It amazes me how this thread seems to come to life every three to four months with a fresh new batch of people who wish to equivocate and mentally masturbate themselves over the existence of a god.
Well, I am one hundred percent sure that Zeus was a mass delusion for the Greeks. To be an atheist towards Zeus in 2011 isn't even a point of debate any longer. Zeus never existed.
But when I scan over some of the posts here, I just want to puke. I'm sorry, boys and girls, but if you are playing "we can't be one hundred percent sure," you are falling into the bullshit quagmire that is theism. You are trying to cover your asses in case, on your death bed, you suddenly get the inspiration to call out to the phony god of the christ-inanes, and in doing so, throw any words of atheism you ever spoke out the window.
What cowardice! What bullshit!
As much as I loathe the average christ-inane, at least they have the courage of their convictions when it comes to their surety of the existence of their banal straw god. Then I look at the words of some of the folks here, and all I can say is, "I'm glad I'm not such an easily bullshitted idiot."
For two millenia, if not longer, humanity has tried unsuccessfully to prove the existence of any deity, as well as things like ghosts, "close encounters of the third kind", and a lot of other errant nonsense we've created in our childish attempt to deny the cold reality of our mortality. In all that time, NOT ONE bit of proof has surfaced to prove ANYTHING but the over-activity of the average human imagination.
Not one bit...in over two thousand years. NOTHING! NADA! ZIP! ZILCH! And still, there are those who claim atheism, yet would just as easily throw that all away in favor of living the lie that is a theistic life.
How much more vacillating can you possibly be?
I am ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SURE THERE IS NO GOD! There has been no proof of "his" existence since time began. NONE!
Get with it, people. Either god is, or he isn't. There are NO DEGREES of existence or doubt. One is either pregnant, or not. One is either DEAD, or not. God either exists, or he does NOT!
Not that I think my words will quell many of the mental masturbators. I'm sure they will only serve to flush out the wimps who will go out of their way to convince me that my certainty of NO GOD is as bad as the certainty there is one.
Well, you can try, but you will fail. The only time I will believe in a god is when the fucker stands before me and PROVES that he is omnipotent. Until that time, I remain 100% SURE there is NO GOD!
I notice the pattern of 100% positive we can only be 99.99% certain as the position.
Hmm I just noticed I answered the topic question in a way that may not be obvious.
My response of positive is that of 100%.
You are quite right. I am 100% sure there is no Zeus, no Yahweh, no Allah. That is the problem with this % certainty question because it does not define which god we are talking about.
Am I 100% certain that the universe isn't really the Matrix controlled by a massive A.I.? I might be willing to say I am not certain intellectually but am emotionally certain that that is not the case. What about a deist god, some thinking entity that intentionally formed the universe and then lets it run on its merry way? Ok, I might allow some infinitesimally small level of doubt but I am pretty sure it also does not exist. What I can say with 100% certainty for both the latter cases and others like them is that there is no evidence compelling us to consider them, or even vaguely hinting at them, so there is no sensible reason to consider the propositions.
I arrived at the lack of absolute certainty using critical thinking. There are a few assumptions I make that are well grounded and work well, but are nevertheless untested:
1) There is a reality
2) My senses help me to see the reality in which I interact with
Being that I've made at least 1 untested/unproven assumption, and can't get around having at least one, I can never be absolutely certain on anything. Mental masturbation? Yeah. Falling into the theist quagmire? No. Its called intellectual honesty, despite feeling like you're absolutely certain that something doesn't exist.
My point is that you do have to make some ground assumptions, as at some point, you run out of ways to test the foundations of what you hold to be true. I'm not saying that that our senses can't be trusted, I'm saying that I'm making the assumption that they can be. As that's the only workable assumption.
Yes, and I get your point. However, it's still an assumption. We wouldn't know if our senses/brain were incorrect, we couldn't know. As we still need to rely on the same machinery to know as we do to percieve the world - the brain.
The only useful position to take is that reality exists and that we're not in a vats or the matrix. It's the only reasonable assumption, yet, its still an assumption.
In the scientific method, one always allows that one might be wrong in any facet of its knowledge. Future discoveries may cause us/science to modify our ideas. While acknowledging that, we still accept that our current state of knowledge is the best so far. Room for doubt is a rational attitude. It does not mean that we can't accept the status quo as our position.
Refusal to be swayed by a better argument or new information is precisley the kind of thing most atheists despise in the religious. To be intellectually honest, we need to leave a pocket of room for doubt, on the off chance that some new information comes along to cause us to change our minds. In the meantime I label myself an agnostic atheist. That means I call myself atheist, because I acknowledge no god, serve no god, take instruction from no god, fear no god; yet I have that pocket of room for change, which I feel is the intellectual imperative of the person who is science minded.
I tack on the prefix agnostic, because I cannot disprove the existence of "God", because it is a logical impossibility for anyone disprove a universal negative. If a god is supposed to be perfect and ALL LOVING, then that god must be 100% loving. I am not a god, any more than the guy religionists call "God", so I can be atheist, with some room for doubt, (doubt which I explore on an almost daily basis, in the interests of my own valued intellectual honesty and integrity).
So far I remain an agnositc atheist.