Class Warfare Blog

January 17, 2021

What is the Strongest Proof that God Does Not Exist?

Filed under: Philosophy,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:07 am
Tags: , , ,

(I have a practice of trying to offer religious posts on Sundays. This is no exception. S)

The question in the title of this post was a question that popped up on Quora. It came with over 100 answers. I did not read them all, but quite a few of those I did read included some form of this tidbit “To be clear you can never say with 100% certainty that a god of some type does not exist.”

Maybe it is my scientific training but “100% proof” is something that does not exist except in our imaginations. We desire certainty in matters that are life and death. Even 50:1 odds in your favor don’t guarantee that you win. But 100% proof is an absolute that just doesn’t exist. And insisting on 100% proof that a god does not exist is a ploy to ensure failure for anyone who tries, a dishonest ploy. The request for the “strongest” proof is quite honest, however.

The example I use as my standard of a very high probability occurrence is the Sun coming up tomorrow. I predict that it will. I am very, very sure that this will happen. I understand why it has this high probability. Physically, either the Earth would have to stop rotating upon its axis or be thrown somehow off into space or maybe the Sun would have to disappear or explode or something of that ilk. The amount of force that would be necessary to stop the earth from rotating overnight (I did say the Sun will come up tomorrow) is so immense that the Earth would be sundered into pieces were it to be applied. Similarly if the Sun were to blow up, so as to not be there when the Earth rotates around through the night, it is unlikely the Earth would survive such an explosion.

So, the prediction that the Sun will come up tomorrow is secure and near 100% in certainty. I can imagine a scenario in which it does not, say involving aliens with advanced planet-busting weaponry (Like the Death Star of Star Wars!). It could destroy the Earth so that there is nothing to rotate around and no one to see the Sun “rising.” So, my prediction is not 100% certain.

So, is anything 100% certain? I do not think so. All quantitative laws in science are based upon measurements, none of which are 100% certain. All qualitative laws are based upon observations, which also are not 100% certain.

Human opinions, such as you may think Emily is a total Karen, a total bitch, but then you find out she dotes on her grandfather, so . . . not 100% certain. And so on. . . .

So, back to the God question. What is a reasonable sort of standard of proof? Since no proof currently exists, we should start with a low standard. I suggest 50+%. In words this would be “more likely than not.” This could be plugged into Bayesian calculations for our assessment.

So, can anyone make such an argument and have it be valid?

I have studied this question at some length. Recently I read a book entitled “The Non-Existence of God” by Nicholas Everitt. Doctor Everitt is a professional philosopher (I am only an amateur philosopher) and you can tell his conclusion based upon an exhaustive search through history for all of the philosophical arguments for the existence of a god. I say this so that you will understand that philosophical arguments will not serve our needs here. I seriously doubt that a philosophical argument can prove anything. At best they can attach conclusions to sets of premises, the outcomes of which are determined by the truthiness of the premises.

So, we need something other than a philosophic argument. The best option would be a scientific argument. So, start with some evidence, make a conjecture and then see if it holds up.

Any takers?

Note Obviously from the numbers of answers to questions regarding the existence of a god or gods, this is an important question to many people. I am hesitant to add another “answer” a question that already has 100+ answers as I am unwilling to read all of those answers so that I do not just duplicate one of them with my own. But I do take a stab every once in a while.

9 Comments »

  1. I don’t know, Steve. But enjoyed reading this. I now see the 100% certainty concept like I do the word perfect. I use both terms, but neither is possible. If it is the probability of existence we seek, then I must conclude that a god probably does not exist. I feel like I am on solid ground with my conclusion (probably).

    Like

    Comment by Bill — January 17, 2021 @ 11:31 am | Reply

    • You and I are much like the rest I think. Sure enough.

      Absolutes are fine if they are used as goals, e.g. striving for perfection. As long as one realizes that you can’t get there and you are just using the goal to keep you going. (I worked with a gentleman who achieved his life goal at 23. A year and a half of depression followed. His resolution was to always have goals beyond the most current striving.)

      People are led to believe perfections exist … in the form of gods and other things and are thus mislead.

      On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 11:31 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 17, 2021 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  2. Proof is for math class. Otherwise, I’ll speak about probability and evidence.

    I can’t provide evidence that there isn’t a “god” because that’s a mushy, badly defined word. But I can consider the evidence against the specific kind of theistic god that most preachers are pushing us to believe in. A god who is an ultra-powerful invisible being, and that has opinions about what humans think and do, and wants to be worshiped and obeyed.

    My best evidence against that sort of god is the huge mess that is the state of human religion. Humans have never been able to come to an agreement on what the nature of what a god is or what it wants. There is insufficient evidence for any one particular version of a god over all the others, and we have found no method for reaching consensus on it. Our brains are just not up to the task, and we are so bad at it that most of us don’t even realize how much we suck at this. A powerful omni-god could either give us better evidence, better brains, or a reliable method for sorting out the truth from among the bewildering confusion of conflicting claims. Any being worth being considered as a “god” would have knowledge of this awful state of affairs, and the power to fix it if it cared to. But we still have the same religious mess that we have had for all of human history. So if there’s somebody “up there” watching, either it is incapable of fixing the problem, or doesn’t care about humans enough to bother. An uncaring, less than all-powerful god is not a traditional theistic god, so a theistic god is very unlikely to exist.

    Or, what I think is more likely, there’s just nobody up there. A huge squabbling mess of religions is entirely consistent with a bunch of monkey-brained humans trying to work things out, while being saddled with overactive pattern recognition and confirmation bias.

    Like

    Comment by Ubi Dubium — January 17, 2021 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

    • Lately I have been focussing upon the weaknesses in gods who need to be worshipped. Really, a supernatural being creates a sentient race of beings to have worshippers. Sounds pretty sick to me. This is the primary fallacy of all creator gods. Unless they portray them as sick fucks who just wanted a bigger “ant-farm” experience, they end up being psychologically needy bastards not worth worshipping. God is love … and if you do not believe that He will burn you in Hell. That people can spout such nonsense is beyond me.

      On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 12:32 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 17, 2021 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  3. So, start with some evidence

    Isn’t it, start with an observation?

    It’s all down hill from there…

    Like

    Comment by john zande — January 17, 2021 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  4. Interesting, while no point could be made entirely 100% accurate, i still hold certain beliefs that necessitate answering as though I could know, or have the knowledge of God, which can be unsettling. I would rather be wrong in assuming there is one than in thinking there couldn’t be, i suppose. I wish I didn’t feel the need to answer at all, that there is no absolute proof or disproof of The Good should be enough, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by And Or Theory — January 17, 2021 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

    • Re ” I wish I didn’t feel the need to answer at all, that there is no absolute proof or disproof of The Good should be enough, right?” For everything else “there is no absolute proof or disproof” so, that gets us nowhere. I am not arguing against your personal beliefs which are what they are I am arguing with regard to those who wish to convince others that they are right. If you know you are right, then bless you, and you need to say nothing further. But if you want to convince others … then …

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 18, 2021 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  5. The universe follows consistent rules, and the more complete our understanding of those rules, the less room remains for anything that doesn’t follow them.

    Like

    Comment by D.T. Nova — January 21, 2021 @ 9:55 pm | Reply


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