Further to these remarks I applaud that currently known physics, theoretical physics and cosmology with their applicable knowledge of quantum mechanics and fundamental-particle high-energy physics look quite capable of explaining the actuality of an ever-existing Universe.
Professor Vic Stenger's excellent books summarise.
I have written before in this thread about these matters--roughly one year ago and two years ago--where I briefly explain (as also in "Origins").
We don't have to have any awareness of an entity for it to exist otherwise it's existence would be dependent on our thoughts. How many people know that I exist? Does their knowledge or lack of knowledge affect my existence? If someone's knowledge affects my existence, then that means I exist/ed. Or am I thinking about this all wrong?
Philosophy can get really tangled up, backwards, etc. My ideas don't make things true or false. Maybe I made up something in my mind. Maybe the universe IS god. I don't think that would be a meaningful understanding to have personally. If something IS everything, then saying that god is the universe is the same as saying something like this: everything is everything. It doesn't explain anything.
Here's a wonderful Sagan quote: In many cultures, the customary answer is that a God or Gods created the Universe out of nothing. But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question, where did God come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the Universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God always existed, why not save a step, and conclude that the Universe always existed?
How can you believe or not believe in something that has NO firm definition?
Whenever a believer is challenged with compelling facts or logic or philosophical reasoning etc etc, they will just change the definition of "God"
My Favorite is the "We will NEVER be able to understand the "awesomeness of god's reasoning" stance.
Me I knew it was hooey in 1st grade when I had to leave my favorite class (Art) to trek 6 blocks to listen to nuns tell me stories about their fave superhero,, but they took my Hulk comic book away from me!!
I am 99% sure that anyone who thinks they can prove something absolutely is deluding themselves. One certainly could feel sure about something, but one cannot prove anything (except their own existence, and that they can only prove to their self).
How could one possibly go about proving the non-existence of God. The very notion of God defies proof; is not even something that can be subjected to the scientific method, thereby rendering the word proof moot in discussions of God. Theology is all about faith, not proof. I suppose if you defined God as 'that which cannot exist,' then you could know for sure that God doesn't, but that's probably the only way.
John: You write "The very notion of God defies proof".
It follows that you would also say
"the very notion of the flying spaghetti monster defies proof".
Yet we indisputably know that the FSM is a fiction conjured up in the human brain.
What you overlook is that 'God' is simply another fiction conjured up in some palaeolithic brain tens of thousands of years ago and then copied as a virus from brain to brain until we reach the billions of gullible believers today.
Karl; you have made exactly the right point.
I agree that we can go for 100% positivity with high confidence.
And that is because those people who are settling for less---the 99 percenters etc---are only leaving the way open for the possibility of supernaturalism.
There is no possibility of any supernaturalism, magic or woo-woo in our Universe which is already entirely explicable by the known laws of science---to which may yet be added any further laws that our scientific descendants may discover in the future.