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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Then you don't think atheism is the default state -- that you "don't believe in something before you've been introduced to the concept, and even then you must be convinced either upon hearing the claim, or upon further evidence" -- I think you've made my point for me.
Arnold, I think it depends on what you mean by "introduced to the concept". If you think it up independently, then you introduce yourself to it, but you still must meet it for the first time. All animals are born atheists. Primitive animals draw incorrect conclusions about agency, but they start out as atheist.

And I would argue that animism is a far cry from theism. At least the things that animists believe are imbued with spirit actually exist and move from time to time. Theism is a human-only abstraction that puts the animating spirit at some remove from the object, in an invisible and undetectable place, beyond confirmation and disconfirmation. I don't think it was a big stretch from animism, but I also don't think it's an inevitable stretch, and we certainly aren't born with the idea. Apart from a few instances of independent invention, theism has generally been transmitted culturally. Some isolated tribes got along fine without it. Atheism is the default position--it's our natural state until we invent or are infected with theism.
Like Lord of the Flies?
Where's Dr. Mengele when we need him?
Dead, I'm pleased to report.
"It would be convenient if that were so, but someone became the first theist without being told to -- how did that happen?"

Well, this has mostly already been addressed by the other responders, but I'll point out that we are evolutionarily predisposed to assume intention behind actions and agency behind what is ambiguous. Humans are pattern- and agent-seeking primates, it has in our long past been more beneficial to assume that a fleeting shadow is a potential predator, rather than just something inanimate, and we are born with the incredible propensity for confirmation biases (since it has generally served us fairly well in the past).

Take for example the notion that you can get tree spirits to heal a wound - sure, it might take a few tries before they settle on the right tree, but if they're applying a poultice of ground bark that happens to contain a mild antibiotic, and at the same time chanting to the tree gods, they'll be 'magically' healed and continue that pattern because it works, while at the same time reinforcing their woo-woo beliefs.

If you need any further indication that a belief system can be constructed out of one person's imagination for wholly self-serving reasons, without any sincerity on the part of the initial godvirus vector, just look at $cientology.
I think your assessment is right. I suppose my problem with the "default atheism" notion is it sounds an awful lot like tabula rasa, which has pretty much been discredited.
We can be sure of the nonexistence of those gods whose descriptions or claimed attributes are logically inconsistent or otherwise impossible - or rather, that they do not exist explicitly as described. Other than that, there's no merit in pursuing absolutes, because they will never be reached.

I am 100% sure there IS a god or gods, since the number of gods yet described numbers in the millions or billions, and many of those have physical manifestations in this world, in the form of statues, or our sun, for example. I of course don't agree with most of their secondary claims, but depending on whose god-claim you are investigating, their object of worship may certainly exist.

Even though I'm aware of this situation, I still use the label of "atheist" since it is the most useful in a modern, mainstream context, and conveys a more accurate idea of where I stand than the alternative.

In short, absolutes are (generally) a red herring. Any gnostic (atheist or theist) must necessarily claim a knowledge which is absolute, which I would maintain is an absurd position to take. It can be logical, however, to profess a gnostic atheism with regards to a particular described/claimed deity.

- Gliktch
WFC ? But if, by chance there is one, it isn't that ridiculous critter created by Constantine at Nicaea circa 325 CE. His old name was Hesus Krishna, & Emperor Constantine conferred divinity when his council could not agree on that point.
Atheism and theism have to do with the presence of or lack of a belief.
Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the lack of belief in god.

Agnosticism and gnosticism have to do with the presence of or lack of knowledge.
Agnosticism is claiming that the existence of god is both unknown and unknowable.
Gnosticism (as a counterpoint to agnosticism) is claiming that the status of god is knowable.

One can both lack belief in god and simultaneously think that god is unknown and unknowable.
One can both lack belief in god and simultaneously think that the status of god is knowable in this case the status of god would be nonexistent.

On the flip side one can be both a theist and a gnostic or one can be both a theist and an agnostic.
There is much that I do not know, but gnostic and gnosticism, in my experience, refer to a class of ancient Greek mystery religions (some Xian, some not) that claimed to have secret knowledge which was the basis of "salvation" or liberation from the illusion or evil of the material world. I have never seen or heard the term applied to everyday knowledge claims.
The main issue is one of definition- there are so many definitions of god that the question "is there a god" isn't all that meaningful. It's like asking, "does fx98ex exist?" One would have to explain what that word meant.

The second issue is that there are very few things one can be 100% certain of. The only thing I can truly be certain of is that which I experience at the moment. Living in a "Matrix", or existing as a brain in a jar, while extremely unlikely, can't be ruled out 100%.

(Note that the 100% certainty is really a straw man argument against atheism, being an atheist has nothing to do with being 100% certain)

Then there's practical certainty, or our certainty as evidenced by our actions. Every time you take a step, are you 100% certain that the ground will support you? Of course you cannot be, but in all practicality you are - otherwise you would be effectively paralyzed.

Finally, to answer your question, I am about as certain as I can be that there are no such thing as an entity that can meaningfully be called a god or gods, based on common definitions of it.
I do not think it is wise to be 100% sure of anything. That said, I am as sure that there is no God as I am sure that the Sun will rise everyday for the rest of my life.




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