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.
David, well stated. I have trouble with declarative statements: always, never, right, wrong, good, bad, and as you correctly report, Einstein reported that traveling faster than light speed was impossible. The old P3 rule: Probability, Possibility, Preferability stands.
MCT, if you are in Toledo and I do not know you are there, then what is the probability you are there? Not knowing puts me into the P3 realm; or perhaps if you are in Toledo and I don't care, then what is the point? If there is no god/s then what is the point of looking?
I know there is no god. I know the probability of god/s is almost 0; The possibility is almost 0; the preferability is 0, based on evidence not found. Since there is no evidence found there is no need for me to prove there is no god/s. The proof resides with those who claim there is/are god/s.
Now we get into quantum physics. OH GREAT! A whole new realm to explore, examine, experience. How could life get any better!
There is no point in looking for gods. They are impossible. The probability is not near zero, it is 0. I can know this with certainty, because I understand the law of identity, which precludes the concept of god and is necessary for cognition and the rest of reality to be. I have sufficient proof to know there is no god. I do not need testing. In a similar way, if I know I am in Toledo I can know I am not in Miami.
I thought that is what I said, I am not looking for god/s. As I go about my business knowing there is no god and I do not care if there is no god because life without god is better than life with god.
If that acrimonious, bitter, brutish, bullying, caustic, compassionless, cruel, deceptive, exploitive,
ferocious, fickle, inconsistent, lying, loveless, manipulative, merciless, murdering, ruthless, savage,
scornful, selfish, thuggish, vengeful, man shows up, my wrath against him will finally have an opportunity to be released.
For some reason the genie in the computer won't let me manage my sentence sructure. Sorry, There is no god but there is a genie in the computer.
Please give me an exact statement/equation using the law of identity that supports your theory.
I'm just interested in how you express it.
In it's simplest form, it can expressed as A=A. Things are themselves. They are not other things. In order for something to be, it must have identity. It must be something and not others, lest we could not perceive it, for there would be no difference in the environment to perceive. And things do only what is in their nature to do, based on their structure and momentum. Our entire reality as well as our ability to make sense of it is inextricably linked to and dependent on the law of identity and the corollary law of causality. Balls roll, books slide, when pushed. Leaves cannot burn and freeze at the same time or be all green and all red simultaneously. Contradictions do not manifest. Nothing would make sense or even be, were this not the case.
If something, commonly god, is said to be, without having a valid, causal noncontradictory identity, then it is false. Every time someone invokes the concept of god, it is an invalid contradictory being without the necessary causal identity to exist. One can attempt to evade this and suggest that god could be something we don't know about yet or cannot understand or different for everybody, but this again lacks the necessary identity to exist. If something were to demonstrate its existence, then it would become subject to study. We would perceive its identity through the way in which it affects the causal chain. If it does not affect the causal chain, with some identity, then it does not exist and if it does, it is not god. God is an identity-less being and by definition nonexistent.
Hm. I think it is perhaps more complicated that you're making out.
How does the law of identity deal with quantum physics, which states that, to use 'Schrodinger's cat', something can 'be' and 'not be' at the exactly same time until such a time that it is observed?
QM is very useful for measuring the very small and the very exact, as we approach the limit of our perception. Things however, entities, do not pop in and out of existence, they are not two things suspended in some realm of probabilities. A cat cannot be both alive and dead. Measurements may appear random when at the limit of our perception, but entities with concrete identity that can be perceived without contradiction and their link to causality, are never random, they are dependent on the interactions with the environment. The process of hypothesis and verification we call science is dependent on the process of proof, the reduction of a concept to perceptual evidence with reason which depends on the law of identity/noncontradiction and causal law. The ability to acquire knowledge about something truly random is impossible. Also, the idea that something can be and not be simultaneously is nonsense. We simply do not have the ability to predict the decay of a subatomic particle with certainty. It is a most ridiculous extension to get to a cat being both alive and dead.
I know you touched on it, but couldn't one argue that there could be non-contradictory gods that may exist and do not contravene the laws of logic, god or gods that we're not aware of yet?
Doesn't the law of identity only disprove a certain definition of god, for example, that he was causeless? Doesn't it depend entirely on the exact expression that you're setting out to test?
Of course, if we don't know about the 'yet to be defined' gods; they're just a non-quantifiable hypotheses and therefore not worth the investigation or logical assessment, anymore than unicorns are.
All this said, even Dawkins claims that on a 1-7 scale that he's only a 6 in terms of atheism.
I still think that the only reasonable way to approach this is to assume that there is no god, in terms of the god we're aware of, ie a creator god of the monotheistic religions. If anything new arises in the future that can be tested we have to assume there is no god in terms of probability.
Furthermore, what I'm saying is, should atheism, like Buddhism, even care about the answer to the question of whether or not there's a god, when the question itself is entirely irrelevant and has no inherent value?
ie, another such question might be: "Is it possible to observe the unobservable?"
I think atheism should not be thought of as a philosophy, but a singular belief, that there are no gods. True, it often stems from a recognition of the nature of reality, but not always. Buddhism is a religion, a primitive philosophy, that claims contradictory knowledge from metaphor.
If it is not supernatural, if it did not create everything, if it isn't everywhere or all powerful or acausal then what is it? Then why invoke the concept of god? Attempting to come up with a real god hypothetically is to attempt to deny the very invalid identity that the concept portrays. It is not possible to make a reasonable argument for an undefined nonspecific identity-less being. As I wrote previously, this attempt is fruitless. If something abides by the rules of reality and existence, it is not a god, but something real. We do not need to assume that no gods can exist, when we can know that they are not possible. And it is not a matter of probability, it is a metaphysical and epistemological certainty. Rocks cannot play jazz. QM does not show that somewhere is some probable universe, there is a rock speaking Chinese. We can know for sure these things are not happening and cannot happen and we can know for sure that god cannot exist.
The question shouldn't be "Is it possible to observe the unobservable?", that's easy, of course not, if it were observed, it wouldn't be unobservable. The question should be, do you recognize the nature of reality honestly or not?