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Victor Stenger: The Shroud of Turin might have contained genetic material with no Y-chromosomes

imageVictor Stenger was Testing the God Hypothesis in yesterday’s blog posting of the Science section of the Huffington Post:

In my 2007 book God: The Failed Hypothesis; How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, I applied the scientific process of hypothesis testing to the question of God. The common objection I heard was that the existence of God is not a scientific hypothesis. Let me explain why I say it is.

[ . . . ]

Consider the following hypothetical events that, had they occurred, would have favored the God hypothesis. Readers are invited to think of their own similar "might have been" scenarios. While not necessarily proving the existence of God, they would at least lend some credence to traditional beliefs that currently does not exist.

  • [ . . . ]
  • Physical and historical evidence might have been found for the miraculous events and the important narratives of the scriptures. For example, Roman records might have been found for an earthquake in Judea at the time of a certain crucifixion ordered by Pontius Pilate. Noah’s Ark might have been discovered. The Shroud of Turin might have contained genetic material with no Y-chromosomes. Since the image is that of a man with a beard, this would confirm he was born of a virgin. Or, the genetic material might contain a novel form of coding molecule not found in any other living organism. This would have proven an alien (if not divine) origin of the enshrouded being.
  • [ . . . ]

But none of this has happened. Indeed, the opposite is true in some cases, such as an abnormally low number of atheists in jail. Every claim of a supernatural event has proved false. The hypothesis of God is not confirmed by the evidence. Indeed, that hypothesis is strongly contradicted by the observations of our senses and the instruments of science.

As I was posting this I noticed that Stephen Jones has provided a good treatment of this. Go have a look.

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