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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With all due respect, scientists do not say they only believe in evolution with 99.999% certainty - they stand behind it 100%, though allowing for a willingness to change their position in the face of contrary or new evidence. The idea is still falsafiable.

The very idea for even the possibility of a god, is based on absolutely no evidence - it's just that, an idea.

It is an unfortunate situation, that - possibly due to a combination of advance technology and science fiction speculation - many people are unable to tell reality from things of the imagination. That is what real science, and the scientific method is all about. And so far, the absolute lack of any discernable, detectable, of measurable evidence for the proposed existence of any god, is exactly zero.

Therefore, along with pink unicorns and any other invention of the mind, science is unable to ascribe even the barest possibility for their existence.

The truth is, it goes to point out the underlying desire we have, for the things we feel only a 'god' could possibly supply - such as providing final judgement over the affairs of mankind.

The very human need for ultimate judgement and justice in our lives, is probably one of the hardest things we have to give up. It means that, yes, we are our brother's keeper - as well as this planet's keeper, and no one is going to be there to kiss it better, 'on the other side.'
D R Hosie,

You are so far off base, I am a little perplexed on what to address in your post.

I'm not arguing nor have I ever argued that any god exists. I am arguing that people are fallible and thus should more or less as a rule take everything they think they know as 100% fact and subtract at least 0.0...01% in the name of healthy skepticism.

I hate to pull an appeal to authority but since you brought up evolution it may be worth mentioning that even Richard Dawkins considers himself only ~97% sure no god exists.
Should we be 100% sure that we should never be 100% sure? This would seem to be a logically self-refuting position.
I almost agree 100% (but with reservations.)
I purposely avoided terms like everything/100%, but lets not parse semantics it detracts from the topic.

The reply link does not exist on your post above so I'll reply here and cut to the chase.

My problem is mostly with structure of the question. If the question was binary then I would have no qualms answering that no god exists.

However, by making this a percentage it changes the nature of what is represented by the answer.

In my mind answering 100% also means that the answer is more important than the question, I can explain everything from origin to now and that I am unable to care what dissenting viewpoints have to say on the topic because it is not possible for me to be incorrect.

The answer is not as important as the question from a philosophical/scientific standpoint.

I can explain a surprisingly large portion of the history of the universe and the biology of life but I am far from holding a complete picture.

It is unlikely but not impossible that I am incorrect and I learn a lot from dissenting viewpoints, even ones I consider wrong.
Ning (the platform that A|N runs on) only indents replies about five levels, so that's why the reply link is unavailable on deeply indented comments. I usually just reply to the closest one above that does have a reply link, which sorts my reply to the end of the no-reply comments, if that makes sense.

Daniel, I actually think the question is unimportant, so the answer is irrelevant. The only reason anybody asks this question is because a bunch of people deluded themselves into thinking there's such a thing as a god in the first place. More than unimportant, I think the question of whether there is a god is meaningless. It's like asking whether there's any number of things I just dreamed up off the top of my head. What's the point? And since nobody has a definition of god that holds water, the question is doubly meaningless.

I'm perfectly happy to listen to dissenting viewpoints as well, but I find it tiresome to listen to people who want me to entertain the "possibility" that their imaginary being is real. Wishing doesn't make it so. Wishing doesn't even create a miniscule probability that it is so.
Thanks for the forum tip.

This question is important because debating the existence of god is not a debate one should expect to conclusively win or lose (especially with a zealot) but an exercise in logic. I like to argue and get better at identifying bullshit; religion is in many ways the pinnacle of bullshit.

This question seems to to be a derivation of "How did we get here?" and that is an extremely important question. The two feed off each other and encourage me to become more knowledgeable about both.

If you have ever watched The Four Horsemen Hitchens is spot on at the end of the conversation. In many ways it would be a sad thing to see religion completely die.

The link you provided with the quote from Feynman was great, I really respect him and found his final words in the quote fitting: "...it is not good to be prejudiced about these things".
It wouldn't bother me in the slightest if religion simply disappeared. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
To what end? Religion is enigmatic of the human condition. Would it not just be replaced by another force?

It has evolved separately in nearly every culture around the world.

For some reason religion was selected to remain a part of our culture. Did it stay around for utilitarian reasons? Was it a power grab by the ambitious? How about comfort from the unknown?

It has many issues but I fear that unless we identify all the reasons it continues to exist and an adequately replace them, then religion will never go away.

If we just act as destroyers we will have accomplished nothing.
Religion is bad for us. It is error, false hope, and manipulation. It is a net negative for the species and the planet. Even if we replaced religion with nothing, we would come out ahead.

Of course, we're not replacing religion with nothing. We're replacing it with a scientific understanding of the world, real social safety nets (as opposed to the imaginary kind that religion promotes), and self-government. I see no benefit whatsoever in keeping religion around. It may fill a psychological need in a culture's infancy, but it's long past time our species grew up. We do not need Santa Claus and we do not need religion in order to live fulfilling lives.
That maybe fine for you and I but everyone's brain works differently and it is difficult to understand how some people think the way they do.

I keep reflecting back to the Hitchens / Sharpton debate and it seemed very telling. Sharpton just didn't seem to understand that without god or some authoritarian figure to tell him what to do, then why should he not just rape, pillage and murder. Somehow, the idea of an innate moral compass just didn't occur to him.

And what about a mentally handicapped individual or someone teetering on the edge of suicide? Would that not give you pause or is brutal honesty going to be the best solution?

I would be very hesitant about even bringing up such a topic depending on the circumstances, let alone wiping the idea off the face of the planet in one fell swoop.
I don't think brains vary that much from person to person. Sure the details are different, but a brain is a brain. People like Sharpton get hung up because they've been raised with certain notions and primarily move in circles that continually reinforce those notions. It's hard for people to change their minds about something, but not impossible. In any case, the real answer to Sharpton's silly claim that he couldn't be good without a god keeping him in line has nothing to do with an innate moral compass. His fellow citizens would damn well keep him in line. As, in fact, we already do with people who get out of line for whatever reason. We don't depend on religion to protect us or to punish transgressors. We set up police forces and courts to deal with that, because despite all the god-talk, humans recognize that we have to manage these things ourselves. Anybody that says they'd start murdering and raping without God is just not thinking it thru at all; that kind of statement is sheer bombast.

And mental and emotional illness seem completely orthogonal to religion. Less intelligent or less happy people come in all flavors, including deeply religious. Plenty of well-adjusted people are atheists. I'd think moreso than religious people, on average, but that's just a guess.

In any case, I don't see how a more accurate view of the universe is more brutal than a delusional view. I find it quite liberating and fulfilling. My religious upbringing was stultifying, frightening, and dreary. I think that's true for most religionists. What could be more frightening than hell or the idea that the guy who might send you there is watching your every move? Theism is a nightmare, not a security blanket. One of the reasons that people like Sharpton can't let go of it is because they are terrified of the consequences. Those consequences are just as nonexistent as the god that threatens them.



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