Arguments against the existence of god

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==Overview==
 
==Overview==
 
===God claims===
 
===God claims===
There are an infinite possible number of gods. Over a thousand different denominations of Christianity alone, all with their different beliefs on who or what god is. Surely it would be impossible to rule them all out. However if we zero in and examine a theistic claim about a specific god's nature or character, we can draw certain conclusions based on what we've learned about the world through the systematic observations and testing of reality known as science. Despite the theistic assertions that god cannot be caged by science, these specific claims made by the theist can be assessed. As our understanding of the world has increased through science, the ''gaps'' that god is able to inhabit have gotten smaller and smaller. With every additional piece of information we learn about the world, the more the constraints tighten on what a god could have or can do. This is perhaps best stated in [[Stephen Hawking|Stephen Hawking's]] ''a brief history of time''.
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There are an infinite possible number of interpretations of the idea of "god" and even of religion. Over a thousand different denominations of Christianity alone, all with their different beliefs on who or what god is. Surely it would be impossible to rule them all out. However if we zero in and examine a theistic claim about a specific god's nature or character, we can draw certain conclusions based on what we've learned about the world through the systematic observations and testing of reality known as science. Despite the theistic assertions that god cannot be caged by science, these specific claims made by the theist can be assessed. As our understanding of the world has increased through science, the ''gaps'' that god is able to inhabit have gotten smaller and smaller. With every additional piece of information we learn about the world, the more the constraints tighten on what a god could have or can do. This is perhaps best stated in [[Stephen Hawking|Stephen Hawking's]] ''a brief history of time''.
  
 
''Stephen Hawking in A brief history of time c.1988''
 
''Stephen Hawking in A brief history of time c.1988''
 
{{Quote|One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterward in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!}}
 
{{Quote|One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterward in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!}}
  
With our current understanding of our place in the world through biology and astrophysics, we are able to make assessments about certain aspects or claims of god. We have mountains of empirical evidence that life is a result of evolution, not specific intentional creation by an omnipotent being as depicted in genesis. We have mathematical evidence that the Noah's ark could not have stayed afloat during a rainstorm of such capacity that earth's highest peaks were submerged. We have historical evidence that the Israelites were never enslaved by the Egyptians as depicted in Exodus. As it currently stands, our understanding of the universe places the necessity and likelihood of a god or gods, to be on about the same footing as the tooth fairy.
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With our current understanding of our place in the world through biology and astrophysics, we are able to make assessments about certain aspects or claims of god. We have mountains of empirical evidence that life is a result of evolution, not specific intentional creation by an omnipotent being as depicted in Genesis. We have mathematical evidence that Noah's ark could not have stayed afloat during a rainstorm of such capacity that earth's highest peaks were submerged. We have historical evidence that the Israelites were never enslaved by the Egyptians as depicted in Exodus. As it currently stands, our understanding of the universe places the necessity and likelihood of a god or gods to be on about the same footing as that of the tooth fairy.
  
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Even if there are several arguments for the existence of god, we have to understand that these do not entail a belief beyond what is argued for. For example, the Cosmological Argument may postulate the need for a cause, which can be called "god."  However we must not assume that it is in any way an argument for the Christian god, a god who answers prayers and counts the number of hair on ones head. In fact most of their arguments only strengthen the Deistic view. Christian and Muslim apologists are good defenders of Diesm but cannot aptly justify the specifics of their beliefs.
  
== Strong Atheism vs.Agnosticism ==
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Many argue not for the existence of the entity known as "God," but rather for the "God-Shaped Hole" humans are said to possess. The God-Shaped Hole or "God part of the Brain" is a non-clinical Psychological term used to define a cluster of neurons that develop supernatural or otherworldly experiences, suggesting ultimately that humans are mistakenly wired into a belief in God.  
  
Strong atheism is the position that we should not suspend judgment about the non-existence of gods.
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Any argument from the side of the Christians must be first verified by themselves in a [[Call for Proof]]. The Bible itself has many determining statements by which we can see that evidence and signs are essential to belief. How can one lay a claim to faith with out the slightest shard of evidence.
Agnosticism is the position that we should suspend judgment on the existence or non-existence of gods.
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If strong atheism is true, then agnosticism is invalid. One can give various strong-atheistic arguments to prove the validity of strong-atheism and therefore disprove agnosticism.
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== See also ==
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* [[Call for Proof]]
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* [[:Category:Arguments for the existence of God|Arguments for the existence of God]]
  
Many agnostics posit that we do not or cannot have any knowledge on the god-concept, and that this their justification for their agnosticism. If one posits that no knowledge is possible, for instance because human beings are too limited for their arguments to have any weight, then one can deny any argument. This is the most popular agnostic position.
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{{Arguments against god}}
  
It is certainly an attractive position, especially for nihilists. If we cannot really know anything, then ignorance is a privileged position.
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[[Category:Arguments]]
 
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[[Category:Arguments against the existence of God]]
While we can argue this from an epistemic standpoint, by affirming the power of science and rational thinking, or by demonstrating why reason is our means to knowledge, there is a very simple way to express the incoherency. Agnosticism, by denying the non-existence of gods, posits that the existence of gods is possible. Starting from this, we must ask agnostics the following:
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How can you derive meaning from a concept you can know nothing about?
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If one presupposes that no knowledge about “god” is possible, including semantic knowledge, then one cannot give any objective meaning to “god”. Therefore the proposition “the existence of gods is possible”, which is part of agnosticism, becomes meaningless, and so is agnosticism made meaningless.
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Another direct and critical problem with such an agnosticism is that it is self-refuting. If we are impotent beings, if we can make no statement of knowledge, then certainly we cannot claim to know this.
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We do not, in fact, need to be unlimited beings in order to make propositions about hypothetical unlimited beings.
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== Aren’t universal negatives impossible to prove? ==
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It is usually assumed that universal negatives cannot be proven. Indeed that is the main complaint heard about strong atheism: that it cannot by definition be proven, because it is a universal negative. Usually this is associated with a pretense of omniscience. The argument is that to say that something does not exist, one needs basically to “look” everywhere, thus be omniscient.
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But on the other hand, we know that no contradiction can exist, because of the laws of logic. But we can make up contradictory entities. For example, the expression “married bachelor”. A bachelor by definition cannot be married, therefore the expression is contradictory. When the term being used is contadictory, the universal negative is true automatically, like “There is no married bachelor”.
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All that is needed to prove such a negative is to show that the concept in question is meaningless or contradictory. For example, an argument often used against the existence of hypothetical gods is the Argument from Evil. In this case, the evidence is that a god must be omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent, and the fact that evil exists. We do not need to know everything to know that evil exists and compare this with a god’s infinite attributes, and yet it is sufficient to argue strong atheism, because it shows that gods are incompatible with our universe.
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Another means to prove a universal negative about the non-existence of X consists of finding a positive which opposes X. For instance, science disproved the existence of phlogiston by demonstrating the scientific fact that combustion is sparked by the existence of a substrate combined with oxygen, and therefore not by phlogiston.
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It is therefore basically a fallacy to say that universal negatives cannot be proven. Indeed that is the main role of logic: proving universal negatives to remove all contradictions from thought. It would be surprising if universal negatives couldn’t be proven.
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“There are actually two ways to prove the nonexistence of something. One way is to prove that it cannot exist because it leads to contradictions (e.g., square circles, married bachelors, etc.). The other way is, in the words of Keith Parsons, “by carefully looking and seeing.” This is how we can know that such things as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Abimonable Snowman, etc. do not exist.”
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-Jeffery Jay Lowder, in “Is a Proof of the Nonexistence of a God Even Possible?”
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In fact, the scientific method only admits for universal negatives – in science, you can only falsify something completely, not confirm it completely. Something is judged to be true because it stands to the test of falsifiability extensively enough to be unassailable. But failing one single test disqualifies a specific principle from being accepted.
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===Notable counter arguments===
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* [[Argument from nonbelief]]
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* [[Ultimate 747 Gambit]]
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* [[Problem of evil]]
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* [[Euthyphro dilemma]]
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* [[Three O paradox]]
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* [[Moral Argument Against The Existence of God]]
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* [[Evolution]]
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* [[Argument from Non-Cognitivism]]
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* [[Argument from the Necessity of Naturalism]]
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* [[Argument from poor design]]
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* [[Argument from Scale]]
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* [[Argument from the Hartle-Hawking Model]]
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* [[Argument from Quantum Physics]]
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* [[Big bang Cosmological Argument Against Omniscience]]
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* [[A Cosmological Argument for a Self-Caused Universe]]
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* [[Modal Ontological Arguments against the existence of God]]
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* [[Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God]]
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* [[Impossibility of Actual Infinity against God]]
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* [[Argument from Virtue against God]]
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* [[Incoherency of Divine Creation]]
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* [[Impossibility of Divine Intervention]]
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* [[Process-Based Non-Cognitivism]]
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* [[Argument from Mind-Brain Dependence]]
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* [[No-reason argument]]
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* [[Biblical value of pi]]
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* [[Argument from locality]] 
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* [[Occam's Razor]]
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* [[Argument from inconsistent revelations]]
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* [[Moral Argument for Atheism]]
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* [[Argument From the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics]]
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* [[The Cartoon Universe of Theism]]
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* [[The Self-Contradiction of Jesus]]
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* [[Argument from the Fact of Existence]]
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* [[Problem of Hell]]
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* [[The Impossibility of the Revelation of the Qur’an]]
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* [[Multi-Dimensional Argument]]
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* [[Problems with petitionary prayer]]
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* [[Argument from Moral Autonomy]]
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{{Arguments against god}}
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Revision as of 15:58, 23 May 2011

Arguments against the existence of god

Overview

God claims

There are an infinite possible number of interpretations of the idea of "god" and even of religion. Over a thousand different denominations of Christianity alone, all with their different beliefs on who or what god is. Surely it would be impossible to rule them all out. However if we zero in and examine a theistic claim about a specific god's nature or character, we can draw certain conclusions based on what we've learned about the world through the systematic observations and testing of reality known as science. Despite the theistic assertions that god cannot be caged by science, these specific claims made by the theist can be assessed. As our understanding of the world has increased through science, the gaps that god is able to inhabit have gotten smaller and smaller. With every additional piece of information we learn about the world, the more the constraints tighten on what a god could have or can do. This is perhaps best stated in Stephen Hawking's a brief history of time.

Stephen Hawking in A brief history of time c.1988

"One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterward in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!"

With our current understanding of our place in the world through biology and astrophysics, we are able to make assessments about certain aspects or claims of god. We have mountains of empirical evidence that life is a result of evolution, not specific intentional creation by an omnipotent being as depicted in Genesis. We have mathematical evidence that Noah's ark could not have stayed afloat during a rainstorm of such capacity that earth's highest peaks were submerged. We have historical evidence that the Israelites were never enslaved by the Egyptians as depicted in Exodus. As it currently stands, our understanding of the universe places the necessity and likelihood of a god or gods to be on about the same footing as that of the tooth fairy.

Even if there are several arguments for the existence of god, we have to understand that these do not entail a belief beyond what is argued for. For example, the Cosmological Argument may postulate the need for a cause, which can be called "god." However we must not assume that it is in any way an argument for the Christian god, a god who answers prayers and counts the number of hair on ones head. In fact most of their arguments only strengthen the Deistic view. Christian and Muslim apologists are good defenders of Diesm but cannot aptly justify the specifics of their beliefs.

Many argue not for the existence of the entity known as "God," but rather for the "God-Shaped Hole" humans are said to possess. The God-Shaped Hole or "God part of the Brain" is a non-clinical Psychological term used to define a cluster of neurons that develop supernatural or otherworldly experiences, suggesting ultimately that humans are mistakenly wired into a belief in God.

Any argument from the side of the Christians must be first verified by themselves in a Call for Proof. The Bible itself has many determining statements by which we can see that evidence and signs are essential to belief. How can one lay a claim to faith with out the slightest shard of evidence.

See also


v · d Arguments against the existence of god
Existential arguments   Argument from nonbelief · Who created God? · Turtles all the way down · Problem of non-God objects · Argument from incompatible attributes · No-reason argument · Santa Claus argument · Can God create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it? · Outsider test
Arguments from the Bible   Failed Prophecy · Biblical contradictions
Evidentiary arguments   Argument from the attributes of God
Reasonableness arguments   Occam's Razor · Outsider test · Argument from locality · Argument from inconsistent revelations
Other arguments   Emotional pleas against the existence of God
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