Talk:Arguments against the existence of god

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== Atrocities committed by Yahweh ==
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I haven't found any section on this. I would say this is an argument against religion. I often, if not always, bring up some of the horrible things Yahweh is doing to people or force people to do to others. I don't think it's just an argument with an appeal to emotion, I think it's a clear sign that Yahweh is not good in any way. And I think this is, so far for me, the best counter-argument when apologetics try to dodge by basically throwing out the Old Testament and say that that was then, and this is now.
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It's amazing how they can justify all the atrocities that the OT speaks about by just saying Yahweh changed his mind. Like that makes him more benevolent. Does anyone have any idea on where this article should be put if it were created? [[User:DukeTwicep|Duke]] 18:30, 8 September 2011 (CDT)
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== Mentioning purpose ==
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Shoudn't we mention the purpose of these arguments? Why do atheists argue God's non-existence and get involved in debates even when they are not challenged by believers? --Wissam hemadeh
 
Shoudn't we mention the purpose of these arguments? Why do atheists argue God's non-existence and get involved in debates even when they are not challenged by believers? --Wissam hemadeh
 
:Go ahead. Keep these two things in mind:
 
:Go ahead. Keep these two things in mind:
Line 78: Line 85:
 
:One need not necessarily claim knowledge that no gods exist to hold the belief that there are none. I think you'll find that most of us are stating our disbelief, not making a claim to knowledge.
 
:One need not necessarily claim knowledge that no gods exist to hold the belief that there are none. I think you'll find that most of us are stating our disbelief, not making a claim to knowledge.
  
::I apologize, but I'm not sure I understand you correctly. First, if atheists question belief, isn't atheism in itself a belief? Perhaps this is why I'm agnostic, but how can one formulate a belief based on no claim to knowledge--or evidence?  
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::I apologize, but I'm not sure I understand you correctly. First, if atheists question belief, isn't atheism in itself a belief? Perhaps this is why I'm agnostic, but how can one formulate a belief or notion based on no claim or backing from knowledge--or evidence?
--[[User:Lennybird|Lennybird]] 10:44, 4 August 2010 (CDT)
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::Or are you saying that agnosticism and atheism are incomparable?
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::--[[User:Lennybird|Lennybird]] 10:44, 4 August 2010 (CDT)
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:::The second one. I apologize if I wasn't clear enough. Maybe these tables will clear it up:
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:::How it's being presented:
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:::{| border="1"
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|-
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! colspan="2" | Do you believe?
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|-
 +
! Yes
 +
| Theist
 +
|-
 +
! I don't know
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| Agnostic
 +
|-
 +
! No
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| Atheist
 +
|}
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:::But that is a sort of straw man made up by Christians. Theism and gnosticism are two separate questions:
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:::{| border="1"
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|-
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! colspan="2" rowspan="2" |
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! colspan="2" | Do you believe?
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|-
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! Yes
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! Anything other than yes
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|-
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! rowspan="2" | Do you know?
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! Yes
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| Gnostic theist
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| Gnostic atheist
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|-
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! Anything other than yes
 +
| Agnostic theist
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| Agnostic atheist
 +
|}
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:::So if someone asks "do you believe?", theism is when you say yes. Atheism isn't necessarily when you say no, it's when you don't say yes. And gnosticism is a different question.
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:::To confuse the matter further, there are also levels of certainty in both belief and knowledge. "I don't believe in god" and "I believe there is no god" are two distinct positions of belief, but neither necessarily makes one a gnostic or agnostic. But I'm not going to go into that on this talk page - there's a whole article on it here somewhere.
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:::--[[User:Jaban|Jaban]] 02:46, 17 August 2010 (CDT)
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:I'd also like to respond to the quote...
 
:I'd also like to respond to the quote...
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:--[[User:Jaban|Jaban]] 23:50, 2 August 2010 (CDT)
 
:--[[User:Jaban|Jaban]] 23:50, 2 August 2010 (CDT)
  
::I can agree with that; absence of evidence is not proof of the absence, but absence of evidence is some degree of evidence based on our current ::knowledge. Couldn't one theorize that God just doesn't want to be found, and this could be entirely discredited as evidence? In any case, it's ::insufficient evidence alone. You mention that this isn't all we have to go on, what else is there? As far as I understand, atheists rely on the ::absence of evidence to justify their position, I haven't heard other arguments.
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::I can agree with that; absence of evidence is not proof of the absence, but absence of evidence is some degree of evidence based on our current knowledge. Couldn't one theorize that God just doesn't want to be found, and this could be entirely discredited as evidence? In any case, it's insufficient evidence alone. You mention that this isn't all we have to go on, what else is there? As far as I understand, atheists rely on the absence of evidence to justify their position, I haven't heard other arguments.
  
 
::Couldn't I merely say that there is an absence of evidence that God doesn't exist? I suppose we have to define what amount of evidence is substantial enough.
 
::Couldn't I merely say that there is an absence of evidence that God doesn't exist? I suppose we have to define what amount of evidence is substantial enough.
 
::--[[User:Lennybird|Lennybird]] 10:38, 4 August 2010 (CDT)
 
::--[[User:Lennybird|Lennybird]] 10:38, 4 August 2010 (CDT)
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:::You could, but then I could say that there is an equally valid absence of evidence that Thor isn't real. If the same logic could apply to an infinite number of invented claims, we generally place the burden of proof on those who make the claim.
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:::I don't want to write a ten-page article on a talk page about justifications for not believing. Plenty of others have done that - you just have to look. I hope you're okay with just a short list with no explanation:
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:::* The consistent replacement of unjustified supernatural explanations about the operation of the natural world with observationally verified natural explanations.
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:::* The lack of a specific description of any god's interaction with the natural world, other than those interactions which have been being consistently replaced with natural explanations.
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:::* Religion's tendency to explain the world using the worst science available, along with the tendency of credulous believers to think it is the best science available.
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:::* The evolution of supernatural explanations to fit with the changing zeitgeist. If any of it were true, supernatural explanations should not have to be adapted to suit peoples' changing beliefs.
 +
:::* The failure of religion to improve its own understanding of the natural world.
 +
:::* The failure, under the simplest scrutiny, of any sufficiently precise definition of a god.
 +
:::* The geographical and societal positioning of various belief systems.
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:::* The failure of believers to provide any justification for belief in '''their''' god. What they commonly claim as justification is a holy book which provides justification (albeit poor) for belief in a vastly different god from the one they believe in.
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:::* The historical baggage associated with belief in any god.
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::::E.g. By what right do you claim your god is the same god Moses worshiped, if the actions and opinions you attribute to your god are vastly different from those Moses wrote about his? If you claim the history as justification, then the difference between the historical beliefs and your beliefs do matter.
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:::* The vested interest leaders of religions have, and have always had, in placating those paying their bills, as lacking as their answers to profound questions might be when placed under scrutiny.
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:::I might add more to this list later, or provide clarification. But I don't have a lot of time.
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:::--[[User:Jaban|Jaban]] 02:46, 17 August 2010 (CDT)
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== Multiplicity of religions as an argument against god ==
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This page opens with ''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.''
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 +
I would propose this as itself a strong argument against any kind of interventionist god (not the deist's spectator god). Any religion that claims knowledge of a god that hears prayer or has any interest in human behavior, must explain how it is that at least 2/3 of the world's population believes in a radically different description of god or gods. Any religion founded on a revealed text, must explain how it is that at least 2/3 of the world finds their text irrelevant and honors a different one.
 +
 +
The fraction 2/3 is based on (http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html), where all types of christianity are amalgamated into one block at 33% of the world. In fact this is wrong as it includes the LDS, who have a different scripture (the book of mormon) from christians, and several other sects (christian science, adventists) who are only barely christian. Most religions need to explain why 3/4 to 90% of the world conceive a different idea of god or see god(s) as having a quite different relationship to man.
 +
 +
The intro to this page says, "Surely it would be impossible to rule them all out," but in fact, this is a powerful argument against the truth of ''any'' god-belief. The many religions rule each other out by their existence.
 +
 +
Perhaps these facts could best be integrated into the "Argument from nonbelief" page?

Latest revision as of 17:30, 8 September 2011

Contents

Atrocities committed by Yahweh

I haven't found any section on this. I would say this is an argument against religion. I often, if not always, bring up some of the horrible things Yahweh is doing to people or force people to do to others. I don't think it's just an argument with an appeal to emotion, I think it's a clear sign that Yahweh is not good in any way. And I think this is, so far for me, the best counter-argument when apologetics try to dodge by basically throwing out the Old Testament and say that that was then, and this is now. It's amazing how they can justify all the atrocities that the OT speaks about by just saying Yahweh changed his mind. Like that makes him more benevolent. Does anyone have any idea on where this article should be put if it were created? Duke 18:30, 8 September 2011 (CDT)

Mentioning purpose

Shoudn't we mention the purpose of these arguments? Why do atheists argue God's non-existence and get involved in debates even when they are not challenged by believers? --Wissam hemadeh

Go ahead. Keep these two things in mind:
  • A direct challenge by a believer is not the only thing that warrants a debate. Lobbying a political candidate for legal reform that would favour a particular religious belief is a challenge to debate that belief and the basis on which it stands.
  • Some people argue for entertainment :)
--Jaban 14:44, 3 March 2010 (CST)

Where did all the arguments go? There was a long list of arguments on this page.--wissam hemadeh 13:31, 27 June 2010 (CDT)

Consider these arguments against God's existence

Ultimate 747 Gambit

Evolution

Modal Ontological Argument against God

Scientific Mistakes in Bible/qur'an

Immoralities in Bible/Qur'an

Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God

Kalam argument for atheists

argument from poor design

There are much more. I'll be getting at you some time soon. Anyway, some of these are found nn iron chariots wiki, just search. I don't know how to transfer them to this category.

http://www.strongatheism.net/library/atheology/

--wissam hemadeh 15:09, 6 March 2010 (CST)

Also, an outstanding book to read by Michael Martin: Atheism: A Philosophical Justification

http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/672_reg_print.html

--wissam hemadeh 15:16, 6 March 2010 (CST)

Universal Negatives

There are some issues under the heading "Aren't universal negatives impossible to prove?". Although it is true that they can be proven by showing that they contradict logic or are inherently meaningless concepts, the rest of the article is pretty well wrong. For example, the case give is the phlogiston. Although scientists have found something that does what a phlogiston was supposed to do, they have merely demonstrated a lack of both evidence and necessity for the phlogiston theory. Occams razor would therefore lead us to believe it does not exist. This, however, does NOT provide EVIDENCE that the phlogiston does not exist, nor does it prove that it does not exist. It merely demonstrates a LACK of evidence for the positive assertion, rather than providing evidence for the negative. Occam's razor, while being a valid tool when considering what position to take or what belief is most probable, does NOT constitute evidence; it instead operates on a lack of evidence.

Along the same lines, the argument that "This is how we can know that such things as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Abimonable Snowman, etc. do not exist" is also fallacious. We do NOT know that such things do not exist and we have no evidence that they do not exist. All we have is a lack of evidence that they do exist. The fact that many instances have been shownn to be frauds does not operate as evidence for the assertion that they do not exist. The fact operates as a counter to positive evidence that they do exist, but cannot itself operate as evidence.


Suggested reading: Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery

~~Jeremie Choquette, Physics Student at McMaster University

Strong Atheism vs. Agnosticism Argument

Is this section regarding the existence of a particular God, or a man-made religion based God? Or is it refuting the entire possibility of a God?

The argument against agnosticism is flawed.

The Atheist Writer Claims: If one lacks understanding or is incapable of such high comprehension--as animals cannot put 2&2 together beyond their basic instincts as we humans can do--then how can they argue the original point in the first place--that there may or may not be a God?

My Agnostic Perspective: Because I know the gas tank either contains fuel, or does not--but unsure of which without checking the gauge, then which answer is defaulted? Neither until further variables are found (such as checking the gauge). At our current level of logical understanding, either a God exists, or a God does not; thus, without proof from either viewpoint, one cannot pick a side.

Also, consider the logical fallacy, Ad Ignorantium: "The absence of evidence is not evidence."

Consider also how people view strangers. A stranger is neither good, nor bad necessarily (merely assumed bad in pursuit of being safer than sorry). An agnostic stands neutral, claiming it is impossible to know whether a God exists or not based on the given circumstances. Further, science cannot directly prove, but only theorize on how the universe and life was created--which is not much better than faith given its position in the scientific method.


Atheist: No proof that God exists. This inhibits an open mind.

Agnostic: No proof that God doesn't exist*. Thus, the possibility is kept open.

  • Given the findings based on science, it is not enough to convince me that the universe came into any existence based on any other particular means. While science may find an approach to the universe being created outside of the realm of time (stripping the "beginnings," and the "ends"), both intelligent design and scientific theories are all just that--theories.

--Lennybird

Please sign your talk comments. The icon is second from the right, above the comment box.


Your definitions of atheist and agnostic are mistaken. They are not part of a three-level system of belief (theism, agnosticism, atheism), they address different questions.
  • Theism/atheism addresses the question of belief.
  • Gnosticism/agnosticism addresses the question of knowledge.
One need not necessarily claim knowledge that no gods exist to hold the belief that there are none. I think you'll find that most of us are stating our disbelief, not making a claim to knowledge.
I apologize, but I'm not sure I understand you correctly. First, if atheists question belief, isn't atheism in itself a belief? Perhaps this is why I'm agnostic, but how can one formulate a belief or notion based on no claim or backing from knowledge--or evidence?
Or are you saying that agnosticism and atheism are incomparable?
--Lennybird 10:44, 4 August 2010 (CDT)
The second one. I apologize if I wasn't clear enough. Maybe these tables will clear it up:
How it's being presented:
Do you believe?
Yes Theist
I don't know Agnostic
No Atheist
But that is a sort of straw man made up by Christians. Theism and gnosticism are two separate questions:
Do you believe?
Yes Anything other than yes
Do you know? Yes Gnostic theist Gnostic atheist
Anything other than yes Agnostic theist Agnostic atheist
So if someone asks "do you believe?", theism is when you say yes. Atheism isn't necessarily when you say no, it's when you don't say yes. And gnosticism is a different question.
To confuse the matter further, there are also levels of certainty in both belief and knowledge. "I don't believe in god" and "I believe there is no god" are two distinct positions of belief, but neither necessarily makes one a gnostic or agnostic. But I'm not going to go into that on this talk page - there's a whole article on it here somewhere.
--Jaban 02:46, 17 August 2010 (CDT)


I'd also like to respond to the quote...
It's not true that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Sure it is. It's not proof of absence, but it is evidence. I'll admit that it's fair to say that the absence of evidence alone is not sufficient justification to reject an idea. But you make it sound like that's all we have to go on, and that's simply not true.
--Jaban 23:50, 2 August 2010 (CDT)
I can agree with that; absence of evidence is not proof of the absence, but absence of evidence is some degree of evidence based on our current knowledge. Couldn't one theorize that God just doesn't want to be found, and this could be entirely discredited as evidence? In any case, it's insufficient evidence alone. You mention that this isn't all we have to go on, what else is there? As far as I understand, atheists rely on the absence of evidence to justify their position, I haven't heard other arguments.
Couldn't I merely say that there is an absence of evidence that God doesn't exist? I suppose we have to define what amount of evidence is substantial enough.
--Lennybird 10:38, 4 August 2010 (CDT)
You could, but then I could say that there is an equally valid absence of evidence that Thor isn't real. If the same logic could apply to an infinite number of invented claims, we generally place the burden of proof on those who make the claim.
I don't want to write a ten-page article on a talk page about justifications for not believing. Plenty of others have done that - you just have to look. I hope you're okay with just a short list with no explanation:
  • The consistent replacement of unjustified supernatural explanations about the operation of the natural world with observationally verified natural explanations.
  • The lack of a specific description of any god's interaction with the natural world, other than those interactions which have been being consistently replaced with natural explanations.
  • Religion's tendency to explain the world using the worst science available, along with the tendency of credulous believers to think it is the best science available.
  • The evolution of supernatural explanations to fit with the changing zeitgeist. If any of it were true, supernatural explanations should not have to be adapted to suit peoples' changing beliefs.
  • The failure of religion to improve its own understanding of the natural world.
  • The failure, under the simplest scrutiny, of any sufficiently precise definition of a god.
  • The geographical and societal positioning of various belief systems.
  • The failure of believers to provide any justification for belief in their god. What they commonly claim as justification is a holy book which provides justification (albeit poor) for belief in a vastly different god from the one they believe in.
  • The historical baggage associated with belief in any god.
E.g. By what right do you claim your god is the same god Moses worshiped, if the actions and opinions you attribute to your god are vastly different from those Moses wrote about his? If you claim the history as justification, then the difference between the historical beliefs and your beliefs do matter.
  • The vested interest leaders of religions have, and have always had, in placating those paying their bills, as lacking as their answers to profound questions might be when placed under scrutiny.
I might add more to this list later, or provide clarification. But I don't have a lot of time.
--Jaban 02:46, 17 August 2010 (CDT)

Multiplicity of religions as an argument against god

This page opens with 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.

I would propose this as itself a strong argument against any kind of interventionist god (not the deist's spectator god). Any religion that claims knowledge of a god that hears prayer or has any interest in human behavior, must explain how it is that at least 2/3 of the world's population believes in a radically different description of god or gods. Any religion founded on a revealed text, must explain how it is that at least 2/3 of the world finds their text irrelevant and honors a different one.

The fraction 2/3 is based on (http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html), where all types of christianity are amalgamated into one block at 33% of the world. In fact this is wrong as it includes the LDS, who have a different scripture (the book of mormon) from christians, and several other sects (christian science, adventists) who are only barely christian. Most religions need to explain why 3/4 to 90% of the world conceive a different idea of god or see god(s) as having a quite different relationship to man.

The intro to this page says, "Surely it would be impossible to rule them all out," but in fact, this is a powerful argument against the truth of any god-belief. The many religions rule each other out by their existence.

Perhaps these facts could best be integrated into the "Argument from nonbelief" page?

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