Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

  • Lawrence Krauss web


    Lawrence Krauss

    Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

  • Michael Shermer web


    Michael Shermer

    Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

  • ian-hutchinson-web


    Ian Hutchinson

    Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

  • Dinesh-DSouza-for-web


    Dinesh D'Souza

    Author, What's So Great About Christianity

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Lawrence Krauss web

For The Motion

Lawrence Krauss

Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist. He is the Director of the Origins Project and Professor of Physics at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Krauss has written several bestselling books including A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2012). Passionate about educating the public about science to ensure sound public policy, Krauss has helped lead a national effort to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Michael Shermer web

For The Motion

Michael Shermer

Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths (2011). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine, has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, and Charlie Rose. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series Exploring the Unknown.

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Against The Motion

Ian Hutchinson

Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

Ian Hutchinson is a physicist and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his research group are international leaders exploring the generation and confinement (using magnetic fields) of plasmas hotter than the sun's center. This research, carried out on a national experimental facility designed, built, and operated by Hutchinson's team, is aimed at producing practical energy for society from controlled nuclear fusion reactions, the power source of the stars. In addition to authoring 200 research articles about plasma physics, Hutchinson has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. His recent book Monopolizing Knowledge (2011) explores how the error of scientism arose, how it undermines reason as well as religion, and how it feeds today's culture wars and an excessive reliance on technology.

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Against The Motion

Dinesh D'Souza

Author, What's So Great About Christianity

A New York Times bestselling author, Dinesh D’Souza, has had a distinguished 25-year career as a writer, scholar and intellectual. A former Policy Analyst in the Reagan White House, D’Souza also served as an Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country” by Investor’s Business Daily, he quickly became a major influence on public policy through his writings. In 2008 D’Souza released the book, What’s So Great About Christianity, the comprehensive answer to a spate of atheist books denouncing theism in general and Christianity in particular. D'Souza is also the former President of The King’s College in NYC,

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:

62% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (31% voted FOR twice, 24% voted AGAINST twice, 8% voted UNDECIDED twice). 38% changed their mind (6% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 2% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 7% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 2% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 8% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST) | Breakdown Graphic

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    • Comment Link David E Friday, 05 April 2013 12:11 posted by David E

      As a famous author once said:

      "Man created God in the image of MAN"

      God is merely a CREATION of the human MIND...

    • Comment Link ml Friday, 05 April 2013 09:56 posted by ml

      what does a god, any god, need with a planet revolving around a sun floating in 'space', why are there other planets, why is there a galaxy, why are there billions of stars with hundreds of billions of planets in billions of galaxies, few of which are habitable by humans if at all.
      there is no need for any of this if a god can provide us with a perfect place to live.

    • Comment Link EMonk Friday, 05 April 2013 03:31 posted by EMonk

      Gretchen: god is not love. Love is a psychosocial response to stimuli. God is a supernatural entity that supposedly created and guides the entire universe. Notice the difference there?

      That feeling you have, the deep-down feeling of being loved by the universe, is a symptom of the brainwashing that your religion has enacted on you. The same feeling can be achieved through many forms of manipulation, including meditation. It is no more evidentiary than a statement of belief.

    • Comment Link ml Thursday, 04 April 2013 19:52 posted by ml

      first, there may be a god, but not the one of any of the earth's thousands of religions.
      it's easier for me to believe that aliens came here, perhaps appearing as holograms or even in person, and were interpreted as gods because they came from the sky and had technology we thought was magic, than it is to believe that some 'supernatural' being cares about some creature here. example, soldiers in WWII landed in places like new guinea and gave the people food. the natives then made mock airplanes and created rituals to try to bring them back, effectively creating a new religion.

      second, the moral argument...civilization had morality before there were gods. children under 4 know what is right and wrong without ever knowing about god, that HAS been shown in experiments. animals take care of other animals not in their group or even their species without believing in god (well, we don't know or believe they do)

      third, in spite of this, this still doesn't explain some of the unexplainable or at least unexplained, why an object can fly across a room without being touched by anyone in the room, why an exorcism seems to really work, or why most people who have near death experiences say they experience 'light and intense love' (and no, no lab has been able to recreate this experience)

    • Comment Link Gretchen Wednesday, 03 April 2013 21:05 posted by Gretchen

      Both sides missed the point. God is love. To say that science refutes god is to say that science refutes love. This is an irrational pursuit. We seek god because we seek love. Not the love of the physical and material world. This love is informed, tested, measured, etc. by science. The love that comes from god is experienced in the deepest part of our being we have come to understand as our soul. It's the kind of love we experience when our humanity is expressed outwardly, toward others, in a way that increases and expands the love of humanity. It's found in forgiveness, patience, compassion, charity, kindness, peace and many other human expressions of love. Religion is how we come to know and to love god and in knowing god we discover the perfect model of love. Then we pursue our purpose in life, which is to express our humanity in the purest form of love attainable, limited only by our will, guided and informed by god and religion. Yes, one can seek to love without god, but why? Thousands of years of critical, intelligent human thought and discernment have produced an incredible body of knowledge contained in religion. These ideas have been tested by time, and culture, and science, and all the things that have come and gone over the history of humanity. This refutation is a thinly disguised rage against god and religion (and therefore love) and seems counter to the betterment of humanity. And it leans precariously toward arrogance and ignorance.

    • Comment Link jesus christ Wednesday, 03 April 2013 20:40 posted by jesus christ

      Awesome debate!!! Where does that guy get off saying that there is NO evidence that the conscience stems from the materiel world? Last time I checked, people who don't have functioning brains (and I mean, people who PHYSICALLY don't have functioning brains) don't have a conscience! Isn't that pretty powerful evidence that the conscience is created by the brain?

    • Comment Link Josh Wednesday, 03 April 2013 12:47 posted by Josh

      No, science does not refute God, or gods, ghosts, sprits- what have you. But millennia lacking evidence and a preponderance of unrepeatable claims makes the supernatural unlikely. I can't say with certainty I won't dig up a lump of gold in my garden this spring. That doesn't mean I should have faith in the man who says gold is out there.
      This debate did not refute my claim that debates are the single worst form of learning. They're about point scoring, flights of rhetoric, and nitpicking- facts and evidence, or experience if you prefer, need not apply.

    • Comment Link Frank Sattar Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:28 posted by Frank Sattar

      While I believe this is one of most important topics. I believe the group defending God were at a disadvantage because it was science versus Christianity, or rather an interpretation of Christianity. It would have better if the debate involved Scientists who believe in the existence of creative force or entity and Scientists who don't.

    • Comment Link michael conyers Wednesday, 03 April 2013 06:28 posted by michael conyers

      Science is God... Science absolutely refutes religion, however, God in my view has nothing to do with religion. God is energy. God is attraction. God is mass. God is existence. God is everything.

      I believe in the limits of human understanding. But if you are looking for a pathway to understand God, worship science. Have faith in the miracle that is the human mind, the human spirit, and the human experience.

    • Comment Link patrick d Tuesday, 02 April 2013 22:40 posted by patrick d

      The strongest reason for religiosity is fear of death/ non existence. Most people don't understand that you cannot by definition be afraid of not existing. If you could take away someone's psychological need for religion, they would never come to the conclusion that there is a god. There's just zero evidence for it. Of course lots of people think there is evidence for it, but it is a lie they tell themselves. That is meant to be observational, not insulting. We all lie to ourselves in certain ways. In christian religions people think it is very important to believe in the birth and resurrection of Jesus, but believing those stories is not believing in Jesus, it is believing the people who wrote the stories. In most cases at least sixty years after the actual persons death. No rational person could believe this stories are true, and that's why religion isn't rational. And you can't convince an irrational person to be rational.

    • Comment Link G2C Tuesday, 02 April 2013 21:14 posted by G2C

      Both sides missed the point. God is love. We seek god because we seek love. Not the love of the physical and material world. This love is informed, tested, measured, etc. by science. The love that comes from god is experienced at the depths of our being. It's the kind of love we experience only when our humanity is expressed outwardly, toward others, in a way that increases and expands the love of humanity. It's found in forgiveness, patience, compassion, charity, kindness, peace and many other human expressions of love. Religion is how we come to know and to love god and in knowing god we discover the perfect model of love. Then we pursue our purpose in life, which is to express our humanity in the purest form of love attainable, limited only by our willingness to say yes.

    • Comment Link David E Tuesday, 02 April 2013 15:40 posted by David E

      One only needs to look at HISTORY to see that science is slowly refuting God...

      Phenomena that were once attributed to GOD, such as disease, weather, consciousness, etc, have been shown to have a completely PHYSICAL basis...

      Unfortunately, there will always be little CREVICES that will remain unilluminated by science, and the religious will use these to hold on to their BELIEFS...

    • Comment Link Allan Hutton Tuesday, 02 April 2013 11:17 posted by Allan Hutton

      If there is a God, where did he , she, or it materialize from?. since it is observable that we all came from somewhere (our parents) who brought forth God, additionally if as it is believed God is all powerful, could he, she or it (God) make boulder so big that he, she, or it could not move it one centimeter. God it is quit plain to see was created in the deep dark recesses of primitive minds, long, long, long before the light of science could filter in and educate them. CONCLUSION: God is the awful remnants of the primitive uneducated minds long, long ago. Christianity is the most philosophically absurd, morally repugnant, and bloody of all the worlds known religions, history shows us the unrelenting pain misery and suffering is has caused

    • Comment Link Leroy S. Monday, 01 April 2013 18:29 posted by Leroy S.

      I like a statement in the post left by Dave M. because I walked away thinking the same thing. It is more like "Science refutes Christianity." It was more so to bash Christianity which in itself is a broad term. Not all Christians believe alike and we don't consider Catholics as Christians though most of the world believes so. They can't be Christians by the religion that they PRACTICE. Catholicism has no liking to Biblical Christianity.
      To continue, there is nowhere in the scriptures where God declared that the earth was flat. That was an assertion made by man. On the contrary, despite the knowledge that we have today that the earth is a globe, God speaks of the earth as having four corners! Will you dispute Him?
      Likewise when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, I'm quite sure that they all believed at that time that the sun was cirlcing the earth, but what does it matter. Freezing everything in motion in the universe is no big deal for God.
      Knowlege is progressive. What good would nuclear science have been to Noah, but I'm quite sure that the Ark was the most technically advance thing made in his day. For this reason we should praise God the more for His wisdom that He allows knowlege to trickle down to when we are able to handle it.. On the subject of wisdom, we have plenty of information at our fingertips today. Sadly, it does not make us any wiser. Ware are not wise. A degree from any higher learning institution alone does not make one wise. I observe about 75% of drivers on the raodways trying to make 90 degree turns by turning at a 45 degree angle and cannot learn that that is impossible.
      The Eternal God would only be embarassing himself if He was going to react to the folly of man. The same folly is repreated in every age and in every generation. He saw it from the time of the building of the tower of Babel. Man will always deceive himself when he thinks that he is smarter than God. Yet, he is going to die with worm eating his body and somebody smarter is going to come along. If that was the end, it would not be all that bad, but he must be awaken on the other end of the "Lord's Day" to face Him as a judge.
      God cannot be known outside of His Word. He is the Word, and He has left us His word. I share this with people because we don't seem to know, but God has already written world history. It is in the pages of prophecy. Which scientist can alter the course of history yet to be fulfilled.
      I hoped not to created any more trouble for Israel but the nation of Israel is going to be a thorn in the side of a lot of people. When they have mocked Christianity enough and has turned the hearts of millions away from Christ and seek to celebrate, Israel will stand as a witness that God reigns.
      GOD"S WORD declares that all the nations of the world will gather together to try to annihilate Israel, then God said He will laugh. Even though it be told, who can alter it?. The hearts of men are simply being prepared today to give even more credence to God

    • Comment Link rahul Monday, 01 April 2013 03:13 posted by rahul

      if u say this universe came to existence by its own due to some sort theories u explain, there should be something which existed before it happens.if that is so ,then who created the pre-existed matter and what existed before . that is what i call as GOD.

    • Comment Link rahul Monday, 01 April 2013 03:00 posted by rahul

      well, i just have a question to every one here.
      Do you all know what existed before you people discover this constrained universe? and do you all know how this happened?

    • Comment Link Ed Sunday, 31 March 2013 06:03 posted by Ed

      From a Catholic point of view, the proposition is not only wrong, but is not even possible. We have two paths to grasp truth, like two hands, that of faith and of reason. Science is a subset of reason. Since truth is one, they can not contradict each other.

      It would be odd if God created the world and didn't intervene in the world. On the other hand, creation is good and God respects the world he has created, so he intervenes only when necessary.

      But the proponents of this idea want scientific evidence. St. Paul in Romans tells us that the world reveals to us the creator (Letter to the Romans 1:19-21).

      Specifically, Jesus' disciples began to believe in Him, it says in St. John's Gospel, when he turned water into wine. And later Jesus says to his enemies 'If you will not believe in me, believe in the works I do...', refering to the miracles or signs.

      Science does the task of telling us what is according to the laws of nature, and what is a miracle.

      But to current miracles. All we need to do is point to one instance of a miracle, and we're done, but we'll point to many. Let's start with the resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate today.

      At each Mass bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In 1970 Pope Paul allowed a speck to be analyzed by scientists under an electron microscope, and the bread had the structure of human heart cells, the blood had the structure of human blood cells. And this miracle happens at every Mass,all over the world.

      There is the shroud of Turin and the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe - scientists have examined them over the decades and- and concluded that there is no natural explanation for the images.

      There are the documented miracles at Lourdes.

      St. Bernadette, to whom Our Lady spoke at Lourdes, became a nun and was buried. Fifty years later her cause was opened and she was declared blessed, her body was exhumed and placed in the chapel. Her body, buried in an ordinary grave. when exhumed, was found to be intact. It is now in the convent of her order in France, and can be seen there, stilll intact. There are 50 or so documented incorruptibles, mostly saints but not always.

      So science helps us understand the Scriptures, and the creation of God, and helps us identify situations where God has suspended the laws of nature.

    • Comment Link hamid Sunday, 31 March 2013 01:23 posted by hamid

      there's no wave function for a living creature.

      futilitarianism: if life is without purpose then why are the shootings or genocide or war such bad things ? if mr krauss believes life is without purpose, then why doesn't he make a list of people that need killing, then go out and kill them. certainly the world would be a better place with certain people gone. i believe dinesh wrote a book about this topic.

      science is designed to make predictions based on observation. science can't refute God because it is outside the scope of science to do so. science can't say that something doesn't exist because we can't predict it. science says that we can predict thing we know about. we don't know about God.

      i liked dinesh's example of good and bad being outside the scope of science; especially the analogy with the dog and cat.

      isn't it a wonder that so many civilizations realized God independently ?

    • Comment Link Brainman Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:33 posted by Brainman

      God’s Metabolism
      Atheists are created in atheist’s image but are blinded and disabled by their own afflicted human nature. Maybe God and spirituality are not dead, just metabolically different as atheists pursue their confirmation bias about religious institutions when their only tool is a hammer called science and every moral nature, including the belief in miracles, a nail. Scientific truth and faith in God are not mutually exclusive. An atheist has faith in scientific truth to exclude themselves from a life with God the creator and live naturally, maybe even morally and ethically. God may not exist for atheists but for a majority of humanity a belief in God, spirituality and the virtues of faith hope and charity are alive and well.
      Link to the following excerpt:
      … “To state it in more theological terms, man is truly made in the image of his creator. And the image of the creator is the quantum potential of the vacuum. Further, Man—as is every other living thing created by the Creator—is always and forever in direct but hidden communication with the image of his Creator. It is that image mechanism and its adaptive intervention that is the cause of all evolution. The Creator indeed made man—and everything else—out of the dust of the earth. And indeed he activated his creation with the "breath of life." The new physics does not dispose of God; to the contrary, it marvelously and nondogmatically—and scientifically—reveals his ubiquitous presence and his ubiquitous hidden intervention. [Emphasis added-MIRACLES]
      In so doing, the new physics also does away with the present scientific nonsense of dogmatic scientific materialism. We are not robots and machines; we are living souls. Our minds and our beings are not captured in the puny electrical discharges of our brains and nervous system, but in marvelous structures pervading the entire universe, everywhere, everywhen, in the internal Whittaker structure of every point in spacetime. Each has a spirit (that which motivates matter), and that spirit is a form in the Whittaker-structures of all the potentials of the universe. Further, the spirit is eternal. Destruction of the physical body does not alter the fact that the individual spiritual form and its every deed, thought, feeling, and experience exists for all eternity, in every part of the universe, directly in the form and image-potential of God. We indeed are eternal, and our true self is nonmaterial and immortal. The shabby treatment of our present scientific orthodoxy in attempting to deny us our spiritual heritage is refuted, and this refutation is scientifically testable. We challenge the present dogmatism to practice scientific method and put it to legitimate experimental test Spend some money and some time, and do it right. The necessary instruments can be developed. The necessary tests can be performed. The necessary results can be shown. And, given those results, the present materialism must be cast aside as an infantile derangement. It is long past the time when science should put away such juvenile things, and get on with a more mature, adult world. If it does this, then science can contribute to the salvation of Man. If it does not do it, it will continue to contribute to the destruction of Man. (Bearden)”

    • Comment Link Muhammad Tufail shad Saturday, 30 March 2013 08:02 posted by Muhammad Tufail shad

      Keeping in view of the whole discussion ,most of the debaters had taken the reference of the Bible while matching or mismatching of the Scientific developments .
      I think if all had kept the last Testament /The Quran as reference;they might had observed that Science has covered long distance in various fields mentioned in this book like Astronomy,Birth of child, Universal forces and many others. The left over and the most important for the mankind is the Divine economic system which has not been touched and implemented in the society/world.

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