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The Nightline Face-Off- Does God Have a Future? [1/12]

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Hi, I'm Dan Harris and this is The Nightline Face-Off. Our question is: DOES GOD HAVE A FUTURE? All of us have had the "Is there a God debate", I'm sure, and I suspect that somewhere on this campus tonight there're students in the dorm room having a debate perhaps with the assistance of non-medical marijuana. This one is a fresh, and I think rather fascinating take on an old debate. The question is: What does science say about this? Given the advances of science have we outgrown the idea of god? Some in this debate tonight will argue just that: that science shows us that in fact god is dead. The other side of the debate will argue that in fact science has brought us closer to god. We did a coin task before we came out here. Deepak won the coin task and decided in a move of a magnificent magnanimity to alow Michel to go first. (Laughter) So, Michael have at it. We're gonna do opening statements of 3 min. a pop and I'll be very vigorous in policing it. Good. Michael Shermer>> Well, our position on the question obviously depends on how you define it. If there really is a god then obviously he probably, or she, has a future. If there is no god then we're really only talking about the future of belief in god, belief in belief, or something like that. So my position is I don't believe in god. Obviously I can't prove a negative that there is none. On the other hand, I think as the circle of what science explains grows, more and more of the things that god used to explain are now explained through natural forces. So the expansion of naturalism as a way of explaining things has continued fairly agresively for 4 centuries and I think will continue to for many more centuries and such that we'll be left with the question: What is there left for god to do? And so, I think just two points on that is that: one, although I can't prove a negative I can demonstrate fairly conclusively that belief in god and the kind of god you believe in and the sorts of religion you adhere to depend very much on where you happen to have been born. And in which century you happen to have been born. So if you would have been born 10.000 yrs ago or 200 yrs ago or 500 yrs from now is very much gonna shape what particular god you believe in. And so that alone tells us that there's a strong cultural component and historical component to just the concept of god. And is nothing particular unusual about our creation myths, our cultural advent. There's nothing and there's something, or else it wouldn't be a creation story, would it? And most cultures have flood myths, especially cultures that are on bodies of water that flood. Lots of cultures have resurrection stories and virgin birth stories. Dionysus, a Greek god of wine, converted water into wine, drank the body and blood of the creator of the Universe. And Osiris the Egyptian god, way predating Judeo-Christian gods, had a kind of a resurrection and savior story. Such that if the Pharaoh believes in Osiris he gets everlasting life then the Pharaoh's figured out that you can employ people to build pyramids much better if you give them the promise of the afterlife also. And that expanded into basically accepting a savior type person to achieve everlasting life. So we see that happening everywhere we go. And then the 2nd point, just to wrap it up is that what we now know from neuroscience is that we do tend to look at the world and find meaningful patterns and impose on those patterns intentional agency. And so the intentional agents are things like ghosts and gods and demons and angels and aliens and so forth. And God is another version of that, it's a projection of what our brain is doing to try to understand and make sense of the world. And all that together, I think is a strong several lines of evidence to show us that we created God and not vice-versa. DH >> Thank you, Michael. Deepak. DC >> I just want to correct a few inaccuracies. I have met Michael before but it was in a previous lifetime. (Laughter) Secondly, I also want to reinforce that we are along with what Michael said that I'm not here to talk about belief. I think belief is a cover up of insecurity. You only believe in things that you don't know the truth of, and you want to know the truth of. If I ask you: Do you believe in electricity or electromagnetism you would say: What kind of a ridiculous question is that? If you want to know the truth you must have the experience, you must have the theoretical basis and you must have the rules of science to either falsify what you're saying that means experimentally prove it or at least submit to what is called Occam's principle, the theory of parsimony, that the simplest explanations are the best explanations. So, I'm not here to defend the god of primitive theology, which Michael Shermer has talked about. I'm not here to defend Osiris, although Jean can speak to that. I'm not here to defend Dionysus, although as he was speaking I had the feeling that I was Dionysus once. Because I'm a reformed wine lover. (Laughter) Now here's what I just want to say today. We are here not to argue the validity of science. Science is the most impeccable way of understanding the rules, the laws of nature. Is science that has brought us the rules of mathematics, physics, chemistry, cosmology, evolution. So, we're not gonna argue about that. It's irrelevant. What we're gonna say is that we're here to upgrade science so that we can look at a deeper level of reality where we find an infinite intelligence, an infinite consciousness that experiences to some extent the Big Bang, cosmogenesis, what is called autopoiesis which is the formation of life from inanimate matter and Darwinian evolution, which is about gene variation and natural selection. We are here to see how that very science can upgrade our view of theology, which is why we're calling this: The Future of God. An upgrading both of science and our theology that looks at God as an infinite consciousness that good looks at god as the agent of downward causation. that looks at god as the author of the Big Bang and the first 43, the first 10 to the power of -43 sec of creation, which is 10 followed by a tenth of a million, million, million, million, million, million, million seconds. of which science has to say that this segment of creation is not only unkown but unknowable. Because the laws of Physics failed there, they disintegrate. There are no laws to speak of. And once that phase is over, 10 to the power of -43 then we have actually very reasonable principles of mathematics or physics that explain how primordial gases turn into heavy elements, and how there was the birth of Carbon and Hydrogen and Nitrogen, and how the exact constants of creation -- There are about 20 mathematical constants that are arbitrarily assigned to the laws of Physics. They have no reason to be there. They are arbitrarily given, but once they are there you can explain all the cosmogenesis. No one knows how life came from inanimate matter maybe one day they'll know, but once it came then the principles of evolution apply. DH>> We're 3 minutes. DC >> Done. DH>> OK.

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 30 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 153
Posted by: ateistisrbije on Mar 24, 2010

Cela playlista: Sam Harris i Michael Shermer protiv Deepak Chopra i Jean Houston

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