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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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You did not shit a unicorn. Constipation or anal fissures or hemorrhoids don't count as unicorns. Doubt that 2+2=4 is not healthy. I care not, nor do I think it germaine, that fundies are certain of their faith, which is retarded. Many many people believe in god and not evolution, despite their "education", which in the matters of reason and logic, is quite deficient. The point is that if you are only 99.999999999% sure, that means you think that the possibility of the impossible can happen is greater than 0, which in effect means that you think anything is actually possible, which is about as smart as creation 6000 years ago. The statement that anything is possible is false.

"Doubt is healthy" is the first principle of atheism and of science. It can not be used to have a second doubt on your first one!

MADHUKAR KULKARNI.

Atheism has principles? I always thought atheism had nothing to offer the world, and I still think this way. And I will probably continue to think this way.

 

And the first principles of science have to do with observations. After that, it's all about proving what you think about your observations.

 

"Doubt is healthy". That sounds more of a sceptics philosophy.

 

 

Leveni, I am surprised and disappointed to read you question if atheists have principles, yet that is the first question I get from believers.  I am an honest person, reliable, dependable, responsible, generous, compassionate, loving and I could go on listing a whole bunch of other attributes but the issue is that I am a human being with the ability to think, reason, observe, compare and contrast.  I live pro-socially because it is inside me.  I would no more cheat you than spit on you.  My decency does not come from some external power but from my internal care and love and compassion.  

Atheists have nothing to offer the world?  Well, I was a teacher and a very good one.  I am a mother and do a very good job.  I was a wife and managed very well even as my husband broke the bones of our children, bruised and battered them.  Seeking help from my ministers, church members and church leaders, I was given what I call the "Passive Gospel":  yield, pray, obey, submit, do not rile him, love him to the lord, sacrifice myself daily in imitation of the crucified christ and rejoice in my crucifixion.  Not very healthy advice coming from my religious family and community.  

Do all religious people commit domestic violence?  No!  Do any atheists commit domestic violence?  Yes!  Religious and non-religious commit physical, emotional, and spiritual assaults on people who love them.  Is that the test? 

When I observe a child being mistreated in the grocery store is it loving and compassionate to turn away and do nothing?  

When I observe a woman with bruises on her face and body is it loving and compassionate to not recognize the signs?

When I observe a man being brow-beaten by his wife and I obligated to remain silent?  

From where does your motivation for pro-social living come?  

 

 

Where have I written atheists don't have principles?

 

Where have I written atheists have nothing to offer the world?

 

Excuse me, Leveni!  You wrote, 

"Atheism has principles? I always thought atheism had nothing to offer the world, and I still think this way. And I will probably continue to think this way."

Hi Joan,

How are things?

 

Yep, "Atheism has principles? I always thought atheism had nothing to offer the world, and I still think this way. And I will probably continue to think this way." is what I said.

 

But

I never said:'atheists don't have principles?'

and

I never said:'atheists have nothing to offer the world??'

 

Atheism is the absence of a belief in God. But as far as principles go, atheism has nothing to offer. But if you think atheism does have principles please share them with me and explain how it is that the principles in your explanation are a part of atheism.

 

Leveni, if atheism consists of the single principle that gods do not exist, it still offers a tremendous boon to society. This single realization frees the mind from generations of useless strictures which have drastically hamstrung society. The Christian Dark Ages (roughly 1,000 CE to 1,500 CE) and Muslim Dark Ages (roughly 1,500 CE to now) can be blamed entirely on the mind-numbing effects of belief in the supernatural. Sure, this intersected with cultural and political effects, but the basic idea is that God is all we need concern ourselves with. This is a powerfully harmful meme. If eroding this meme is all that atheism offers, then that is one of the most important principles in history, and not something to overlook, as you appear to have done.

 

Further, as a principle, the absence of god-belief leads almost directly to other important principles, such as the practical, socially-driven nature of morality, the importance of living well in this life, rather than postponing one's happiness to an afterlife paradise which isn't there, the elimination of the fear of a hell which isn't there, and the embrace of actual reality and personal responsibility, since there isn't anything else to be concerned with.

 

You are seriously shortchanging atheism if you think it has nothing to offer, and it's a little weird that you'd bother hanging out on an atheist website if you truly believe that.

You say theism does not have principles and has nothing to offer the world.  

Most people are not honest, dependable, loyal, responsible, and compassionate because of a deity, they think and act with these attributes out of enlightened self-interest and an innate sense of morals and ethics.  They learn very young about getting what they need by getting along with others and working with others.  

Some who do not believe god exists giver time, attention, care and money generously to others because they care and have compassion. 

Children learn by observing parents and others; their values grow as they develop into adulthood and they pass social skills on to their next generation.  Parents, siblings, family, friends, teachers and community live according to values of the community and teach by doing and by shaping behaviors. No god is necessary.  

In some families the godly men beat their wives and children in the name of god. Enlightened parents realize there are other ways to raise healthy children.  They do not believe in "spare the rod and spoil the child".  

Atheists don't rob or rape or murder or embezzle because they do not believe god exists; they commit crimes for similar reasons as people who believe god does exist.  

Great minds and talents exist in those who believe there is no god.  I won't bore you with the long list of outstanding people who do not believe god exists ... you can look them up yourself.

 

Atheism is a single belief, that there is no god. It is not a system of thought. It has one principle, no more. Rampant, unfettered doubt has no place in reason or science. If a concept does not contextually integrate into a knowledge base without contradiction, then doubt is appropriate, otherwise it is not. If you think that invisible pink unicorns can possibly exist, then you might as well be a theist. Skepticism cannot be used as a fundamental principle, for having certainty that certainty is impossible is blatantly contradictory and invalid.

Proof does not apply to the impossible. I do not need to prove that I am not in Miami, when I know I am in Toledo. There is zero evidence suggesting that the Earth is flat and an abundance that it is round. Even the apparent flatness to our eyes is just as consistent with a large round world as a flat one. You most certainly have seen Earth from space. Do you know how cameras work? So, you are saying that you simultaneously doubt and do not doubt the shape of the Earth.

Unless I misunderstand, I think this is quite simple isn't it?
1. The impossible cannot become possible by the very nature of the word. Though you can make the following statement: "something that was once considered impossible is now proven to be possible". And magic cannot happen. There's no such thing as magic, only science that we don't yet understand (Arthus C Clarke, I believe).

2. Yes, we all agree the earth is not flat. This is because of the overwhelming evidence to support an alternative conception of the earth (ie, that it is spherical-ish)

3. In science we have to accept that laws/scientific facts are merely statements of probability. That the world is spherical has an exceptionally high probability and to believe the opposite would be to deny the overwhelming evidence. (But let's not also forget that Einstein has proven that manifestations in the universe are only time/space relative)

4. As an atheist and rationlist, in terms of living your everyday life, you have to live with the assumption that high probabilty events and phenomena are consistent (even though at the quantum level things start to get very strange indeed and may contravene 'common sense'. To bring up Einstein again, was it not he who said that travelling faster than light speed was impossible, yet what has been suggested by recent experiments with particles seemingly travelling faster than light?)

Doubt is not a fixed state; it is on a sliding scale that is relative to the chance of (im)probability on a case by case basis.

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