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Today we will talk about whether god exists.
I know that some of you have been wondering what has happened to me that I go on about
this, but I swear at the end of this video it’ll all make sense.
First, of course, I have to be clear what kind of god I am talking about.
I am talking about the old-fashioned personal god, the one who listens to prayers, and tells
you how to be a good person, and who sorts the good from the bad in afterlife, and so
on.
Some variants of this god are in actual conflict with evidence.
Say, if you believe that evolution does not happen, or that praying cures cancer, and
so on.
If you want to defend such beliefs, you are in the wrong channel, good bye.
I will assume that you are here because, as I, you want to understand what we can learn
from nature, so ignoring evidence is not an option.
What we have then is a god who is consistent with all our observations, but who himself
does not result in any additional observable consequences.
If you want to explain observations, then the scientific theories of the day are the
best you can do.
Adding god on top does not make the theories any more useful.
By useful I mean concretely that a theory allows you to calculate patterns in data in
a way that is quantifiably simpler than just collecting the data.
Example: The standard model of particle physics.
It allows you to calculate what happens in particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider.
Now you can say, I take the standard model plus the hypothesis that it was made by god.
But adding god does not simplify the calculations.
So, god is superfluous.
The scientific approach is then to prefer the standard model without god.
This, of course, is nothing else but Occam’s razor.
You make a theory as simple as possible.
Without this requirement, science just becomes dysfunctional, because you would be allowed
to add all kinds of unnecessary clutter.
Now, as we discussed previously, scientists say something “exists” if it is an element
of a theory that is useful to explain observations.
The Higgs-boson exists in this very sense.
So do black holes and gravitational waves.
On the other hand, if something is not useful to explain observations, as it is the case
with god, science does not say it does not exist.
Instead, it doesn’t say anything about whether it exists or not.
It cannot say anything, because science is about what’s observable.
Personally, I am not sure what sense it makes to postulate the existence of something that
has no observable consequences.
But it is certainly something you can believe if you want to.
It’s just that science cannot say anything about it.
So, as some of you have pointed out correctly, God could be said to exist in a different
way than, say, elementary particles.
Some have suggested to call it “immaterial existence”.
But I find this misleading because space and time are also immaterial, yet they do exist
in the scientific sense.
Some have suggested to call it “non-physical existence”, but this raises the impression
it has something to do with physics in particular, which is also misleading.
What it really is, is a non-scientific type of existence.
Or, let us call it what it is, it’s a religious existence.
God exists in the religious way.
An element of a hypothesis that does not result in observable consequences exist in the religious
way.
So, here is my next homework assignment: Does the multiverse exist?
I think most of you will understand now what I am getting at.
If you are not sure just what the multiverse is, I have another video upcoming in a few
hours that briefly summarizes what this is all about.
So, stay, tuned, and don’t forget to subscribe.