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Old 10-12-2005, 03:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Science and God

Ok, last night I unintentionally went to a Campus Outreach program, for those of you who don't know Campus Outreach is a Christian program. I didn't know what it was until I got there, and then I figured I would hang around and see what they had to say, they had some fun stuff that they did, but the thing that got me was the speaker. They had this guy stand up and talk about God and Christ, but at the beginning of his speech he said that there is plenty of scientific proof of God's existence. He also went into other stuff that made me want to start laughing, but I wasn't in the mood to be lynched last night.

This is not the first time I have heard this statement, but I have yet to see any of this proof. And when I say proof I do not mean an experiment with results we can't explain, or a statistical analysis. I mean an actual experiment that says definitively "There is a God" and that can be performed over and over with the same result. So my question to you, the good people here at TFP is, what is this scientific proof?
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Old 10-12-2005, 05:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Having been trained and worked in scientific disciplines and also being a Christian, I can say that I have never seen scientific evidence for God's existance. There is evidence, but it does not fit scientific criteria.

Related to that, I find it amusing that some people feel they need scientific proof for their faith when by definition, faith has no evidential basis.

"Blessed are those who believe without having seen"
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Old 10-12-2005, 05:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I went to a private Christian school, the conservative fundamentalist kind, from preschool through eighth grade and come across this type of stuff all the time. We'd always watch these "archeological" videos shot somewhere in the Middle Easton on various different topics, like the arc, or the shroud of Turin, or the place of Jesus Tomb or whatever. They'd try to show all this scientific evidence which proved the event really happened and that every word of the Bible must be literally true. When I was younger, it was so easy to find the videos "cool" and be totally taken in by them. But of course I thankfully grew up and had lots of really awesome people around me and I got over it pretty quickly. Like Lebell said, if the Christians who make and promote these videos and similar other projects have such a strong faith, why the obsessive need to prove every word of the Bible true?

Anyway, is there scientific proof that God exists? None that you can find through any experiment in a lab. But I think science itself can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of god. What I mean is this - science shows us how incredibly complex and intricate and beautiful our world really is. One can choose to believe it got that way by chance, or one could choose to believe it was all set in motion by a god who was capable of creating something so wonderful.
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Old 10-12-2005, 06:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Science can't say anything about the existence of god, by the definition of science, which is the study of the natural world, not the supernatural.
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Old 10-12-2005, 06:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, the guy sounded like he was a professional politician. Kept repeating that stuff was "fact" and "truth", not "opinion" and "faith". I have no problems with people believing in God, but it sounded more like a campaign speech than a worship of God.
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Old 10-12-2005, 07:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No, the existence of God cannot be proven by the recognized methods of scientific proof. Honest Christians have no problem with this concept once they understand verification, falsification, repeatability, observation, etc.

Honest evolutionists will say the same thing about that theory as well.
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Old 10-19-2005, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I like the mentality, if what you are saying somehow has the word science attached it means that it must be true, all it shows is ignorance. I think there are logical reasons other than faith to believe in God, however, that doesn't mean that there is actual scientific proof of God's existence.
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Old 10-19-2005, 08:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onodrim
We'd always watch these "archeological" videos shot somewhere in the Middle Easton on various different topics, like the arc, or the shroud of Turin, or the place of Jesus Tomb or whatever. They'd try to show all this scientific evidence which proved the event really happened and that every word of the Bible must be literally true. When I was younger, it was so easy to find the videos "cool" and be totally taken in by them.
there are some great videos out there. i saw some on television when i was younger. they'd account for the sun standing still or reversing in the old testament with modern astronomical findings. then there were the lunatic Ancient Prophecies series...not really Christian, but entertaining nonethless. i wish i had recorded more of these shows. VHS is the new vinyl, if you know what i mean.
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Generally, in order to prove something 'scientifically', you need to be able to falsify it. This falsifiability test is often used to determine if something is science or pseudo-science.

In order to falsify something you need to be able to prove that the opposite is true, or, that the original premise is false. Often you will see scientific discussions being presented in the form "to prove X, we're going to prove that not-X, it's opposite, is impossible, and since there are only 2 options, by doing so we've proven X"

WHen it comes to God and Faith, neither the existance of God, nor the non-existance of God, can be proven. Since you can't do either one, you can't prove God's existance scientifically.

Seems I did actually learn something in those courses at University!
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, there's a reason it's called a "faith" -- because you have faith that God exists and all that. That bad people go to Hell and get punished, and good people are rewarded with Heaven. Some need proof, others don't want it. Different strokes.
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Old 10-22-2005, 03:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If you could find proof of God's existence, that would nullify the need for faith, thus completely obliterating the system underwhich religion works. The reason people need faith is to explain the unexplainable, or in other words, that which we cannot explain through our own faculties (i.e. science). It's counter-intuitive for people to try to find facts and proof about the same things in which they want to have faith.
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Old 10-23-2005, 12:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I imagine the "proof" of which he speaks is simply the wonderous creations that make up our world. If one decides not to take it for granted, reality is a pretty freakin' amazing place, and a lot of people choose to interpret it as evidence of a god.
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Old 10-23-2005, 06:56 AM   #13 (permalink)
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There is only proof of regular events told about in the Bible. There isn't proof of GOD in an empirical sense.

Any supreme being purported to have created the worlds and universe, in theory, could not possibly fit into a stringent set of facts and figures as you might use in science. In a sense that being itself created the basis for science.

As for the events in the Bible. Check out "The Bible Was My Treasure Map". It was written by an atheist that found that events and locations detailed in the Bible led him to archeological digs that uncovered vast amounts of treasure and remains. This is evidence that part of the Bible is based on true events. Beyond that God and the Bible cannot be proven.
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Old 10-24-2005, 09:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My brother is an attorney by trade and an apoligist as a hobby. He publishes a weekly article in the local paper in an effort to present logical proof of the Bible as the inerrant word of God. At best, he occasionally makes a decent argument that something is more probably true than not. There are many who make a "logical" case for this (see "The Case for Christ", among others), but nothing approaching scientific proof. As already noted, it can't be done, but then what would be the value of faith if it were otherwise?
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Old 10-24-2005, 09:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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it can't be done, but then what would be the value of faith if it were otherwise?

Well now that's not entirely true. After all, if god is all powerful as he is claimed to be, surely he could find a way. If nothing else, maybe he could show up for a visit.

I've got a Mormon friend who informed me that I'm on the road to hell. However, if I die and when I meet god I acknowlege that he definitely exists, I'll get into heaven. I had to point out to him that I will have a much easier time KNOWING that god exists if god actually shows up and has a chat with me.

Were he to be so accessible, we would have scientific evidence pointing to his existence - namely we would be able to observe him.

No one questions whether I exist because they can see me and therefore have solid evidence that I do exist (I'm not getting into the "does anything exist" philosophies here). Were god a regular visitor, so to speak, few would question him either unless evidence came up to suggest that he was not as he seemed.
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Old 10-25-2005, 12:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MageB420666
Ok, last night I unintentionally went to a Campus Outreach program, for those of you who don't know Campus Outreach is a Christian program. I didn't know what it was until I got there, and then I figured I would hang around and see what they had to say, they had some fun stuff that they did, but the thing that got me was the speaker. They had this guy stand up and talk about God and Christ, but at the beginning of his speech he said that there is plenty of scientific proof of God's existence. He also went into other stuff that made me want to start laughing, but I wasn't in the mood to be lynched last night.

This is not the first time I have heard this statement, but I have yet to see any of this proof. And when I say proof I do not mean an experiment with results we can't explain, or a statistical analysis. I mean an actual experiment that says definitively "There is a God" and that can be performed over and over with the same result. So my question to you, the good people here at TFP is, what is this scientific proof?
There is none. As said above unless you 'meet' God in the afterlife or I guess a flaming bush starts talking to you, you must rely on faith.
Another thing that annoys me is explaing "filling the holes with God", it will always fail (latest example: intelligent design). God is not needed to explain physical phenomena, when people have attempted to do so in the past, science has always been right. I believe it diminishes faith if you "fill the holes with God".
(I am Christian if anyone's interested.)

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Old 10-25-2005, 11:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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cf. an existential argument (I believe by Sartre), which claims that there can be no proof (scientific or otherwise) for direct communication between people and God:

http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthread.php?t=49226

To summarize:

Let's say one night as you are sleeping and suddenly you are woken up by a bright light. You see at the foot of your bed an angel who holds a burning sword. He tells you that God has sent him to tell you to live in a cave for the next five years of your life. The angel refuses to tell you why it's so important. What do you do?

The point: most people would not pack up their things and go live in a cave--they would think that they ate too much pizza the night before and had a dream, or, if it's a recurring dream, that they need to get medication or see a psychologist. The question is, at what point can you be convinced that the angel is really a messenger of God? What proof of authenticity is needed to convince you that the angel is a messenger of God? Some philosopher used this as a basis to say that God could never give a strong enough proof that such and such was what God wanted him to do. For all purported messages from God to him (or to the general populace), and for any conceivable hypothetical message, there always seems to be a more plausible argument about how that message came to be. Therefore, it's better to create a direction of life, a way of living, independently of any expectation of what God wants you to do. So goes the argument.
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Old 10-25-2005, 01:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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For the most part, the falsifiable statements made by Judeo-Christian and Muslim prophets are falsified.

The model that religions are nothing more than self-replicating complexes of ideas provides a plausible explanation (if not prediction) for most of their properties without having to invoke or assume the existence of God.

There is a neat little story by Robert Sawyer ("Calculating God") which tries to work on the question "Could God be proven by Science? What kind of Science would be required?", in an honest to goodness science-fiction kind of way. If you are interested in the subject, it is a decent read.
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:43 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Sounds interesting yakk. What was the general approach to the sawyer book?
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Old 10-29-2005, 06:03 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Trying to prove god with science is like trying to find gold in the ground using a banana as your detector. One can no more prove that there is an invisible pink elephant in your room right now than one can prove God's existance. On the other hand, one can't disprove their existance either, not to a degree of logical certainty. And so we've reached an impass. I think faith lives around here somewhere?...
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Old 11-04-2005, 01:57 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The model that religions are nothing more than self-replicating complexes of ideas provides a plausible explanation (if not prediction) for most of their properties without having to invoke or assume the existence of God.
Where is this model formally stated?

It would be interesting to know how this model explains away the idea of faith, since you cannot explain away religion without discussing faith. When talking about faith (which is inherently a characteristic of all religions, and science too, for that matter), science has no more answers than the next guy. Trying to fit the idea of faith into a psychological framework is futile.
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Old 11-04-2005, 02:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsl12
Sounds interesting yakk. What was the general approach to the sawyer book?
It is a SF book. It postulated an alien civilization with advanced physics that managed to prove that this universe was custom designed by a "previous iteration" of the universe. (omega god)

They also managed to show that there is a high probability that some higher power interacted with the local planets a few thousand years ago (extinction-level-event syncronization between planets etc).

The "god" in this case is a previous-universe-iteration intelligence who both designed the physics of this universe, and is manipulating astronomical events.
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Old 11-07-2005, 10:34 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Having faith is having faith. If you believe in God, then you believe in Him and you don't need proof. I have never heard a Christian talk about the proof of God's existence and if I did, I too would laugh. If you need proof to believe, then you never really believed in the first place, and I don't think belief backed by scientific fact is validated. If you believe, you believe and that should be good enough. If I met up with this so called Christian group I'd say the same thing. I was the last in my family to grow up with the tradition Irish-Catholic upbringing that has for so long been a sterotype of Irish heritage. I always felt special because I loved God without needing to see proof of Him and for that I know He loved me back. Not to point fingers MageB4 but what denomination was this so called "Christian?"
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Old 11-08-2005, 09:25 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Not to point fingers MageB4 but what denomination was this so called "Christian?"
The program was non-denominational, but based upon were I'm at, I'd have to say the speaker was probably baptist.
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Old 11-08-2005, 09:55 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Huh, I don't know what Baptists are all about and I don't want to label them as a group, but this particular individual sounds like a real moron.
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Old 11-08-2005, 10:32 AM   #26 (permalink)
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kierkegaard wrote about the impossibility of reaching a rational Christian faith.

one could believe rationally in the historical Jesus, but he was of the opinion that this confession did hardly anything to make a person a veritable Christian...rather it made it likely that one was part of a Western society without any real connection to a church as anything more than a social club.
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:51 AM   #27 (permalink)
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The usual problem that causes all of the angst about "proof" and the science/religion conflict is that religious organizations branch out from their domain, that of "should", and try to place themselves in the secular domain, that of "is".

If you want to know "should I have sex", ask your priest, your guru, your coven mother, or whoever you lean on for spiritual support.

If you want to know "what is sex", don't ask those people. Actually, do ask those people, but also ask people who work on "what is" (scientists). If your spiritual advisor insists on a "what is" answer that the "what is" people disagree with, find a new spiritual advisor.

You cannot pick your reality, but you can pick how you respond to reality. Religion, when it isn't sullied by power, materialism, and hubris, is about what the proper way to respond to reality is. Religions who try to dictate what reality is -- when and how the world will end, how the human race came to be, the layout of the crystal spheres upon wich the planets dance -- are suffering from hubris. So are scientists who try to dictate to others how they should respond to reality -- the difference is, you aren't going to scientists for moral advice, so they can be as huberific as they want without utterly destroying the value of their peer-reviewed research. (The scientific social system attempts to encourage scientists to tear down each other's hubris -- sort of like how capitalism attempts to have greedy people tear down each other's greed.)

Meh. I think I wandered off topic a touch. =)
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:53 PM   #28 (permalink)
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You brought up a good point of the "should" vs. the "is". Like the cliche goes, it's like comparing apples and oranges. Science and relegion are so different from one another.
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:12 PM   #29 (permalink)
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You brought up a good point of the "should" vs. the "is". Like the cliche goes, it's like comparing apples and oranges. Science and relegion are so different from one another.
I'd agree they are different, but at the same time, if there is only one TRUTH, as most religions claim, then how can science and religion NOT have a comparison/relation? I would say that if religion does claims something that can not be verified by science, then the religion/teaching is false. But we have to keep in mind that as humanity grows, so does our understanding of science/nature, so is it possible that science and religion are in COMPLETE harmony, but maybe we haven't figured it out yet? That's 'bout where I'm at!

I'm very religious, and also very scientific (my job/nature), and even though I can't prove everything I believe, I don't take that inability to prove something as any reason to assume it can't be. The same goes both ways - if science shows us one thing, isn't it possible that relgion just didn't talk about it/figured it out yet? Also, if religion teaches something that appears contrary to science, isn't possible that the science hasn't caught up with the religion?

Interesting subject, and one that humanity may NEVER fully understand!
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