God and the Scientists

God and the Scientists

2009, Religion  -   159 Comments
Ratings: 7.61/10 from 191 users.

Why are we here, how did we come to be, and can these common existential questions best be explained through faith or proven facts? Oxford University Professor of Neuroscience Colin Blakemore gives viewers an overview of Christianity's historically volatile relationship with science in this amusing and thought provoking film.

Blakemore explains that tolerance for scientific inquiry and challenges to church doctrine were generally tolerated until a turning point in the 1500s. It was at this time accusations of heresy started to arise and scholars too often found themselves branded as heretics. Scientists and educators were forced underground lest they be tortured into confessions of heresy, a crime punishable by execution.

Blakemore takes the audience on a tour of Rome's Museum of Criminology, where he encounters a number of 16th century torture devices, as well as an intimidating tome menacingly titled "The Inquisition Handbook of Torture, Volume 1." Continuing his travels to London, Kentucky, and Geneva, Blakemore surveys the great minds that have found themselves at odds with the church throughout history, including Galileo Galilei, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Darwin.

An interview with Vatican staff astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno takes viewers inside the Vatican's observatory and meteorite lab to illustrate how far the church has come in its relationship with science. Consolmagno patiently and passionately explains that the Bible is not a science book, but rather "a human interpretation of divine inspiration." A champion of both science and religion, Consolmagno strives to find the common ground between both worlds.

While the church has clearly taken enormous strides since the inquisition age, a visit to Kentucky's Creation Museum illustrates the ongoing struggle many people still have with the scientific inquiry into the creation of man. In one of the film's funnier moments Blakemore is visibly confused and disturbed by the Museum's depiction of a past in which dinosaurs and humans co-existed.

Culminating in a visit to CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, God and the Scientists provides an entertaining lesson in history and theology while questioning if religion and science will ever universally co-exist, or if there will always be a struggle to find common ground between believers and researchers.

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David Evans
1 year ago

The Church did not accept Galileo's theory but it contradicted the science at the time not church dogma. Galileo was tired for calling the pope stupid and going against the science at the time. To accept Galileo's theory meant that at a certain time the planet Mars would be in retrograde as looking at it it went backwards. This was impossible to happen if planets where going around the sun. It was only three hundred years later that optical illusion was discovered and this explained why Mars went backwards. Therefore the Catholic church could accept Galileo's theory as science proved it correct. I do not know why this is not better known.?

3 years ago

If we came from apes why are there still apes?

5 years ago

The dilemma is not God vs. science; for if we really understood God, we would become aware that God's method of creation (of everything) is perfect. Over 14 billion years ago, God created our universe by first establishing simple, concise laws , for its operation. It continues to expand exquisitely, in accordance with pre-established laws. It is automatic.
The greatest of God's creations are we humans. We are created in God's image, in the sense that God created our souls. Who am I? I am my soul. Who is God? God is soul, a being, residing beyond our universe. God created us to be His/Her children. Our true Mother and/ or Father gave all of Her children free will, so that we could become the individuals we are created to become. Through our decisions and desires, we can reach our own conclusions, or we could decide to ask our parent: "Who am I? What is Life about," or whatever personal questions we may have. God is ready and waiting for us to Love Him/ Her, and wants to prove to everyone who asks, genuinely desires, and longs from the depths of our souls {(which is the core or heart of who I am), (and not from our head, which is an ancillary appendage)} God says to each and every one of us. "Please, my children, I long to give you the substance of who I am. Please, allow My Love to be a priority in your lives. There is so much that I want to teach you. Can you humble your souls?"
The proof of God's existence is in receiving God's Love. Love and Truth go hand and hand together.

5 years ago

Science is science
Religion is religion
One reinforces the other. This is not a contest except for those who make it so.
War is caused by men who understand neither science or religion.

6 years ago

Religion is the cause of most strife suffering and war. It's time to bury it. Fools who believe in religious ideas should not be allowed to breed

Overly Analytical Snob
6 years ago

Janeen, you need to calm down.

Sujittra Chaturongkul
6 years ago

I think the thing that challenges Christianity the most is not science but evil in Christianity own existence. The capacity to know God and/or to be righteous will determine what Christianity will become (as well as the capacity to weed off Satan and give it its destruction which is intrinsic in the requirement).

6 years ago

He seems unsure whether he has a be in his bonnet about RELIGION or CHRISTIANITY. Like many of these insecure people, he has waded into this debate without any real knowledge or understanding of religion.

6 years ago

that little norwedgien guy in the time machine factory was the best. "I keep eet open....but for mi no es workin hypothesis...." The foolish presenter could learn a lot from this little norwedgian man

6 years ago

This scientist is as closed minded as the biblebashers.

7 years ago

Regarding the Bible...... "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen." Hebrews 11-1. Or another version.... "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
The key to science is what can be verified, or agreed upon, by any and all observers. Religion, or any belief system, seems to fail this requirement for universality, for corroboration. Given that evolution is both a theory and a fact, and can be corroborated, then we can say that evolution is a reality. And religions evolve, as do languages..... as evolution is defined as change over time according to natural forces. If one accepts the contingency of reality, the fact that one element of reality impinges upon another without any gaps..... without a god or a supernatural event intervening here or there .... then we have a coherent viewpoint.
My thoughts suggest the schools should teach anthropology and semantics to children to provide them with some tools with which to learn. Belief systems ...... philosophies, religions and such, simply can't be evaluated by science..... For example, semantics requires that the verb 'is', i.e. the notion of 'being', requires an object. A rock IS hard, black, heavy.... all qualities of reality that can be measured and corroborated. 'Being'... the fact of our existence, requires an object also, such that we can say our 'Being' is blood and cells and flesh. How does one talk about religion when a 'god' or a 'deity' has no Being that can be agreed upon?

Sean Proudler
7 years ago

Scientists/Physicists say that we exist within a 4 dimensional environment that is known as Space-Time. However, we are always confined to only the present time, thus we are always confined to just one point in time within that 4 dimensional environment that is known as Space-Time. This is the inside of reality. The outside, is all time other than the present time. It is huge. It is eternity.

Physicists do not yet fully understand the laws of physics. This is because, to them the eternity side of reality does not exist because this side is a religious concept, and to them, religion is false. As a consequence, they do not include the laws of physics present on the outside, which are different from those on the inside. Thus they are lost when it comes to fully understanding physics.

Today, is the day of ignorance, arrogance, and selfishness. Thus if proof of the existence of Jesus Christ/God is presented, it is laughed at as the result of this backward behavior. So if God managed to place both proof of his existence, and proof of Jesus Christ's existence within the Bible, and did so in a clever yet simple and unique encoded manner, with no doubt, you will reject it.

Prem Kiran
7 years ago

This is a such narrow minded and boring viewpoint. I stopped watching this after 10 minutes. This is nothing more than Mr Blakemore's point of view which he would like to disseminate as a gospel truth. Want to know about God? Look to the East. There, there you will find both real science and God hand in hand. Christianity was not the only thing floating around.

7 years ago

The deep space photo, showing billions of gallacies and the photo from the Moon, showing the earth made me very religious!!!
Also is that the case showing the beauty of the evolutionair theorie of Darwin. Science, love of nature, seeing the beauty of the Creation and religion are and should be one of a kind. The bible is a very old book. Is not it time for a New religion?

7 years ago

When one transitions from undergraduate school to graduate school something dramatic happens. One learns how to do research! Until now, one's previous education has focused on foundational operational knowledge and skills.

By following a very specific methodology one is able to add to the body of knowledge about a subject matter in a way that makes compelling representations of research data. That best explicated those data.

Here we are treated to a strawman argument filled with sweeping generalizations. The point of the trip Rome was that there is no conspiracy to hide the misdeeds of the Church.

Now I'm no defender of the church and certainly not the Catholic Church, one could talk about Oppenhiemer's atheism, or Hitler's Occultism, and draw sweeping generalizations that don't represent the data. This socalled documentary glossed over the fact that Christianity drove scientific inquiry in 1100 on. Giving us the scientific method. Further, there was a Reformation precisely due to the fact that those representing the "Church" in the video were in fact misrepresenting many of its foundational ideas.

Finally, since the book of James was written mid first century, Faith has been defined as "trusting" not as knowing. According to early Christians one can be all-knowing about God and not want a relationship with him.

Strawman representation of history (cherry-picking worst anti science by non-Christians posing as Christian leaders)

Equivocating the Christian definition of "Faith"

Missing the point that all humans resist change , look at Max Planck's reception inBerlin of his Quantum Theory in 1900.

This research project would have received an 'F' for method and for rhetoric.


7 years ago

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence can not be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable. Because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore, and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon.

7 years ago

It is quite obvious that we humans are but babies fumbling around on this planet. We know very little in the scope on the grand scale of the universe. This documentary barely raised a hair of curiosity as it skimmed the surface about what we have learned via science. The complex Higs Boson experiment is briefly discussed, but what about the simpler mind boggling two slit proton experiment or the bizarre communication between entangled particles? We humans jest, because in reality we don't know enough to even begin to draw conclusions on our origin or that of the universe.

7 years ago

To mr. Drummerboy
Evolution is a fact, it's been proven to be true time and time again. A "scientific theory" is not the same as a "regular plain ol' everyday run of the mill hey I have a theory about this" kind of thing. A scientific theory is backed by mountains and mountains of peer reviewed and closely scrutinized evidence. They are called scientific theories because they are always open to new evidence that someone, someday, might bring forward to challenge them. Evolution has been challenged many times over the years and it has never been proven incorrect. It is a fact.

Now on to the typical bible babble about the human tracks next to dinosaur tracks and that hammer stuck in the rock ... have you ever attempted to do any research on your own about these all too often cited as proof of creationism? Of course you haven't.

7 years ago

Poor guy he needs therapy!

7 years ago

A disaster for science !?! Everything that the church has touched was and is a disaster for humankind .

7 years ago

Thank goodness you do not have to deal with Islamic orthodoxy. There is a reason innovation is, has been, and will be absent from the Islamic world in places where Islamic doctrine has political control.

Giorgi Munjishvili
7 years ago

To better understand the relationship between religion and science, it helps to look at history and who used religion in what way.
In Medieval Western Europe, where Christianity took the form it did in the hands of the descendants of the barbaric peoples which overran the Western Roman Empire, it became a tool for fear and control and resulted in the stagnation of science and the inquisition. Meanwhile Christian Byzantium and the Islamic world flourished with science and culture.
The culture and scientific achievements of the Islamic world are the main reason the Renaissance even developed in Western Europe and Europe left the ignorant dark world it lived in. Even to this day we use Arabic terms in various fields such as math and chemistry.
Throughout history, from the Egyptians to the Babylonians and to the Chinese or whichever other civilization one looks at, it has always been religious cultures which inspired it's people to seek out knowledge and make scientific breakthroughs. Even in relatively recent irreligious times, from Nikola Tesla to Einstein, the most brilliant scientists have been inspired by faith and religion, just read their writings and biographies.

Just because religion resulted in ignorance in Europe and Europeans split it from science, does not mean that mankind has to live in atheism to reach scientific understanding. Religion and science can be perfectly harmonious if one understands how to think deeply about both, instead of easily dismissing the most important aspect of humanity which is religion.

7 years ago

A real scientist would understand the limits of his capability. He depends on tools for the ability to defy the normal senses. His observations are subject to interpretation and whatever established facts got to be replicated or verified by others.

Do we have a perfect science? The answer is No. A lot of things are still beyond human understanding although mankind has undergone tremendous changes through learning from others' work or observations. If that is true today then what more hundreds of years ago?

More powerful tools will also enhance the human ability for observation and generation of verifiable facts which we learn as knowledge.

Just imagine, had there been satellites and telescopes for early scientists to prove their work, then expect no resistance from the establishment in proving that the Earth is round or it is not the center of the universe. But those who were truly ahead of their time offered complex proof that somehow got to rely on faith too.

Nikhil Danak
7 years ago

And for that matter not only Christianity but also for every sect of belief based religion will be forgotten in generation of millennia. Science is emerged out of logical inquiry or inquest from human brain. It gives reasoning facts of subject matter in place. It has methodology of discovery that physically provides proof to believe in. Religion is extant on the ground of ignorance or uninformed state of human mind for something not known. The fundamental force of religion is established on fear & doubt about unknown. There is nothing evident to believe in or accept format of current system of religion. On the contrary it has been exploited and misled society at large.
Spirituality is though parallel to science in quest of observing Nature & its existence but beyond sect based religion and/or material mass science. The subjectivity in spiritual expedition is essential in the initial phase of discovery, however once it’s discovered there is no significance of subject in place and so object of inquiry too. Say for example if you are looking at bouquet of flowers, first you are witnessing of its shape, colour, fragrance, and beauty. Now if you are buying these flowers with purpose to gift someone or to wish someone, it has some objective or goal cling into it. But if you want to simply enjoy existence of flower from bud to blossoming flower then you need to observe it very closely the entire process of flowering. For that you need to develop skill to see minutest process of Nature Science with your necked eyes. You can’t watch this process unless you engage yourself for long hours with opened eyes all the time and looking at bud until it becomes complete flower. This is mechanical and you will be exhausted physically & mentally. Now such process of developing skills has nothing to do with religion, it comes with experience of observing Nature surrounds our life and there spiritual practicing provides various techniques, which is part of self-science developed by many ancient & modern enlightened individuals. This is not mass movement or expedition but it is an individual discovery happening within one self without indulgence of religious dogmas, structures, beliefs, and scriptures. This is your own effort in opening petals of flower one-by-one that takes you at the pick of understanding in experiencing process of Human to Human Being!
Since many centuries GOD is an illusion for human; therefore society at large become victim of belief based momentum. Here in this documentary, scientist tries to understand religion stand point of GOD existence. Because Big Bang theory of Higgs Boson in recent time wants to justify their result of GOD particle as against belief based GOD education. The most significant part of video is “The Threat to Religion” in every stage of scientific argument that shows facts of its discovery which dismays religion at every point. This is something like survivor fight of dynasty if not been protected than whole human society will be vanished in act of sins performed against religion.
I think time has arrived where human has started accepting faith is more personal process than following mass belief system. The kind of revolution taking place even in religion to accept guy marriages or transgender reality in society is nothing but giving up against new form of realism in majority by process of law is more powerful than law of religion! Certainly academic has played an important role in developing systematic processes to educate human brain with more intellectual state of being rather following state of animal instinct. Religion has never taught human brain beyond fear & doubt so believe in GOD!!! Yet another attempt of science to expose belief based society…

7 years ago

animal rights... Treating them in such fashion is what separates us FROM animals!

Jan de Boer
7 years ago

Boring and disappointing. That is my opinion about this documentary.
I did expect something new, some new point of view or whatever.
We all know that Genesis was written for Stone Age people and adapted their limited knowledge.
We all know that the Roman Church consisted and still partly consists of people who want power and who defend the power they have. Just look at the way they handle
the child abuse cases these days..
We all know that “Justice” was and sometimes still is a means to do injustice.
Two of my ancestors were horribly tortured a few centuries ago. They were innocent and refused to admit a crime they had not done. Yet they were executed even more horribly for those non-committed crimes. That was usual at those times.
I find it cheap and disgusting that you ridicule the present believers on basis of misconduct by others in the past millennium..
Yes, there are the Creationist and others who will have to change their opinions and views someday.
Personally I am a Christian of the evolutionary type and I challenge you to explain how
humanity could live in Stone Age conditions only a few millennia ago, while our ancestors from one million years ago must have been almost as intelligent and sophisticated as we are.
I challenge you to explain Ice Ages, fossils of tropical plants on both Poles and worldwide
I challenge you to explain telepathy without accepting the idea of an immortal soul.
I challenge you to explain the near-death-experiences without accepting the idea of an immortal soul.
I challenge you to explain the difference between physical pain and sorrow without accepting the idea of an immortal soul.

Janeen Clark
7 years ago

here is a stripped down comment maybe easier to digest. can human beings imagine things and think about things that are not real? yes. we have much fictional art poetry tv shows etc. so the question is how do you tell what human thinking and concepts ARE real and true?

Janeen Clark
7 years ago

there seems to be so kind of misunderstanding regarding scientists, people thinking they have some kind of bias to material world and think nothing else is possible. this is completely false. science has no opinion it tests reality to find out how it actually is , and what we have found is there is no supernatural no afterlife no soul no human brain or any consciousness creating reality. this is the the findings of science not any faith opinion or beliefs. i personally wish some those things were true, but they are not and we can live in fantasy world or accept the parts of reality so well tested and confirmed they have made certain things impossible. a soul will always be impossible because we will never find out a human beings is really one thing, a human being is trillions of things in body and brain we understand exactly what makes us up how we work and why , no matter what we learn it will be just more detailed , because reality does not flipflop around and change. now i completely understand people they have limited knowledge and gaps in their understanding have a gap where maybe spiritual ideas can still live. but being a atheist is not a choice it happens to you against your will once you have learned more and more about reality . if you are missing large chunks of the totality of human knowledge in a specific area that can lead to false conclusions just like human interaction a conversation where a person has not got all the information about someone and jumps to a wrong conclusion by filling in missing information with assumptions, this why humans argue and fight and violence it is our nature to jump to conclusions ,especially when we want to never die or see our loved ones again or many deep issues that is difficult to face reality with. there has been zero unbiased tests when probing reality, on quantum level or any level where the idea of immortally jumped out as an answer , where supernatural jumped out of experiment and never an experiment that showed a living thing can beat death. instead to evidence is so demonstrable regarding these ideas being only human imagination and they are not even possible in reality because reality works taking forces and laws of nature very simple and complexity builds over time . consciousness in reality is a word used to describe trillions of processes in a advanced system . when you damage or kill those individual parts consciousness as a slang word dies. quantum mechanics has zero connection to consciousness , go take a class on quantum mechanics and you will be given calculus and physics equations with a deterministic model of quantum level this why our electronics so stable, a computer is trillions of parts that have to work predictable for the device to work even for 5 mins let alone 5 years and millions of the same exact devices made and sold and are stable this is because it is all deterministic just is probabilistic .only the people with gaps in their information relating to the totality of human knowledge regarding a field or many fields can force in the supernatural , but in reality there is no evidence that the supernatural is more than a word thought of in a brain.

7 years ago

is there ever an unbiased view on this issue?

7 years ago

even atheists think that Dawkins is a lightweight who is way out of his depth so why he sets himself up as a commentator on spiritual matters is beyond me.

7 years ago

science may well answer certain questions but faith, in its true sense, does not offer explanations and in fact never intended to. The religion we have created did try and answer questions and was therefore way out of it's remit. Faith is not believing something without proof, faith has nothing to do with beliefs, nor has it anything to do with explaining reasons for our existence. Trouble is most people's experience of spirituality is via organised religion so it really is no surprise that this confusion has arisen. There is plenty of teachings concerning faith but this is not going to be found shouted from the rooftops like these "sunshine" Christians. It is a deeply hidden, esoteric experience which actually appears more like darkness and void to the human mind, completely without images, belief systems, creeds, formal ritual or even feelings. If there are atheists who want to rigorously test their beliefs, they need to enter the mystical experience via someone who has been there before. Read modern thinkers like Thomas Merton, Martin Laird, Abbot Jamieson of Worth Abbey, the Cloud of Unknowing by an anonymous author for those able to cope with medieval thought, the few but deeply profound writings of anonymous writers from the Carthusians, etc. It is a shame that atheists usually only find the trivial, superficial writers to go on so it's no surprise they come to the conclusions they do. There are no answers in the scientific sense within mystical Christianity nor can there be. Forget the contemporary fairweather fundamentalists who think every word of the Bible is factual, it was never intended to be with this being invented in the last century. These fundamentalists have done no end of harm to those who may be seekers, scientists, atheists or philosophers with their simplistic sensate and sensational nonsense aimed only at titivating the senses.

Glorianne Hesse
7 years ago

Janeen, please disregard the following paragraph. After re-reading some of your discussion I realized we aren't on the "same page." Tried to delete my dribble, but the system wasn't having it. This just shows that it's probably best to read something twice before responding because sometimes we didn't read what we thought we did! And this should be an excellent example of what you mentioned regarding our perception of a thing and the reality of it. Cheers.

Janeen, in your talk about "reality" why didn't you include the quantum physics information (proven hundreds, maybe thousands of times in increasingly complex experiment conditions) that our world of reality consists of particles when we're watching and waves when we're not. Or, a discussion of quantum entanglement. Without those topics, your explanation of reality seemed incomplete. Ok, your response might well be that a full discussion of the nature of reality could (and does) fill volumes of books. Maybe best discussed while drinking wine among friends on long winter nights. However, I'm glad and reassured that physicists like Hawking and Susskind, et al. have found the humility to admit that they don't really "know" the nature of reality. Neither they nor anyone else has yet solved the "theory of everything." So, we keep speculating and guessing. But we'll keep looking...and hopefully never completely solve the mystery, else once the intellectual challenges cease, what a boring existence we shall have.

7 years ago

Dictionaries are great things. Faith - Strong belief in religious doctrine based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. Scientific theory - Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.[4] This is significantly different from the common usage of the word "theory", which implies that something is a conjecture, hypothesis, or guess (i.e., unsubstantiated and speculative). Now we got that straight we can stop wasting our time and face the fact, that facts make no difference to people who have belief. They don't need them, so you ramming facts down someones throat isn't going to change anyone's mind. It's a little like art, it's not always tangible what makes it good or bad. To some it's their life and to others pointless. I'm a atheist and I know a lot of the time this is no more than theist bating I'm guilty of this for sure, apologies. Live and let live we all change throughout life so let people find their own path. In the same vain though we must therefore live in a secular society. Peace out.

Patrick Adrien Varencaus
7 years ago

Bible is backed up by science

Ivar Nielsen
7 years ago

Of all the numerous cultural Stories of Creation from the major religions, the Bible´s story is about the least sufficient one. Take for instants the Egyptian story or some of the Eastern stories of creation and even modern science isn´t sufficent, largely because of the cyclical ancient world perception.
The modern ideas of "gravity" and "Big Bang" is totally out of cosmological logics and have become scientifical doctrines based on pure asumptions and beliefs.

~Oliver B Koslik Esq
7 years ago

...Thinking of putting 18:25 on a tee shirt.


7 years ago

(@any God-Like beings commenting here.) Saying what is possible or impossible IS impossible without having omnipotent minds which would require those defining possibility and reality to have the mind of a GOD. I assume by your own conclusions you are not a God. The only important question becomes why believe something you cannot know?

Janeen Clark
7 years ago

human consciousness is not real it is virtual, that is we model information coming in through our body and senses and use it to construct ideas, but we never think directly about reality itself, science is the tool to connect ourselves to what is actually real even if it is fragments as we learn we construct those pieces without making assumptions or expectations and begin to learn about reality itself. we have learned an incredible amount through thousands brilliant minds dedicating their whole life to this process then we can add up all the totally of knowledge to get a larger picture. this larger picture shows us the entire earth and everything in it is a tiny insignificant spec compared to all reality and would be no different to reality itself if the whole earth never existed this has important implications when pieces together with the story of reality construction all life on earth and how reality itself works here for us. in all this time of learning and all the thousands and thousands of lifetimes worth of knowledge pieced together. there are things about reality we know that will never change and one important part of that is god is impossible , a afterlife is impossible a human soul is impossible, a human being is not even a single object in reality but a complex interaction of trillions of things. reality is so far away from the idea of god or afterlife or souls it makes them utterly impossible no matter what else we learn it will never be possible to learn we don't really die, or we are being watched and loved by a magic being. the only way it is even possible for a human being to think it is even possible for these things to exist is for that person to have large gaps in their knowledge of the totality of reality as a whole how it works what is reliable and what cannot ever change.

Janeen Clark
7 years ago

either people are interested in reality how it actually is or people are interested in their thinking process (imagination), and have no interest in reality itself. what are you interested in?

The drummerboy 121
7 years ago

In fact there is some small evidence that cannot be explained ,that humans co-existed with dinosaurs,The human foot prints beside the dinosaur ones on a river bed in Minnesota.
The metal axe embedded in a coal seam etc.We are supposed to be related to apes, but there is scant evidence for this, small cheekbone or parts of a skull have been found that are very very old, but where is the definitive link? Evolution still remains a THEORY.