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?
MCT: "A=A. Things are themselves. They are not other things."
JD: Things are self-replicating making A=A but sometimes A evolves. A finch changes beak form and shape as food supplies change. Climate changes over time as other forces change. An idea changes as new evidence emerges, i.e flat Earth to round Earth, ethers cause disease to germs and bacteria cause them, black is bad to black is just a color, some races are inferior to races are different, man has dominion over wife to husband and wife are teams, man has dominion over all that swims, crawls and flies to homo sapiens is a part of the web of life.
MCT: "In order for something to be, it must have identity."
JD: Does a dog exist if it doesn't have a name? Does a thought exist if it is not spoken?
MCT: "It must be something and not others, lest we could not perceive it, for there would be no difference in the environment to perceive."
JD: Is up always up? Is water a life giver or life taker? Does the sun move around Earth or the other way around? Is a piece of wood solid or consist of molecules with vast amounts of space?
JD: MCT: "things do only what is in their nature to do, based on their structure and momentum."
Bees gather nectar with the intention of meeting its need but has the unintended consequences of pollinating flora. Human beings have a natural sense of wonder and mystery about their environment and experiences but produce the unintended consequences of defining meaning and purpose and imposing those beliefs on those who do not perceive a deity as cause of effects. Humans gather to form social structures to bring order to a culture, however, pay a price of losing diversity and creating hierarchical social structures that benefit some and harm others.
MCT: "Our entire reality as well as our ability to make sense of it isinextricably linked to and dependent on the law of identity and the corollary law of causality."
JD: Laws of identity may be in error. Laws defined slave owner and slave.
Laws of causality may be in error. Doctors prescribe one Rx only to create another problem.
MCT: "Balls roll, books slide, when pushed. Leaves cannot burn and freeze at the same time or be all green and all red simultaneously.
JD: Balls also sit at rest; books also resist force; leaves freeze and burn in a winter forest fire; leaves turn from green to red in stages.
MCT: "Contradictions do not manifest. Nothing would make sense or even be, were this not the case.
JD: Contradiction is all around us and appear as chaos. With closer examination, chaos may also be cosmos. Some would say natural events are chaotic, unpredictable and uncontrollable. There is very clear order to the movement of the Earth and sun and stars; weather, though apparently chaotic actually has some order to it. The winter temperature of the Pacific Ocean influences world wide weather patterns. According to chaos theory, the butterfly effect occurs in a nonlinear system when an initial small change in one place can result in huge changes in another place.
MCT: "If something, commonly god, is said to be without having a valid, causal noncontradictory identity, then it is false."
JD: I question if all scientists approach any and all situations with attitudes of one kind or another and if they can think of an experiment that will "prove" one or the other? I think even the most well trained scientist eschews certainty.
MCT: "Every time someone invokes the concept of god, it is an invalid contradictory being without the necessary causal identity to exist."
JD: Sit in any surgery waiting room as experts perform complex surgical procedures and listen to the waiting family members calling on "god". Watch their faces when the surgeon returns with good news. "Thank God!" is the most common phrase heard, not appreciation of the skills of experts, not the care of support staff, not the janitor who cleans the surgery afterwords. Are you going to go into that room and tell those loved ones that their god is a myth? a fairy tale? That their feelings and gratitude are invalid? Surely they are in error! So?
MCT: "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."
JD: Yes, you and I know god does not exist. You and I know, I think, that government has no place in health care services and decisions available for women and children. Tell that to the anti-abortion group. You and I know, I hope, that our financial theories are wrong and capitalism causes the gaps between rich and poor. Tell that to the politicians and bankers and financial industry. You and I know, I assume, that fracking puts water sources at risk. Tell that to Halliburton and the rest of that gang.
MCT: "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."
JD: You and I agree that there is no evidence of the existence of god. Studies by both believers and non-believers preach/teach to the chorus. No amount of talking, reasoning, explaining, ridiculing, or challenging them to think critically changes believers into non-believers.
Pick any religious group, follow changing trends in religiosity, and observe which are growing, how many are changing, and how many are declining. Well, the numbers are all over the place and so many do not agree, even the reputable statisticians disagree. It is necessary to be aware of argumentum ad populum fallacy. However, "None's seem to be growing very fast. Mega-churches consolidate smaller churches and focus on religion as justification for "success" and are growing. Mormonism appears to grow during times of turmoil and slows during times of relative calm.
MCT: "God is an identity-less being and by definition nonexistent."
JD: You may be interested in watching:
The law of identity does not preclude change. Change implies a transition from one thing with identity to another.
A dog exists even without a name. Names and definitions are different than identity. They are simply the phonemes humans attach to concepts in order to contemplate them or communicate the concept to someone else. If a dog exists, it has identity, even if it doesn't have a name or an owner or a friend.
You keep changing the focus with a metaphor or an arbitrary thought. Yes balls sit when still, so what? I can know by their structure what will happen when they roll and I can know that they will roll if I know it is a ball. Everything that has mass has momentum, so what? Books and balls react differently to the same force, that's my point, not some inconsistency of inertia. People's understanding of concepts may change, but the law of identity does not, nor could it be wrong, when it is what we use in order to compare something to reality to see if it is accurate. If you had a question about the validity of something, you would use reason and logic to compare it to what we see in reality and our tests. This process depends on noncontradiction and causality, which depend on the law of identity. It cannot be wrong, it is fundamental to the process of verification.
Contradiction does not manifest and you cannot name a single clear case of contradiction. Saying that chaos is all around us isn't enough. Nothing is random. Every single thing that exists does so because of what came before. Chaos is not random, just complex and unbound. And the butterfly effect is not an example of contradiction, but of causality.
Water doesn't give or take, it is inert. People use it for nourishment. It is always H2O, if it is water and up is always up, if it is up. You are attempting to blur the lines of identity. But, if identity wasn't valid, then nothing could be recognized, talked about or stored as information. Identity as invalid would preclude existence itself. For existence and identity go 'hand in hand', if you like metaphor, which you clearly do, or are inextricably linked and interdependent, if you will understand concrete language.
You are not understanding the concept of identity. A leaf cannot be both green and red at the same time. This in no way suggests that the same leaf does not change over time, necessitated by causal law and the change of the seasons, which is a direct result of the tilt of the Earth and its position relative to the sun, all consistent with identity. A thing's identity is simply that part of it that interacts with the causal chain or that part of a thing that makes it a thing. It is impossible for a leaf to reflect only green light and only red light. This does not mean that something arbitrary like a deer then eating that leaf cannot take place. Only that a thing is itself, nothing else.
A doctor prescribing a medication and the patient enduring a side-effect is not an argument against identity, but for it. The nature and structure of Augmentin as a broad spectrum antibiotic that kills gram positive, gram negative and anaerobic bacteria is also such that it causes diarrhea. All consistent with the law of causality and identity. And when I tell my patients that their loved one is dead, I let them grieve in their own way, but when asked where they are or what some spirit may be or anything else mystical, I do, in fact, tell them they are mistaken, if pushed, but at a minimum, that I use only reason and logic to make knowledge about reality, which I think is all there is.
Formal religion is just plain stupid and not worth talking about how stupid they are, I think, but yes terribly influential in today's political climate. And we most certainly do not agree on capitalism. The very process of free trade is what makes the economy exist and function. Government intervention only stifles this. I am not suggesting that people be able to coerce other people or steal from them, but just the opposite, no person or group of persons should be able to use the government as assistance in taking other people's stuff, no matter what the cause. Wealth redistribution (theft), imperialism, special interest groups, mob rule, sacrifice of production for need are all bad ideas. I am for a government of non-aggression. People's pain and need does not justify theft and oppression. Government cannot remove the need for one to achieve their own happiness. And this includes corporations or rich people too that gain the influence of government, but penalizing the rich and producers for being rich and producing is immoral. A wage is a wage, not exploitation. Forcing or tricking someone to work without adequate pay is one thing, but paying someone for a job they agree to is fair, regardless of the differences between them. Equality is impossible and not a valid goal, unless concerned with everyone's equal right to be left alone by the government, until such a time that they directly use force against another. Your Marxian class warfare does not sway me from reason. Don't even bother trying to sway me with, "What about the starving and less fortunate?", I see them every day walk into the ER smiling, laughing and texting, claiming unemployment and disability, while they have jewelry of all kinds, tattoos, piercings, cigarettes, IPhones, talking about how they have a right to my money. Joblessness? Bullshit. The spoiled welfare entitled are too good to shovel shit, but not good enough to make it on their own. When did Walmart and McDonalds stop hiring? Just because one used to be a mechanic working at 22 dollars and hour got laid off does not mean I owe him or her my life. For the truly unfortunate, I have sympathy, and might even help, as I'm sure their loved ones might, if they could and wanted to, if the person is deserving of help, but I do not wished to be forced, by threat of incarceration to give money to corrupt politicians who piss it away on nonfunctional programs after the bribes and kickbacks, which come with big gevernment.
Skeptics argument always comes down to them saying that you just cannot be certain, like your 'I think even the most well trained scientist eschews certainty.' comment. Only the scientists with rampant inappropriate epistemological foundations eschew certainty in all its forms. The entire scientific method depends on noncontradiction and causality, for how exactly is one to prove something without these more fundamental than science principles? Being certain that certainty is impossible is just down right and blatantly contradictory and invalid at the very outset. Healthy doubt in the absence of evidence or in the presence of contradictory evidence is good. But doubting that 2+2=4 is foolish.
Why bother with proof? If you have a 100% certainty that there are no god(s), then even the most amazing evidence wouldn't change your mind.
I am 100% sure in my non-belief of God. He does not exist, never has, never will. And even if he comes to meet me tomorrow I will still not believe he is God.
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?
Yes, I think that's one of the problems. What is a god specifically? And why use that term?
When we talk about a god everyone needs to be on the same page about what the term means.
Ask ten people and you'll probably get almost as many answers.
I agree that the monotheist position is fundamentally flawed, indeed flat-out wrong. But Dawkins (and others - Hawking?) has also talked about the probability of superior intelligences in the universe that, to all intents and purposes, might be perceived by lesser life forms (such as ourselves) as 'gods'. But then why use the term 'god' because, back to Arthur C Clarke 'magic is only science that we don't yet understand'?
Would you agree that there may be superior lifeforms that may be perceived as 'gods' by us, but in fact are just new areas of as yet undiscovered science?
I really don't want get into an 'aliens thing' here at all. I'm just after the principle.
"The question should be, do you recognize the nature of reality honestly or not?"
Of course, you'd a) need to know how to observe and know that you were observing correctly b) have the ability to recognise the subject c) know what reality was and the nature of it etc etc
Sorry I'm not keeping up - I don't know much about some of these theories - they're new to me.
I agree that Buddhism doesn't always recognise the nature of reality correctly. Luckily, it is easy to reject those aspects without affecting the core of Buddhism (for example, you don't have to believe in reincarnation or karma to be a Buddhist - in my experience most don't)
It is not only the monotheistic god of Abraham that is impossible, but any and all gods, supernaturality, metaphor as existent, spirits, souls, miracles, angels, and all nondefinable, magical, mystical, contradictory notions. If it is not some derivation of these or similar ideas, then wtf are you talking about, 'god'? Yeah, sure, I will concede that I cannot know that some idea you have in your head, without knowing a single claimed piece of identity of it's nature, does not exist. I do not know that there are not 14 dogs sitting quietly outside my front door right now, but I do know that Superman is not hovering above my roof eating a golden banana right now. As soon as one attempts to ascribe identity to god, they have failed, for sure.
Ask 100 billion people about god and you'll get 100 billion different invalid accounts of reality. If you invoke god, you are talking about the nonexistent. It is not only the monotheistic god of Abraham that is impossible, but any and all gods, supernaturality, metaphor as existent, spirits, miracles, angels, and all nondefinable, magical, mystical, contradictory notions. An advanced alien species is certainly not irrational. I'm not saying that things cannot appear magical or random. I am saying that they cannot possibly be magical or random. Aaron R's argument, which seems to stem from, 'but what if it's something else?', just doesn't cut it. Holding on to the possibility of god for skepticism's sake.
We do not need to learn how to observe, our senses do that for us. Our brains objectify our subjective perceptions into concepts through logic, the art of noncontradictory identification and reason, the only path to knowledge. Adhering to rationality honestly results in certainty that the supernatural or anything at all representing what humans have referred to as god or mysticism (the idea that we can gain knowledge through additional means other than our ability to reason from our perceptions) is false. We all grasp the concept of identity and causality implicitly, the vast majority of humans however become brainwashed early and deny or cannot articulate their implicit philosophies explicitly. The same people that believe in god and those that keep a special little place in their brain open to the impossible both use the law of noncontradiction and causality to survive, daily.
"The same people that believe in god and those that keep a special little place in their brain open to the impossible both use the law of noncontradiction and causality to survive, daily."
I think the point is not that some people (incl atheists) keep a little part of their brain open to the impossible, but that they keep their brain open to the possible that we do not yet know about and not to the silly idea that the current and primitive expressions of 'higher intelligences' may eventually be proven. I'm sure that being able to converse in the way we are doing now would have been considered impossible in, for example, Greek antiquity. In fact, it probably wouldn't have even been considered at all.
Again, it's do with the exact expression that is to be tested by the laws of logic.
I disagree. I think it is a blatant disregard for the law of identity and its true implications. You can be certain there is no god and still open to technological discovery and advances in cosmology and physics. We may even meet difficult to understand powerful interdimensional beings, but 2+2 will still be 4 and god will still be 100% impossible. I think what you are suggesting is nothing more than a chair may not be a chair because it depends what people call it. Or that 2+2 could be 5. Useless evasion. You explicitly deny the entire process from perception of identity to concept formation and definition. And of course possible things are possible. I have no problem with the recognition of this fact. It is when people say that there is a greater than zero chance that the impossible and identity-less exist. It shows a lack of understanding of the foundations of reality and fosters mysticism and new age phantasmagoria.
The question posed in the original post asks about certainty of god's non-existence. It does not ask, if we are certain that amazing things won't happen in the future. It specifically asks about god. If you cannot define it, other than giving it contradictory, supernatural qualities, then what do those 3 letters g-o-d represent and is language good for nothing then since it can mean anything at all.