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.  

Views: 13592

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

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?
Daniel, I'm not sure why you would despise me for misconstruing you. It is the duty of the writer to be clear. It's hardly my fault that you sounded like Chopra.

It's true that a simulation can use equations to reduce storage requirements, and that the Planck length limits the granularity of the universe. The Planck length just means that there is a limit to how many bits of storage are required. And all equations do is allow predictions of future positions. At any moment, the position needs to be calculable, which requires resources. So you can either store a location or you can store an equation. Either way, you are limited by the resources available in the universe.

I'll assume for the sake of argument that you misspoke when you said "infinite amounts of information may be reproduced in a compressed form". If this were true, I could carry the entire internet on a thumb drive. Any information compression scheme leaves things out. Lossless compression is only possible for information that repeats or is calculable in a predictable way according to a formula or formulas. For a complete snapshot of the universe, you have to have as many elements as the universe. Anything less is missing information. And we would notice that missing information well before we got down to the Planck length. Why? Because when we look at things mid-flight, we see that they are there. Unless there is some intelligence actively putting things right where we (or an inanimate object interacting with them) expect them to be at just the right moment. But of course, in order to do that, the intelligence would need an exact replica of the universe to use as a predictive model.

Now, if you're just saying that our universe is itself a simulation that we inhabit, hosted somehow outside of our space-time in a larger universe with a smaller Planck length (or its equivalent), then sure, we could be living in a simulation. But the simulation would be precisely as big as our universe. It would be our universe. And there would be no way for us to detect the host. So it's a pointless speculation. The conclusion still has to be that there is no god and no supernatural anything in our universe. If there's something like that "outside" our universe, it's undetectable and irrelevant.

Still, I'll let Richard Feynman have the last word. See his comments at the end of the Wikipedia criticisms on this theory.
Oh, and note that if our universe is but a simulation in some broader universe, then any concept of god still suffers from the problem of infinite regress.

And to be fair, Daniel, it's probably Chopra's fault that you sounded like Chopra, since he's made a career out of blurring the lines between physics and mysticism.

In any case, it strikes me that the notion that we are in a simulation is simply a weaker form of the Ontological Argument. The Ontological Argument basically boils down to "if it can be imagined, it must exist". The idea that we should never dismiss any imagined thing out of hand would seem to boil down to "if it can be imagined, it could exist". I don't see any reason why the simple act of imagining anything should alter (or increase) its probability of existence. Zero plus "what if?" is still zero. Zero plus evidence is worth looking into.

With all due respect, scientists do not say they only believe in evolution with 99.999% certainty - they stand behind it 100%, though allowing for a willingness to change their position in the face of contrary or new evidence. The idea is still falsafiable.

The very idea for even the possibility of a god, is based on absolutely no evidence - it's just that, an idea.

It is an unfortunate situation, that - possibly due to a combination of advance technology and science fiction speculation - many people are unable to tell reality from things of the imagination. That is what real science, and the scientific method is all about. And so far, the absolute lack of any discernable, detectable, of measurable evidence for the proposed existence of any god, is exactly zero.

Therefore, along with pink unicorns and any other invention of the mind, science is unable to ascribe even the barest possibility for their existence.

The truth is, it goes to point out the underlying desire we have, for the things we feel only a 'god' could possibly supply - such as providing final judgement over the affairs of mankind.

The very human need for ultimate judgement and justice in our lives, is probably one of the hardest things we have to give up. It means that, yes, we are our brother's keeper - as well as this planet's keeper, and no one is going to be there to kiss it better, 'on the other side.'
D R Hosie,

You are so far off base, I am a little perplexed on what to address in your post.

I'm not arguing nor have I ever argued that any god exists. I am arguing that people are fallible and thus should more or less as a rule take everything they think they know as 100% fact and subtract at least 0.0...01% in the name of healthy skepticism.

I hate to pull an appeal to authority but since you brought up evolution it may be worth mentioning that even Richard Dawkins considers himself only ~97% sure no god exists.
Should we be 100% sure that we should never be 100% sure? This would seem to be a logically self-refuting position.
I almost agree 100% (but with reservations.)
I purposely avoided terms like everything/100%, but lets not parse semantics it detracts from the topic.

The reply link does not exist on your post above so I'll reply here and cut to the chase.

My problem is mostly with structure of the question. If the question was binary then I would have no qualms answering that no god exists.

However, by making this a percentage it changes the nature of what is represented by the answer.

In my mind answering 100% also means that the answer is more important than the question, I can explain everything from origin to now and that I am unable to care what dissenting viewpoints have to say on the topic because it is not possible for me to be incorrect.

The answer is not as important as the question from a philosophical/scientific standpoint.

I can explain a surprisingly large portion of the history of the universe and the biology of life but I am far from holding a complete picture.

It is unlikely but not impossible that I am incorrect and I learn a lot from dissenting viewpoints, even ones I consider wrong.
Ning (the platform that A|N runs on) only indents replies about five levels, so that's why the reply link is unavailable on deeply indented comments. I usually just reply to the closest one above that does have a reply link, which sorts my reply to the end of the no-reply comments, if that makes sense.

Daniel, I actually think the question is unimportant, so the answer is irrelevant. The only reason anybody asks this question is because a bunch of people deluded themselves into thinking there's such a thing as a god in the first place. More than unimportant, I think the question of whether there is a god is meaningless. It's like asking whether there's any number of things I just dreamed up off the top of my head. What's the point? And since nobody has a definition of god that holds water, the question is doubly meaningless.

I'm perfectly happy to listen to dissenting viewpoints as well, but I find it tiresome to listen to people who want me to entertain the "possibility" that their imaginary being is real. Wishing doesn't make it so. Wishing doesn't even create a miniscule probability that it is so.
Thanks for the forum tip.

This question is important because debating the existence of god is not a debate one should expect to conclusively win or lose (especially with a zealot) but an exercise in logic. I like to argue and get better at identifying bullshit; religion is in many ways the pinnacle of bullshit.

This question seems to to be a derivation of "How did we get here?" and that is an extremely important question. The two feed off each other and encourage me to become more knowledgeable about both.

If you have ever watched The Four Horsemen Hitchens is spot on at the end of the conversation. In many ways it would be a sad thing to see religion completely die.

The link you provided with the quote from Feynman was great, I really respect him and found his final words in the quote fitting: "...it is not good to be prejudiced about these things".
It wouldn't bother me in the slightest if religion simply disappeared. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
To what end? Religion is enigmatic of the human condition. Would it not just be replaced by another force?

It has evolved separately in nearly every culture around the world.

For some reason religion was selected to remain a part of our culture. Did it stay around for utilitarian reasons? Was it a power grab by the ambitious? How about comfort from the unknown?

It has many issues but I fear that unless we identify all the reasons it continues to exist and an adequately replace them, then religion will never go away.

If we just act as destroyers we will have accomplished nothing.


© 2015   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service