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God Exists

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    Odds on that God exists, says scientist From the Guardian Newspaper site http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/sciences/story/0,12243,1164894,00.html Stewart
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2004
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      Odds on that God exists, says scientist
      From the Guardian Newspaper site
      http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/sciences/story/0,12243,1164894,00.html

      Stewart Maclean, Catherine Bolsover and Polly Curtis
      Monday March 8, 2004

      A scientist has calculated that there is a 67% chance that God exists.

      Dr Stephen Unwin has used a 200-year-old formula to calculate the
      probability of the existence of an omnipotent being. Bayes' Theory is
      usually used to work out the likelihood of events, such as nuclear
      power failure, by balancing the various factors that could affect a
      situation.

      The Manchester University graduate, who now works as a risk assessor
      in Ohio, said the theory starts from the assumption that God has a
      50/50 chance of existing, and then factors in the evidence both for
      and against the notion of a higher being.

      Factors that were considered included recognition of goodness, which
      Dr Unwin said makes the existence of God more likely, countered by
      things like the existence of natural evil - including earthquakes and
      cancer.

      The unusual workings - which even take into account the existence of
      miracles - are set out in his new book, which includes a spreadsheet
      of the data used so that anyone can make the calculation themselves
      should they doubt its validity. The book, The Probability of God: A
      simple calculation that proves the ultimate truth, will be published
      later this month.

      Dr Unwin said he was interested in bridging the gap between science
      and religion. He argues that rather than being a theological issue,
      the question of God's existence is simply a matter of statistics.

      "On arriving in America I was exposed to certain religious outlooks
      that were somewhat of an assault upon my sensibilities - outlooks in
      which religion actually competes with science as an explanation of the
      world," he said.

      "While I could not be sure, having slept through most of the cathedral
      services I had attended during secondary school, this did not seem
      like the version of faith I had remembered. In many ways, this project
      was for me a journey home - a reconciliation of my faith and education."

      Despite his findings, Dr Unwin maintains that he is personally around
      95% certain that God exists.

      However, Graham Sharp, media relations director at William Hill, said
      there were technical problems with giving odds on the existence of
      God. "The problem is how you confirm the existence of God. With the
      Loch Ness monster we require confirmation from the Natural History
      Museum to pay out, but who are we going to ask about God? The church
      would definitely confirm his existence."

      Mr Sharp said William Hill does take bets on the second coming, which
      currently stand at 1,000/1. For this confirmation is needed from the
      Archbishop of Canterbury.

      "We do take bets on the second coming, whether that confirms the
      existence of God is up to the theologians to argue, most people
      wouldn't believe that, though."
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