism and Buddhism and draw correlations to modern physics. If there are real physicists here in the ccommunity, I am interested in their thoughts on the validity (or lack there of) of these books and others like them.
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      Feb 1 2014: Really no disrespect intended to Atheists of OUR beloved TED community all I'm trying to figure out is whether or not God is compatible with Science? that's all Jacob........
      • Feb 1 2014: I mispoke, I meant that my statement of science and religion being different languages used ti describe the same universe that we all share seems to offend the strictly scientific mind, not your topic or question. As to the compatibility I would only saythat the large number of prominent scientists through the years that maintained religious belief suggests that there is no conflict from the scientific community as a whole, and that there are examples of the same from the religious community. For instance, the Dalai lama has consistently made efforts to conform buddhist doctrine to what modern science tells us.
      • Feb 1 2014: In order to know that Harun, you would have to specify what this thing you call "God" is supposed to be and to have done. For example, some believe in some version of a god that is somehow, but not really, the one described in the Christian Bible. When asked further, well, not really everything about this god described in the bible because the descriptions are here and there metaphorical, there and here True[TM], etc, etc (with little agreement on what and how to distinguish the metaphorical from the True). Anyway, if we go by the Bible, we find contradictory gods. Sometimes there's many, sometimes just one. Other times this god gets sick if he gets close to iron, other times it's all powerful. Sometimes he created the whole thing in seven days, in an order that contradicts what we know from science, then the conflict(s) start. If people believe in a god that created or did something that scientific findings contradict, then those gods are not compatible with science.

        So, the problem, from where I stand, is that if we are just used to not being too specific about this "God," and move what this god is and has done, we can have a god that's compatible with science. But I would have to question: what use is a belief that should never be specified enough just to keep it safe? What about we just admit that we are playing with an imaginary character and grow up? What about stop believing that there's this god that we have just admitted to be whatever we imagine as long as we can keep such imaginary being far from being touched by scientific advances?
  • Jan 30 2014: I believe God vs. Science is a false dichotomy. The question promotes a conflict that is contextual rather than innate. Science has no desire to defeat religion in any sphere, though more than one scientist may have an ax to grind. Likewise, religion is not innately anti-science... though some of the faithful chose to carry that cross. No theory or experiment can disprove god, just as no ritual or revealed Truth can undermine science.

    This conflict is a holdover from late 19th century ideas that were over-simplistic and poorly sourced. The arguments took hold in the social consciousness, and it has not bettered with age. Gould argued that they were "non-overlapping majesteria", which is often but not always true. It is only when religious people take revealed truth in conflict with testable science that any conflict results, and that is a transient foolishness that can be ameliorated with education.

    Regards
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      Jan 31 2014: I agree with much of what you say. Especially the subtleties around where god beliefs and science conflict and where they are separate endeavours, science versus sport, or sport versus god beliefs.

      I would just add that god beliefs tend to permeate many other aspects of life, behaviour, decisions etc.

      Also that god beliefs at their core seem to be based on a way of figuring stuff out using methods completely opposite to science. Faith and dodgy rationale.
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    Jan 30 2014: For me, God vs Science is a battle that hasn't reason for exist. God belongs to our inner world, we may keep him in private. Science is a wonderful battlefield against ignorance, pain, undevelopment, poverty, and so on. In this battlefield all of us must be united, even when we argue or dispute, it's always for good results. People's relation with God or with their Gods, is shared with others, why not? But it isn't necessary for the good working of each one personal relation with God(s).
    The "vs" is, in my opinion, a very classical and historical way for trying to make win the opinions of a person, trend or social group, over the opinions of others. And who honestly can say he/she/they are the owners of the true? Nodoby can, I guess.
    So, God and/or Science, each one chooses.
    Good topic, Harun
    • Timo X

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      Feb 9 2014: Religion and science are polar opposites when it comes to their methods. Indeed, the idea that nobody can know (or as you say 'own'?) the truth is decidedly unscientific. The philosophy of science is that the truth CAN be known through the application of scientific method, of which the main tools are observation and logic. Therefore, your view of science as a tool that applies to certain spheres of knowledge (e.g. combating pain or poverty) but not to others (e.g. the existence of god), is in direct opposition to the nature of the science.
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        Feb 11 2014: Timo X,
        Although religion and science are different, I do not perceive them as totally opposites when it comes to exploring the underlying philosophy. The "tools" of observation and logic can be applied for both IF one wants to do so.
        • Timo X

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          Feb 11 2014: And if one does apply those tools, what will be left of all the religious ideas? How much will be shaved off the god hypothesis by Occam's razor? How parsimonious is Abraham's ark? What observations support creationism, or the existence of an afterlife for that matter?

          Honestly, I urge to read up on your knowledge of scientific philosophy, because the use of the scientific method is what SEPARATES science from other methods of gaining 'knowledge'. Over time, it has proven to both the most successful and the most useful method. An important reason is that science leads to testable hypotheses, in other words: the claims of science have predictive value and can be proven false. Can religious claims be proven false? And if they can be, and are proven false, do people reject those hypotheses from their theology? For example, what proof would lead to the rejection of the existence of Christian heaven?
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        Feb 11 2014: If one applies observation and logic Timo, one would probably abandon a belief in a religion, as I did over 50 years ago:>)

        Before you preach to the choir Timo, I urge you to read other comments on this and other conversation threads which address this same topic:>)
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        Feb 11 2014: Since you and I have not had a conversation before Timo, I would like to clarify:>)

        Although I do not practice a religion or believe in a god, I believe that many people use religion and a belief in a god for a beneficial life guide, and many of these people also believe in evolution and the benefit of science.

        We are told by some religious folks that there is a god who created everything, and my perception, is that if there is a god who created everything, it is logical and reasonable that he/she/it would also have created evolution and the scientific processes.

        It makes no sense to say there is a god who created everything EXCEPT evolution and science. I do not see any reason to compare and argue about god "vs" science because I feel that the belief in a god and a belief in science can, and do coexist. It is extremists and fundamentalists who cannot agree with the coexistence, and will continue to argue with illogical information.
        • Timo X

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          Feb 11 2014: Everyone is free to speculate on what happens in the realm of the unobservable. Perhaps universes pop up by themselves at random. Perhaps the universe is simply a computer simulation like the Matrix. Or perhaps there is some kind of metaphysical 'god' who created the universe and its rules. But if we are talking about this metaphysical conception of god as the cosmological origin, it is certainly not the same anthropomorphic conception described in the Bible/Quran/Torah/other scripture. And if all of these religions got their conception of god wrong, why should we pay attention when they discuss their conceptions of morality?

          As for fundamentalism, I do not find it illogical. A Muslim who blows himself up to kill some non-Muslims is simply taking his religion to the extreme and logical conclusion. For him, blowing up oneself to kill fellow human beings is worthy of reward in the afterlife, and therefore makes perfect sense. You might say I am taking the scientific viewpoint to the extreme. That is fine by me. Because, on the proviso that the non-existence of something cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, the god hypothesis is untenable. I might meet a unicorn tomorrow on my doorstep, but I will live my life without counting on the unicorns.
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      Feb 11 2014: I agree Sean that the "vs" is a common way to try to create a "win" with opinions of opposing individuals or groups.
  • Dan F 50+

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    Jan 30 2014: Perhaps a more honest and elemental way to frame this conflict in beliefs is to pose the question, "Has our historic traditional cultural evolution of creative abstract concepts (religion, etc.,), preempted the subsequent and beautifully revealing modern era sciences (biology, etc.,) of our actual natural history as a species."
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      • Feb 4 2014: Thanks Brendan, and your observations may well describe reality.

        There are those that game the system for a host of reasons as you indicate driven by motives galore with the candid idealism of scientific inquiry guided by objective academic scrutiny and justification near last place.

        My point is that God vs Science begs an even more elementary recognition that the religious shouldn't have their cake and eat it too. A majority stand on faith does not make it so - especially when what's professed is detailed sacred dogma for how and why things are as they are. The truth revealed through science is unaccommodating for some, but just a reshaping challenge by others.

        Talk about lawyerizing the system, these religious entities along with their super-powered representatives have perfected that creative fork in the road of redefining, or reinterpreting and redirecting "scientific evidence" to fit their needs despite the strong long standing elaborate knowledge.

        The governing bodies of science reflects the accommodating and successful elements of the religious nature of our humanity and they have been influenced accordingly.
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    Jan 29 2014: If God is conceived in a single human mind, God exists ! and what God does thruogh that mind is what science do through another mind... is it deniable the work inspired by those who belive in God or Science? has this work been usefull to others? to the human race? has it been destructive?...We all act and work based in our believes, the work part has to be for the benefit of others. the question would be: is it good? if it is, who cares !... just keep doing it. Both are ways of conceiving a reality or truth with or without prove... I think that if there is some kind of challenge or competitiion between the two, if we could look at it as a race ... science would be chasing God, always trying to figure him out
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    Jan 29 2014: Consider this;
    If god wanted us to have proof, we would have proof.
    So we can assume god does not want us to have proof.
    Therefor lack of proof is not proof of there being no god, nor that there is a god.

    For many years many people believed earth was flat and center of the universe, so how many do and/or do not believe is irrelevant.

    I find it interesting and a little sad that both believers in god and none-believers in God have the need/desire to convert others to their beliefs.
    With that being said I’ll resist my own desire to convert you to my beliefs, even thou my beliefs are flawless. ;)
    • Jan 29 2014: I know what you feel Don. LOL

      The fact that we do not have proof is to protect us. Because the moment we'd have proof, we would put all effort into changing that proof and generate our own god. That's human nature.

      Revelation is not a recipe for life. It is not 'Take the spoon in you right hand, and....' It is so totally vague and contradictory for a reason. It is something we can change at will, and interpret any way we want, again for a reason. We can interpret it the way we want to, because that's what shapes us. When we change our interpretation, it will also change us.

      We can use revelation to become a better person, or we can use it to hit someone else over the head.

      The soul reason for having freewill is to make us human by choice, our choice, based on that we love. What we have decided to love in freedom.
      That freedom gives us the chance to become worse than a beast, or an angel.

      That's why I do not care what anyone believes, what car they drive, or where they live. All I care about is how humane they are.
    • Timo X

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      Feb 9 2014: If the monster under your bed wanted you to know that it was there, it would prove its existence.
      So we can assume that the monster doesn't want you to know that it's under your bed.
      Therefore lack of proof is not proof there is no monster, nor that there is one under your bed.

      The trouble you must have trying to catch some shut-eye...
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        Feb 9 2014: You knw we come to this world in a state of No intellect WEAK unable to speak or defend ourselves we're given parents as guardians who look after us nourish us and teach us to the point we are strong healthy in most cases.... and smart enough to understand the truth from the false hot from cold Rich from poor and etc....
        problem is people of this beautiful vast world tend not to always think alike
        everyone's got the right to believe what they wish but the ultimate conclusion is the grave...
        that's when opinions no longer matter and actions are accounted for
        the time between birth and death is a precious time to.... contemplate on what comes next ?
        on how things come out to be how they are ?
        and the most important in my opinion the (beings) purpose on earth?
        but then again that's just the way I see things
        thnx for joining the chat :)
        • Timo X

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          Feb 9 2014: "We're given parents as guardians who look after us nourish us and teach us ... to understand the truth from the false [sic]"
          Interesting point. I note that it is precisely the opposite of what Don Anderson argued for: the inability to decide whether the existence of a god is a true or false hypothesis.

          I tend to view things a bit less rosy than you. I believe that it is possible for every human being to learn and discern clear truths from clear falsehoods. The scientific method has shown that it is very good at this task, in fact, it is the only method of distinguishing truth from falsehood that I know. Sadly, not many people seem to learn it from their parents.

          "everyone's got the right to believe what they wish"
          Certainly true. But having a right to believe something has no bearing on the validity or truth of the belief in question.
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        Feb 10 2014: You could say god and the monster under your bed are like Schrodinger’s cat, but unlike monsters under your bed there is science that does support the possibility of god.
        For example some religions say heaven is timeless, science says light is timeless. So therefore being timeless is possible.
        To further that possibility add that People that have had near death say they seen a bright light, and some religions say heaven and god is beyond our imagination.

        Imagine heaven as parallel universe/dimension in which the big bang create light-elements instead of matter-elements like this universe.
        Science has proven light has gravity, so in a universe with over a hundred different types of light-elements and no matter, the equivalent to what we know as stars and planets could happen.
        And some planets could support life, with the more intelligent/evolved life being what religion calls angels.

        So depending on how you view things god could be indicated/possible, just not proven. Are parents an indication? That depends on your view.

        P.S. In my view there in no indication of a monster in my house. ;) Most of the time.
        • Timo X

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          Feb 10 2014: There appear to be so many misunderstandings in your post that I had to number them:
          1. Schrodinger's cat is not a scientific fact, it is a criticism on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics.
          2. Science supports god as much as it does monsters under your bed, i.e. not at all. In fact, the argument for the existence of god is usually based on a form of dualism, that is: the realm of the religious (or the spiritual world/reality) cannot be explored or explained with science, because science is limited to the physical world.
          3. Your argument about a timeless heaven actually makes the existence of heaven LESS probable, because it adds another highly controversial property to the list of properties that heaven is supposed to have. Imagine that you are looking for a partner who is smart, good-looking, emotionally stable, and single. For most people, finding such a partner already poses quite a challenge. Now add 'Olympic medallist' to the list of requirements, and it is obvious that you are even less likely to find a person who has all these properties.
          4. People hallucinate a bright light when they are dying, a fact that can be completely explained by neuroscience. Also, I am curious which holy document specify that the road to the afterlife is paved with bright lights.
          5. Our universe also has light particles, not only matter.
          6. Light photons do NOT have gravity. Gravity is one of the fundamental physical forces, while photons are elementary particles.
          7. Your argument positing god in a different dimension or universe is a form of dualism, but introduces more problems than 'standard' dualism. As with heaven, by specifying more controversial properties of god, you make his existence LESS likely. A pertinent question, for example, would be: who created god's universe? At the same time, your hypothesis doesn't solve the interaction problem either: how does god in the alternate universe affect our universe without leaving any scientific evidence of his meddling?
  • Jan 29 2014: In my opinion both go very well together, if understood 'correctly.' The understanding of both, science and God have gone through a growth and development through many ages.

    When we understand anything correctly, it should make sense and not leave any mysteries. When there is a mystery that means we have mis-understood part of the facts or reasons and things don't make sense.

    The understanding of Science and God have many mysteries for many, if not most, people.
    We cannot know everything, so it would seem more important what we do and how we act, with what we know, than how much we actually do know.

    To me, God gives science a reason, and science gives God a means.
    The more we know about our body and the use and relationship of its organs, the more we can know about our spirit and about God.

    Do we have to? Absolutely not, the choices are ours, and make us who we are.
  • Jan 29 2014: Non-issue. Two sides talking over and across but never to each other.
  • Jan 29 2014: Until I see any evidence to convince me otherwise, I don't believe in god anymore then I don't believe in anything else that has no proof, like an invisible flying spaghetti monster.

    Or perhaps I should say gods, because there seems to be non consensus on which god is actually responsible for the whole, well, everything. Christians (of several types), Muslims (of two major kinds I'm aware of, I'm sure there's more), Hindu and Buddhists (which I'm not familiar with to know how well divided, but I assume they're not homogenous), just to name some of the more common ones, all seem to have some pretty contradictory ideas, even among the different sects of each one.
    To a religious man, I claim that we are both atheists. Tell me all the reasons you don't believe in all the other gods, and I'll tell you why I don't believe in yours.

    Science on the other hand, that I can buy into. There's this thing about proof and not claiming to be infallible that's more appealing then "its in a holy book, don't argue". It doesn't help that all those holy books or their equivalents were all written by human beings; now they claim to be divinely inspired, but how do I know they weren't just making it up themselves, or worse still, had undiagnosed schizophrenia?
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      Jan 29 2014: I understand that you are skeptical of religious beliefs lacking scientific proofs, I don't understand the depth of the skepticism and your response... It makes me think that someone's beliefs are causing you.... pain. I have read a number of responders to believer's in God. Unbelievable the negativity....
      So, someone believes in God and you don't, So what? Were you physically assaulted by a believer?
      That is another conversation.
      This conversation are just words on a monitor screen... I am lost.
      • Jan 29 2014: I'm a a secular Israeli, if it helps you understand.

        To the north we have Lebanon, currently run less by its government and more by an Islamist militia called Hezbollah. We were involved in a war with them just a few short years ago; their attempts at war consisted of among other things rocket attacks on large cities.

        North and a bit to the East we have Syria, currently involved in a violent civil war which used to be about taking down an oppressive regime, but has since been hijacked by Jihadists bent on instilling a theocracy in place of Assad. From what I understand, they've already started ethnic cleansing on non Muslims, and people who are the wrong kind of Muslim.

        South we have Egypt, currently tittering on something somewhere between a civil war and a military coup. The conflict was originally secular, but has since been hijacked by the Muslim brotherhood, trying to and almost succeeding to establish a theocracy (the Egyptian military would have non of it, so instead they have riots and terror attacks on a daily basis after their coup). And that's without counting the Jihadists organizing in the Sini peninsula, who are eve more extreme.

        East and West we have the Palestinian authority. Gaza to the west was taken over by a notably religious militia called Hamas a few years ago. We've since had two wars with them, mostly over their nasty habit of launching rockets at cities (during peacetime, mind).

        To the East we have the West Bank, who's currently controlled by secular nationalists, which despite being formally communist and terrorists, are actually the sanest of the bunch. And we still can't come to any agreement with them, largely because the Israeli side has no shortage of religious nut jobs in of itself, claiming that the lot of the country is god's gift and that compromise is blasphemy.

        The concept of separation of church and state doesn't exist in the middle east. The results are, shall we say, violent.
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          Jan 29 2014: I am not unaware of the situation in the meddled east. I have spent some time in that area and have seen what violence has done to the people, and the lands. I have great concern as to the future in that part of the world. I see no good coming.
          But, what I have seen happening there has nothing to do with belief in God or not.
          What I have seen are people who have ulterior motives to gain power and use religion as an excuse to wage war.. This flaw in the human character to follow these usurpers in the name of God defies any rational I can imagine.
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          Jan 29 2014: your honesty about all sides is appretiated. Religion in this case is legitimately identified as a source of not helping solve the issues created between families....inspired by leaders who exploit loyality for a benefit that does not include other peoples children or even their fellow citizens. I wish you the peace you seek and am sorry you are surrounded by such violence
      • Jan 29 2014: I wish that was true. Then people would only go to war when they actually need to, and only use religion as an excuse. They'd also be less inclined to fanaticism. That's not the case however.

        When a self declared religious group starts preforming acts of violence, including ones of no practical benefit, recruits most of its members through religious rhetoric, and attempts to pass laws and dictate behavior according to scripture, I'm inclined to believe them that they really think they're acting out in some god's name.
        Even if the first generation was cynically using religion for its own ends, future members, recruited through religious rhetoric, are often honest believers.

        A man that calls himself a zealot, usually is a zealot.

        Besides, even if I'm completely wrong, and all the leaders of these violent religious groups are secretly atheists gaming the system, religion still plays a major role as a recruitment tool and motivator for the common (gullible) soldier. Still a pretty major role.
        Now I've seen science used as a tool to wage war, but never to convince people its in their best interest to start one to begin with, or as an ideological base to start recruiting fighters from.
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    Jan 29 2014: Some will say it is all God.
    Some will say it is all science.
    I think it is both and they are not mutually exclusive.
    Science proves its truths. Measurements. Observations, to name a few.
    God is a matter of faith. No proof needed. Believers have faith.
    The real question is.... why do some become so.... riled at the other. So much venom.
    Will the world come to an end if some believe in God or will the world end if some believe only in science. Well, it hasn't yet.
    What I don't understand is why people care. If you believe in God, why would you care if someone else doesn't. And if you are a scientist.... why would you care. Does it really make a difference? I don't see it.
    And don't tell me that believers are stupid or that scientist are soulless... that's just childish.
    There is no "vs" in this conversation..
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      Jan 29 2014: Hi Mike,
      You ask why should one try to convince another to accept one's point of view?
      Jesus claimed that his followers will have eternal life. If you truly believed that, then wouldn't you tell people?

      :-)
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        Jan 29 2014: Absolutely.

        But, that communication would only be effective on people who were receptive to hearing it and believing in it. However, there are those who are so positive there is no
        God and therefore no eternal life.
        Me, I am not so sure and that is why I respond like I have. I learned in science class that there are no absolutes. Even at absolute zero there is some movement at sub atomic levels.
        Who knew.
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        Feb 11 2014: How do we know what Jesus said or "claimed?" He never wrote anything, and what we do have that is attributed to him is third hand accounts?
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    Jan 28 2014: gods originally had attributes full of documentation..that is why the pyramids and planetary zodiac coincides with actual movement of star systems. It was a way to document and track GOD. It was not till later over a fight over who could interpet GOD that there is a mass removal of this scientific documentation. The dumbing down of the GOD idea was to control the masses...but the original form is full of science...not poetic stories. There is a real reason for every religious symbol far more interesting then the current simple narrative. The original God versus science are in support of each other...not contrary
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    Feb 11 2014: One of the rules of science: correlation is not causation.

    One of the blue zones is in Utah, where the Mormons live, but there are others, such as Okinawa, where is is little religious influence. So we need to look elsewhere for keys to longevity. Close knit communities appears to be one factor these "zones" have in common.

    "We know that isolation kills. Fifteen years ago, the average American had three good friends. We're down to one and half right now. If you were lucky enough to be born in Okinawa, you were born into a system where you automatically have a half a dozen friends with whom you travel through life."
    • Feb 11 2014: I didn't say "God makes the amish live longer". I was pointing to thefact that they lived longer while shunning modern science (and technology).
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    Feb 11 2014: Re: "there are much more simpler things such as yawning which actually has no scientific explanation"

    There is a volume of research regarding "yawning." see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yawn
    There are some 49 references on the topic of the yawn. Additionally, yawning is a biological event that we witness in other animals besides humans.
    This is not the case with the concept of god.
    However, science has conducted research into religiosity. To date, there is no physical evidence of a soul or spirit, and no explanation for how it would interface with the mind/body.
  • Feb 11 2014: I think God and Science are two things in this world,they have common as well as they are so different.
  • Feb 9 2014: Can science explain "Love"?
    The belief in God seems to have come closer to the understanding of "Love".
    • Feb 10 2014: Yup. Science can explain love. But let's suppose it couldn't. I don't think that it' s matter of how many things something explains. If some explanation involves things that we can only imagine, like a god, or gods, or angels, or fairies, then it's not really an explanation.
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      Feb 10 2014: defo.... but honestly wouldn't be able to give a good explanation
      but I know science most definitely supports and has a clear answer on love
      I guess we could always ask Stephen hawking............ :)
  • Feb 5 2014: Hi Coleen Steen ! as per my knowledge "where fails GOD proves by its own" Nothing is useless as we r unable to xplain till date de cause of Yayning but 1 day it will be provd nt nly wd Hyphothetical bt in practical means. & a person who metaphorises sciences with GOD is nt a true spring of Knowledge.
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      Feb 5 2014: Khursheed Daar,
      I realize you are new to TED, and English may not be your first language. It also appears that you are using txtspeak, which I do not understand.
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    Feb 4 2014: To give a clear cut and satisfying explanation is difficult. My un-baked, gut-feeling, unscientific, amateur analysis on the topic is; Belief in higher order(s); God(s) have guided (psychological warfare/adaptations) humankind till the dawn of Rennaisance(?). Then Science take charge till the present. Ergo without God/belief, there's no mankind = no Science. Yawning!!!
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      Feb 5 2014: guy's YAWNING has absolute nothing to do with this topic rather understanding why if people see science as greater than GOD why is it that science hasn't figured out so many simple questions about the way humans fully function or the mysteries of the world and beyond or even mental illnesses
      BTW great video about mental illness and Islamic beliefs which in no way must you view unless your curious :)
      http://youtu.be/ZCs8hSzUCVY
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        Feb 5 2014: LOL!

        Harun, YOU brought YAWNING into the conversation, and now you say it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic!

        From your introduction......
        "there are much more simpler things such as yawning which actually has no scientific explanation I'd like to know what the TED community has to say...?"

        Yawning, and many other simple questions about the way humans function DO have scientific explanations. That is what many of us in the TED community are trying to convey to you:>)

        Perhaps we are giving you information that you don't want to hear because it does not support your belief?
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        Feb 5 2014: I was curious about the video Harun, which is, as you accurately say... "Islamic beliefs"....Islamic psychology based on the Quran, and it is very biased.

        The person doing the audio/video is not identified, and says that science "lies". I also find it interesting that the so called psychologists/psychiatrists who testify are not named.....not a very credible video in any way, and appears to be a home produced video.
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          Feb 7 2014: COLLEEN plz give me brief explanation on what causes OCD
          And I really am sorry if I've given the expression that this is religious debate when honestly it's NOT that video was an Islamic understanding of mental illnesses
          chow.......
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        Feb 10 2014: Harun,
        I assume you are referring to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive%E2%80%93compulsive_disorder
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    Feb 4 2014: Harun,
    Great question. I am afraid only God will be able to address this question. I failed.
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    Jan 31 2014: What does all our Gods say about yawning? The usual silence?
    • Jan 31 2014: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnn! Ups. Sorry. :)
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      Feb 1 2014: I was pondering as to why something so simple as yawning has no scientific explanation to it : $......
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        Feb 1 2014: There actually IS a scientific explanation for yawning Harun, which I was taught about 30 years ago by my voice coach.

        It relaxes the facial, mouth and throat muscles, and brings more oxygen into the systems of the body. If we even start mimicking a yawn, it feels really good, and I used it for part of the vocal warm-up when performing in musical theater productions:>)

        http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/question572.htm
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          Feb 1 2014: I assume you also use it as an external indicator of the quality of your musical performance, measured in total numbers of occurrence within the audience?

          ;o)
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        Feb 1 2014: Without explanation, how do you know it is simple? :o)
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          Feb 4 2014: you suck in a large amount of oxygen plz someone tell me how difficulty in that
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          Feb 4 2014: It is not difficult at all Harun. You said, however, "I was pondering as to why something so simple as yawning has no scientific explanation".

          There IS a scientific explanation, so what is your point?
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        Feb 4 2014: Hyperventilation also aligns to your observation, yet its cause and purpose is different from yawning, so again, how do you know about simplicity when you are lacking sufficient explanations as you yourself claimed?

        I am just referring to your statement, that science has no answer to that, which isn't mine, as I was taught about yawning as Colleen described.
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      Feb 1 2014: Lejan,
      Regarding your comment.......
      "I assume you also use it as an external indicator of the quality of your musical performance, measured in total numbers of occurrence within the audience?"

      I don't remember ever seeing anyone yawning once the performance started:>)
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        Feb 1 2014: Which I then take as a clear sign of your talent and mastery as a singer and actor!
  • Jan 30 2014: It all depends on how you define the term God. If you define God as the creator of all things, then God is simply the force which preceded The Big Bang (assuming of course that The Big Bang is objectively true, which we may never actually prove; but so far its the best theory science has produced regarding the beginnings of the universe as we know it). Even if we prove the Big Bang is in fact the way it happened, we may still be uninformed as to why or how it happened. This is the philosophical point at which the questions of science and the questions of God converge. The once two separate questions become one and the same: "Why Something, as opposed Nothing?" I searched for who this quote originated from, but I couldn't find anything. Does anybody know?

    As to the question of whether or not a higher being created life on Earth? It's not inconceivable that a higher form of being exists somewhere out in the universe, and that it subsequently willed into existence the Earth and life upon it, or even our entire solar system for that matter. But who's to say that such a being did not itself evolve out of some other crude corporeal form? Or that it was not some group of organisms that willed themselves to evolve beyond their state through the advent of technological systems? Either way, such a being(s) would not be omniscient with regards to the entirety of all things that exist, nor would it be omnipotent. Ultimately, it would also fall under the aforementioned philosophical question; it too would likely wonder what came before the existence of all things, probably more fervently even than ourselves.

    What you must remember is that all major monotheistic religions adhere to the same God, they just differ on their interpretations of mankind's savior. They sometimes forget that the words in the books are not the words of God, but are merely the words of our human ancestors interpreting the words of God.
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      Jan 30 2014: Hi Kyle, I guess one issue is saying a god did it just adds an extra layer of complexity based on speculation not evidence that shows any gods exist or that shows these beings do any thing.

      saying a magical intangible invisible powerful agency did it seems to satisfy many in a psychological way, but it's not intellectually satisfying. It answers nothing really. Not details on the nature of this generic universe creator. No explanation of it's existence and how it created the universe.

      if you say something can't come from nothing, then is the universe creator nothing, or did it come from something, or will you plead a special case for your personified magical explanation?

      Allah, yaweh and Jesus beliefs may have leveraged the easier traditions but can not be the same god.

      the god concept with Jesus as god contradicts with the Muslim concept of Allah. Each one denies the later revelations, including the Mormon revelations.

      The Egyptians had a monotheistic god for a while very different from the abrahamic traditions.

      also there seems to be evidence that the ancient Hebrews believed in many gods and the monotheistic view is something that developed over time. perhaps similar to how yhwh morphed into a triune god and then back into one ala Allah, then into all variations we see today from catholic to morman to the different concepts each individual has informed by culture and experience, each ultimately mutually exclusive from the others, even if there are some similarities, like the fact they are all generally invisible most of the time.

      Anyway it all makes for a rich tapestry of religious beliefs and superstitions and interesting discussion.
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        Jan 30 2014: "saying a magical intangible invisible powerful agency did it seems to satisfy many in a psychological way, but it's not intellectually satisfying. It answers nothing really."

        You are right but like art, it makes people happy. I am all for the placebo effect if it works.
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          Jan 31 2014: Good point Linda.

          I often wonder about the merits of the consolations of religious beliefs even if they are delusional. And the majority must be deluded, because all the conflicting beliefs can't all be correct. But they all could be wrong.

          but back to your point, I'd suggest its a mixed bag of benefits and trade offs. Maybe it helps some to think they'll meet there deceased loved ones after life. But not all the outcomes are benign. If there is only this life as far as we know it may make a big difference in how much we value it.

          I won't go through all the negatives that come with the positives of religious beliefs, but would suggest many of the benefits can be achieved without resorting to religion and superstition.

          So if praying that their particular god concept helps the unfortunate may make the person praying feel good, but doesn't really help the unfortunate.

          I'm sympathetic with people clinging to religion of it makes them feel better. I guess we all try and muddle through the challenges of life in our own way.

          but the cases where the religious placebo effect may have a net positive benefit may be outweighed by cases where it has a net negative impact our the benefits could be achieved based on reason and evidence

          my personal view is overall we'd be better off if we tried to base our behavior and decisions on evidence and reason, not intuitive, speculative, conflicting, superstitious and religious beliefs.

          I also find plenty of meaning and love in a godless universe. Others may not. Each to their own unless it impacts others or they are interested in testing ideas.
      • Feb 11 2014: "Each one denies the later revelations"

        You are correct because they do in fact deny later revelations, yet it is not based on a disagreement that there is a single God. That single, solitary deity remains the same. The only thing which distinguishes one monotheistic revelation from another is how the founders interpreted that singular deity, but they do not dispute that there is only one deity, that fact remains common ground between them all. What they're arguing over is the character of that deity; its wishes, its morality, its body mass index, its hair color, its sacrificial preferences, ad infinitum.

        Hence, man creates God independently of whether or not God actually exists in the manner of which they conceive it. Yet so long as a person believes in God, they will act according to what they believe God wants/commands/decrees/whatever.

        The part which I struggle with the most is that many people conceive God as omniscient (all-knowing; existing outside of time), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (everywhere simultaneously). Yet those same people attach to God a set of morals, ones which are blatantly denounced by believers of other religions. However, if God knows all and sees all, then God also feels all. From the perspective of God, no one religion would be more correct than the other, even if one of those religions holds 99& of all human believers, because God does would not perceive individual humans' existence as separate from everything else. We would simply be another cog in the machine which is the constant transformation of matter, with one cog being no more important than another.

        If there is a God, it would hold see all things equally

        Religious fanatics are not cancerous to society because they believe in God, but because they are fanatical humans to begin with. Their denomination does not matter. Some atheists are just as bad as some religious fanatics, because they are equally fanatical people. God is irrelevant.
      • Feb 11 2014: Attack their interpretation of God, not their belief in God. Because attacking belief is the same thing as attacking subjectivity. But seeing as subjectivity is an objective fact of reality, we should simply let it go.

        Do not attack the belief in God, because the belief in God is beyond our understanding by its very own definition. What you must do instead is familiarize yourself with three things: 1) their conceptualization of God, 2) their conceptualization of themselves & their denominational affiliates, and 3) their conceptualization of the people of other denominational groups. Only once you have done this will your rationality have the necessary equipment with which to defeat fanaticism.

        I do not believe in God, but there are people similar to myself who do believe; and we fight for the same thing. Join the winning side my friend.
  • Jan 29 2014: As to my understanding, nothing vs God.
    And i am not religious