Thursday, November 10, 2011

God, the Failed Hypothesis

In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.

The cause-and-effect notion is well-entrenched in the human psyche. Since an effect always follows a cause, and does not precede it, one can go on working backwards, in search of the chain of causes. But this process may never end. There are people who get tired of doing this, and say that ultimately you must postulate or create this thing called God, which must be 'causeless' because we humans do not know how to carry on this quest for causes endlessly.

This amounts to admitting defeat, and not trying hard enough. Modern science is so advanced and sophisticated by now that it can try hard enough, and has an answer; at least a tentative answer (I shall come to this in a future blog).

But the God hypothesis has an emotional angle also, which suits many people. For them, God plays the role of a father figure. A child in trouble looks up to the father (and/or the mother) for solace and support. The world presents a hostile environment, and fearful individuals tend to behave like children, convincing themselves that God will take care of their problems. This is self-delusion, nothing more.

Where is the evidence that there is a God, who has nothing better to do than to take care of the wishes and prayers of all the 'sinners'? There is NO evidence for all this if you investigate things the proper way, namely by following the scientific method. I shall mention two books that explain this:

2. Victor J. Stenger (2007): God, the Failed Hypothesis.
The God hypothesis is not a good one. It 'explains' away everything, but we end up learning nothing. When asked by a student if he believed in God, James D. Watson answered, 'Oh, no. Absolutely not... The biggest advantage to believing in God is you don't have to understand anything, no physics, no biology. I wanted to understand'.

In science there is place only for statements which can be either proved or disproved. Karl Popper coined the term FALSIFIABLE STATEMENTS for them. Pick up any book on religion, and you will inevitably come across statements which are unfalsifiable. How do you carry on a discussion with a person who makes unfalsifiable statements?

Reminds me of a story by H. G. Wells, in which there is a character who is prone to saying 'That's what YOU think!' so frequently in any argument that the other person gives up, in sheer exasperation. My advice is: If a person makes an unfalsifiable statement in your presence, tell him/her: 'That's what YOU think!' Do it a sufficient number of times to get the desired results.

When a statement is falsifiable, it does not matter what you think and what I think. Science is all about falsifiable statements only.

In science there is already a plausible model for our universe which is self-consistent and GODLESS, and which makes only falsifiable statements. Watch this space for more!