The Story of God (2005– )

TV Series  -  Documentary
7.1
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Unknown   2005  
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Kim Goldsmith ...
 Herself - Archaeologist (1 episode, 2005)
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4 December 2005 (UK)  »

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Two fairly good episodes. Stop there.
24 June 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This series is mis-titled, as it is not the story of God (either as described in the Bible, or as evolved in the history of Judaism and Christianity), but rather the story of believers in their various gods, and an attempt to accommodate religion and science.

I enjoyed the first episode. It touches on some of the older religions, and how the way old societies were organized might have led to the way their religions were also organized. They start in caves, then farms, and introduce writing's impact. Three related religions Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism are briefly introduced. While each of these could certainly fill a full episode, I still liked learning how these three relate to one another.

The second episode was fairly good too, up to a point. Naturally it's a bit more boring, because most English speakers are already familiar with Judaism and Christianity, and even Islam since 2001. But the evolution of Judaism into these others, and their slightly different takes on things between them, and also within each one, was interesting to take in a single episode. I wish it had ended when the host stated, taking note of the slaughters this god has caused, that maybe (paraphrasing) "one god is one too many". However, the host is a believer in this god, so he can't help himself but try to justify it. Feel free to stop the series here, if you think he's on the wrong track, or the third episode will have you shouting at the screen.

The third episode is a train wreck, and that's putting it gently. Being a believer, the host refuses to accept that religion is not a different way of seeing the universe, but indeed is a way of NOT seeing it, NOT knowing it. We're introduced to the notoriously flawed Pascal's Wager, but no counterarguments to it are given. As if the previous episodes never even happened, it's assumed that the choice is between God and nothing, rather than as it actually is: God, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, Thor, Xenu, Mithras, Venus, ..., 100th named god, ... 1000th named god, ..., future named god, ..., never-contemplated but still possible god, .... , all the gods ever considered by any alien species ever, and nothing. If you pick God, you've just made the wrong choice in almost all cases, as wrong and dangerous a choice as picking atheism, or any competing religion, by this test. This scientist also misrepresents introductory probability, by describing P(G|E) (Probability that God exists, given E) as P(G)/E (Probability that God exists, divided by E) which doesn't even make sense. (That's OK because E is never defined, and none of the equation makes any sense anyway, which is why they don't dwell on it ... it amounts to god probably exists if you believe god exists. I wish the cash in my bank account worked that way). Much is made about the fact that Newton was religious and also learned a lot about the world. Apparently this is supposed to mean that he was right about everything. Too bad, of course, that not only did Einstein prove Newton wrong about gravity (in the way that 3.14 is more wrong than 3.14159 is about Pi), but classical Newtonian physics, like gods, continues to be chipped away as larger and larger objects are shown to actually be quantum objects, not classical. The host complains about "scientific fundamentalism", and later admits that uncertainty is in fact baked into everything science does. Really, the whole episode is a giant mess, as it has to be when you try to convince yourself that there's a way of knowing that isn't based on reality.


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