God created man in His image and likeness .... Or was the human mind that created the figure of God?
Before attempting to answer this question, we must clarify the conception of God that one is dealing with. After all, when most scientists refer to the possible existence (or not) of God is not dealing with the thesis that the old bearded man with supernatural powers portrayed in the frescoes of Michelangelo might one day be found in the laboratory. Nor, as the English zoologist Richard Dawkins, of no use to describe God by a physical constant discovered recently to govern the universe. In this case, says Dawkins, "he would have nothing to say about ethics, about what is right or wrong or about any other moral issue."
For science, the nearest evidence of the existence of a divine conception is that God might exist would be the discovery of evidence that the cosmos was
"Designed" according to a purpose. That is: there is no room for chance and chaos in the creation of the universe and the emergence of life on our planet. The complexity of biological systems or physical phenomena indicate that there was a designer guiding this entire process.
But does the fact that some scientists propose that question would not necessarily part of what they need (soothing) the existence of this order in the cosmos? That is: the above question is no longer born addicted from the standpoint of scientific method? Over the past 100 years, at least three ways to respond to the impasse over were explored:
The first, espoused by much of the academic community, is that the existence of God is not a subject of scientific method. This view is based mainly on the work of philosopher of science Karl Popper, for whom science can only address issues that are resistant to disproof, which he called the criterion of "falsifiability." In short, Popper argues that the role of the scientist is to find flaws in his theory - and the more generic it is, as in the case of "the existence of God," it would be less likely to be treated scientifically. Ie: the issue is only subject of metaphysics, not part of philosophy that deals with physical phenomena.
The second response, which does not necessarily invalidate the first, is that of scientists who believe that mankind evolved biologically to believe in God, and to walk on two legs. One of the biggest proponents of this thesis is the American biologist Edward O. Wilson, for whom our predisposition to religion would be a genetic trait of our species.
According to him, our inclination to believe in a higher being can be the result of this submissive behavior in other animal species such as rhesus monkeys, in which only one dominant male walks head and tail held high while most of the band keeps the head and tail low in sign of respect to the leader - in the hope of being protected by him against an enemy. "The human dilemma is that we evolved genetically to believe in God, and not to believe in biology," says Wilson. Theses like Wilson have been strengthened by research in primates such as chimpanzees in Tanzania carried out by Britain's Jane Goodall. By studying chimpanzees, Goodall discovered that they act in a way unusual in front of a waterfall, adopting an attitude of reverence for what she called a mystical sense.
Apart from research with primates, neuroscientists now know which parts of the brain are activated during states of meditation and prayer. Research like this, however, can not prove the existence of God - but no more than reveal which regions are responsible for mystical states associated with the idea of a deity.
The third response, known as Intelligent Design Theory, argues that some of the highly specialized tasks and complex organism - such as vision, cellular transport and coagulation - can not be explained only by evolution. These tasks would be a proof that life had followed a specific project. Defended by biochemist Michael J. Behe, a professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and author of the book Darwin's Black Box, the Intelligent design theory refutes Darwin's thesis and, therefore, has been considered a modern version - and more sophisticated - the old Biblical creationism, the theory by which the universe and life were created according to the account of Genesis.