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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Cane, the confusion is about categories of proof. Inductive reasoning can never be perfectly conclusive (though it is almost always practically so). We can never precisely know the weight of a proton. Statistical arguments can never be 100%. The null hypothesis can never be completely disproved.

 

On the other hand, it is disturbing that people claim to be certain that we can never be certain about anything at all (itself a negative claim, thus self-contradictory, as Hale points out; this is the fundamental downfall of postmodernism). We know for sure that an atom consists of electrons orbiting protons and neutrons in the nucleus. We know that uranium is not lead. We know these things by simple definitional arguments involving counting. These arguments are perfectly conclusive because of the way counting works. 1 is not 2 (another provable negative).

 

I and others on this thread contend that god is not a scientific hypothesis, subject to statistical and/or inductive reasoning (though those approaches strongly confirm our conclusions), but rather thru simple definitional reasoning. The gods typically described cannot exist because of their inherent logical contradictions and obvious origins as figments of the imagination. That you can't distinguish the concept of god from a schizophrenic delusion is not grounds for granting a tiny probability that gods exist, but rather grounds (positive evidence) for dismissing the concept conclusively. We know people fabricate, hallucinate, and/or are frequently mistaken about things they think exist. We are not 99.99999% certain of this, we know it to be true. Gods are clearly in this category.

 

If one insists on giving this imaginary creature the benefit of the doubt without any compelling reason to do so, one immediately runs into severe logical problems. The traditional gods are so ill-defined and self-contradictory that they are logically impossible. The only concept of god that is even remotely tenable is the deist version, and that immediately falls victim to the problems of infinite regress and Occam's Razor. Why posit a creator god that begs the question of what created it? If you have to stop the infinite regress somewhere, why stop at god? Why not stop at the universe itself? If you posit that the universe itself is god, why give a redundant name to the universe?

 

These are not faith positions, but logical positions, based on what we know about the universe. Claiming that it is impossible to prove a negative is a self-negating argument.

If one insists on giving this imaginary creature the benefit of the doubt without any compelling reason to do so, one immediately runs into severe logical problems. The traditional gods are so ill-defined and self-contradictory that they are logically impossible.

 

Logical proof is not my definition of proof. Proof to me is having a body of evidence sufficient to convince people of its existence. If you use my definition, you cannot have proof of nonexistence.

 

As with your fundamental axioms, many of your definitions are partial, at best. You cannot simply dismiss logical proof from your definition.

Maybe that's my whole problem. I do not know or I do not agree with philosophers' definitions of Identity, noncontradiction, belief, knowledge, and truth.

I gave it a shot in this reply.

It seems to me, and that may be where my attitude comes from, that philosophers define logical proof into existence.

I hope you do no still think I am playing games.

Cane wrote:

“But if you ask yourself whether you believe there is a God or not, you can reach 100% because believing requires no evidence.”

 

English is a wonderful language having so many different words describing different ideas/concepts.  And while some might see it as quibbling, there is a difference between belief and faith.

Theists and atheists probably share 99.9999% percent of their beliefs.  

For example: because we understand how the observable solar system works, how the earth orbits the sun, rotates on its tilted axis, most theists and atheists agree in the belief that the sun will appear in the east tomorrow morning.

 

(yes, I know there are anti science people who maintain the earth is flat . . . etc.)

 

If you drop a brick, you move your toes.

That’s belief.

 

Believing is based on evidence, past experiences, etc.

Faith is an entirely different thing, assumed or engaged because of a lack of evidence.

There are lots of things we all believe in.

 

I realize that in normal daily conversations we all understand what is meant when someone says “I don’t believe in god”.

But within A/N, within a forum discussing  this VERY THING, we can make the simple effort to be precise about our language.

 

So, Cane, would you object to this rewording of your above quote:

 

“But if you ask yourself whether you have faith in the existence of a God or not, you can reach 100% (certainty) because faith requires no evidence.” ?

If you drop a brick, you move your toes. That’s belief.

Hell no!!! that is not belief! That is learning from experience, it has nothing to do with belief whatsoever. Your definition of belief is very foreign to me. Unless you had it happen to you, you don't know, unless you were indoctrinated to freak out any time something moves near you.

 

Belief is when you lack evidence to make a reasoned decision but descend to deciding based on emotions. There's an awful lot of this kind of BS going on in our society. People obsessed with controlling ALL risks to life, who nurture their fears not based on reason but on irrational beliefs.

@TNT666:

If you drop a brick, you move your toes. That’s belief.

Hell no!!! that is not belief! That is learning from experience, it has nothing to do with belief whatsoever.

 

The proper definition of belief is very simple.  A belief is just a proposition that one holds to be true.  Therefore, statements like "I am holding a brick", I am dropping a brick" are both beliefs. 

Beliefs that lack evidence are simply unjustified beliefs.  Rational beliefs are justified using rational judgement.  Knowledge is generally defined as those beliefs which are both justified and true.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belief

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/

TNT666 and George;

 

The whole point of my post was to distinguish between faith and belief.

I maintained that

"If you drop a brick, you move your toes. That’s belief."

 

TNT maintains:

 

"Belief is when you lack evidence to make a reasoned decision but descend to deciding based on emotions."

 

No, TNT, that’s “faith”.  (and it’s not a good idea, or polite, to yell “Hell no !!!”, especially when you are wrong.)

 

Belief is assumed as a result of experience, observation, or even the scientific method.  I believe in gravity.  I don’t have to engage faith to know to move my toe when I drop a brick.

 

George has it right.

The only thing I might add is that when George says:

 

"Beliefs that lack evidence are simply unjustified beliefs."

 

he is essentially describing “faith”.


Beliefs that lack evidence are simply unjustified beliefs.  Rational beliefs are justified using rational judgement.  Knowledge is generally defined as those beliefs which are both justified and true.

 

Using your definitions above, you can justify a negative, but you cannot prove a negative? Am I right?

Maybe! I think that something true is something we have evidence for.

If I drop a brick directly above my foot, I will move my foot because I have certain knowledge that gravity will act on it, or influence its motion, in a manner to bring it towards my foot with an increase in momentum. And I will also move it because I believe that there is not a sniper hidden in the nearby woods to destroy it on its way down.

Could I reword your definition of Faith?

 

Faith is the belief you reached without evidence.

If you don't mind, I will continue to use belief.

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