“Science without religion is lame,
religion without science is blind.”
— ALBERT EINSTEIN
BelievAble Talks seeks to offer a platform for open and honest dialogue on matters pertaining to spirituality, religion and science. Questions and doubt are welcome! Our belief is that the beauty of rational and life-enriching thought is found in the process of inquiry and the search for objective truth.
In our materials we strive to evaluate and give a fair hearing to varying (sometimes opposing) views by engaging some of the latest theories and research from relevant fields of study. Through the methods of inquiry employed we may not always ascertain certainties, but rather consider plausible alternatives.
BEYOND The burden of proof
What shapes our convictions? We live in a pluralistic world, marked by diversity, where traditional ideas spawn dissonant tones; where globalisation has disenfranchised ideologies; where the Internet has compressed distance and time; and where access to information is virtually instant. In this episode, we focus on some of the latest research on the psychology of faith, about which Lawrence Krauss claims that “we are wired to believe and need to fight against it”, while Christopher Hitchens exasperatedly affirms that “religion is ineradicable!”.
We all see the world differently. Our background, culture, education and past experiences colour the picture of our reality; our perceptions construct the truth that is supposed to ground us. But, what is truth? Is all truth the same? Is anything certain? And what do we do with doubts, which we all have? Physician Paul Tournier once said: “Where there is no longer any opportunity for doubt, there is no longer opportunity for faith either. Faith demands uncertainty, confusion … A guarantee would, after all, preclude faith.”
Christopher Hitchens writes that religion poisons everything; that religion kills! Sam Harris argues that religion justifies and even rewards terrorism. Is it fair to speak of religion in such general terms? Does all religion hurt? Would we be better off without religious faith and practice? Is violence innate to religion? And why, or rather, when does religion cause hurt?
Part I: Cosmology
Why is there a Universe? How did we get here? Why are we here? These questions have troubled the human mind for millennia. Religion sought to offer answers from the beginning of human thought; science joined the quest, though often finding itself at odds with religion. But are religion and science necessarily mutually exclusive? Can science withstand the same scrutiny to which religious claims are subjected? In this episode we discuss the Big Bang theory, particle physics, supersymmetry, multiverse, and the Higgs particle.
Part II: Theory of Evolution
Continuing from Episode 4, in this episode we explore the second law of thermodynamics, genetic entropy, the evolutionary timeline, the nuclear geyser, and transitional fossils.
Why do ‘the right thing’? Why does doing ‘the right thing’ matter? Why should it matter? Jonathan Sacks argues that morality is essential “to our dignity, our happiness, the meaningfulness of our lives and the structures of grace that constitute our society”. But where does morality come from? And, does it always pay to do right? Does one have to be religious to act in a moral way? Does one have to believe in God to do good?
Science speaks of a future of limitless possibilities for humanity. Our vast universe presents us with exciting and seemingly unlimited opportunities for exploration. In this final episode, we bring together theoretical science and theological thought, and revisit quantum theory, theoretical physics and multiple-dimension realities, while also discussing humanity’s quest for perfection and immortality.
what people say
“This is an unconventional and awe-inspiring series that paints its pictures on spacious universe-wide canvases. It explores modern themes from sociology and science, revealing alternatives to the conventional materialist and evolutionary explanations. The series brings profound and exciting implications to view. It will inspire viewers to want to know more of faith and of how to access its full potential.”
University of St. Andrews
Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
“I am beyond excited about this series and the work of my friend from my College days, Dan Serb! I can see all the dedicated teamwork in these episodes and words fail me to sufficiently compliment the production values, artistry, editing, graphics and music we can find here. Dan: your research, writing, thinking and delivery are unparalleled! All I know, is that I know very little so far with any certainty! There is much, however, in which I have a reasoned and reasonable faith. I enter every single interaction with Another under the assumption that I am definitely wrong about some things, or everything. As a consequence, by the end of the interaction, my mind and my very being will be forever changed. This series serves to deepen and reinforce this conviction! Thank you Dan and Team from the bottom of my heart! A luta continua!”
Cape Town, South Africa
“Beyond the burden of proof is a series of deeply engaging presentations on the fundamental questions of origins and destiny. Dan takes the viewers through a journey of profound interrogation that facilitates a search for answers and, the thought-provoking nature of the series, allows them to come to their own conclusions. The presentations are based on solid scientific research as well as historical and philosophical insights. The series is highly recommended for anyone who is eager to go on a journey in search of truth and indeed meaning.”
Johannesburg, South Africa
Visiting Academic, University of South Africa &
University of Cape Town
"Having worked closely with each of the texts of this captivating series of presentations during their development, I can recommend these BelievAble Talks to all those seeking to confirm their faith or wishing to explore their doubts. The journey throughout will be an exciting, stimulating and thought-provoking one – and may produce unexpected answers or even additional challenges. Gazing through the lenses of philosophy, theology, epistemology, cosmology and evolutionary theories, the viewer will be drawn into a sphere which embraces doubt, faith, certainty, hope – and the ongoing search for objective truth."
Fellow of the Association of University Administrators
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors
Beyond the burden of proof
The 7-part series focuses on faith, truth & reality, religion & violence, cosmology, theory of evolution, morality, and the future, and it launched on Sunday, 1 August 2021.
Follow us on social media for updates regarding the uploading of all episodes.
Here are a few books we recommend
as additional reading to this docuseries
Compact Time. A Short History of Life on Earth (2021)
JOHN C WALTON
This unconventional book takes readers on a journey of discovery into the realm of time – re-examining the very history of the Earth. It highlights the fallacies of methods currently applied to timing Earth history and then draws attention to the radiocarbon dating technique. Radiocarbon decays away in only thousands of years and undecayed, radiocarbon permeates the whole geologic column; it’s even in fossil dinosaur bones. This implies a compact timescale of only thousands of years for the whole span of life on Earth.
Can Science Explain Everything? (2019)
JOHN C LENNOX
Can science explain everything? It can often seem that, in the 21 st century, we have no need for religion when science has given us so many insights into the mysteries of the universe. Science and religion just do not mix.
But is that really the case? Drawing on his own experiences as a scientist and a Christian, and decades of good-natured discussion and debates about the relationship between them, Professor John Lennox suggests how we can see these two presumed foes as good friends—and enjoy the benefit from both of them.
The Case Against Reality. How evolution hid the truth from our eyes (2019)
DONALD D HOFFMAN
“Captivating and courageous … anyone who reads this book will likely never look at the world the same way again. Hoffman challenges us to rethink some of the most basic foundations of neuroscience and physics, which could prove to be exactly what we need to make progress on the most difficult questions we face about the nature of reality.”
Author of Conscious
Baptizing the Devil. Evolution and the Seduction of Christianity (2017)
If science is so good at finding truth, why does the truth change so often? Why are scientific certitudes of one generation often mocked as myths by the next one? Why do the findings of science, the results of the ‘scientific method’, often contradict each other? When scientific explanations about present reality, about what can be handled, heard, seen, tested and retested, are filled with debate and controversy—why do so many people unquestionably accept every scientific proclamation about supposed events millions or billions of years ago? Baptizing the Devil seeks to show that this capitulation is not only unnecessary but misguided, another unfortunate example of well-meaning Christians compromising their faith to the prevailing culture.
Neurotheology. How Science Can Enlighten Us About Spirituality (2018)
“This book offers the promise that neurotheology can help move us beyond the conflict between science and religion toward the truth or at least to a more unified and universal perspective on the interface between the spirituality and the brain. Neurotheology covers many potential points of contact between science and religion, acknowledges the existence of complexity and the dangers of simple reductionism, and presents clear information on the capabilities and limitations of various forms or neurological assessment.”