How might science prove God one day?

Isaac Asimov made an interesting observation once that stuck in my mind. He said (and I must paraphrase here) that while it would be theoretically possible to prove God's existence, it would never be possible to prove that he doesn't exist. He was an atheist as far as I know but it was an interesting logical point. Science has not demonstrated that God doesn't exist; it really can't. (The God who operates quietly in the background can make an appearance at some point in the future. But until He does, people are free to deny his existence. But they cannot prove it. This was the good Doctor's point) So why do so many feel the issue is settled?

Scientists deliberately restrict themselves to a mode of thinking that leaves supernatural influence out of the equation. They proceed with their work by avoiding the assumption that angels or demons are monkeying around with the universe and making the universe disorderly and arbitrary. Tremendous progress has been made in this way. But science as a philosophical approach was developed, not by atheists who felt that religion was a ridiculous pursuit, but by deeply religious men like Kepler, Newton, Faraday, Dalton, and Maxwell who believed that the natural world was the orderly and ingenious creation of the Bible's God. These men did not experience a diminished faith in God as they discovered more about the universe. In fact, quite the opposite. They inferred things from the physical universe that bolstered their belief.

Really, the cynicism and snarkyness expressed by modern atheists owes more to the philosophers of the enlightenment, certainly not its scientists.

So science operates definitively only within the framework of a world where cause and effect are not invisibly influenced by thinking beings. This is why science has a robust hold on physics, astronomy and chemistry, yet there is still no bullet-proof science of psychology, sociology, or anthropology. The mind, and the agency of beings who have minds, has a very complex and not easy to understand relationship with the natural world. It's hard to nail down-or even create experiments to isolate-causes and effects, which are what we use to deduce natural laws.

Is science edging out the possibility of God? It depends on who you ask and how they weigh the information. The problem of consciousness is a major issue for many since there is no theory that explains it. (conjecture is cheap and common, but it's not science). Some wave their hands at this and are not troubled by it. Others not so much.

There is no good account of how life began. There is no purely physical or random process known that can account for the order, complexity, and information carrying capacity inherent in living things. There are ideas of course, but most scientists assume that the universe has the ability to "design" and "create" using only natural law. This has yet to be demonstrated.

There is a kind of perverse cost to this kind of reasoning. In virtually every aspect of our natural lives, we are trained to recognize invisible intelligent agency. Footprints in the sand say someone has come before us. A strange rumble in our car's engine says that something is not working the way it was designed. Bloody fingerprints on the knife tell the investigator that it wasn't an accident. We look for and cheerfully recognize when another mind has been at work and left its mark. When we are the creators or designers we jealously protect our work with copyrights and patents and resent the plagiarists contention that he could do randomly what we did by design. Even our movies train us this way. In 2001: A Space Oddessy, scientists discover...what? A brick. A big shiny brick, but still a brick. To a man every one of them posits the existence of aliens. The design inference is entirely natural and appropriate. But we live in an age where men of science are trained to see and measure things of enormous ingenuity and intricacy in the biological world and actually stifle the impulse to conclude design as a possibility. This is so much more than what science was meant to do, I think.

So to finally answer the question, I think there is plenty of evidence in science to demonstrate that God exists. The current mindset that precludes God as a matter of principle has a certain value. But there should be more. A scientist can measure the footprint, test its depth, examine the chemistry of the sand and the wind. But it takes a certain kind of intelligence-yes, human and highly developed intelligence- to "see", even in a limited way, the person who made it.


Well, science is a about proving things and maybe more about continually narowing the field of possibilities by disproving things.

Back in the 1980s, when Congress told NASA to go ahead with the Hubble telescope, there was a lot of loose talk about seeing back to the Big Bang, the beginning of time, and catching God in the act. Of course it hasn't happened. If God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Great Jehovah of Biblical fame who wants to be occasionally heard and never seen- and I've lived long enough to be comfortable with that - then a well-lensed tin can orbiting 350 miles above the earth isn't going to capture him in a Kodacolor candid 46 billion light years away.

There are people who point to the wonders of creation and say that couldn't have just happened. Somebody had to design and execute it and who else but God? I see the chaos around and say, "Okay, God, I know you didn't make this mess, but can't you fix it? Or maybe tidy it up?"

Now to your question. Please don't consider this another pseudo-answer, because it's not. But it might piss you off. Scientific inquiry requires parameters. What, in your mind, would qualify as God? If you will accept what Einstein meant when he said God and wasn't being a smartass, and if we can keep the scientific enterpise going reasonably, we could have an answer within 50 years or so. But you've got to understand that Einstein wasn't talking about Jehovah or a god along those lines. He was a physicist, not a theologian, so he did not spend a lot of time developing his God ideas. But he kinda believed in a naturalistic god that set the very basic forces in motion and, ta-dah! That was it. It is much along the lines of the one universal god the ancient Greek philosophers seem to have been working out. As soon as the Emperor Constantine turned control of religion in the Empire to Christian authorities, they systematically destroyed most of the competing religions' records, and what was left was the mythology with its less supreme gods and goddesses.

What science has going on at the highest end is the deciphering of the workings of the universe. And so far, in the analysis of cosmic forces in the universe that can now be measured, Einstein's batting pretty close to 1,000 with his Relativity. But at the other end, the deciphering of what goes on within atoms, Einstein's batting about 0. The theory of relativity has to be right on the money to work with the time-space contiuum, black holes, gravity waves and the other big forces of the universe, and so far, it has. It has a high degree of certainty. Quantum physics, which has gotten as far down into the atom as quarks (which are too tiny to try to describe), has a high degree of uncertainty. Sometimes the quarks are not where they are supposed to be. Then next time you check, they are. This is very weird. And when you consider that atoms are the building blocks of all matter, even unto the most distant galaxies, it could have great implications for the workings of the universe. Except we don't have a clue. Quantum theory stops working when you try to kick it up to bigger things.

So science is learning more and more about the universe (I am not getting into the multiple universes can of worms), and more and more about subatomic particles. If they can come up with a new theory with an elegant formula that describes what's happening in the lowliest quark or mightiest black hole - or failing that, theory and math that bridge relativity and quantumivity - science may well prove the God Einstein referred to. I don't know how many religious people will be willing to to accept that God.

But prove Jehovah and all the religious beliefs that proceed from Him? We'll have continue to do as the Bible says and take it on faith. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)


In relationship to formal and deductive logic, science cannot prove anything. Science is inferential/inductive in nature. Quick explanation:

Deductive reasoning goes like this: I have a set of premises and derive a series of outcomes and conclusions. Example:

All B is A and all C is B, therefore all C is A.

Applied example:

All computers are electronics, all smartphones are computers, therefore all smartphones are electronics.

In deductive reasoning, the conclusions are true so long as the premises are.
Also, there is more than one kind of "science", empirical and classical, for example. The natural sciences are empirical mostly. Most people when they refer to "science" are referring to inductive sciences using the empirical approach.

However, other sciences like logic, classical economics, law, ethics, theology, philosophy, etc. are all "classical" sciences, which are deductive in nature. They are sciences nonetheless, though.

Empirical science on the other hand is inductive. Inductive reasoning breaks the rules of formal logic when it positively confirms a hypothesis, as it is an example of the fallacy of "affirming the consequent." However, empirical sciences *must* do this. affirming or denying the consequent (denying the consequent is valid, by they way, therefore empirical science can *disprove* something) is the modus operandus of the empirical approach. (http://blog.mlin.net/2013/03/why...)

Inductive reasoning goes like this: I observe a set of phenomena and try to understand its cause. In other words, it is the opposite of deductive reasoning.

Example:

If A, then P. P, therefore A.

Applied Example:
 
Turkey makes people sleepy after eating. I got sleepy after lunch, therefore I ate turkey.

Even though inductive reasoning is essentially a fallacy in formal logic, it is useful. Extremely useful. Why? Premises are not known (or well known) in the fields empirical fields. However, the epistemology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ep...) of inductive science is...how do I say...very uncertain. I think the best word to use to describe the knowledge obtained through inductive reasoning is *tentative*.

What do I mean by saying such knowledge is "tentative"? It means that all knowledge obtained by means of empirical methods is permanently subject to refinement and change. This a strength of empirical science, but is also a big weakness. Why? Even within the domains in which it is appropriate and necessary to use empirical methods, those methods cannot come to transcendental, unchanging conclusions. In matters of morality and law, this makes things uncomfortable. It is astounding how few scientists who get media attention realize this weakness, because if they did, then humility on their part would be in order. (There are many that do--they just don't get attention because of their humility.)

Also, empirical science has a domain: Observable, and usually measurable, phenomena. When it moves out of this domain and into the realm of ethics, morality, aesthetics, theology, or even law, it's methods becomes near to useless.
For example, inductive science can help answer the question: How does one make an atomic bomb? However, science can never, ever, ever answer the question: Should an atomic weapon be made or used? That is a metaphysical question. The valuation involved is ethical and moral in nature and cannot be measured in the same means or way. What are we observing? How do we test it? Is there an experiment that could be run? Even if there is a test or experiment, to answer the question requires a definition of bad or good in a moral sense.

Now to answer your question: Can science prove the existence of God?

No. The answer is a metaphysical one. If God exists in the way many religions describe him, he is immeasurable. I respect the Intelligent Design movement for dropping the assumption that only natural causes can bring an outcome. However, by even dropping that assumption, empirical methods can only do so much, and the best it could do is this:

There could possibly a god or gods (or even a spaghetti monster, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl...) who are more powerful than we are (but not necessarily omnipotent) who brought about our existence.

Empirical Science (having only dropped the "natural cause" assumption) could not conclude anything further. Is there one god or many? Can't do it. Is the god or gods benevolent, loving, just, holy, providential, omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent, etc? Can't answer those either.

See also Gordon H Clark's PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND BELEIF IN GOD (http://a.co/gOT5yOY).


A signal (pattern) in the "noise" of the Universe... the white noise from the big bang (cosmic radiation) OR in DNA OR anything else in nature... any type of "signature" of "intelligent design" in anything that can be found in nature, by anyone. Or anything that doesn't occur in nature or via chance... that has to be created by intelligence. Or via any method that can be repeated, whereas predictions can be made - that can only be explained by some form of intelligence that is beyond ours, our ability to explain by our understanding of nature. Then we need to try to define and understand that intelligence.

If you believe god is supernatural... then it could literally talk to humans via a burning bush, or however it chooses. Any of that could happen, at any time. And odds are, someone with a smartphone will be able to record it. The possibilities are endless, but it takes it being independently verified by multiple people, or ideally we all witness it, or have access to the actual evidence, etc.

It depends on the definition of god and which god you are talking about. The God of Abraham (Christian, Islam, Jewish God)... it talked to people before, 2000 years ago. It interacted with people. If it's real, it can do it again. Why could it not? Or why isn't it?

The longer we go without any such discoveries, my opinion is that the probability of a god existing drops. Maybe we find an alien species... there are two questions we probably want to know above all else... are they related (DNA) and what do they believe? If they believe in the God of Abraham, and were not influenced by us, then that's pretty amazing evidence. If they don't believe in any gods, that says something too. An analysis of their biology is critical to our understanding of life, the rarity of life, and any common origins, etc.

I'll tell you this much, with near 100% certainty .... in 100 years we'll now a LOT more than we do today. How about we keep looking and keep learning. Follow the facts, and see where they take us?

Ancient religions are silly. But the scientific method... it's our (human) best method to establish fact and truth. We've really only applied and taken it seriously for the last 200 years or so... how much do we really expect to know by now? What's the rush?


What do you mean by "God"? There are many to choose from but you speak as if that is self-evident. However the concept of "God" is nothing like consistent even within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Do you mean a god who walked in the Garden of Eden and wrestled with Jacob, the vindictive being that wiped out most of humanity with a flood they destroyed the cities of the Plain with all the people in them, or a holy spirit, a heavenly father, a divine son of the god, a god that is The Word, or Love, or something else again? There were also other gods mentioned in Bible, such as Baal and Mammon: do you mean one of them? Or do you mean one of the Olympian gods that people so often allude to in conversation, or the Nordic gods celebrated in the days of the week, or the Roman gods celebrated in the months of the year?

In that the question implies "the existence of God" we need to clarify in what form you suppose your "God" might exist. Most concepts of "God" posit a being outside of normal existence so how do you suppose it simultaneously to exist?

However your question is nonsensical because science indeed does not prove things. Disallowing that qualification means that you are expecting a scientific answer that denies an answer consistent with the basic nature of science. If you do not allow what is technically true of science, now do you suppose science to arrive at any kind of answer.

So you have a question that asks about the existence of an unspecified something that by definition does not exist in the usual sense, to be proven by a discipline that by basic definition does not "prove" existence of the things it studies.

The answer in rational terms is that gods simultaneously exist and do not exist. Gods clearly do exist in the minds of their believers and clearly do not exist as normal physical beings, so the question of existence has no simple or correct single answer.


Science cannot ever prove God or the reality of God as Science limits itself to the tangible that which can be observed and measured, and therefore, misses out entirely the possibility of experiencing the intangible. Science, however, can certainly confirm parts of the reality. Science is very much like the blind men appraising an elephant. The observations of each are factual but they are all wrong as they lack the complete/big picture.

Here is one way to illustrate the handicap of science. Imagine a coin. Imagine that you and your friend have never seen a coin i..e you do not even know that there are two sides to a coin. I show you the heads. You believe {everything} you are seeing is a head. I show your friend the tails. He believes {everything} is the tail. If inquiry is limited to the tangible or only the perceived, neither of you will ever know the whole truth or reality i.e. the whole coin.

Intangible doesn't mean it isn't there. Some intangibles such as electricity or heat can be measured and others not. All intangibles can be experienced. It requires human awareness to experience - the reality of our existence.


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