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Thread: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

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    Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Hello All:

    I have read Dawkins' The God Delusion in which he forcefully argues that the question of God's existence/non-existence is a scientific question. That is, it is a question for which an answer in the affirmative/negative can be obtained using the scientific method. He also states that his book specifically deals with the God of the OT/NT/Quran.

    For us Sanatana Dharmists, God is a much more complex entity. It is equated to Sat+Chit+Ananda (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss). Advaita approaches God by negation (see link here).

    For us SDs, is the existence/non-existence of God more a philosophical question rather than a scientific question? If it is a philosophical question, then, however much we argue this way or that way, a solution can *never* be arrived upon. We pretty much have to accept the existence/non-existence of God as an *axiom* making it beyond proof/disproof.

    What are your thoughts on this?

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Surely the god"s existence is purely scientific question ? and answer is purely sought and get by science. but question is what is meaning and approach of science ?

    I mean to say is how one approaches in science to a conclusion ? first a researcher studies all the stuffs of science relevant to his field that have been discovered or accepted,then with certain assumption he goes ahead.

    Again it can be in lab,in nature,in mathematical calculation or purely in theory . then he comes to a conclusion. and then he keeps his thesis in front of scientific community. and with proper verification logically,scientifically it gets approval.

    so for different subjects ,different approach is required. exactly the existence of BRAHMAN has a approach. it can"t be proved in lab or something. since its a conscious matters,it can"t be proved in lab,but through consciousness.

    so the scientific approach to this is through experimentation of consciousness,mind and intellect. these are the only tools available to your research.

    again this spiritual science is no ordinary science that with with certain amount of concentration,you can achieve it.it need utmost concentration.thats why your mind need to be absolutely free from any thoughts other that your goal.thats why you need to do continuous meditational practice,abstain from sensual pleasure,you need to learn how to achieve that pin pointed concentration and a Guru who has gone such practices as you need guide in science research.

    then once you reached your goal,you need to verify with such community so that you will be absolutely sure whatever you got is correct.so in sanatandharma this testing of a recently realized soul is always there and tested among highly intellectual community. plenty of examples are there.

    Even now also The title PARAMHANSA is given to such persons after tested by Guru and others.(though now its mostly misused)

    In ordinary science the result you got is relative (always will be challenged in future and modified) and it gives nothing to you. but the science of spirituality(philosophy) is is most toughest and the result is the highest and ultimate...as whatever you will see,you will become that. and this vision is eternally same as seen in thousands of years.but yes there is always some addition in knowledge,techniques.

    Sanatan dharma is not at all about matter of belief, but its always have been challenging mankind to experiment it yourself.it has openly asked to not believe the scripture,the Vedas has said that reading it will result in nothing,you have to experiment with your self and see the truth.it may help.

    Thats why sanatan dharma is always evolving with time,with new approaches,new easier techniques, differenr approaches for different caliber of humans.
    Last edited by anirvan; 08 April 2011 at 08:13 AM.
    Man-naathah Shri Jagan-nathah Mat-guru-shri jagad-guruhu.
    Mad-atma sarva-bhutatma tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.


    My Lord is the Lord of Universe; My teacher is the teacher of the
    entire universe; and my Self is the Self of all. My salutations at the lotus-feet
    of such a Guru, who has revealed such knowledge to me.

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Namaste wundermonk,

    Interesting, I was thinking about this as I opened the forum... and lo, here's the topic right in front of me! I personally think that this is both a scientific and philosophical issue, covering different parts of what we need to understand. I think that the concept of God that Dr. Dawkins was referring to is the Abrahamic/dualistic one, which is significantly different from what SD generally deals with (I realize that SD includes dualistic schools of thought too; I'm specifically referring to Advaita here).

    From a non-dualistic point of view, we see everything as God. So undoubtedly science itself is God too. How can it disprove itself? From what I've read so far, SD talks about how nature consists of purusha and prakriti. Science is the study of prakriti; study of the world around us from a naturalistic point of view. Whereas spirituality seeks the same goal, but it mainly deals with purusha; the hidden divinity behind everything around us. For example, let's talk about an experience with God that a sage has. If we talk about it from a purely materialistic point of view, using what resources we have so far, we'd say it's nothing but some kind of hallucination caused due to brain chemistry, genetics and cerebral "hard-wiring" caused due to evolutionary psychology. But from a spiritual perspective, its ontological reality is not immediately compromised just because it has a physiological counterpart.

    I feel is important for both science and spirituality/philosophy to be allies in order to get closer to the truth. Since the latter definitely makes some claims that relate to our natural world, it's important for them to be in harmony with science as much as possible. It's interesting how the Advaita and its concept of Brahman have similarities with what's being discovered today in modern quantum physics (I'm not wholly familiar with that field yet, I hope to get good books on it sometime). I read a book titled "The Circle Of Fire" where the author listed some of these comparisons and showed how a person could agree upto this point and still consider themselves an atheist; only after going beyond this does it become a spiritual path. Similarily, there's a lot of information available (including in the book "The Tao Of Physics") about how Nataraja can be interpreted in a naturalistic manner too, involving electromagnetic and gravitational fields. Well, now why do we need this, when science effectively does it already? The reason is to understand the purusha behind the prakriti. I do think that the true nature of God cannot be conclusively proved through purely material means, and at some point we do have to get our own experiences to build our faith. (I wouldn't put anything beyond science, though! ) I love both science and religion and see them as two inseparable halves of myself as I go on my journey. Also, if we talk about Brahman, I think "existence" wouldn't be the accurate word to use since It isn't bound by time, space and impermanence, according to what the philosophy says.

    That's my humble opinion... I'll be glad if any flaws in there are pointed out.

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namast
    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    Hello All:

    For us Sanatana Dharmists, God is a much more complex entity
    You ask reasonable and provocative questions in your post. Yet for me, I see this this slightly differently. I see the Supreme as the most simplest - pure Being. It is we that are complex and require all the ideas, theories and POV's to feed our intellects.

    The question is why are we so complex if we are in fact an extension of this Supreme? Hence the question of nature and the transformation of that Supreme into an entity ( humans) that can function within all the laws of nature and still be able to realize their true nature ( Being) .
    For this, the circuity ( our nervous system) is quite intricate don't you think?


    praām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Quote Originally Posted by anirvan
    then once you reached your goal,you need to verify with such community so that you will be absolutely sure whatever you got is correct.so in sanatandharma this testing of a recently realized soul is always there and tested among highly intellectual community. plenty of examples are there. Even now also The title PARAMHANSA is given to such persons after tested by Guru and others.(though now its mostly misused)
    See, the problems with this are:

    (1)How do you know you have "reached your goal"?
    (2)How can I explain/put for test/compare a subjective experience?

    @Obelisk:

    I agree with your post. Atheists tend to keep asking, what is the proof/evidence of God? The evidence is EVERYTHING! Sarvam etad Brahman, Ayam Atman Brahman

    @yajvan:

    I like your description of Brahman as the most simplest.

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    [QUOTE=wundermonk;62312]See, the problems with this are:

    (1)How do you know you have "reached your goal"?
    (2)How can I explain/put for test/compare a subjective experience?


    1). just like in any scientific research, there are progress signs, symptoms, the extra sensory vision,the power gained, every thing are there mentioned to verify one"s progression.
    kindly read,try to understand the YOGA,plz dont believe jnana, the persons like you with scientific bent of mind are deserving candidate for Yoga, not jnana path.

    you read yoge path,and see yourself how every step is guarded by relevant signs to monitor yourself if your journey is correct or you have been wondering ignorantly.

    2) certainly you are not qualified to test them.only the selfrealized one can do that.
    but if you want to test them,you have to be humble,sitting at your knees and ask them....please tell me the truth. then with their blessings they will open your third eyes and reveal their self.

    Believe me this thing happened to so many ,even to Vivekananda.

    I am inviting you to leave this worthless,dirty world and jump to this world of uncertainty......keep the fire in your belly burning to know the truth,come to himalaya, search with honest heart........you will be the BURNING TRUTH in front of this world.
    Man-naathah Shri Jagan-nathah Mat-guru-shri jagad-guruhu.
    Mad-atma sarva-bhutatma tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.


    My Lord is the Lord of Universe; My teacher is the teacher of the
    entire universe; and my Self is the Self of all. My salutations at the lotus-feet
    of such a Guru, who has revealed such knowledge to me.

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    @anirvan:

    My point is *not* to doubt spiritual truths.

    The point of my OP was whether the question of God's existence/nonexistence is a scientific question (an answer to which requires inter-subjective evidence/verification) or a philosophical one. From your response it appears that you have a third option - God is self-experiential. That is also fine. I agree with that. But purely self-experiential evidence does NOT count as science because of the following problem:there is no way to tell apart a quack from a truly realized soul.

    Just for the sake of completion let me also state that the philosophical foundations science are not without "leaps of faith". Science does suffer from the epistemological problem of induction. Stated another way, there is no reason to expect that the repetition of a scientific experiment will yield the same result every time. A version of this was identified in Tripura Rahasya.

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Does not "God" exist and not exist simultaneously? God is the infinite. I believe we are too concerned with "pinning down" the nature of God that we realize it is impossible to pin it down. I think once you attribute an absolute to God you missed the entire point.

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    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOne View Post
    Does not "God" exist and not exist simultaneously? God is the infinite. I believe we are too concerned with "pinning down" the nature of God that we realize it is impossible to pin it down. I think once you attribute an absolute to God you missed the entire point.
    Ya. Brahman in Neti-Neti. So, what is the point of arguing over something that cannot be defined? Such a position is called theological noncognivitism.

    After a lot of soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that the theism vs atheism debate is mostly pointless. The atheists use the debate to show off their command over the English language and knowledge about various logical fallacies.

  10. #10

    Re: Is existence/non-existence of God a scientific or philosophical question?

    Namaste Wundermonk,

    I pretty much agree with your last post. Just like I said in the "Does God exist" thread, ultimately you can't prove the existence of God to anybody but yourself. I am 110% sure that God exists, but no matter how much I try, do, or say, I can't prove it to anybody else. Whether this is a scientific or philosophical question, I really don't know nor do I really care. I just call it intuition.

    Jai Sri Ram

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