It depends on the god in question. If you postulate a god that never interacts in any way with the observable universe, then no, its existence cannot be tested, but it also doesn't matter as that version of a deity is all but meaningless. There's no evidence to support belief. If the deity in question does affect the observable universe in some way, then yes, the question of the deity's existence can be scientifically tested.
I think NOMA is a cop-out. I guess science can prove and disprove many things, and as for the things that it currently can't prove or disprove, well that is just a matter of time.
As someone who has had a deeply religious up bringing and has been a committed member of both eastern and western religions, I think the faith I had was purely based on my decision to believe in something. I can honestly look back and say nothing I experienced gives me basis to say any god exists.
So I trust in the current realms of science and what deep down I know to be reality.
Faith is the ultimate get out clause. It's the 'seeing is believing' verses 'believing is seeing'. As for Christianity, I feel it's a contradiction to its basic teachings. One god who loves and cherishes all man kind but if you don't have faith you'll never find him or feel his 'presence'.
It's almost like those friends that constantly test and push you, forcing you to prove your friendship.
Ok Nelson, I'm pretty sure that you just jumped ahead to the crux of the book, and I don't think NOMA is mentioned until chapter 2. But, after reading some Victor Stenger, I'm pretty sure that the god hypothesis is testable - a great read for our next assignment - yo.
I would like to know what people think about religion as a tradition that can be practiced by Atheists; like Martin Rees on pg 14 who considered himself an "unbelieving Anglican", or Ursula Goodenough on pg 13, who called herself a "Religious Naturalist".
Although I despise religion, I see it's social value in the light of maintaining a cultural tradition that connects people and communities with their past. I also see that it addresses many of our emotional and spiritual needs (although "at a terrible price" as Sam Harris states in The End Of Faith).
Does religion have a place in society? Is there an alternative? Is it possible to be a "deeply religious nonbeliever" like Einstein and still be an Atheist? Is it a Utopian aspiration to imagine a world without religion, filled with curious and intelligent people who aspire to a higher consciousness? Are the 1300+ pilgrims who will establish that world right here in this room? That would be pretty cool.
I was just poking you guys about Ch2. Even though I read the book last year, I didn't recall what NOMA was so I googled it and the first result was Google books - clicking the link brought up p.54 in the God Delusion; too funny. And you're both right, you can hardly discuss this book without an understanding of the the idea behind NOMA, ridiculous as it is.
I'm really fascinated with both of your ideas of spirituality; although I feel spiritual, I always steer the other way in an attempt to be "non-religious". I really think that a complete spiritual overhaul
is a part of my(our) "Atheist evolution"; I threw a lot of good stuff out and I'm currently trying to dig the baby out of the trash.
I remember having a discussion with my Father shortly after I became a Hare Krsna about why I found I couldn't relate to modern Christianity. I felt that I needed a religion with a higher awareness of spirituality and that western religions were losing this.
Every since I began to move away from organised religion I have actually found myself becoming more and more spiritual, and becoming more and more aware that the wonder of existence and creation is enough to fill an infinite number of lifetimes.
I still travel to monastic islands, sit on the beach and take in the silence, but this has nothing to do with god. This is about peace, stillness and contemplation. So is anything my relinquishing of religion has made me more spiritual, more aware and more complete.
And sorry yes NOMA is in chapter 2 but I figured its key to the whole god hypothesis. But to be honest before I checked, I did think that it was in chapter 1 (sorry) ;)