50 Famous Academics & Scientists Talk About God

Jonathan Pararajasingham has pulled together a montage of 50 renowned academics, mostly all scientists, talking about their thoughts on the existence of God. The list includes includes 16 Nobel prize winners, and a bundle of recognizable names, including Richard Feynman, Steven Pinker, Oliver Sacks, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking, and Leonard Susskind. The full list appears below the jump. (Click “more.”) Click here to find another 50 Academics Talking About God and 30 renowned writers doing the same.


1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
18. Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics



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by | Permalink | Comments (120) |

  • José Porcher

    Excellent post!

    A note: Russell did win a Nobel, so it’s a little redundant to say that ‘The list includes includes 16 Nobel prize winners, and a bundle of recognizable names, including … Bertrand Russell’ :)

  • Andrew

    I wonder if his next video on Christians scientists giving their views on the divine will be posted to this site. As it is, this video is pretty blatantly sided towards the side of the spectrum of belief in a divine oversight as folly. I came expecting thoughtful discourse between opposing viewpoints, but instead was left with a collection of snippets all asserting the exact same viewpoint.

    Considering the topic, I wonder why Francis Collins (the head of the genetic human Genome project) or Raymond Vahan Damadian (inventor of the MIR) or perhaps the dozens of other Nobel Prize winners in science who openly profess to be Christian, let alone other religions. Charles Hard Townes, Ian Barbour, Freeman Dyson, Antonino Zichichi, John Polkinghorne, Owen Gingerich, John T. Houghton, R. J. Berry, Michał Heller, Ghillean Prance, Donald Knuth, Eric Priest, Christopher Isham, Henry F. Schaefer, III, Robert T. Bakker, Kenneth R. Miller, Francis Collins, Simon C. Morris, John D. Barrow, Denis Alexander, Stephen Barr, Martin Nowak, John Lennox, and Jennifer Wiseman. Just to name a few contemporary brilliantly and internationally recognized scientists who all profess explicitly to be followers of Christ.

  • Lucien

    It is simple, we all see the same world around us – Nobel laureate or not – but, what we see is still a small reference of what God has in full view? I want some of these brilliant minds to prove to me that there Isn’t a God!?

  • Fred

    Since God is not a scientific hypothesis, how does being a world class scientist give one any more expertise that the anyone else?

  • The Outlaw Philosopher

    Oh dear.
    Andrew: The views of most of the theistic scientists you mention are pretty well publicized, since either they or the Templeton foundation have chosen to make an issue of it. Generally (not universally), nontheist academics are quieter about these things. I suppose the purpose of the video was to highlight the thoughts of some of these figures (I notice Dawkins is absent, too.) Furthermore, some of the people you list are much more theologian than scientist. That isn’t necessarily a complaint, but we probably can guess what the opinion of a theologian will be on God’s existence. That said, Freeman Dyson, who you name, does have a genuinely interesting, though perhaps somewhat, ah, heretical, perspective on religion. He would be worth listening to [though, I submit, utterly wrong], as might be some of the others.

    Lucien: Proving there isn’t a God is pretty hard. Of course, proving the nonexistence of anything is pretty hard unless it involves a logical contradiction. Prove there are no unicorns. Of course, you’re probably satisfied that there are no unicorns on the basis that nobody has ever seen one, and they are not needed to explain any empirical phenomenon. It’s not a proof, per se, but it’s a good (and scientific) argument against them. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to god.

    Fred: Well, it depends what you mean by God. Certainly the god of the philosophers isn’t a scientific hypothesis, though it seems to me that AC Grayling, say, would be qualified to comment on it. The god of the Apostles’ Creed, though, who is triune and immanent and wreaks miracles on earth, is certainly a scientific proposition.

  • Sean

    Andrew.

    It is interesting that you ask if the producer’s next video will be on Christian Scientists to present their thoughts on the divine. This, of course, presents a false dichotomy. You seem to imagine that only Christians can represent the divine. Why not Muslims or Hindus, or Buddhists or Mormons, or Animists or Catholics, or take your pick from a hundred thousand different sects, religions and beliefs? Each one mutually exclusive in some way and each one with no idea how to discern any true position from the other ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine, other than “Faith”.

    This is the major problem with hypothesising supernatural entities or postulating thoughts on the “divine”: there is no available or demonstrable reality to test them against.

    You may as well ask people to state how many angels can dance on a pinhead or what magic spells Harry Potter will have learned by the time he is 30.

  • Sean

    Lucien – Put forward a testable claim about your “God” and I expect scientists would be happy to see if it is correct. Would you accept their findings?

    Otherwise, can you prove to me there is no invisible non-corporeal dragon that emits non-heating fire, currently suspended in my garage? (Apologies to Carl Sagan)

    Fred – If your version of a god is not a scientific hypothesis then it matters not what you believe about it because it is therefore untestable.

  • Sinjin Smythe

    Lucien says . . . prove to me that there Isn’t a God!?

    Since it is the religionist that is asserting that God exists, doesn’t the burden of proof fall upon him?

    No one asks the anti-Santa Clausian to prove Santa doesn’t exists do they?

    No, the burden of proof is yours Lucien. Until you or anyone else can prove God exists rational people will need to depend on as fact that such entity does not exist.

    To do otherwise is irrational.

  • Ray

    Dennett makes an excellent point.

  • Theophylact

    A small quibble: James D. Watson (and Francis Crick) didn’t discover DNA; they worked out its structure.

  • Matt

    Andrew,

    Please allow me to proposes a wager… You identify an amputee, then proceed to pray their missing limb regrows itself. This is something medical science cannot do (yet) so the result would be unambiguous. Any amount you wish to wager is fine. When you are ready to admit defeat, I’ll post a paypal link.

    We both know the odds of you winning, but let’s play along anyways. If you win I will either pay you, or a charity of your choice. I include the carity option so your god doesn’t think you accepted the wager for materialistic reasons. My preference is a charity for victims of church abuse, but really, its your choice.

    One last thing, it must be a human amputee. Starfish limbs or lizard tails don’t count. Those species have evolved the ability to regenerate, so they don’t have to rely on a god.

    Deal?

  • Matt

    Sorry, meant to address that post to Lucien

  • Hanoch

    It is remarkable and amusing to see how desperate atheists are to “prove” the truth of their brand of faith.

    The opening thesis of this polemic states that the more “scientifically literate” and “intellectually honest” a person, the more likely they will “disbelieve in anything supernatural.” The irony here is rich because only the most intellectually dishonest person could buy into such nonsense.

    First, there are many very prominent scientists who are believers or agnostic. In order to accept the film’s thesis, therefore, one must assume that all believing of these dissenting scientists are simply biased and/or intellectually deficient.

    Second, science only deals with what can be observed by human beings in the natural world. Thus, if there were supernatural phenomena, by definition, they would not be subject to inquiry by the scientific method. Given the limitations on science, the atheist must assume that anything that is not ultimately observable by the senses of the human being cannot possibly exist. This is obviously quite a leap of faith.

    Third, science recognizes that effects have causes. Thus, the natural world must have had some origin and cause. The atheists are at a loss, however, when they deal with this problem and they turn to very “unscientific” notions (i.e., the universe had no cause). Rather than concede with “intellectual honesty” that the natural world may have been created through some force outside the natural world (i.e., a “supernatural” cause), they are content to fall back on their faith that if human beings cannot detect it, it cannot exist.

  • Telmo

    Atheism is no brand of faith. Believing in ancient gods and books is absurd at this time and age. Maybe the universe does have a cause (which would need a cause or several causes itself) but obviously it is not the god of the Bible or any other man’s conceived superstition. Stop complaining and grow up.

  • San Ban

    “In order to accept the film’s thesis, therefore, one must assume that all believing of these dissenting scientists are simply biased and/or intellectually deficient.

    Any scientist that asserts there is any evidence for the existence of the supernatural would swiftly be challenged to present it, and have their god hypothesis tested. We all remember what happened to the cold fusion guys. However, human beings may hold all manner of illogical and contradictory beliefs, simultaneously or serially, without being mad or bad. Frances Collins is a notable example as are such luminaries as Sir Isaac Newton and Freeman Dysaon.

  • Harry Kroto

    Dear Andrew
    Of course one can find some eminent scientists who do profess belief in soem sort of mystical entity. However, for what it is worth, two surveys of US National Academy of Sciences members and one of UK Royal Society Fellows (Note – only 25% responded) indicate that 92% of both organisations are feethinkers, atheists or agnostics. In interviews with Nobel Laureates it is ca 9:1. So this ratio should be folded into your request for equal time. Basically you have a list but the list of non-believing eminent scieitists is 10 times longer – for what it is worth!

  • Winter

    Hanoch -

    Concerning your first objection, there is a certain ethos in most of the natural sciences, which mostly pertains to making claims of verifiable nature. It’s not hard to make a case of scientists dissenting from this ethos being intellectually dishonest.

    Concerning your second objection, one may claim this of any supernatural entity. If one accepts that supernatural entities are beyond naturalist reasoning, one must remain silent about their qualities, thus silencing all theists.

    Concerning your third objection, the same argument holds. Even if I were to accept the necessity of a designer, we could derive no information about him. Besides, there are a number of alternate explanations.
    Also, considering the singularity of space and time given at the beginning of the universe, “before” is not a well-defined term. In this sense, no creator could have existed prior to the universe.

  • Roger Scott

    James Watson was not the co-discoverer of DNA, he was the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

  • Andrew

    Sean,

    The only reason I specifically mentioned Christianity over other religions is because the author of the video mentioned he was planning on doing one on Christianity.

    Harry Kroto,

    I am aware that scientists who profess to belong to an organized religion are in an extreme minority. This is due, as the Krauss mentions, to the fact scientists give very little thought to the divine. But since the topic of the video was about their thought on the divine, I would have suspected that it would include at least a few people who actually had dissenting opinions on the divine.

    Based on the video title I had suspected a thoughtful discourse between scientists of opposing views on the divine would be giving their reasoning behind what they believe. Instead it is merely a compilation of 33 scientists and 17 other academics citing almost exactly the same thing.

    It was hardly enlightening or anything that hasn’t been heard hundreds of times before.

  • Fred

    I always find it kind of funny to hear atheists talk about belief in God. They sound so silly most of the time. As an orthodox Jew, I can safely say that the God the a atheists don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.

  • Rich R

    @Fred
    It’s a common complaint that is similar to the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, to hear “I don’t believe in that god either”. Excuse us for not knowing your exact flavor of theology. It’s hardly our fault that no two god believers have identical thoughts about the same deity. I think it’s explainable why this is, however.

    What you are missing, as well as the person above who tried to clumsily shift the burden of proof, is that until you provide sufficient reason to the non-believer, the correct position is to not believe in your god either. You are the one making the claim of existence. So when you get around to explaining your god, remember to include your sufficient reasons.

  • Sean

    @Fred

    “As an orthodox Jew, I can safely say that the God the a atheists don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.”

    And as an atheist I can safely say that the gods you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either. I just go one more and include yours – unless of course you have some evidence…?

  • Sean

    @Andrew

    I was not aware that the producer was planning a “Christian” response, so apologies.

  • Fred

    I think you are missing the point. Belief in God is more akin to belief in democracy, or human rights, ethics, optimism, freedom, free enterprise, etc.

    Can Republicans (or Democrats) PROVE their beliefs and allegiances? Do they need to? Belief in God is an expression of an attitude to life, a way of living. If atheists choose not to see the world the way believers do, all the better for them.

  • Saeed

    If any scientist can clarify which physical phenomenon makes a cell alive, I would say there isn’t any God!
    Nobody can create a living cell with only natural elements, neither can God!

  • Chinmay

    @Saeed,

    If god comes down to my house and shows me how exactly he made the first living cell, or the universe, i will believe in god.

  • Winter

    Fred,

    Political views are typically derived values. First and foremost, I am utilitarian. From this, if I believe that the Healthcare system benefits most people, I may derive it’s a good thing. If I believe the money is better spent elsewhere, then I will derive it’s a bad thing. The sum of these derivative values will make me either a republican or a democrat.

    Other examples you give, like optimism, aren’t even necessarily choices, but merely a matter of conditioning and disposition.

    Of course, I have to assume something. I’ve chosen a utilitarian approach, right at the beginning. The one premise I need to get opinions on all the other topics is “happiness is good”.

    However, there is no way in the universe I’m going to derive god. He’s always axiomatic, and he’s always at the beginning of these logical chains. He’s always the premise.

    Let me just finish by saying I’m sincerely happy for you if your beliefs aren’t as archaic as those of some of your fellow believers.

  • Fred

    So your premise is that happiness is good. My premise is that life has meaning. We all make choices how we view the world. What I cannot take is these glib pronouncements by atheists about what believers actually believe and even worse the implication that religious beliefs are necessarily premitive.

  • Matt

    Hanoch,

    Your own description of the thesis is that there is a trend (“more likely”) towards non-beleif. Yet, the conclusion of your first point is based on an absolute that isn’t part of the thesis. It’s a strawman that doesn’t work.

    Your second point claims, “ulitmately observable by the senses”. Scientists use tools and experimentation to prove the existence of thing our senses cannot detect. Atoms are a good example. You’ll find a lot of atheists who base their non-belief of a deity based on a lack of evidence. So, if you claim a god exists, show some real proof, and you’ll get a lot of converts.

    As for supernatural phenomenon, let’s separate the supernatural for a moment. Something like the afterlife simply isn’t observable, so no, scientists are unlikely to study it because the cannot find it. Find any evidence of an afterlife, and you have something observable. Now you can do a scientific study. The other side is the supernatural causing real-world effects. If you pray for a cure, and you get one, that’s an observable effect of a supernatural cause. A scientist would study if there is a difference between which god you pray to and if there is a change in the rate of cures. Templeton funded such studies with embarrassing results–no proof of supernatural intervention.

    Your third point is the cosmological argument. This has been throughly debunked. The best arguments theologists have is “you haven’t read enough books.” They cannot succinctly refute the arguments against, so they rely on obfuscation, obscurity and authority to force their claims.

    Science, on the other hand doesn’t rely on truths being handed down from on high. Truths from science come from different people, repeating the same experiments, and countless variations of those experiments. They make predictions about what the results will be, and when they come true, it validates the truths. And when someone proves otherwise, they move on. When a scientist “believes” in a scientific truth, it’s only because overwhelming evidence has convinced a highly curious and skeptical mind.

  • Winter

    Fred,

    even with the premise of meaning, deriving god is highly nontrivial, especially if you want him to have specific qualities. A lot of premises are necessary if you want to derive any of the monotheistic gods with their list of commandments. Again, this is why they are usually the premise, not the consequence. I consider this sort of belief system to be inherently unsophisticated.

    Matt,

    while I agree with most of the things you write, most people, even scientists, don’t believe in most of science because they’ve seen it for themselves. My knowledge of biology is rather limited. Even in my areas of expertise, it’s impossible to know everything.

    The reason I believe the scientific community is because they share the ethos I’m devoted to – making verifiable claims and backing them up.

  • Matt

    Winter,

    Yeah, I’m with you. I didnt mean to imply that every scientist knows every scientific fact. It’s the community and the process that separates ideas from hypothesis from theories from laws, and over time it’s worked quite well. A big part of that ethos is self-policing. Take cold fusion, or more
    recently, arsenic-based life. When a theory doesn’t hold water, it won’t stand the test of time.

  • Rich R

    @Fred,

    What you have just claimed is that your god is a thought or human defined concept or “feeling” and not an independant entity that can interact or manifest in any way. Personally I’m fine with that. But I think you’ll get some flak from other theists.

    How could “a belief in democracy” create the universe? C’mon now, all of those things you mentioned are dependant upon humans and/or defined or created by by humans. If you are saying your god is this way also, I would agree.

    Belief in god is an expression of belief in something that has insufficient evidence. All those other things are not independantly existing entities. No one denies that people “belief in god”, what we are denying is evidence of god himself. You’re obsfuscating.

  • Lucien

    Sean, Matt, etc…

    Happy to take some wagers but first, maybe a counter offer. A challenge to watch a few of Ravi Zacharias videos on YouTube, especially the chapters covering commentary on Stephen Hawkings’ claims. Would you do it?

  • Fred

    @Rich
    “What you have just claimed is that your god is a thought or human defined concept or “feeling” and not an independent entity”

    Not at all. It’s the belief that is a feeling. This belief causes us to act in a certain way, to do certain actions, desist from others, and so on. God, by definition, is not a “thing” His existence, being the Creator, is beyond our common experience. As I said before, He is not a scientific concept. It is His creation which makes the whole scientific enterprise possible in the first place. Science is simply the wrong tool to prove or disprove Him.

    “Belief in god is an expression of belief in something that has insufficient evidence”

    Well clearly, then so is belief in many other concepts about which humanity disagrees. However, that does not stop people acting according to their beliefs.

  • Rich R

    @Fred
    So your belief is summed up by a “feeling”? On the one hand, I think I could very happily get along with someone who feels this way. But there are some big problems. Firstly, it could be indigestion (sorry, stolen joke, but the point is appropriate).

    I don’t see how your “feeling” could point you to a specific god. How do you know it’s the abrahamic god, which you’ve claimed to believe in? Now you’re getting in to a really weird “feeling”. When your feeling is pointing you to a specific deity that actually is said to have done things and possibly still does, you need to start explaining this feeling a little more. You are trying to smuggle too much meaning in with some vague imagery. In all seriousness, I can appreciate, on a human level, that you have wonder and awe and a “feeling” that there is more out there. But that is where the investigation should start. It should make you start to look for answers. A “feeling” that gives answers instead of questions is poor critical thinking. It is not the path to truth or reality. It is indistinguishable from your imagination.

  • Fred

    Rich. A religion is something to be experienced. It’s like expelling to a blind person what colors are. A perspective on life is what gives one meaning, hope, etc. If you think it’s only about answers you are mistaken. All I can say is that you keep proving my point. Just like religious fundamentalists sound silly talking when they try and refute evolution, atheists sound silly when they talk about theology and the religious life.

  • Winter

    Fred,

    do you really believe that you, or most people, would be of the same religion if you were brought up differently? And if the choice of religion is so very dependent on social context, isn’t that a good indication that religion is mostly a social construction, and not a divine one?

    Put differently: Given the locality of religious phenomena, isn’t conditioning a more probable explanation than the existence of a god?

    You are, of course, free to believe what you will. I just believe that the case for religious beliefs, especially concerning the existence of specific deities, is a lot worse than the case for political ideologies. Both questions being argued over doesn’t make the questions equivalent.

  • http://www.irb.hr/users/bosanac/ Slobodan Danko Bosanac

    Discussion about God is as long as the religion itself, but in this thousands year long controversy there was not a single evidence of its existence. All the books that claim to be the words of God were manufactured by individuals or group of individuals and the spread of the “word of God” were in all case with the help of the tip of a sword and not persuasions with arguments of evidence. The only argument of believers is that we do not know answers to some questions, such as “Life, Universe and Everything”, but one should be aware that scientific methods are only hundred or two years old. What do we expect, to have answers to such questions as putting a coin in a coffee machine and there it comes out and answer? Science is a random walk that with every wrong direction opens up new ones that, and as the rule, leads to new knowledge. Religion is crippled in this respect and that why it is false, because no new direction in science arrows in the direction of its claims, on the contrary the arrow points in the opposite.

    And why some scientists are believers, not necessarily in the Christian God? Well, one should ask them, together with what is their concept of God. I cannot speak for them, very likely it is a frame of mind that stops them accepting evidence as the argument on which one can base sensible discussion. However, those that I know to them God is more of abstraction that personifies Omni Good or Omni Beauty rather than Omni Potent or Omni Creation. It is interesting that some of them, e.g. abstract theoretical physicists (string theorists), consider God as a logical structure, rather like for mathematicians who define postulates and derive consequences. There is no difference between them, but as in mathematics the postulates do not have meaning in real physical world so the God does not have it. In conclusion, when one asks somebody (talking about scientists) if they are believers one should ask to describe the concept of their God. One should find interesting results.

  • Sylvain

    Scientists believing in gods in Socrates days (400BC)?
    Close to 100%…

    Scientists believing in gods in Galileo’s days (1500)
    The vast majority, out of fear as much as faith.

    Scientists believing in gods after “les Lumières”(Voltaires, Descartes, etc)
    Not many…

    Scientists believing in gods in 2011 (Quantuum physics, human genome, etc.)
    A few hypocrites…

  • Matt

    Lucien,

    Started to watch the YouTube videos you mentioned, buy the content seems to be the same as John Lennox’s debate piece on dailymail.co.uk.

    Wow, so many mischaracterizations, I can only scratch the surface here. Take the claim that science fits perfectly with the Christian narrative. Really? why are we having this debate then? Why is Darwin so hated by theologians? Darwin set out to prove God’s design in nature, but the evidence lead him to natural selection. Theologists still argue Darwin, but modern scientists have moved on to newer fields, genetics, molecular biology, biogeography, advances in embryology (embryology was studied before Darwin, and was already creating difficult questions for theologians). All those fields stand alone, and reinforce each other.

    Lennox claims the big bang is supported by the Bible. Again, really? God spoke and created a trillion of galaxies with nearly a trillion stars each, just to put on one humble planet. To shed light on us, which won’t reach us for billions of years, and we cannot see it with our own senses.

    It’s still the cosmological argument. The CA fails to explain where God came from, instead theologians wave their hands and say it just does apply to God. They claim God is simple, yet the creation of inanimate objects require a more complex creator than the creation.

    That’s all I have time for now, but I hope my choice of medium fits the spirit of your challenge.

  • Rich R

    Fred,
    We’ve all heard the “explaining colors” analogy, but I reject it. You could display to a blind person that you were actually doing something. You could repeatedly pick a blue item that he had identified from an assortment of similar items. You could pick the blue one every time. You may not be able to explain the details of what the experience is like, but you could prove you were talking about something real. Your “feeling” is entirely indistinguishable from fantasy or imagination. I have no way to test that what you are experiencing is any different from someone in an asylum.

    You seem determined to use the most vague references possible, yet you have mentioned a specific god. How do you get from one to the other? Done your way, you would need to decide something is real, then experience it after already believing. But there was no way to determine which experience is correct or real even if you sampled feelings and experiences from 10 different religions. I’m sure you have experiences at your synagogue (or wherever)that are very moving. Any human can relate to that to some extent. But how do you determine the experiences you have are any different or refer to something more true than the experiences in a mosque or cathedral, etc? If the truth doesn’t matter to you as long as you get this feeling, that’s your right.

    If you can not explain your belief in a specific god any better than you have done so far, I would have to conclude that you believe for entirely insufficient reasons. This whole conversation started because you claim that atheists don’t understand the god you believe in, yet it seems you don’t either. A feeling that can not be described in any other way but innacurate analogies is not a good reason to believe in a magical entity.

    Please how does this “feeling” relate to a personal god? Just saying that I have to believe first and then I’d understand is not possible. I can not make myself believe something only because I may then get a feeling it’s true. I love that most jews don’t proselytize like many christians, so you aren’t skilled in converting. But I think this is a fair question and one you should consider. Which came first, the belief or the reason for belief?

  • http://www.dunwanderinpress.org Robert Landbeck

    All 50, not to mention history, are far wide of the mark! The first wholly new interpretation for two thousand years of the moral teaching of Christ is on the web.

    Radically different from anything else we know of from history, this new ‘claim’ is predicated upon a precise and predefined experience, a direct individual intervention into the natural world by omnipotent power to confirm divine will. “correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries.” Like it of no, a new religious claim testable by faith, meeting all Enlightenment criteria now exists. A religious revolution may be underway? More info at http://soulgineering.com/2011/05/22/the-final-freedoms/

  • Muralidhar

    I find the video and the following debate way above the realms of my intellect.
    To me however, life of a man called William Marrion Branham proves beyond all doubt that the God of The Bible is indeed God, in the sense that He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, and really Supernatural. How else can you explain the healing of Congressman William David Upshaw (remember, we are talking of a man whose illness is known to the world for 66 years prior to the miraculous healing), who was in wheelchair for 66 before years before attending a Branham healing campaign?
    Or, how would anyone explain the resurrection of Finnish boy, Kari Holma?
    Of course, if I try to be rational, the next question would be, why don’t you see such miracles today? The answer is “lack of faith”. Faith is seeing the intangible, not questioning it! But an experiment is an investigation– a series of questions aimed at Nature to see how it responds under the set constraints. But the “experiment” of FAITH is to do away with the consciousness of “experiment”. You are not experimenting, you just believe it. Then God comes on scene! Friends, He is not going to clown for anybody. He is sovereign, and it’s always His Supreme Will that He executes, not what a mortal demands/requests/commands of Him, in his ignorance.

  • Matt

    Muralidhar,

    From what I’ve read of Congressman Upshaw, he was able to use crutches too. Its plausible he would have had some strength in his legs, and some semblance of balance. Maybe he was walking in private, I don’t know, but can you guarantee he wasn’t? Maybe the “healing” provided the motivation he needed, but that’s far from a miracle. Once the public knew about the “healing”, that would be tremendous pressure to keep walking. Hehe, he was a congressman after all. I cannot say that’s what happened, but it is a plausible scenario.

    It’s hard to claim “miracle” when plausible scenarios abound. That’s why my challenge of healing an amputee is such an important question. There is no natural way or medical way to date. Only a supernatural way.

    Miracle curings of say cancer, it’s much more plausible there was a misdiagnosis. Cancer is not always black and white. So when a doctor puts someone through months of chemo or radiation, and suddenly the cancer is gone, good chance the doctor would rather let the patient beleive there was a miracle than say, “oops I goofed. Anyone could have made that mistake. hope we are still friends”

    But of course he won’t do what’s asked of him beyond chance. It’s funny how he only gets credit for the good things. Even bad things become good through tortured logic. No wonder some people think he’s perfect.

  • Matt

    Muralidhar,

    Reading up on Kari Holma, an eye witness, Vilho Soininen, tells that Brother Branham was the one who couldn’t find the boy’s pulse and thought him to be dead. Branham prayed and the boy opened his eyes. All this took place in about 5 minutes, and before they reached the hospital. Doesn’t it seem the least bit suspicious that the “miracle healer” is the one who declared him dead, and not a doctor?

  • Muralidhar

    Matt,

    Brother Branham foresaw a boy being raised from the dead at least 2 years before the Kuopio incident. He described the scene of the car accident, the dress on the boy hit in the accident etc. in detail in detail to a large no. of audience in the US and Canada 2 years before the boy was raised.
    How did he know everything in such detail well in advance. One argument is that the whole episode is pre-planned. But a half-illiterate Kentuckian with few connections executing such a plan to the dot has as big a chance as a coin turning up heads in a million trials.
    Yet, I ‘d concede you the advantage of doubt in Kari Holma’s case. What is your answer to William Upshaw’s?
    And remember, these and many more miracles happening in the same man’s ministry with proofs surviving to this day, plus the man’s life being so much in tune with the leading characters in The Bible (which precedes Bro. Branham by at least 1900 years) lends credence to not only to the man, but to The Bible itself.

  • Muralidhar

    Matt,
    I apologize for responding without reading your first reply.
    Even if we assume that Upshaw had strength in his legs, the strength “displaying itself” at age 84 is something that needs attention. And that happening in a Branham meeting, who was commissioned of an Angel to bring a gift of healing to the people cannot be mere coincidence. And Bro. Branham was told that kings and potentates would be healed in his ministry. It just is not serendipity.
    Bro. Branham’s ministry has records of amputee’s feet growing to full size in the sight of large audience. It is not impossible to find enough evidence of countless miracles if you can so much as read/hear his sermons.
    In spite of all this, as I said before, faith does not lend itself to the test of experiment. If it does, it is not faith anymore! The experimenter needs to refine his technique to verify faith. He “must” trust (that is have faith).

  • Matt

    Muralidhar,

    A few more comments on Branham, and I think I’ve said my peace on him.

    Let’s suppose he really did all those miracles. I would assume that would make him a candidate for sainthood, or at least beautification. Searching around I found a lot of religious people’s websites filled with “proof” that Branham was a false profit. If he were true, why do so many believers in God doubt him. Surely someone in the Vatican would say he’s the real deal, God wants us to recognize this.

    More interesting to me were the eye witness accounts of Alfred Pohl confirming that a lot of the “healings” were people feeling good about being “healed” of their cancers and other diseases for a few hours, then still being sick.

    Branham also made a lot of predictions that didn’t come true. California sliding into the ocean; Jesus returning in 1977. Starts to sound more like chance, than divinely inspired messages.

    Given the doubts I raised so far, it becomes plausible he was using cold reading techniques and plants to reveal some of the other information about audience members. Ever read a horoscope, they use very specific sounding words, but are really very vague. (I forget the proper term for that.) Good chance many in the audience played along even if he was wrong, they’ve come all this way to get healed and they don’t want to be the one who says, “no, that’s not quite true”.

    Regrowing a foot, I would assume someone got an 8mm video of that (I believe that was the popular video format in the 50′s) . That would make a nice youtube video for us skeptics. If Branham’s ministry has those records, surely they wouldn’t keep them to themselves would they?

  • Muralidhar

    Matt,
    When I said records, I meant people who witnessed events, I know there is no video of that. But if you want a “physical evidence”, there is a photograph of “The Pillar of Fire” (the same Supernatural Being referred to in The Bible) over his head, authenticated by one of FBI’s best investigators of that time(George J. Lacy). As to Branham being labeled a false prophet, that’s because he was against the “business houses” that people built around the Name of Jesus Christ (of course, they go by the name of churches). If you would at least concede that there was a real Man called Jesus, that was precisely the reason they crucified Him.
    California sliding into the ocean will come true one of these days, but would you then believe? He only “predicted” (which was only a personal guesstimate) that Jesus would come before 1977, he didn’t prophecy. Every time he spoke of 1977, he clearly mentioned that it was his personal view, and not a revelation from God.
    King George of England being healed of multiple sclerosis, dead baby in Mexico being brought to life… too many to be dismissed as mere chance. If that were all fake, why didn’t anyone expose him in his lifetime (Alfred Pohl would be a good candidate)? He is either a prophet of God or the second greatest deceiver to have walked on earth (first would be the Man he claimed his God, Jesus!).
    Now, a deceiver would not lay down His life for naught. And then 11 of his disciples would not follow His footsteps to their graves with the same courage, fully aware that there is no material, emotional or social advantage in living That Life. I am not assuming, I ‘m human, and I know the price I would put upon my life. If not certain of what they had in store for them, Jesus, His disciples, and even Branham wouldn’t have renounced the worldly accolades that they could “earn” by compromising on the Gospel they had in them.
    I am aware that this is not what you asked for a “proof”. Wait until Los Angeles goes one mile deep into the ocean, till Russia bombs the Vatican, till a beautiful and cruel woman starts ruling the US, and till US is so utterly burnt down that there will only be embers to be seen all over that country (each one of them is a prophecy, not a prediction like “1977″). Would you then believe? You might get that opportunity in this life time.

  • Matt

    Muralidhar,

    I’m confused why Branham would go out on a limb with personal guesses, if he is getting revelations from God. Why make so many mistakes when all he has to do is wait for a true sign. Wouldn’t that be a perfect testament to God instead of leaving lot’s of doubts for skeptics to chip away at?

    As for your prophecies, LA one mile deep: Plate tectonics could do that, but it would probably take a million years. Large earthquakes can move large amounts of land by 10′s of feet, so it would take hundreds of large earthquakes, and centuries to complete if not longer. Natural processes.

    Russia bombing the Vatican. Most likely scenario there is some extremist Catholics doing what extremist Muslims do, and Russia getting even. That would be a man-made self-fullfilling prophecy.

    A woman getting elected as President. That’s a little too vague, even saying a good looking one. I’m not sure if you intended that as a stand-alone prophesy, or combined with the scorched earth prophesy.

    Nothing but embers. That’s pretty close to an end of the world prophecy. 100% end of the world prophecies have failed to come true, and we’ve been waiting a few thousand years. I feel pretty safe it won’t happen in my lifetime, or my children’s, or grandchildren’s. Although we do have empirical evidence that the sun will eventually swell and destroy the earth, but that’s a natural process that won’t happen for a few billion years.

  • Brian J. Mahan

    Well, I guess the word is out about us Christians. We should probably just give up and confess what we already knew, but have tried to hide: when we were called, not many of us were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But we are thankful for the few brilliant ones we have among us and celebrate their willingness to be embarrassed by the company they keep. Still, we have hope that our simplicity and love, when we love well, may ultimately contribute something to the world.

  • David

    I have to laugh at all the Christofacists posting messages here, like Andrew and Brian and others.

    The beliefs (or lack of beliefs) or a non-theist are just as plausible and believable as your beliefs. You’re not right, and they aren’t either. You’re wrong, but so are they.

    Get over it.

  • Brian J. Mahan

    David,

    I’m glad you had a good laugh. But, if you don’t mind, let me laugh with you. I in fact agree with you that assuming my beliefs to be true while others are false is both epistemologically suspect and unsporting. “Let a thousand flowers bloom,” as William James once suggested, atheist, theist, indifferentist and all the rest. Let us all live our lives not in the delusion that our visions of life and the rest are already true, but in a commitment that by our effort, patience, authenticity and openness to other ways of construing things, we may over time, help them to become truer. My commitment to Christianity, though many of my co-religionists would demur from my opinion, is of this kind. So, anyway, David, I challenge you to live out your commitments and delusions as I live out mine, comparing notes as we go. Good luck and keep on laughing.

  • Marius Potgieter

    The “non-believers list” is only 50 long so far. With very little effort it can probably be expanded to quite a few thousand. Would that “prove” that the remaining ten million (or whatever) scientists in the world believe in God? Are scientists really the best qualified to comment on theological matters? True, faith-filled scientists also regularly comment on their world view, but that’s a religious opinion. Science and religion are not in conflict. It is people who fight these silly wars, not religion or science.
    As an analogy, I sometimes think of a brush, a canvass and a tube of oil paint sitting together, feeling very pleased with themselves for having “created” such a beautiful picture. What a waste of time and energy to consistently search for irrefutable “evidence” of God’s existence/non-existence!
    As a Christian my worldview cannot be altered by scientific research results, because I admire advances in science too much – providing it is not dogmatic rubbish (Like Dawkins comparing the shape of butterfly wings to thorns on a shrub, arguing that “the butterfly evolved such trickery to protect them from predators, because they “saw” the protection that thorns provided plants against attacks from herbivores”). It’s this kind of nonsense that contains no knowledge-value and only serves to widen the divide between people with differing opinions.
    I have not seen a shred of scientific evidence for “life” originating in “primordial soup” and water-living creatures assuming land-based features, some eventually developing feathers and light-weight skeletons to reduce their weight so that they can take to the air, while others eventually “became” lizards and other animals. How gills “changed into book-lungs” eventually (“given enough time, natural selection and necessity will see to it happening”), as well as all the other features, including other critical organs, that constitute different species, is simply not adequately explained by existing scientific theory. We still have a long way to go before it will become clearer. When we get there, all rational people will embrace such new knowledge (if the scientific method is followed), some viewing it as God’s infinite wisdom and others as nature taking care of itself. Just as all people will never unanimously agree on God’s existence, you will never find that every person on earth will suddenly become atheists.
    A recent Gallup Poll claims that 92% of Americans believe in God. My view of the human condition is that not many take God seriously, though. Be that as it may – would such a poll then “prove” anything useful? One must be careful when using statistics as proof of anything.
    Let’s rather model integrity and diligently pursue tolerance and respect for each other in the mean time.

  • Clarke

    This piece would have been better with more gender diversity. Where are the women?

  • Matt

    Marius Potgieter,

    I am curious, what is the source of your Dawkins quote? Is that an exact quote, or are you paraphrasing?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Matt

    Lucien,

    I got curious why Zacharias and Lennox were so worked up over Hawkings statement, “philosophy is dead,” so i read Grand Design. I have to conclude because it hits them square between the eyes. They try to philosophize their way out, obviously missing Hawkings point.

    Hawkings premise is that we’ve reached a point in history where empiracal evidence is the gold standard of knowledge. He backs up his statement by tracing important scientific discoveries throughout history. He backs up his statement with the current scientific models. He openly discusses the current limits of knowledge.

    Here is my summary of what Hawking has to say about the creation of the universe. Trace time backwards and the universe compacts to such a small size, that the laws of Quantum Mechanics apply. Quantum mechanics make no sense based classical physics, but scientists have fairly complete models of Quantum mechanics. Those models match quantum behaviors quite well. Many predictions of those models have been confirmed through experimentation. Other predictions we don’t have the means to test yet. But the evidence still heavily favors the models.

    Importantly, the models are complete enough to predict spontaneous creation of the universe. The models have been proven right so far in other areas, so spontaneous creation as predicted becomes the most likey cause of the Universe. Zacharias and Lennox can philosophize all they want, but until they come up with evidence that the models are wrong, they are stuck using methods of past centuries.

    Interestingly, Hawking says that any model that accurately predicts behaviors is a valid model (at least within the limits if that model). He says that someone could make a model of the universe with the Earth at the center, and the Sun and stars all orbit around us. If it accurately predicts orbits, then it’s a valid model. Of course the math would be horrendous, but that just might make some theologians very happy.

    The book is very readable until he gets to the nitty-gritty of quantum mechanics. I suggest you read it.

  • BrianO

    I found it interesting that each scientist (though 1/3rd of the “experts” are outside the realm of physical sciences) had “jumping off points” that left their area of expertise “hanging”. Things like “we don’t know where the Laws of Physics came from, but we know they are there”…”we don’t know where the first molecules came from, but we know they appeared”…”we don’t know how the Big Bang happened, but we know its effects”…”we don’t know how nonliving matter became living matter, but we know it did”…”we don’t know how something came from nothing, but we know it did”. I am sorry, but those “jumping off points” are rather nonrational and unscientific. Really, to pass off those non-answers so casually, leaves one wanting. Those unsolved questions should rack the brain of any serious scientist. To discount the concept of God as silly and myth, yet embrace these non-answers as scientific, undermines the inquiry. It seems rather silly to “jump off at those point”, seems a rather convient way to avoid the hard questions science can’t (yet) answer.

  • Matt

    BrianO,

    Our collective ignorance doesn’t prove the existence of a deity.

    At least scientists admit the limits of their knowlege. And as their knowledge advances, theologists are forced to backpedal. It a clear and unrelenting pattern through history. Sometime it takes them centuries to catch up.

    so how was God created?

  • Dagwood

    Fred, on July 27, said “Belief in God is an expression of an attitude to life, a way of living.” Rather than a belief related to an empirical claim, I assume. So, then, what attitude to life or way of living is it? I think we’d find many attitudes and ways of life that people say is related to their belief in God (or in no-God), with nothing much in common. We don’t need God to believe in humility or human puniness or folly, nor to instill a sense of gratitude or awe. Nor do we need God as a justification of our moral code(s). So the question remains…why believe?

  • Dagwood

    I would add that the plea for “both sides” to get a platform is also a stretch. The “mainstream” is pro-God, if not explicitly pro-Christian. How many atheist candidates for public office are there? So just as the burden for proof is all on the believers, there is a need for the atheists and agnostics as well to have a public platform. If you really want “fair and balanced” then you have to favor an enormous increase in voicing atheist and agnostic opinions publicly.

  • Mary

    Science describes the mechanism by which divine things happen. The opinions of scientists on the subject of God’s existence carry no more weight than a non-scientist’s; indeed, they may be more biased (by a temperament drawn to study science, and by the investment of their time in the study of science) toward non-belief. Take care what you take up: what you do is what you become. Humility is missing here.

  • Fred

    @Dagwood “So the question remains…why believe?”

    Probably as many reasons as there are believers. So what?

  • bukem

    “There is no evidenice that we need anything other then the laws of physics” — what??
    Its quite sad how close minded some lumanary scientists become.
    I most certainly want to believe in a world with more then just the laws of physics. A universe of infinite amount of ideas.
    I love it when a scientist breaks through the completely shifts the paradigm , from newton to maxwell to tesla. Evidience is relative and completely uncertain.

    I like to believe in a universe of every possibility (even the possibility that there is not an infinite amount of possibilities) In layers of worlds we are yet to see because the science does not yet exist.

    You would think working in a field where you are explaining the complexity of nature that the otherness to all of this would be so clear.

    but anyway .. each to his own. Please just dont fight about it. I can understand the ignorance masses being completely raged by the fact that someone does not believe what they believe but .. come on .. we all just want to explore dont we and fighting stops that.

    peace!

  • Matt

    Several commenters asked why are scientists qualified to talk about God. When religious people make testable claims about God, then it puts God right into the scientific realm.

    Are you a young earth creationist… There is a mountain of scientific evidence that crushes that myth.

    How about Adam and Eve as literal people. If the story is true, then genetics would show the entire human race filtering down to one couple. It doesn’t, the smallest population identifiable as modern humans was about 10,000.

    Noah’s Ark didn’t happen. None of the testable claims have brought forth any evidence.

    Trace back the history of your God, does he change as our knowledge and technologies advance. Did he create a flat earth at one time? Or could he cure diseases by banishing evil spirits? wouldn’t you rather go to a doctor now-a-days?

    Is your understanding of God internally consistent? For example, if he is omniscient, then he knows everything that will ever happen. He could never change his mind from the predetermined course, because at that point, the future would change and he wouldn’t have known it. So omnipotence goes out the window if he cannot change the future and remain omniscient.

    Another example: Do you believe in the God of the Bible, and consider him a loving God? Count how many people God killed according to the Bible, a strict tally is over 2 million. And the Devil only killed 7 (or was it 10). Hmmm…

    But that strict tally doesn’t include times when he killed entire populations that didn’t have a number. Back to Noah’s Ark, the Bible just says God killed everybody except Noah and his family. Add a few million or billion to the total for times like this. Ok, that’s just a figurative story, but it’s a popular story from the Bible somehow proving the glory of God. It’s often told as a children’s story too. Why in the world do people teach children that a loving God drowned all the kittens and ladybugs and hamsters and…

  • clouds

    Mosses had a stick that what made us touched it even touched him I am like that but more I have the root of David in my body which which is in-powering me to be like mosses only 10000 times as dangerous he had to rely on his stick where I do not I am is seeding me to become like his son CHRIST who was the lamb of god I Am not him nor will I ever say I am him but I am like him threw whatever made us that’s evolving me to become the first angel that graced our world! to make things better for a time times a time and a half a time and whoever stands in my way will be brought to there knees! If I cannot help science fix things I will tear science apart! And in the end when I am finished and every avenue is exhausted i will be murdered and you will all know I was him! And you will all wish you listened to this gentile that Paul said would form to a man! The tree of life is around me and all you want to do is kill it just like you killed Christ than your trouble will be out of my hands and god will release the devil on you all! I wish I could tell you more I wish I could be allowed to make things better but if I am sees I am failing just like the movie the day the earth stood still you will all pay a price for my destruction if I cannot be allowed to make things better than I will make them worse!
    Amen

  • Leandro

    Interesting, yet superficial. Incredibly annoying background music. What´s that for?

  • Ashish Tewari

    I find it totally intriguing that a renowned scientist like Hawking can make a statement such as: “There is no evidence that we need anything other then the laws of physics”.

    Where did the laws of physics come from, Dr. Hawking? Even a stupid person would know that making a law (any law) requires intelligent thought, wieghing of pros and cons, and judgement. The best scientific proof/evidence for the existence of God is that the vast universe is governed by uniform and unchanging physical laws (that’s why it is called “the universe”). Any intellectually honest and observant person (let alone a scientist) would logically come to this conclusion.

    But Stephen Hawking would rather believe in the hypothesis of invisible and untestable 11-dimensional superstrings/membranes governing the universe than in the existence of an intelligent Creator. It says a lot about the arrogance and scientific double standards of the man.

  • Rathindranath

    All these debate is useless! Those who do not want to believe let them not believe. Let them follow the path of knowledge.Let the others believe ,preach and practice as they understand. All are seeking the truth following different path like 5 blind people trying to understand an elephant in his own way. The some total is the truth.So why waste your time! I am doing that precisely but could not overcome the temptation to put in my vies. Such is the human failings. We do not understand our own society why talk about the whole universe? As the masters say :going to a mango plantation do you count mangoes? You just enjoy the fruits!Life is short and triensient so have fun loving the nature all living and nonliving with out caring whether he exists or not.

  • Ashish Tewari

    Stephen Hawking, while not a believer, has no qualms about selling his books using God’s name. A couple of years back, I ordered Hawking’s book titled “God Created the Integers”. It turned out to be a collection of biographies of some famous mathematicians edited by Hawking. No mention of God anywhere except on the cover!

  • Matt

    Ashish Tewari,

    The fact that physical constants do not change is exactly what one would expect if there were no omnipotent being in charge. If you believe a literal account of Noah’s Flood, then God would have had to change the physical properties of water to create rainbows. And if he’s in the business of changing physical properties, then we would expect to find other properties changing occasionally too. So far, none.

    Why do you assume that laws (as they are called by scientists) would require intelligence to come about? That is (hopefully) true of the laws governing society, but you’ve applied a human attribute to the physical realm.

    If you argue that all things require a creator with intelligence, then who created God? And who created the creator of God? How did God gain the ability to create physical laws, and all the matter that makes up a trillion galaxies?

    And why do you think String Theory isn’t testable? Similar to Einstein and his theories on relativity. Einstein discovered a model of the universe that predicts the bending of space-time. From that model, he predicted gravitational lensing, and gravity waves. Scientists have now observed gravitational lensing. Experiments are being designed to detect gravity waves. Verifying predictions based on a model are a powerful validation of that model. The same holds true for String theory. Scientists say if it’s true, then they expect to see one thing, and if it’s false they should see something else.

    When scientists find problems with a hypothesis or theory, they either modify it or toss it out. They go where the evidence leads them. That’s a far cry from arrogance.

  • Matt

    Rathindranath,

    The reason I worry about it this pithy saying, “science builds planes, religion flies them into buildings.”

    The five blind guys analogy may apply to religious study. There are no shortage of creation stories, how “the afterlife” works, and so on–and they often tell conflicting stories.

    But if a sixth guy–a scientist–joins in the conversation should change. He would ask questions like, how do you know it’s a rope? If it’s a rope, can everybody tie a knot in it? Have you smelled it? Have you weighed it? Has everybody touched the entire thing?

    Then after investigating all those questions and probably more, the sixth guys starts to think it’s an elephant. He says, “if it’s an elephant, it should sound like an elephant.” the elephant trumpets and confirms his prediction.

    But the other five fail to accept the evidence, and remain unconvinced of the elephant in the room.

  • Ashish Tewari

    Matt,

    Human arrogance is in full display when man claims that he is the only one capable of “creating” things, making laws, and other decisions of life. He finds “no evidence” that there can be any reason or purpose behind the vast universe. He can explain everything by some theory or another, and if that fails, he places eternal faith in the capacity of human civilization to come up with such a theory “sometime in the future”.

    The reality, however, is that man is not in control of his own destiny, let alone the universe. He can hardly “explain” even five percent of the universe, the remaining 95% falling into the unknown (dark matter, dark energy). In order to avoid acknowledging God, man invents such artifices as eleven-dimensional strings and/or multiple-universes, none of which have ever been observed or even inferred by indirect measurement. Is this a “scientific” method?

    The incredible order and balance prevailing in the universe at every level — order that enables intelligent life to exist — can hardly have come by accident or chance. Thus, there is design in the universe, which unfailingly points to a Designer.

    By asking such questions as “who created God”, we are dragging God down to our own level. If we rightly recognize God as the Creator of the universe then He, by definition, must exist outside the realm of space and time that are limited to the universe. And a phenomenon existing outside space and time is not bound by the principle of cause and effect. Therefore, “who created God” is a meaningless question.

  • Matt

    Ashish Tewari,

    it is a strawman to state that we claim that humans are the only one’s capable of creating things. No, there are natural processes that create things. “Chance” and “accident” also build a strawman because no scientists use those words. They say were are the result of undirected natural processes. And they have a lot of evidence on their side.

    And again, we are not creating any physical laws. We study them, we model them, we make predictions about future discoveries based on a foundation of knowledge built by scientists. Although we do not have all the answers, we have enough that it’s time to require evidence or claim we don’t know. (Yet, or maybe never)

    That’s an interesting claim that time, space, cause and effect do not apply to God. So if cause and effect do not apply, then it’s possible that God created himself. Oh, and time doesn’t apply, so it’s possible he hasn’t even created himself yet, it might happen in the future. Sounds pretty absurd doesn’t it?

    Before you claim I just made a strawman argument, those are inferences based on the statement you made. Claiming that *anything* can exist outside of cause and effect is pretty extraordinary. You’ll need evidence that is even possible.

    Asking a question is not evidence. Our collective ignorance is not evidence. The limitations of our technology to explore the universe is not evidence. You expect evidence out of scientists, so hold yourself to the same standard. Please provide something testable.

    Back to string theory. How do you know the intentions of the scientists who created that model? Really, they did it to deny the existence of God? I’d tend to believe they developed that model trying to explain some phenomenon they didn’t understand. Is string theory right? maybe, but when they’ve conducted tests that confirm or refute predictions based on the model, then we’ll have our evidence.

    As for “incredible order and balance prevailing in the universe” We only have one data point. We really do not know the range of conditions that allows for life. We do know that life can exist in the searing heat of hydrothermal vents, down to worms that live in freezing ice. Good chance, those aren’t the limits.

    As for “faith in some theory in the future”, well it’s gotten us out of prehistoric times, the middle ages, and into the 21st century. The stories of gods, deities and other mythological beings in charge have slowly faded into the past. You don’t believe in Zeus do you? Why not? it was a firmly held believe for many people at one point.

  • Ashish Tewari

    Matt,

    You are looking for God in the wrong place. I never said we need the ancient mythological and superstitious beliefs for faith in God. I said that science is the best tool for discovering God. God’s hand (signature) can be clearly seen in His creation, provided one is honest and not blinded by an atheistic bias.

    I wish you all success with the string “theory”. Perhaps someday one can really visualize eleven dimensions. Until then however would’nt it be nice to concede that we don’t really have a “natural” explanation for the existence of the universe?

    Best wishes.

  • Matt

    Ashish Tewari

    Ironically, the path that lead me to atheism started by reading Michael Behe, Lee Srobel, and the Bible.

    Cheers!

  • Matt

    Ashish Tewari,

    Cheers again, I couldn’t leave your last question unanswered. The answer is, there is a natural explanation and there is evidence supporting it.

    It is predicted by quantum theory (I forget which one exactly). The universe was small enough (briefly) that it existed completely in the quantum realm. The same quantum theory the predicts the spontaneous creation of the universe has been highly successful at making other verified predictions, so it’s quite plausible that is a correct prediction. Hawkings explains it better than I can, and in much more detail in The Grand Design.

    Can we test spontaneous creation of the universe? Probably never, but we can test spontaneous creation of quantum particles. There is a laser experiment being built right now to capture such particles long enough to be studied. It’s called the Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility. And yes it’s possible that it might verify the existence of other dimensions.

    You don’t have to “visualize” extra dimensions to know they are there. Imagine living in a two-dimentional world. If you could construct a triangle where each corner is 90 degrees, then you’ve proven your space-time isn’t flat, but warped in another dimension that isn’t immediately visible to you. Try that with a globe as your model of a 2-dimentional world, you can easily draw such a triangle.

    I find it ironic that, on one hand, “science is the best tool for discovering God”, but on the other hand, you find it hard to believe what the scientists are saying. Suppose that laser does find evidence of other dimensions, will you then say, “Oh, of course, God designed it that way.”? But for now, I think you are saying that God didn’t design it that way.

    I would guess you aren’t getting your science directly from scientists. I guess your knowledge of science is coming from theologists who have a vested interest in distorting what scientists say, otherwise they loose their grip on power. Talk about arrogance, the more their religious stories erode, the more adamant the religious leaders become that only they know “the truth”. Throughout history, human beings have believed in thousands of different deities. Now we are only down to a handful. Wouldn’t it be nice to concede that the trend is clear, that we shouldn’t have to make up stories to cover knowledge we haven’t gained yet?

  • Ashish Tewari

    Matt,

    It is good to end on a point of agreement: All religions are fake, man-made scams designed to fool people into blind and superstitious beliefs. They have caused the greatest damage to rational and logical analysis in the history of mankind (as well as murder and mayhem in the name of false gods).
    The religions of the world are the sole reason why most logical and scientifically trained minds turn into atheists. I don’t blame the scientists for dismissing religious beliefs and dogma. But it is another matter to reject the theory of intelligent creation based upon scientific reasoning (or lack thereof).

    Three cheers to you too, and have one on me!

  • Ashish Tewari

    Matt,

    Even Dawkins (‘God Delusion’) concedes that the same kind of reasoning can be applied to the God hypothesis as to any other scientific question. Now, most scientific questions are settled by inference, i.e., proof by probability rather than certainty of an event. By the same logic, existence of God is proved by an inferential argument. Therefore, scientists ought to say “probably God exists” rather than “there is no evidence of a God”.

  • Matt

    Ashish Tewari,

    The God Delusion does exactly that… uses scientific reasoning to look at the (so-called) evidence for God. And arrives at the conclusion that there is no (valid) evidence.

    Dawkins discusses the Cosmological Argument, which is basically what you are arguing, and comes up with no evidence.

    Dawkins discusses the God-of-gaps theory, which you’ve also cited. Still no evidence.

    It’s a bit disingenuous to say he “concedes” that God can be evaluated scientifically when that’s a main point in the book.

    Sure, there are times when answers aren’t 100% (maybe even 100% of the time haha) but you have to be close. Jumping from 0% to 100%, isn’t an inference, nor a proof.

    We’ve gone back and forth on this point several times now. I will try to move it forward with a question to you. Tell me more about what the God you believe in can do and does do. He created the universe… then what?

  • Ashish Tewari

    Matt,

    The God I believe in is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe we live in.

    By the way, your own “gods” (Einstein, Hawking, et al) are currently looking like fools with the latest findings at CERN and LHC. Better check out the good ol’ “laws of physics” once again!

    Ta ta for now!

  • Matt

    Can you expanded on how God sustains the universe?

    I never attributed supernatural powers to any scientists, so calling them “my Gods” is false.

    I assume you are referring to the superluminal neutrinos… At the moment, that’s an unexplained result. Nothing has come crashing down. The results haven’t even been duplicated yet. Even if it were possible that something travels faster than light, it doesnt necessarily mean that Einstein was made a fool of. It most likely means a limitation to an otherwise solid model. That’s pretty standard in science to know where a model applies. Newtonian physics don’t work in the quantum world, and quantum physics don’t work in the newtonian realm. That doesn’t invalidate either model, and you got a long ways to go to invalidate Einstein theories.

  • Ashish

    Matt,

    You say “nothing has come crashing down” due to neutrinos moving faster than light. Really? Either you don’t understand special relativity, or you are being less than honest.

    Anyhow, nothing would come crashing down either if I choose to “prove” mathematically that the universe is actually supported on the horns of a gigantic cow, or if somebody proves me wrong. Even Stephen Hawking says he could “prove” that the Earth was at the center of the universe, but the math would be messy. So I guess that’s why he chose eleven-dimensional strings instead. Perhaps the math was a little less messy. I don’t know where his M-theory stands now, after both the speed of light and CP symmetry hypotheses have been violated.

    So the moral of the story is : anybody can “prove” anything, and somebody can come up with an experiment to prove him/her wrong. Nobody however can disprove the existence of God or that He sustains the universe. If you can, kindly show me how.

  • Matt

    Ashish,

    Maybe I should have put a “yet” at the end of that particular sentence, maybe. But in the context of the prior sentence, which starts “At the moment”; and the following sentence which ends, “… been duplicated yet.” I think the point was clear, and there was nothing dishonest about it.

    Just in case it wasn’t clear (my mistake if it wasn’t), then allow me to restate it in a different way… Give the original scientists and additional scientists time to: review all the data; review the setup and experiment; repeat the experiments; conduct variations on the experiments; rule out errors in the system; understand why other observations of neutrinos failed to detect FTL properties; and otherwise verify the evidence for faster-than-light neutrinos. Only then will they start to get a verified understanding of the implications. The implications may completely turn around relativity; or may be a special case that requires a small adjustment to the theory. Either way, it’s premature to say they’ve made a fool of Einstein.

    There is a difference between proving the non-existence of something and saying there is lack of evidence. I say there is lack of evidence. You say God sustains the universe. So I’m curious, how exactly does God sustain the universe? Do you care to provide details?

  • Ashish

    Matt,

    Have you ever wondered what are the odds of life arising by chance? And what are the odds of simple lifeforms evolving by themselves into intelligent beings who can ask the question: “Is there a God?”
    Why didn’t a million things happen (as they should have if it were all by chance) to prevent life from evolving into you and me writing these posts?

    If you give some thought to these questions, you will realize that God sustains the precarious conditions for the evolution and survival of human beings on this planet. You will not get these answers from anybody but through your own analysis. The only thing required is an open and unbiased attitude.

    The complexity and rarity of life in the universe is the clearest hint of God’s hand at work. I hope that one day you would come to this realization.

    This is going to be my last post on this topic. Have a nice day!

  • Matt

    Ashish,

    Thank you for providing details. One minor semantic point, then I’ll proceed…

    When you said “sustains”, that sounds to me like there is some decay happening in the universe, and God steps in to patch things up. What you described sounds more like directing the course of the universe to bring us here.

    I have wondered about the odds, and I’ve read a lot about it. Actually stated with Darwin’s Black Box. Behe describes a mathematical model of chance assembly of molecules into organic molecules. The odds (as he sees it) are astronomical. That chapter immediately follows the chapter where Behe states that mathematical modeling ins’t scientifically valid. The hypocrisy is breath taking, and he modeled “chance”, not the natural processes that shortcut chance.

    I stated earlier that life isn’t by chance, it’s the result of undirected natural processes. A brief comment on chance versus processes… The odds of me winning the lottery are so low, that if I actually won, it would be by chance. Yet someone wins most of the time, not by chance, but by the process of millions of tickets being sold. Yet, I could make a process of eventually winning by either buying millions of tickets every game, or playing millions of games (well, hypothetically speaking). Increasing time or space increases the odds to the point of having a real expectation of a win. The odds of life may be quite small, but the universe is quite large and has been around a long time. A trillion galaxies for 13 billion years. There have been plenty of opportunities for life to arise from a collection of natural processes. We only know of one, but then we don’t have the technology yet to detect far-off life forms.

    What are those processes? we have a pretty good idea, and we see evidence. We see clouds of gas condensing into stars. The stars form heavy elements and re-disperse them through enormous explosions. The heavy elements are necessary to form rocky planets (where we know life can exists). As Miller-Urey discovered, it’s possible that a combination of elements and an activation energy can form organic molecules necessary for life as we know it. Maybe their combination of elements wasn’t the right combination present on primordial Earth, but there have been 30-50 different variations on their experiment with similar results (probably more since I’ve read about them). Activation energies could be lightning, hydrothermal, tidal and so on.

    With organic molecules present, it only takes some form of catalyst to form more complex molecules. Eventually enough of the right compounds form and begin self-replication. From there, evolution takes over.

    I recommend Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne for a better understanding of why evolution is a natural process. A briefly as I can describe it, it occurs the way one would expect an unguided natural process to go. We see how RNA and DNA replicates, how genes get duplicated and their functions diverge (in other words how new genes show up) We see how form and function intertwine and change over time to create new abilities.

    But wait, the lottery is designed to produce a winner every game or so, doesn’t that mean the Universe is designed too? Short answer: no. The ‘balance’ that’s required isn’t necessarily as fragile as some would have you believe. In The Case for the Creator, Lee Strobel claims that changing gravity by a billionth of a billionth percent would cause the Universe to collapse (He might have had more “billionths” in there). Strobel’s tolerance is much tighter that’s what claimed by any theoretical physicist. Strobel goes on to claim that, with that change in gravity, animals would have to have enormous legs or be crushed by the weight of their own body. That’s a bald-face lie. Look up gravity anomaly… it’s much larger that Strobels hypothetical gravity change. Centrifugal force of the Earths rotation counter-acts gravity much more than Strobels gravity change too. Yet birds are able to fly from hemisphere to hemisphere without huge legs and without being crushed.

    So if the universe is being directed, why does it look like it’s not? Solar systems form in an orderly and predictable manor. Evolution forms in a predictable manor too. Well, we don’t know exactly where it will take us, but the patterns are predictable. some examples: Embryos all start to form alike, then diverge as the embryo grows (this we known before On The Origin of the Species). The farther species are separated in time, the farther their genetic separation. We see birds and other species capable of air travel (think seeds dispersed by wind or in the feathers of birds, etc.) populating islands, but landlocked species are seen to have diverged around the time the island separated from the main land. Volcanic islands are all “flyable” species (well, at least indigenous species) We see fossil evidence of the ancestors of whales having legs. We see species like the lung fish capable of breathing in water and on the land, and with fins strong enough to limp along on land–exactly the kind of intermediary we would expect to find if fish crawled out of the sea.

    If it was directed, then there is a lot of waste for one humble little planet.

    There’s a lot more if you are willing to challenge your beliefs. I’ve done it, and it brought me to far different conclusions than I’ve had in the past.

    Since you may not be back, allow me to say that I enjoy a good debate, and you didn’t disappoint. Cheers!

  • John miller

    Man made God. That’s where God came from.Period

  • MichaelL

    Lucien, the onus in not on the unbeliever to prove that there is no god, but upon the believer to prove that there is a god. So far, such evidence has been lacking.

  • Cathy

    Matt, I was raised in a home, church, and school that all taught a literal, rational approach to believing in God based on historical evidences (such as the extra-Biblical support of historical events like the Census at the time of Christ’s birth or worship of a resurrected Christ within a short time frame of his death) and logical arguments (such as the cosmological that you mentioned). Ironically, the intellectual honesty and desire for truth my parents and teachers instilled has me questioning some long-trusted arguments that they taught me.

    At 35, I’m finally feeling brave enough to directly face the nagging qualms I have about some of the logic maps I’ve long accepted.

    I believe it’s impossible not to have some kind of bias on the subject, and I’ve been wondering where to look for some contrasting opinions to those I’ve always heard. I don’t want to just read The Case for Christ or Evidence That Demands a Verdict without giving the other side a chance to present its case, but I haven’t had a clear idea what to read in counterpoint while I think all this through.

    Thanks to your well-reasoned discussion here, I now have a few books to read and a solid place to start questioning. Thank you!

  • Matt

    Cathy,

    You’re welcome! I’m so glad that I’ve helped (I got goosebumps reading your post!).

    Congratulations on your new journey. We only have this world, so we have to make it count. If you never stop questioning, you’ll never stop learning.

    But beware, there are still social stigmas with becoming an atheist. You’ll meet a lot of resistance because religion gets ingrained at an emotional level from a early age. OTOH, a lot of people have doubts about religion, but keep quiet about them. As they are exposed to stronger arguements, their minds will start to change too. Pick your battles carefully :-)

    If I may, here are more things to read: The God Delution, it’s a great starting point. As you read the book, notice how careful Dawkins is not to be offensive to anyone. Yet his opposition calls him “militant”. Why is that…

    There are a lot of great blogs to follow. Search for Jerry Coyne, Eric MacDonald (former priest), Sam Harris, (the late) Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins. Commenters on those sites show a lot of depth of knowlege, so read them all.

    I’ve read Case For The Creator. Strobell makes so many Science 101 errors that it’s obvious he never talked to any real scientists. He uses so many emotional pleas, that it’s clearly not a well reasoned arguement, but more like a defense attorney trying to sway a jury when the facts are weak. (Strobell is an attorney) Re-read a couple chaptesr noting the style and ask why he would need to do that.

    Have you read the Bible? That alone is enough for some people. I found it interesting that Pharroah was ready to release the Isrealites after the third plague, but God “hardened his heart”; which ultimately lead to God killing thousands of children (according to the Bible). And the faithful call him a loving god. Death toll by God is actually in the millions in the Bible! Devil: seven.

    Search for Bible contradictions to find a lot more. SkepticsAnnotatedBible.com is a good source. They even have links to other sites that attempt rebuttals.

    Lastly, the census you mentioned never happened. The Bible is the only recording of it, there is no other records of it (nor a record of King Harrod having all the children killed.) In fact, Jesus was missed by the Roman “journalists.” That is very significant because the Romans were fanatical record keepers. Their journalists were prolific, and fascinated with the supernatural and with exposing corruption of their leaders. The crowds Jesus (allegedly) drew would have attracted the journalists attention.

    Cheers!

  • Bikram Nayak

    I listened the nobel lauerate Dr R Ernst nobel seminar.but he left VMAT2 gene and how this gene 50% influence spiritualty.if we could control mono amine level , then we could stop the war based on different religions.

  • Bikram Nayak

    If we could able activate neuropsychic muscle by TELEKINESIA, we might reach a position just near to GOD.
    Even we could heal diseases located at highly delicate organs….means healing without healing…
    requesting scientific community to kindly include me in any similar project…

  • Rahim

    Bias scientists! Do do justice to their own occupation, they should not talk in this way!

  • Sam

    @Rahim
    In what way is that?

    This video is a collection of answers to questions asking for the interviewee’s opinions (and at times their reasons for those opinions). You wouldn’t expect someone’s opinions to be free of opinion would you?

    Or do you say that their opinions are only arrived at by a line of reasoning built on an unsupportable premise? Which underlying premise is it that you are identifying here as being unsupported and yet used without explanation by the interviewees in the video?

  • Matt

    @Muralidhar,

    I doubt you still visit here, but just in case, I found an interesting tidbit about Branham.

    He died 40-some days before Easter. His followers were so convinced of his divine connection they thought he would rise from the dead. (I have to speculate that maybe Branham put that idea in their heads.)

    So they waited to bury him. 40-some days until after Easter. No resurrection ever happened, well, that’s not a surprise to some of us.

  • Bill Moen

    As Moses said to the burning bush;
    “You want us to “cut off” our WHAT?!

  • Swami

    I would have liked to have seen more discussion on the nature of consciousness. Do you believe that consciousness is supernatural? This would have beeb a more interesting question to ask. No doubt most if not all would have said “no.” But it can be a much more nuanced discussion when the experience of mystics is discussed in relation to science than when belief in God is discussed.

  • Matt

    Ashish Tewari,

    Have you seen the latest news from CERN? Sorry, but nobody has been made a fool. Maybe those scientists look foolish to some, but they did what they had to do. They had a result they didn’t understand, so they asked for help. An arrogant scientist wouldn’t have used that approach. Granted they don’t have they level of proof they really want, but it’s probably safe to assume that is forthcoming.

  • Jane Ryan

    Is this a site for just men? You only have ONE woman on this list? Seriously? And you expect me to LISTEN to this? Wow!

  • Gale Stanford

    Read my book, “God Speaks to Scientists, Too! (Available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com

  • DBurch

    I believe. I talk to God. He talks to me. I love Him. He loves me. He fills my heart with joy. He is unexplainable to the learned. He is sufficient for all. You can’t hold a ray of sunshine in your hand but you can feel it and know it is there.

  • Philip

    So the believer says to the non-believer, “God is real and infinite and I understand God with my finite brain.”
    The non-believer snorts and says, “Nuh-uh. The universe is infinite and I have scoured the whole thing with my very limited resources and found nothing.”
    An ambivalent person, who believes in the scientific model, overhears their arguing and says, “I have a theory, and it informs my behavior, but as there is no possible way for me to know I’m hedging my bets.”
    Which one do we trust?

  • Matt

    Philip,

    As a non-believer, I cannot say I’ve looked everywhere. But I have looked everywhere the believers say we should find God. If we cannot find him in those places, why look everywhere.

    As for hedging your bets, which god do you choose? Over 2600 gods have been documented by humans at some point in history. The god of the Bible gets furiously angry if you choose the wrong one. If the other gods have the same anger issues, you better hope you get lucky and choose the right one.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.professionalmoron.com Mr. Wapojif

    The desperate proselytising attempts of the religious brigade are getting more and more tedious. The advances in science over the last 150 years had made a mockery of religious beliefs and as it continues to do so hopefully, in the distant future, humans will let go of their terror of death and the futility of existence and just enjoy their lives. There is peace in one life, but so many can’t accept this.

    There are those who say, “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist!” This is a moronic statement which helps prolong the debate. Show me that God DOES exist. You can’t, but also you can’t show that an invisible omnipotent being is out there. What we can do is look at scientific facts, evidence, and logic and see that it is highly improbable that we live in a fantasy world governed by a deity. Where is the physical evidence for this deity? Is there any evidence at all? Is there even a single grain of sands worth? Nope; and all this after thousands of years of mindless belief. Religious people; it’s time to abandon the fantasy world and embrace logic.

  • Clara

    such 3rd grade arguments

  • Butch

    These speakers all seem to be referencing their disbelief in religious and theological dogmas and myths. They don’t distinguish between “religious belief” (in other words, belief in a theological model to understand the universe, which is what most religions consist of) and metaphysical questions which are, by definition, beyond the realm of physics. “Why does anything exist rather than nothing” is the first question of metaphysics. I think one speaker in this montage recognized or at least suggested that why the laws of physics exist is probably unknowable by scientific inquiry. The philosopher Ken Wilbur remarked that many of the greatest physicists were mystics. Some speakers in the video point to the tremendous advances in physical sciences in the last two centuries, but we may also be approaching a period when theoretical physics has reached its limits. String theory, for example, which attempts to reconcile the quantum with the Newtonian is, at least so far, seen by many physicists as unprovable and therefore essentially a “philosophy”. The nature of consciousness remains elusive despite attempts to compare it to a digital feedback loop. Probing “matter” at the subatomic level has reduced “substance” to energy potentials. The Big Bang posits that the universe sprang from an infinitely small point – and that the law of physics break down as we approach the moment of the Big Bang. I have no qualms about those who look on theological creation myths and theologically based cosmology as the equivalent of fairy tales. We don’t need a “man in the sky” to explain what science can probe. However, those who ignore the essential mystical and metaphysical questions about existence, the possibility that there are other ways of seeing reality (for example through intuition) are showing the mechanistic limitations of their thought processes. These speakers in fact seem quite satisfied not to ask philosophical questions at all and be satisfied that the universe simply “is”. I agree with another commenter that this video would have been much more interesting if it had contrasted views on the question of “god” by also including some scientists who might have articulated other points of view – especially some that are not necessarily theological, but metaphysical.

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  • MinSTL

    Very interesting discussion and clearly enlightened thinkers in this video. My one complaint: only one female voice in this list of 50…really??

  • Al

    Disappointing that you basically hand-picked all Agnostics and Atheists. Not very objective at all.

  • Jono

    I find it embarrassing that the author did not choose to interview Francis Collins, lead of the human genome project and current Director of the National Institutes of Health. And yet he is left out. Also a Christian, of course we have our own objectives to serve, its just sad when this video is so utterly one sided and self serving.

  • Guest

    I’m an apatheist: I don’t care if God exists or not. It doesn’t impact my life either way. Atheists have become just as dogmatic and evangelical as religious believers these days. It is possible denounce the evils of organized religion without mounting a Crusade for your own beliefs.nnStill, interesting video. I would have (like some others mentioned) enjoyed seeing differing points of view, rather than dozens of people essentially saying the same thing over and over again. nnAnd why only one woman?

  • Faith

    Well, I guess if all these say there is no God, then I guess there isn’t. Is that the point of this? nnWe bow to the momentary opinions of those who are perceived as our intellectual superiors. Momentary in the sense that any of these individuals, who are still alive, could change their opinion at any time, and become as fervent for a ‘god’ as they are now against. nnThis is a silly attempt to ‘brain freeze’ people into believing that these ‘intellectuals’ somehow have it right. This is not unlike Islam, Catholicism and Evangelicals, where people are taught to believe only what their u2018intellectualsu2019 teach u2013their scholars, theologians, priest, pastors, and Imams u2013 and now, today, the god-denying scientific world gives us its litany of u2018evangelistsu2019 and cheerleaders. These things are called opinions simply because these people donu2019t know.nnConsider the scientific method they are confined too, it proves this to be so – To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as: “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” nnSo, the method must have u2018systematic observationu2019 u2013 What scientist was around to u2018systematically observeu2019 when the u2018Big Bangu2019 went bang or, when God said, u2018Let there beu2026u2019? u2013 No one! nnThe method must be based on u2018measurable evidenceu2019 u2013 What u2018measurable evidenceu2019 is there that confirms with absolute certainty, that the Big Bang or God caused all things to be? u2013 There is none! nnThere is plenty of theory, hypothesis, and of courseu2026 as we see here, opinion, but even Richard Dawkins himself admits that no one really knows how it all started, i.e. by chance or by u2018aliensu2019. He chooses to believe the former, which conveniently allows him to deny the latter; else he would have to give place to the possibility of an u2018alien godu2019. Sure even those of the scientific class who believe in a God will usually admit to the same, i.e. that they really donu2019t know. nnSo whatu2019s left for them to do? u2013 Just one thing, and it is common to both camps, it is to have – faith. nnConsider its definition u2013 Faith u2013 the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. nnHow interesting, u2018the evidence of things not seenu2019, wow, seems the God loving folks have something very intrinsically common with the Big Bang loving folks. Both claim u2018evidence of things not seenu2019. nnUnfortunately however, all to often both groups get ahead of themselves and claim that this evidence of the unseen is somehow certain, but thatu2019s silly because neither side has u2018seenu2019 the evidence, they can only theorize and hypothesize. To observe is to see, to see is to observe, and no one has seen the beginning, this has not been permitted and therefore neither is able to provide absolute fact u2013 They both sit in the camp of faith.nnApparently this is a fight for your heart and your mind: – Who will you follow? nnAnswer: – Read and discover for yourself, donu2019t let another take charge of your mind and give you their belief system, find it yourself.nnWho knows, maybe one day even George might change his mind – he wouldn’t be the first, and I doubt the last – after all he is still is very young, just a babe really.nnCheers.

  • Janette

    If one studies the brain’s structure & function and may I also add genetics/DNA science, and still doesn’t believe in a creator of humans, then that person belongs to “homo stultus” and not to “homo sapiens”.

  • Mattapult

    I’m guessing you learned that in Bible college… being wrong about the science, and calling people names over it. ID has long been disproven, and even the courts agree it is not science.

  • Mattapult

    Faith,nnThere are numerous examples of things unseen, yet still proven. One broad example are the criminal cases that are solved via forensic analysis.nnYou mentioned the Big Bang. True, we were not there to see it, but there is a better question, “How do we know?” The Cosmic Microwave Background is a good example. The CMB was predicted based on models of the Big Bang. Scientists knew just where to look, and when the technology was available, they found it. A “prophesy” in a sense.nnPaleontologists are prophets in the same sense. They want to discover a long lost species, so they estimate the timeframe the species existed. They study geological maps for areas the formed in that timeframe. They dig, and they (often) find what they are looking for.nnnnThat’s fairly conclusive proof when your model tells you where to look and you find it. Einstein is famous today for E=MC2, but it was the confirmation of gravitational lensing that originally brought him fame.nnnCheers!

  • DryHillDrinks

    Is it too far of a leap to suggest that scientists are not necessarily the most adept specimens for interpretations regarding perspectives on life, force, energy, and love?

    As the living, breathing, ever mistake making individuals we are; is it difficult to suggest that any perceived meaning contrived through information analysis is constantly at odds with too much or too little subjectivity? Is this truly perception, or possibly judgment?

    First, let us pretend that every single culture before us has not possessed some form of faith with worship; and you are the first to stumble upon this idea of a creator.
    How reasonable would it be (without an experience) to scoff at it as irrelevant due to a perceived irrational nature?

    Secondly, I have a list with a test.

    Oxygen (65%)
    Carbon (18%)
    Hydrogen (10%)
    Nitrogen (3%)
    Calcium (1.5%)
    Phosphorus (1.0%)
    Potassium (0.35%)
    Sulfur (0.25%)
    Sodium (0.15%)
    Magnesium (0.05%)
    Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Molybdenum, Fluorine, Chlorine, Iodine, Manganese, Cobalt, Iron (0.70%)
    Lithium, Strontium, Aluminum, Silicon, Lead, Vanadium, Arsenic, Bromine (trace amounts)
    The above elements are all contained in the human body, with the corresponding (approx.) amounts.
    If you have a blender and a spatula, you should be able to mix these just properly…. ;}

    And no, evolution does not bear any special holding to me concerning God.

    Would the expansion from a singularity (big bang theory) represent a complete perception/consciousness?
    Or the lack thereof ?
    If it is a lack thereof then the truth is that every person is locked into a set system, comprising and representing a unity or wholeness.
    Which would raise a question; how could some believe and some not?

    I’ll end on TWO quotes (cause I’m an ass :D)

    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
    &
    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
    Both by Einstein.

  • DryHillDrinks

    -Mattapult

    All you refer to is still in our physical world, surrounded by particles, light, and possibly my wind.
    Forensics, dna, waves..You or I can touch or feel all of them, I do not see the relevance either way.

    Did these big bang models wear dresses, or swimsuits ? You’ve lost me.

  • Mattapult

    DryHillDrinks,

    There are plenty of things we cannot touch or feel directly, but we can gather evidence for their existence. The relevance is that things unseen can be proven–and often are proven.

    I’m assuming you are Christian, and therefore believe in a god–which I also assume you want to discus. Before we discuss how that god can be proven, which god do you believe in? Please, give me a specific definition, and some properties of that god.

  • Simon Morgan

    “This video contains content from Little Dot Studios, BigThink, BBC Worldwide and DeepMiningCorpAssoc, one of more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”

    I thought the whole point of this website was that this kind of thing didn’t happen?

  • http://www.openculture.com Dan Colman

    For me, both videos play just fine. Not sure why you are seeing this message.

    Perhaps it’s related to geography?
    Dan

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