Drake and MCT,
MCT, I never bought the cogito ergo sum thing and I think you are skirting the issue. Sensing something comes first; it is the same problem using yourself to prove yourself.
I suspect that you are correct that even the quantum world is causal but how can we be certain? You attribute the apparent uncertainty to the absence of clarity at the limits of our perception. But that is just a guess, no?
No, I think it is pretty much a fact that we cannot classically measure both the position and momentum of very small things. It is apparent to me that this is the nature of reality, proven by science and consistent with reason. We can be certain that anything that acts or exists obeys causal law because if it didn't we could not assign essential characteristics to things in nature to form concepts, understand our world and communicate about it. Language itself, wouldn't merely break down, it would never have been.
Sensing something, at first appears to come first, sure. But upon further analytical contemplation, sensing something implies the existence of a thing with identity to sense. There is no alteration of matter and energy between an existent's identity and our perception of it. We perceive directly. The photons from an apple have no choice, but to do what they do. All perception is of something. That's what perception is. You cannot have a thought, without first there being a world to think about. A world in which existence starts from consciousness does not make valid sense. It's all right here, I did not skip over it: The first bit of awareness is not that you are thinking. It is of something. Something in reality. You sense first, then you think. It takes a multitude of sensations before you can have thought, or the manipulation and integration of concepts. As such, the very first statement, if you will, or thought you can make or the base of all cognition, epistemology and therefore philosophy is not 'I think therefore I am', but 'there is something I am aware of'. This entails an existent with identity and a consciousness to be aware of it. Existence comes before consciousness. There is one reality and we perceive it. Our view is subjective, but the world itself is not.
Does the earth go around the sun? Does water flow downhill? Does god exist?
I can see the sun moving, but not the earth; I know earth moves in relation to sun, sun moves in relation to Milky Way, Milky Way moves in relation to the entire universe. If new evidence emerges, I am able and willing to perceive differently; what is the probability new evidence will appear to change my mind? Virtually 0.
I observe water moving down hill; I know gravity pulls liquid to seek lowest ground. If new evidence emerges, I am able and willing to change my mind; what is the probability that will happen? Virtually 0.
I can observe the elements of air (actually, the movement of objects or over my skin caused by moving air), fire, water, and soils, I can observe diversity in flora, fauna, stars, constellations, and the laws of gravity, electromagnetism, and to which all my senses respond. There is no need for god to explain all this. There are some things that I cannot understand or that others cannot explain; new evidence will need to occur for me to be able to understand. Some people view these unknown aspects to be explained by god, "the god of the gaps"; I do not need such explanation. If new evidence emerges that reveals god, I am able and willing to change my thinking. What is the probability of god being revealed? Virtually 0.
I am an atheist, that no god exists.
You are making this way too difficult. . .just try praying. . .if that doesn't convince you there is no god nothing will. If god exists why do we even question it? We should have no doubt. An all knowing, all loving, all powerful god should be able to demonstrate his existence without doubt. If he can't be bothered, then why should we bother to believe in him?
I don't often debate theists.
If you would read what I write you would not say that I am working from a Christian presupposition. Any god, of any quality that is god-like, not just the Trinity, and not just appears so, but is, is incompatible with existence.
Name a god and we'll see if I can show you how that being, in the way they are a god, is necessarily false because it is impossible, because A=A. I'll go with the way they were not a god, but thought to be so, but we are not arguing whether or not people think other beings were gods, the question is could they be and the answer is no.
I'm not 100% sure of anything, other than the logical absolutes (A=A, A != !A)
Reminds me of, 'What have the Romans ever done for us.'
Aaron concludes: "But it seems silly to take it from there and assert a belief in the lack of a thing, whether it's a god or a fairy."
On this reckoning, as soon as I posit the existence of something fictional that I have just thought up (like little red-faced six-legged space warriors landing a flying spaghetti-plate UFO craft from the planet Kolob on some deserted spot on Earth) you will still say that nobody can "assert a belief in the lack" of this possibility---nor even if instead "it's a god or a fairy" [which are only further inventions of the human mind].
By contrast, I am saying that when a concept has been invented inside the brain of man or woman, then that is the start and end of it. It is fiction.
So I'll repeat what I wrote elsewhere a few hours ago:
"Someone, somewhere, in the Palaeolithic prehistory of homo sapiens was the first to invent the baloney idea that purporting there was a god could explain a lot of things that were not otherwise understood.
Billions of people have accepted this baloney ever since. This does not make the baloney god any more believable than formerly---in fact no more believable than the many other fictional story inventions like pink unicorns and Bertrand Russell's solar orbiting china teapot between Earth and Mars.
That is why I cannot accept the baloney god idea, even to the level of 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% "So I agree with Michael Jensen, Joan Denoo and others earlier in this long thread that I hold to the view that 100% is effectively the most satisfactory answer, on current knowledge, to the question of the original post.