I think I have exhausted my thoughts on this (at least for the near to immediate future). It has been an interesting process, Just one last post to close out the sequence of thoughts
Here is a list of the posts in order, in case you wanted to review:
1. Dis/Proving God: Math, Science and a Checkerboard.
2. Dis/Proving God: Anecdotes, Logic and Water.
3. Dis/Proving God: The Facts.
4. Dis/Proving God: Science and Faith.
5. Dis/Proving God: Patterns.
So the basic conclusion I draw from my thoughts is that it isn't practical or possible to prove or disprove through formal scientific process the existence of God, and that it is in fact harder to disprove than to prove the existence of God. There is nothing about science or scientific process or faith/religion or religious process that prohibits the two from coexisting. In fact the two can be very compatible.
I believe that, while dis/proving God on the public level is not feasible, it is entirely possible to apply scientific processes in one's own personal search to prove - and understand - God.
There is a cool word used in Mathematics which provides the starting point for this.
Yes, that is a valid word in mathematical proof, used in proof by exhaustion, proof by contradiction...
It has been used in science before. Atomic theory began with a belief that atoms existed. Based on that assumption, mathematical models were created.Over time, as tools became more sophisticated, those models were refined.
You can apply the same process to religious discovery.
Assume God exists.
What does that mean? Who is God? What is God like? What is our relationship to God? Study what is known, search for the patterns, and develop your theories. Test them against what is known and what 'makes logical sense'. Hang on to what fits. Discard what doesn't.
Assume God exists. Either he loves us, or he doesn't.
If he doesn't, then he is irrelevant, is he not?
But, since you find repeated through nearly every religion and mythology, the idea of a 'savior' - of one sent by God to rescue mankind from everlasting doom, then it seems safe to assume that God does in fact love us.
Assume God exists, and he loves us. Then why do bad things happen? There are really only a few possible explanations that fit, when one considers the big picture.
1. This short earth life is so insignificant in the grand, infinite scheme of things, that all the horror that we are experiencing simply... doesn't matter.
2. This life, while perhaps insignificantly short to God, matters, but it is ours to experience. As such he is "un-involved". Not in the sense that he doesn't care, or doesn't listen to us or answer many prayers or grant many requests, but that he doesn't interfere.
If God loves us this life must have meaning, must have a purpose. So option 1 really doesn't make sense.
Assume God exists, and he loves us, and this life is for us to experience.
Then clearly he has a plan for us,he wants us to learn, and grow, and become better. So we can safely assume that as we search for answers, as we seek to treat each other with love and kindness, we will find the answers we seek in time, with patience and persistence.
It simply... makes. sense.
Prepare to be wrong sometimes. At one time, scientific thought was that heat/cold was due to a tasteless, odorless colorless particle called the caloric.After decades, new evidence disproved this idea, and a new model was developed.
Remember of course that being wrong about one thing doesn't mean you have to discard everything. Science is an iterative process. We work our way toward the truth in tiny steps. The more we learn and discover the more our model may change, and the closer our assumption about reality- based on our observation of a relatively small piece of the puzzle - will come to matching things as they really are.
It is possible to perform scientific experiments on religious matters. A prophet named Alma gave excellent counsel on this topic.
Perform an experiment. Study the words of prophets, apply their instructions in your life, be patient, be persistent, be observant. What is the outcome for you personally? How does it change your life? For the better? Hold on to it. For the worse? Re-evaluate.
It is okay to not have a complete picture. It is okay to not have all the pieces fit.
And it is okay that each persons journey may be slightly different. They might use different names, different terms, rely on different explanations... That's okay. It doesn't mean they are right and you are wrong, Most likely it means they have some thing right, some things wrong, and you have some things right and some things wrong. Scientific progress requires discussion, cooperation, sharing, a willingness to learn.
Finding truth is a journey, not a destination. It is a process. One that will fill a life time. And more.