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.  

Views: 14469

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


By inner workings I mean understanding the universe, ultimate cause, how, when, where, unifying principle, etc. So many of the physicist's theories sound more like fiction than science fiction.

One can have capacity to understand simple arithmetic without capacity to understand trigonometry. Likewise some aspects of the universe, not all of it. Epistemology is a wonderful tool for the vast majority of issues. But it is a human conceit to assume that our rules can judge of origins or ultimate cause or ever get a handle on the nature of things. (The pattern is to uncover greater complexity.) When you apply epistemology in a doctrinaire way you fail to appreciate the possibility it has these limitations.

Your statement re the eternal makes sense in a vacuum. But creationless existence does not make sense. And creation or creator begs the question.

Why does creation-less existence not make sense? An ultimate cause is incompatible with reason; reject it. Your quest for omniscience with be fruitless. You do not need to know trigonometry to know arithmetic. I follow no doctrine but rationality.


You lost me. If you are saying fables are ambiguous I am in agreement, already conceded.

Please explain your use of technology because my interpretation is inapposite.

Please explain your use of technology

It doesn't have to be technology it can be anything. 

But before I go on, can I ask you what you think the play is about.



MCT, Creation-less existence is a problem cuz a baby got a momma. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Cant accept eternal, cant accept created. Dont know of any alternatives.

Dont see why omniscience should be required if central principles can be uncovered-theoretical physicists dont either. But I see those scientists as quixotic.

Because mammals reproduce by sexual means does not mean the universe has a mother. The universe was not created. Creation is irrational. Universality of causality is not.

Throwing out a reply to the OP just to present: The universe as I've studied it appears to preclude the possibility of any deity of sufficient stature to command my loyalty. Phrased another way, I think our very existence contradicts any conception of an infinite God, which refutes the question before I can even consider my confidence in the answer.


The condensed argument is that any entity must overlap with our existence to affect us, but such a condition would require complete overlap for an infinite deity, making our existence a subset of the deity; in order for this to be occur, our universe must satisfy all of the superset properties of the infinite deity, with the most (theologically) critical being necessity, the inextricable property of such a deity which allows it to exist without prior cause.


Now, the easy conclusion would be that if our universe also possesses necessity, then the larger extent of the deity is irrelevant (we'd come to exist either way), but I have a slightly different approach that's relevant to what MCT and a few others have been discussing here.


I would instead argue that the universe is not necessary, and by its lack of necessity precludes any concept of an infinite deity. How does this fit together? In an un-necessary universe, the 'bottom' layer of physical structure is transiently existent, or trivial in its form or non-form due to a lack of content. But when it does have a form, and those forms collide in mutual interaction, the informational consequence of that interaction is independent of the original source-- so even if one of the forms 'rewinds' back into non-existence, it can't take its collision history with it. And if the rate of interaction can outpace the transience, you now have informational composites with contingent existence, but without any involvement of necessary elements.


So how does that overly-technical explanation translate to normal conversation? There's no Creator that can create Nothing, and everything else is just a long jaunt back to not existing. A creation-less universe would be an unavoidable consequence of a transparent boundary between existence and non-existence, but there would be some clear symptoms of such a situation: the events which 'created' the universe would be a continuous process, so new structures should spontaneously emerge in empty space at low rates (with the behavior of, say, virtual particles); and the net information of the universe would have to progressively increase over time. According to the work of some current physicists describing entropic gravity, that would translate to an accelerating expansion of the universe.


To me, that's enough pieces fitting together to justify a creation-less, unnecessary universe, and if we could exist without necessity, then our universe is a refutation of necessity itself. There's no room for an infinite God in this picture-- it's completely and unavoidably excluded (which is proving a negative) --but it does leave room for finite, physical deities like Zeus or Apollo. I'm not inclined to baseless worship, though, so unless I happen to receive a special house call from a pantheistic deity then there can be no gods which I would value more than a normal person. 

Why is it only an infinite god that our existence precludes? Any god is impossible. It is my understanding that a pantheists thinks the universe is god, nature itself, and do not believe in a personal god like Zeus. Zeus would do supernatural things, precluding his existing, although I do admit that there could be a sufficiently advanced being that appears magical to us.


Your necessity idea doesn't make sense to me. What does it mean to be necessary? I cannot tell what you mean by this or how this could be or have an affect.  The universe is here and could not have been any other way. You could not observe something if nothing existed to begin with. How can the universe not be necessary? Are you saying that existence is not necessary? Or that to exist, something doesn't need identity? A state of nothingness must continue. Why invoke non-form and non-existence? One cannot have knowledge about non-existence or non-form. Form and existence are two of the necessary axioms and are required by every thing that is, to be. Whatever the reasons that the singularity teens of billions of years ago appears the way it does to us and that we have limits to perceiving things like the universe as a whole make clear the limits of consciousness, but do not change the fact that things exists, necessarily, first and foremost and consciousness and identity must also, lest cognition and perception would not and could not be. It cannot change that we gain knowledge through the non-contradictory integration of perceptual evidence. It cannot change the fact that things do only what is in their nature to do based on their structure and momentum. It cannot change that, in this reference frame, or one close to it, protons will always have more mass than electrons. It cannot change the fact that a ball will roll when pushed and a book will slide. Rocks can't sing and ice-cream cannot read, regardless of what we cannot properly or objectively describe about that which is outside the limits of our perception.

Good catch, I slipped up on the words there. When I used "pantheistic" I intended "deities belonging to pantheons" much like the Roman, Egyptian, etc. religions, not the Monism-type religions. Since people can worship just about any person or creature they view as greater than themselves, there's always room for making non-human races with advanced technology into 'gods' (so I disqualify any finite being as "not impressive enough").


I was trying out an abbreviated discussion of this topic, so I skipped some of the historical background. In this case, I am referring to the ontological use of "necessity" in philosophy, which is the most common basis for arguments justifying why we have this universe as opposed to any other logically-possible universe. Pretty much all of the modern theology, scientific theories, etc. about the origin of the universe boil down to "We have X, and X is necessary, so we are justified in believing we exist".


If you want to consider existence without necessity, you need language to discuss the pre-temporal, pre-spatial conditions of the universe-in-potentia. It's true that there are no 'things' to examine, but the real objective is to identify what could be and what could prevent those from being. The crux of these ideas is the question, "If Nothing has no form to constrain from without and no structure to constrain from within, is it nevertheless constrained to non-existence?" This establishes a transparent (arbitrary) boundary between non-existence and existence across which Somethings can fluctuate if they are demonstrably indistinguishable from Nothing when considered as non-existent forms-in-potentia. In my own analysis, I consider symmetric wave functions across 'positive' and 'negative' space-time as the most likely candidates for these base Somethings, but it's not exactly a short topic to explain.


These kinds of questions come with the territory; the entire point of origin arguments is to bridge from the a priori possibility to the a posteriori contingent actuality (to borrow Kantian terminology). The pursuit of knowledge inherently rests on the epistemology you construct and the true end-goal of science and philosophy is to determine, rather than assume, what that basis should actually be. Even if you ignore these questions, you're still relying on an implicit epistemology-- only it's one you've adopted, not developed.

I recognize that people have, historically, used the concept of necessity as they see it relate to the existence of this particular universe. But, I have never thought this terribly relevant. I do not think that there is another logically possible universe and I know that we could never have knowledge of one and discourse about one cannot lead to knowledge. The issue of why we have this universe, I think, is a detractor, an arbitrary subject with seemingly overlapping influence. 'Why' is a proper question for things inside reality, not of reality as a whole. We can say that something is, that we perceive it and what it appears to be and from this we can learn about this place by realizing the laws of causality and noncontradiction. It can be learned explicitly that ontologically, for something to exist metaphysically it must be composed of smaller and smaller parts (to the limit of our perception), and, as it is known implicitly, by the structure of our cerebral cortex and its interaction with the environment, that for us to know something exists, we must perceive its identity. Facts are facts because they are, not because they couldn't be otherwise and facts aren't not known because they could be otherwise.

I don't think that perceiving an ultimate building block of metaphysical reality is possible. And I don't think that there is an amount one can know about quantum theory, or our necessarily poorly understood interaction between things at the limit of our perception, that could show that existents are not dependent on their identity and that we cannot observe them causally and subsequently make certain knowledge about the real world which we live. We do this all the time. It is what allows technological advancement and increased life span.

I do not claim this, "We have X, and X is necessary, so we are justified in believing we exist", to be valid. I believe existence is self evident, as is consciousness and identity. They are relied upon for every thought. This is justification enough. Questioning whether we exist or not is fruitless, since every thought depends on existence, consciousness and identity.

Nothing valid can be said about pre-temporal and pre-spatial.

Ah, but that last bit highlights the very problem: our perceptions of the world lead us to believe that we exist, but is that a justified belief or an artifact of our brain structure? If I were to restate your argument as succinctly as possible, I believe it would follow as:

1. We have a posteriori data (perceptions) about the universe

2. These data contain analytic a posteriori Identities (may be a different usage) which correspond to existent entities

3. The confirmation of these Identities implies the possibility of such entities

4. This is sufficient grounds for justifying analytic a priori knowledge about the causal relationships within the universe


On the surface, that seems like a fairly strong argument... if you take (1) as a prior assumption and treat (3) as logically exclusive (allowing no other possibilities). While I personally agree with the statement of (1), it is a shaky foundation which has been historically criticized because it is a precept, which cannot be proven within the same argument. And (3) introduces a distinct flaw because it precludes any extrapolation of data by only considering the possibility of that which has already been confirmed (or measured). That doesn't appear to be a tenable position according to your own approach since the human mind regularly demonstrates predictive capabilities.


The point isn't to question if we exist (since we'll believe we do regardless), it's for us to find out how we came to exist. The solution to that question is the precursor to acquiring unified theories about the universe, so the more we strive for knowledge about what will happen, the more critical it becomes for us to understand what has already happened. 

While things that exist are necessarily possible, things don't necessarily exist because they are possible. Many things are possible that do not exist. Things exist when they have identity in the real world. When we implicitly grasp the axioms of existence, consciousness and identity, we can learn more about the world and part of that is induction, the use of metaphor as we compare what we know to what we perceive or imagine. And when we contrast and more precisely define and describe what we see or imagine, deduce what can happen in this world and then use empiric data and non-contradictory contextual integration, we can form knowledge of the real world.

I agree that finding out how we came to exist, or what has happened before, is a priority, but asking how the universe came to exist is futile. That question doesn't make rational sense. There was no point in time that the universe did not exist.


Support Atheist Nexus

Supporting Membership

Nexus on Social Media:

© 2015   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service