I wanted to put this question out there to see how strongly everyone feels on this subject. Being that most of us trust in scientific fact and reasoning, I was wondering if everyone is absolutely, undeniably, 100% sure that a god doesn't exist.  I personally take into account that there is no proof of any cosmic creator so therefore I am about 99.9999% sure that there is no god. However we all agree that science is an ever evolving field and I don't think that there will ever be any proof to support the existence of a supreme being, but I can't be 100% sure until there is concrete proof against one. I would like to know what all of your thoughts on this.  

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I agree with many recent correspondents. In my case my views arise not only from common sense, but also because I recognise that physics has fully come of age. Modern physics seems capable of explaining the deepest mysteries. Therefore I am repeating here part of an earlier post because I was in any case lengthening and redrafting that post for a personal blog to put on 'My Page'. Hence:

100% is my level of positivity that the Universe had no creator god. This is largely because the Universe’s ‘origins’, at their currently-debatable scientific level, lie within the realm of explanation by physics. Although one can never be absolutely sure of anything in matters of this kind, the base position is that no one needs to allow for, or hypothesise, a supernatural creator god because physics has already shown that it can produce credible scientific answers of its own. Instead, we further accept that in coming decades and centuries science will guide us ever nearer to the details of the likely truths about the 'origins' of the Universe.

In commenting on the theme of this discussion Atheist Nexus members have provided an interesting array of rational opinions for which there is great virtue, but I go further than most and follow the fully-scientific, strong-atheist approach which considers more deeply where the laws of physics and quantum mechanics lead us.

To start with, true atheists agree that all the gods named by humans were invented by humans and are 100% fake. Nothing less than 100% will do for these fictions.

Beyond this, as regards the origin of the known Universe, many atheists seem to proffer a degree of caution that leads them to posit something like 99.9999999+++….% positivity instead of 100% just in case there is something ‘divine’ out there behind the workings of the Universe about which we have no knowledge. In that case, we need to ask what could it be? A creator god? Well, I say not. I side with those scientists and others who say we can dispense with any notion that there might have been any kind of creator god as a supernatural entity that set it all going.

Firstly, if there was some kind of creator god, we spiral into the problem of the creator of the creator of the creator and so on to infinity (see older discussion topics in the "Origins" group, like “What happened before the Big Bang”). And if anyone were to say that some sort of creator god could have been there, or was always there, and still might be there (but where is ‘there’?), then one does far better to propound instead that the Universe has always been there. Thus, no creator god needs to be proposed, and in any case scientifically-satisfying explanations arise from within the domain of the theoretical quantum physics of cosmology.

Specifically, for the origin of the Universe I go along with the physics of Professor Vic Stenger's analysis which is based on the virtual quantum properties of an unstable void (see "Origins" group discussions) for which the fundamental physics is above reproach. Using the test bed of quantum mechanics a reasonable theory is that the Universe was instantly self-created, uncaused, from an unstable void or ‘false vacuum’—which is a timeless quantum void—with the property that incipient, virtual particles are everywhere present.

The consequence is that in REAL TIME universes are all there can be. They are eternally present, forever existing, because their absence would imply an unstable state of the void that cannot exist in time. In brief, either "a Universe is present" or its alter ego "the unstable void” is present. However, a quantum void, because of its virtual particles and instability, would immediately get replaced by a Big Bang and new Universe.

Thus, our Universe simply IS . . .
. . . . because at least one universe is always necessarily present.

Therefore, because time cannot exist prior to universes, universes cannot have a first cause. Everything is ongoing. With no first cause, there is no primary origin, no creation. Therefore postulations of the supernatural are superfluous, dispensable, worthless, and non-atheistic. Theism and doubt result from inadequate knowledge and incomplete teaching of science. People’s gods, including creator gods, exist only inside their heads. Instead, godless atheism is the natural condition of the Universe into which all animal life is initiated. On Earth single-cellular life led, by evolution over billions of years, to ourselves, Homo sapiens---thinking humans, who contemplate our origins. And atheism is the answer evaluated by unbiased freethinkers. Indeed, human life innocently proceeds with a sublime atheistic vision of the world until, for so many unfortunate people, cerebral indoctrination into some fiction called ‘faith’ is pressured by arrogant, supernatural believers upon trusting defenceless children and vulnerable, credulous adults.

Although, like the stars, the proposed quantum void is not humanly approachable, its physics is within human understanding, because (as with the stars) it is entrenched in the theory of cosmological inflation [a result of the merging of quantum physics and high-energy particle physics with cosmology and astrophysics] which has abundant empirical evidence supporting it.

What is more, some theoretical physicists, who are working at the frontiers of research in these topics, suggest that our universe may be only one of a possibly infinite set of "evolving" universes—hence the concept of the "Multiverse" or what I have termed the “Infiniverse”.

Thus, as a 100% true atheist, I support the 100% positive statement that “there is no god”. Any critics of the 100% stance expose themselves to a possible charge that a residue of the supernatural lurks within them.

http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/originsuniverselifehumankindandda... (for additional discussion)
many atheists seem to proffer a degree of caution that leads them to posit something like 99.9999999+++….% positivity instead of 100% just in case

I just wonder if these atheists are ready to admit the corollary: "I'm 0.000...001% positive there is a god." I bet not ;-)
Thanks, Doc. Your comment sums it up really well. The gods of the various "holy" texts are just as likely to exist as Superman, because they are equally works of fiction. The probability is precisely zero. And the infinite-regression-of-creators problem alone sprays logical deicide all over the deist proposition. Modern physics provides the confirmation. There can be no such thing as gods or the supernatural. There could be powerful beings we haven't met yet, but they wouldn't be gods. There could be natural phenomena we haven't detected yet, but they wouldn't be supernatural. It's oxymoronic (and irrational) to assert that some things are real, yet undetectable by science.

God is just Santa Claus for adults.
I was with a group of elderly xtians today. They talked of church like it was xmas. I thought of your quote. I smiled.
Wait. Did they get presents? Maybe I was always just going to the wrong church.
I find reaching 100% as an atheist as pretentious as when theists claim they have reached 100% in their spectrum.

From a practical standpoint behaving in this way makes you weak, you no longer need to take the time to figure out why something is wrong, you just know that it is. Your going to be right most of the time but nature is very often counter intuitive and if you just stick with your intuition your going to get hosed.

How can you be scientifically minded and be 100%? If you are starting with the conclusion and just looking for evidence to support that conclusion does that not violate scientific method? This is the exact same trap that theists fall into when attempting to prove their theories and we have to be better than that.
Daniel, from what you are saying you are not a 100% positive atheist.
This means that you lean to some degree (even if it is very slight) towards the non-scientific supernatural as being believable instead of unacceptable---and yet a non-scientific supernatural belief necessarily implies divinity belief in some fashion with respect to some creator god.

On the other hand, I hold, as do writers like Jason Spicer and Jaume above, that the supernatural can be ruled out completely because, although science has not yet all the answers, the explanations look to be attainable using current knowledge and the application of well-tested scientific methods at the highest levels of cosmological science and mathematics.
That is a false dilemma, my argument against being 100% is based on an adherence to the scientific method and epistemology. I accept that not all of the information I use to make decisions is correct; some of the things I think are true are actually false. But, I've already provided a practical argument based on the scientific method so lets talk epistemology...

How do you know what you observe is actually real? What is the true nature of reality? If I had to prove that I was not in a computer simulation I would not be able to and yet there is no reason to think that computer simulations will not become complex enough accurately simulate another universe.

I think it is very possible that in my lifetime computer simulations will become accurate enough that I will be unable to tell the difference between reality and the computer simulation.

So if I started performing science experiments in the wrong reality then I may only be proving how the physics in the computer simulation work.
Actually, there aren't enough electrons (or photons, or quarks, etc) in the universe to completely model the universe in a simulation. Your physical senses might not be up to the task of determining that you are in a computer simulation, but scientific instruments would be. The simulation could never be of sufficient resolution to avoid pixelization up close--you'd always be able to detect the seams. Unless, of course, the entire universe was the computer running the simulation. In which case, the "simulation" would be the universe, and you're back to the deist assertion that god and the universe are equivalent. This is logically refutable as above.

The short story is that all the arguments that allow for something called a god are reducible to the deist proposition, which makes no logical sense. Since it would be impossible to distinguish between the universe and god, why posit the existence of something called a god? It explains nothing, serves no purpose. God in that case is just a synonym, and thus irrelevant.
How do you know the photons and quarks exist when your not looking at them?

Experimentation tells us that photons behave like a wave function when not being observed, this is very similar to how computer simulations behave. Why waste information on something that is not being observed?

You also assume that our universe is quite dense when in reality it appears to be quite empty. The invisible force fields that we can't measure make up most of an atom and my guess is that we will not detect the Higgs Boson and we'll have to come up with something new for the standard model.

Finally, our universe has a pixel too, it is called the planck length.

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't seem likely that we are in a computer simulation but again I can't prove that.
Daniel, it doesn't matter how dense or empty the universe is. In order to simulate something to the last bit, you need at least as many bits as the thing you're trying to simulate. If you have less than that, your simulation cannot be complete, and seams will show up close. Any computer simulation leaves out detail in order to fit the simulation into the computer.

As to your Schrodinger's Cat comment, observations may collapse wave functions you are looking at, but it's quite clear that looking at wave functions is not required to collapse them. This new age observation-makes-reality nonsense is really getting tired. If anybody really believed that, they wouldn't look before crossing the street, because not looking would ensure that there would be no traffic.
First of all, I despise you misconstruing my point for new age "What the $#%$ do we know?" or for following logic similar to the idiot Deepak Chopra. Make no mistake I am aware of this line of thinking and violently reject it. At least your joke about crossing the road does correctly highlight the segregation between macroscopic and quantum behaviors something Deepak wills himself to misunderstand. Unfortunately in doing so, you missed the point.

Second the following is simply a thought exercise I am more than less making up on the fly.

On a quantum scale is there any reason to believe the universe is not a lazy evaluator perhaps with a random number generator? I am unaware of any such observed limitation; information at this level may indeed be generated by observing it. I don't mean observing in a conscious sense like you or I look at it; I mean in in a sense that if a quantum element acts upon or is acted upon by the quantum element only then is the state evaluated by the universe.

Perhaps this is too generic as everything is being acted upon by thermodynamics, moving on...

I don't wish to digress back into the macroscopic vs quantum scale issue with this example so please be aware. This example is only being used to describe how infinite amounts of information may be reproduced in a compressed form.

If I throw a ball strait up in the air, would I have to give the simulation each coordinate to describe the path of the ball ahead of time or can I provide a compact set of initial conditions and a law to allow the simulation to calculate that information as it is needed?

In this sense every bit of information does not need to be maintained as it can be predicted and it contains initial conditions. A possible beauty with simulating the universe is that quantum behavior does not seem to necessitate an initial condition, so only macroscopic information would need to be stored.

You completely ignored that our universe does have a planck length. Why do you repeat nonsense about seams as if our universe were infinitely granular?


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