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Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.

Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?

People who believe in God generally believe that a purely analytical and scientific method of forming knowledge is constrained to a subset of reality that cannot encompass God. Atheists on the other hand, typically say that God is merely one of numerous theories that lack coherence and supporting evidence, and that these shortcomings already constitutes sufficient proof of God's non existence.

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Experts and Influencers

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Agree
Experts In Science


Paul Z. Myers    Biology Professor
Agree
What should a scientist expect from an idea? That it be a reasonable advance in knowledge; that it be built on a foundation of evidence; that it be testable; that it should lead to new and useful questions and ideas. If we look at religion from that perspective, it doesn't help. At best, the hypothesis [...] is vague, unfounded, and inapplicable in any practical fashion [...] At worst, religion is confused, internally contradictory, and in conflict with evidence from the physical [...] world.
29 Jun 2006    Source


Eliezer Yudkowsky    Artificial Intelligence Researcher
Agree
The vast majority of religions in human history - excepting only those invented extremely recently - tell stories of events that would constitute completely unmistakable evidence if they'd actually happened. The orthogonality of religion and factual questions is a recent and strictly Western concept. The people who wrote the original scriptures didn't even know the difference. ... The idea that religion is a separate magisterium which cannot be proven or disproven is a Big Lie...
04 Aug 2007    Source


Experts In Philosophy


Austin Cline    Philosopher
Agree
A popular objection to atheists' arguments and critiques of theism is to insist that one's preferred god cannot be disproven — indeed, that science itself is unable to prove that God does not exist. This position depends upon a mistaken understanding of the nature of science and how science operates. In a very real and important sense, it is possible to say that, scientifically, God does not exist — just as science is able to discount the existence of a myriad of other alleged beings.
20 Dec 2009    Source


Disagree
Experts In Science


Kenneth Miller    Biology Professor, Christian
Disagree
No, it can’t. The existence of a supreme being simply is not a scientific question. A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature. Beyond that it’s a matter of personal belief.
01 Jan 2004    Source


Steven Novella    Neurologist
Disagree
What if someone claims that there is a god that exists outside the confines of the material universe? This being is unknowable to us mortals, one can only have faith in his existence. A believer can also claim that the existence of the universe was the will of this being. These beliefs are all inherently untestable.
05 Apr 2010    Source


Massimo Pigliucci    Philosopher
Disagree
The new ad says: “You KNOW they’re all SCAMS,” and it’s signed “American Atheists — Telling the truth since 1963.” “They” are at least five of the major religious traditions, as is made clear by a set of symbols accompanying the poster. … First, the ad is simply making a preposterous claim that cannot possibly be backed up by factual evidence, which means that, technically, it is lying (but see below for another interpretation). Not a good virtue for self-righteous critical thinkers.
11 Jan 2011    Source


Experts In Religion


The Catholic Church    Largest Christian Church
Disagree
Scientific proofs [...] are valid only for things perceptible to the senses, since it is only on such things that scientific instruments of investigation can be used. To desire a scientific proof of God would be equivalent to lowering God to the level of the beings of our world, and we would therefore be mistaken methodologically in regard to what God is. Science must recognize its limits and its inability to reach the existence of God. It can neither affirm nor deny his existence.
10 Jul 1985    Source


Experts In Christianity


Andrew Sullivan    Journalist, Author
Disagree
Science cannot disprove true faith; because true faith rests on the truth; and science cannot be in ultimate conflict with the truth.
17 Jan 2007    Source


Experts In Philosophy


Robert Todd Carroll    Philosophy Professor
Disagree
In the end, science can't decide the god question any more than philosophical concepts can determine what's real or not in biology or theology.
24 Mar 2010    Source


Experts In Skepticism


James Randi    Magician, Illusionist, Writer, Skeptic
Disagree
I’ve said it before: there are two sorts of atheists. One sort claims that there is no deity, the other claims that there is no evidence that proves the existence of a deity; I belong to the latter group, because if I were to claim that no god exists, I would have to produce evidence to establish that claim, and I cannot.
05 Aug 2005    Source


Miscellaneous Experts


David Quinn    Journalist
Disagree
The question of whether God exists or not cannot be answered fully by science either and a common mistake that people can believe is the scientist who speaks about evolution with all the authority of science can also speak about the existence of God with all the authority of science and of course he can’t. The scientist speaking about the existence of God is actually engaging in philosophy or theology but he certainly isn’t bringing to it the authority of science per se.
09 Oct 2006    Source



Comments

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0 Points      dionisos      22 Aug 2016      Stance on Question: Agree
Most definitions of god are incoherent, so we can dismiss them by pure logic.
Some other definitions of god, are testable in theory.
Maybe some are coherent and untestable, but i wait to see one of them which is conceptually useful, and not just a poetical way to say something almost tautological.


0 Points      Booscience      08 Sep 2013      Stance on Question: Disagree
Can any science worshiper explain to me how a primate could imagine a possibility outside the realm of possibilities? No of coarse no one in science is even smart enough to think up a question like this nor would they because it destroys their entire belief system. If no outside the box exists then I should not be able to fathom anything in my imagination that isn't plausible in reality. You have been fooled by being told all you are is this, and that imagination is to account for anything outside of this. Wow that is total hypocrisy and ignorance. So basically imagination is the only thing allowed by science to contain super natural and paranormal attributes everything else follows the exact rules and laws of nature and physics. Wow pretty convenient. Boo.

I love how you people run off stereo types you heard on tv like it has any bearing on reality, in short stop with the atheist and religious arguments, either you are a thinker or a believer period. Spouting clichés shows how ritualistic atheist are and that they are just another group of non thinking followers. I'm not saying I believe in a god I'm asking how a monkey in one of the first stages of evolution could even fathom a concept like a god, and pointing out super natural characteristics exist today in the world of supposed fact based science.

Contradictions, contradictions, the same thing science accuses religion of while at the same time perfecting the method of using it to present ideals and generalization as reality. And if science is about discovering proof then that's all it does is point to certain truths and is not an instrument for disproving anything. If a scientist sets out to disprove that is called sabotage. Sabotage is manipulating the results to fit into a conclusion. How can you claim an experiment is based in fact if they already have the conclusion before the experiment has even been performed? Duhhhhhhhh!

And I love how you people against religion can only always use religious examples in every thing you write. If you don't believe the concept religion has shaped for god then why do you always resort to their example instead of thinking for yourself? You claim to not buy into divine intervention then turn around and claim science should approach the subject under the same assumptions. So if god exists but he does not intervene, how do you prove anything by building experiments around human misconception and ignorance?

I'm not trying to prove or disprove anything I'm pointing out what a bunch of blind followers and regurgitative repeaters humanity are and that they never arrive at conclusions with logic and fact. They force a rationalization through idealism and prove little other than what society deems ideal. The day I trust science is the day a guy with down syndrome can get the same result as an Einstein, in an uncontrolled environment. I'm guessing some of you already live in the fantasy world where this is the reality.


0 Points      MTC      23 Feb 2013      Stance on Question: Agree
On the few occasions that religious people actually do try to provide evidence, it fails to be convincing.

As for the other times, the best way I have heard to put it is this:
“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” —Christopher Hitchens

This may not be universally agreed to be the way science works, but it is how it should work.


0 Points      Cody      11 Dec 2012      Stance on Question: Agree
If god has influence over any events on Earth, communicates with anyone, heals anyone, or exerts any other physical influence whatsoever, we ought to be able to detect it — unless of course god is deliberately evading detection for whatever reason. Evading detection would become increasingly difficult as scientific instruments grow more sophisticated and widespread. If god were steering hurricanes a millennia ago he'd have to stop when weather satellites and climate modeling became sufficiently powerful to adequately calculate the behavior of storms in accord with known laws of physics.

Alternatively, if one defines god in such a way that it does not influence events on Earth whatsoever, then of course science can't prove or disprove it. However, belief in such an impotent god appears to be rare being typically limited to deists, pantheists, or new-age type spiritualists who outright deny any validity to reality.


0 Points      CarySmacishmo      16 Jan 2012      Stance on Question: Disagree
first a definition for "God" that presents as an object, idea or theory for rational consideration, discussion and investigation (such a definition would need to be formulated without any reference to popular conceptions which tend to be parochial and conflicted).
For example: GOD : definition - a conscious entity(s?) existing in a dimension beyond the human senses, of such power and intelligence as to cause the existence of the material universe and guide this universe toward increasing order and complexity.
I believe that science must lead inevitably toward the discovery of "God", the ultimate paradigm shift. Such an intelligence would (has?) leave clues, evidences, even a signature to satisfy the natural curiosity of lesser, but similarly, intelligent beings. The more we learn about the universe, the more we learn about the mind of the creator.


0 Points      IceAges14Aces      24 Apr 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
I strongly disagree that science can disprove the existence of god.

First of all, science technically deals with scientific hypotheses, scientific theories, and scientific models. God is not a scientific hypothesis because it is not testable and falsifiable under scientific methodology, so it cannot be touched in the hands of science. Science can only draw conclusions based on the scientific method. Of course, there is no single method used in science, but all scientific inquiry are based on the same principles.

Second of all, science is a tentative and not an absolute process. Stating The Big Bang or this scientific explanation has disprove god is ridiculous. The Big Bang theory is based on widely experimental evidence, but it can never be proven. In fact, scientific theories are never proven. In science, it is always allowed that a scientific theory to be rejected or modified by tommorow based on the new evidence. Even Albert Einstein stated that his General Theory of Relativity cannot be proven, but disproven by one antagonistic observation.

Third of all, disproving god would require universal knowledge. Science doesn't know everything and probably science holds less than 1% of knowledge of the whole universe.

Of course there are scientists that say god doesn't exist, but that has more to do with bigotry rather than science itself. True science is an agnostic position. Science should not and should never be used to disprove god. Only omniscience can.

Science is a tool, not a motivation.


0 Points      Benja      24 Apr 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
God has had a big impact on you. And this impact is manifest in physical processes such as the ones in your brain that enable you to feel emotional about your argument. Science can study any physical process, including the ones in your brain. You have let God touch you, and His fingerprints are all over you. He can now be investigated with science.



0 Points      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
Science cannot disprove the existence of a god because theists can always claim that god is undetectable.


0 Points      Benja      10 Feb 2011      General Comment
The scientific method tells us to throw away beliefs that are based on undetectable evidence. If I made the claim that there was a monster under your bed, I'm making a scientific claim. But then, anticipating that you're going to look under your bed, I qualify my claim by saying that the monster makes itself invisible (+ inaudible, odorless, weightless, etc...) as soon as you check under your bed, then my claim is rubbish. In this sense, science disproves God.

In practice however, advocates of religion often claim the evidence of God is undeniable, the most notable example, particularly historically, being through miracles. It's only when that evidence is scrutinized do they start backpedaling and emphasizing faith rather than evidence.



1 Point      Adam Atlas      05 Apr 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
I'd avoid using the words "prove" and "disprove", because, outside the domain of mathematics, they tend to promote (or indicate) a misunderstanding of how rational evidence works. That said, I do think it is perfectly appropriate to say that God is scientifically unsupported (in the manner of the Teapot, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the dragon in your garage, etc.), and that you must not have a fully rational worldview if you can permit yourself to believe in God.

If, under any given person's definition of God, they can think of some way the world would be empirically different if there were no God, and that actually does turn out to be the case, then that is scientific evidence against God. If they can't think of any way the world would be different if their God were not real — or if they refuse to think about or say what the differences would be — or if they claim that some observation would be evidence for God, but refuse to allow that its absence would be evidence against God — then they are delusional.


1 Point      Packbat      17 Mar 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
It is odd to say that science can investigate the existence of an individual thing, as odd as it would be to say that science could search for the best spouse for an individual person - but that is because it is usually not bothered with in such cases. Science - the principle that ideas should be tested by experiment - can be applied in any situation, and has been convincingly more powerful than almost all other methods of epistemology ever since its invention. The existence of anything which is in any way causally connected with us has implications about what will occur to us, and therefore can be tested by creating situations where the output would be different if the causal connection were absent.


1 Point      Benja      17 Mar 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
What you say is undeniable: "the existence of anything which is in any way causally connected with us has implications about what will occur to us, and therefore can be tested by creating situations where the output would be different if the causal connection were absent."

The point is really so obvious, that the interesting question becomes what concoction of cognitive and social biases lead us to think this is not true. Eliezer Yudkowsky gives a partial explanation of that.



0 Points      Stephen MacNally      03 Feb 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
Can science prove or disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

There are so many "gods" with so many man made attributes that are entirely contradictory that the overwhelming evidence is against the existence of a single unifying god.

Gravity may only be a theory, but it gets us to the moon and other planets.

Fantastic claims require fantastic proofs.


0 Points      Jonathan      02 Oct 2010      General Comment
You're just affirming the consequent here. Gravity is a theory, but it is not what gets us to the moon. Newton's laws, conservation of energy, escape velocity are all proofs. Gravitational theory plays it's part, but within the bounds of tested reason. Space missions want to preserve expensive equipment and therefore operate well within reasonable limits.



-1 Point      Matarael      09 Jan 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
Logic can be used to disprove certain depictions of God, however the scientific method is by definition agnostic.

To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

God is often seen as being, by definition, unobservable, unmeasurable, and above the rules of science as the very creator of those rules.

How can the scientific method operate when it has nothing to work with?

I can understand people saying that they cannot agree with the concept of God logically, but the scientific method has nothing to work with.


0 Points      Matt      21 Feb 2012      General Comment
How exactly is the concept of God "illogical." Logic is not descriptive but prescriptive, or in other words, logic simply provides certain parameters that are unable to be violated. For example "If A is true, than B is true. However, A is not true, so B is not true" is a rule of logic. It simply a parameter so basic that it cannot be refuted, but anything can take the place of A or B. That basic rules of logic never change, and a "concept" can never be illogical unless the concept breaks one of the basic laws of logic (ex-the concept contradicts itself). This means the concept simply could not be true. The concept of God is, by definition, a being that is perfectly logical--one of the things that God cannot do is stop being God, or to contradict Himself. So if the concept of God is illogical, then you just don't understand the actual definition of God.



1 Point      Packbat      09 Jan 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
The questions which science is incapable of proving and disproving fall into two categories: isolated incidents (who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?) and unphysical counterfactuals (could Batman beat Superman?). Regarding the possible persistent presence of a causally active intelligent being, science should be as effective at judging the existence of God as the existence of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (to give an example of a real person) or Peter Parker (to give an example of a fictional one).


0 Points      Anonymous      16 Nov 2012      General Comment
What are the odds that Book (written 3000 years ago) will predict that....
1)The One and only True God has promised to give it's people a country... it will be called Israel

2) if the people turn from the One True God He will destroy the country and scatter them across the world...

3)God will not destroy them completely...

4)that they will be gathered togeather again as a nation called Israel...

5)the nation called Israel will be surrounded by enemies at the end of times...

BUT I hear you say, what if the book is not 'predictions' at all but history and propaganda written by a religious sect discribing the current events of the time it was written?
What are the odds that these 'historical records' will be repeted throughout history up untill today?
The odds of that happening defy calculation... For every added prediction the satistical odds become incalculable...

There are 5 basic predictions fulfilled in this simple cursary look..
1)The One and only True God has promised to give it's people a country... it will be called Israel

2) if the people turn from the One True God He will destroy the country and scatter them across the world...

3)God will not destroy them completely...

4)that they will be gathered togeather again as a nation called Israel...

5)the nation called Israel will be surrounded by enemies at the end of times...
Rember if only ONE of these predictions didn't happen then the whole Bible is a lie... Are the odds higher in the whole of Human history of at lest ONE of these things not happing or are the chances that ALL FIVE of these things happening greater?
OR are you a conspiracy theorist about the super manipulative powers of the Jew? What are the odds of them controling the ENTIRE world history? Did they control Hitler? or was he a LUCKY chance and just luck he failed to kill all Jews? If they are so amazingly controling Why didn't they just buy Israel? Why risk Genocide by Hitler to get what they want? Sounds far feached and desperate to me! So without God writing the Bible to explain Israel What do you think explains the history of Israel?


0 Points      Nothing      06 Jul 2013      Stance on Question: General Comment
Ok so all I'm really hearing is that no one really want's to come right and say it so I will. the fact that people at looking to find physical evidence in this plain of existence is all but impossible. Now I cant say that earthier side is right or wrong. But just need to look at it a different way. Science has come along way, but it maybe that we still don't have enough intelligence to even connect to god. Also having blind faith is not bad either. All it really means is that you don't need or want validation. But don't bash of fight with people that need or want more proffer just to help them solidify there beliefs. Also have you all forgotten that are hundreds of religions each with there on god, gods, and goddesses and to say any one of them is the one true god is just ridicules. no affiants to everyone. But stints this world began it seems we fight and struggle to make a point that this things are real. Even if they where why would they not continue to create what they will and what they wont. Also consider this how do we know that this entity aren't created from our own wills and minds. The fact is no one will be able to prove what's out there until we learn how to see past the vale. this isn't happening any time soon. we all seem to want to fight and make it sound like we are right and we know the truth. but the solid fact is the only ones that know don't live in our plain of excitants.