Joel there is no philosophical problem here. Human perception is atrocious. Given contradictory evidence it is essential to have uncertainty, as is the case with the optical illusion you present.
Uncertainty = contradictory evidence.
God = no evidence, there is no uncertainty there.
Those who have doubt without evidence are the scary ones!
The Nazis hey... what's that expression about you know how long a thread's been going people using Nazi analogies to make a point?
I pretty much am Gnostic Atheist. We are going to get lost in God Definitions again... but the one thing that makes me unable to go 100% is that if god is a transcendental being not subject to the laws of this universe, then being as we personally are constrained by the laws of this universe I don't see how we could ever have knowledge of something existing outside the bounds of reality.
In saying this, a) this makes Gods existence a little pointless if we can't ever interact with it, although i presume it would be able to influence us, even if we cannot have direct proof of it, otherwise it wouldn't really be God if it had no Influence over our universe.
b) Gods described by Religions do not fit my definition, so they are all going to succumb to the myriad of other reasons to doubt their existence which have doubtless been discussed already.
c) If its not God in the traditional sense (ie. a God that has been described specifically by someone who claims to have had contact with it) then it has no relevance to religion in society anyway.
The other factor that seems to be cropping up on this thread is the idea of whether we can in theory be 100% sure of anything. All of our knowledge of the world is empirical, that would entail it being impossible to be 100% sure of anything in theory. or would it?
I am NOT 100% sure there are no mermaids in the universe because I have not had direct experience of every part of the universe at any one time. But then again, something that is half fish & half person is not that difficult to imagine existing (genetic engineering???)
Whereas god would defy the laws of the universe as we understand them, plus no one can agree on what God "is" exactly. God is VERY vague indeed. but so far I don't think we have any empirical evidence of anything existing which is not subject to the laws of the universe, so if God is not a part of the universe he doesn't exist in our reality which would mean he simply doesn't exist, as reality is all we have, and when we talk about existence it seems sort of necessary for things that exist to actually have properties of existence in said reality...
...So mermaids are more likely to exist than God!
a) what is definition of god. and if it doesn't include any of the Gods described by religions then is it a useful definition?
b) Does Empiricism make 100% proof theoretically impossible.
c) Can things that transcend reality be considered as existing.
d) Do we need a new thread for this??
I am now more confused than when I started writing this! help :-)
@Michael,would this be a fair summary of your position:
a) existing wholly in reality is a necessary requirement of Existence
b) Being subject to the laws of physics is necessary inside of a physically governed universe
c) Definitions of God often consider God to be a transcendental entity
d) Definitions that don't consider God to Transcend the physical would make the entity subject to all physical laws by being existent in this reality.
therefore, transcendent Gods necessarily do not exist, and physical Gods have no powers that are not physically possible and therefore achievable by any highly technological species, therefore making them beings and not gods.
ok. hopefully more rather than less, I wouldn't want to be pushing you into being a straw man here!
I'm still concerned that the inherent problems with empiricism come into this, which was one of my original problems with going Gnostic.
Point B "Being subject to the laws of physics is necessary inside of a physically governed universe". I would propose this is not deduced like points a, c, d. This is based on empirical observations? Our understanding that everything follows physical laws is based on observations of things following physical laws, in actual fact there are things that our current models don't explain, and theoretical things like dark matter have to be used to make theories work in practice. We may get to a point where we can explain everything, but I'm not sure that will negate the one underlying flaw with empiricism: that we cannot be 100% certain that thing will continue to act as they have in the past.
Is there an argument for empiricism that makes it 100% reliable? am I wrong needing empiricism for this premise?
@leveni (to continue where the reply threads have run out)
Agnosticism and gnosticism should never have been brought up in atheism in the first place.
evidence of existence = knowledge of existence
imaginary concepts = two camps: agnostic belief and gnostic belief. two methods of "knowing" the imaginary, or unevidenced.
The very existence of agnostic atheists is a fallacy in itself. Anyone who has any portion of their brain that accepts a god concept is not an atheist. They are simply infinitely weak theists. Of course it serves the aims of politicians to lump together agnostics with atheists. But I disagree fundamentally with that assertion. Atheists live in the real, agnostics reserve a space for the unreal.
Thanks for the reply. Especially:
Uncertainty = contradictory evidence.
God = no evidence, there is no uncertainty there
Leveni and TNT666,
I agree with TNT that you can assert that you are some combination of a/gnosticism and a/theism, but you will not necessarily make good sense. I was trying to define these words, as I think appropriate, as the first group being related to a belief in knowledge of a thing and the second, a belief in the existence of a thing. If you will only define gnosticism as it relates to faith, then I guess, we will not agree on the fact that I believe one who is gnostic has a proper affirmative belief that knowledge of a certain thing is possible. And I disagree with TNT that we cannot be gnostic about a negative. I believe that I can be certain (gnostic) that it is impossible for any god to exist (atheist). The way I understand agnosticism is that it describes someone who believes that knowledge one way or another is possible. I believe I can come up with reasons why every other combination of these terms, other than gnostic atheism, is invalid. Any belief in any god, whether certain or not, is flat out wrong. And asserting that we cannot have knowledge as to whether or not God exists, while believing that He doesn't, or agnostic atheism, is also wrong.