Monday, 1 September 2014

What proof or evidence is there for the claim: 'God does not exist?'

Atheists believe that there is no God, so surely they should have a straight forward answer to this basic question.

Apparently not...

I've posted this question in a number of places, usually with the added explanation that I'm not asking for any rebuttal of evidence that God does exist. I simply want to learn the case for the truth of the claim 'There is no God'.

Here are some answers I've had back.

These guys both use the classic dodge. When their 'atheism' is challenged, they fall back to agnostic atheism, which in their minds mean that they don't have to defend their position at all.
They're wrong obviously.
The default position is just 'agnostic' on its own i.e. sitting on the fence, not convinced either way, not enough knowledge to make a judgement call. As soon as you throw 'atheism' into the mix, you're falling in with the 'God is not real' crowd, and that needs some kind of justification.
There is nothing wrong with being unsure or saying that you don't know. Nothing at all about admitting agnosticism. It's only when you move away from the fence and sit in a camp that you have to defend your claims. Calling yourself an atheist means you are in a camp.
See the difference between atheism and agnosticism here.

Well this doesn't begin to answer the question even remotely. I specifically asked for a positive case for the claim 'there is no God'. So this fella attacks Yahweh specifically - in what's actually a really odd way.
First off he claims that all gods have been invented, but doesn't provide any support of that. Then says people chose the one that they liked best and began worshipping him.
Basically, the ancients lined up their version of the DC universe and decided, "Well Superman is the most powerful, I guess we better follow him". I suppose Buddhists went with Batman, and Hindus enjoyed the Teen Titans best. Probably best I don't put too much thought into that analogy.

Any answer you'd get is completely relative, because there's no proof that exists or not, however, if we talk based on the various religions and on what they say there are a considered number of unanswered questions and doubts, but that is also relative.
The answers would be relative to what? Is he talking about personal experience? OK then, maybe. But relative opinions don't have bearing on truth claims, so that's a whole line of pointlessness to go into.

At least this guy admitted that there is no proof that exists. That's honest enough. But then, why believe that there is no god if there's no reason to? It's madness.

Finally, even after I had stated that I didn't want to hear rebuttals of evidence for the existence of God, this guy still wants to talk about various religions. Unanswered questions and doubts? Yeah we might have them about the details of particular faiths, but the doubts don't outweigh or disprove the heavy amount of evidence we have for the big claims of God's reality. A small doubt is no reason to throw out a theory in science, so why should it be any different for this?

As long as humans believe there is a God or Gods in whatever form he/she/they take, God will exist in their eyes and no scientific proof is going to make them believe otherwise. Science has been pointing to theories like Darwinism (Evolution), the Big Bang Theory and many other theories over centuries. It doesn't matter how much evidence they show to support their theories, strict Creationists will refute them and choose not to believe them.  Many people that are classified by the religious establishment as atheists would classify themselves as agnostic if the word was in more common use. An agnostic believes that it's simply not possible to prove that a God or gods exist or don't exist and, therefore, they neither have faith or disbelieve. They're indifferent to religion and worship.

No scientific proof will convince believers otherwise? That's a pretty generalised claim to make. I'm pretty sure that if someone could show me how a universe could sprout from nothingness I'd drop my faith. This claim seemingly outright ignores (or is ignorant of) the scientific evidence that supports God's existence. I suppose if the commenter knew about it, they'd convert immediately, seeing as science is their guide to the world.

I have to wonder though how much science they understand. She makes the claims that Darwinism and the Big Bang disprove God's existence. Seeing as the Big Bang actually supports the reality of God, and that Darwinism is far from proven itself, these claims haven't got a leg to stand on.

Besides, I said in the first place I was looking for any support for the claim 'There is no God', NOT 'why are religious people too stupid to believe in science?' Why the picking out of Creationists? I never mentioned them and I definitely didn't say that I was one. I guess mentioning Darwinism and the Big Bang were supposed to be the evidence I was asking for, but on those she's BANG wrong.

Then she goes on to say that religious people classify non-believers as atheists. That's a new one to me. Every atheist I've ever had a discussion with makes it pretty obvious what label they want to wear. It's more often that we have to tell atheists that they are agnostics if they really are sitting on the fence and not making any knowledge or belief claims. I'm not going to touch on her definition of agnosticism, some people go with that and I guess it fits, but it's not the generally used meaning.

It is not easy to prove a negative.  For example, if I claim that God has appeared to me only and no body can find any evidence of this: no photos, no change in EEG, nothing but my statement, it could still be so because God could make it so. I might not be believed but no body could prove I was wrong.  Proof that God exists is equally faulty. Stating that the proof is everywhere around us is not proof, just a statement. There are physical explanations for everything that is supposedly God's work.

It's plenty easy to prove a negative.

"There is not twelve thousand pounds in my pocket."
*checks pocket. It's empty.*

Negative proven.

So the example he gives is that if he makes a claim that God spoke to him and there was no evidence to support that claim, it could still be true. Yeah, that's true. So the only evidence we have is his word that it happened. So then we ask some questions: "Is this guy a reliable source?", "Is he a known liar/fraudster?", "Has he always been religious or superstitious and liable to think something is God when it might just be a figment of his imagination?".
Investigation can be done. It might not be conclusive based on the testimony of one person, but we've got an option to explore. If it was the case that only one person in all of history had made this claim, then he could be telling the truth, but it might not be reasonable for anyone else to put all their faith in his words until we learn more.

He then goes on to claim that the actual evidence that exists in the world is exactly the same as his example of one madman shouting in the wind. Millions of believers, historical eye witness testimonies, scientific support and the rest puts real faith into an entirely different league.

Physical explanations for everything that is 'supposedly' God's work? Another one showing their weak hand when it comes to understanding current science.

There is absolutely no proof that God does not exist, however there is a good deal of proof that the Bible is wrong, and as such the Christian God, as described in the Bible, and as relating to Christ and God being the same entity, is not correct.  There is no proof that God is real, and equally no proof that God is not real, or that there are not multiple "Gods" as some religions believe.  We know the Bible is false because it is full of contradictions and if there is even one error in it then it is false and must be disregarded, however there are many contradictions and errors. Many of the bible stories predated Christianity and were altered versions of earlier pagan legends. For example the whole virgin birth thing was from the birth of Mitrhas the sun god, and walking on water was not a new thing either.  Nobody can prove or disprove God, we must accept that.

Good start. Honest admission that there is no proof. Nice. (So why believe it?)

Straight into a set of unsupportable claims... no proof that God is real (yawn)... could be multiple gods (sigh)... Bible is full of contradictions (name one, it might help)...

"If there is even one error in it then it is false". Hold up hold up hold up! What gives you that idea? Are you one of those people who think God himself took a pen and wrote the Bible with his own hand? If you are I can understand your confusion, but then it's common knowledge that the Bible was written by preachers and prophets, so you're wrong. Human error can slip into one of the 66 books and not somehow make the whole anthology false. It's unlikely that an error would even make one book false! Would you throw out the Encyclopaedia Brittanica just because it had a typo?

Followed by the old Jesus-is-just-like-Mithras ploy. You're just embarrassing yourself with that one. A small amount of historical reading would straighten that out.

Finishing on a nice closing statement that again has nothing to stand on. It's like giving up before even trying.

 At least Mr Truth attempted to make an actual argument for atheism. It's a shame it's nonsense.
The conclusion does follow from the two premises, making it soundly structured, but the problem is that P1 (premise one) has no factual support. The laws of nature are immaterial, but we know they aren't imaginary, so the argument falls flat.

It's actually worse than that. Having spoken to Mr Truth a few times, I can tell you it's also a barrel of fallacies.
First off, Mr Truth says that immaterial things are imaginary, because he believes that the words mean the same thing. He has said in the past on separate occasions that 'immaterial', 'imaginary', 'abstract', 'fictional', and 'pretend' all mean exactly the same thing. It's supported here where he says that God only exists inside people's brains.
So really his argument says:
P1. All imaginary things are imaginary.
P2. God is imaginary.
C. Therefore God is imaginary.
Well, that's just a whole dumb mess.

I worded this question slightly differently. I said "What reason is there to believe the claim 'There is no God'?", but it's the same thing.
Here's another one we run into a lot. People who think the word 'believe' means that you really know that it's not true and you're just pretending. I don't know where they get this stuff.
I believe that when I walk on the floor it will support my weight. I believe that when I eat food I will stop being hungry. I believe that it hurts when I stub my toe.
Sure, I can believe in something and not be certain about it. I believe there is probably life on other planets. I base that on probability rather than any hard evidence. I could be right or wrong.
There's nothing about belief though that automatically means whatever you believe in is not true. That's absurd.

Then some sort of almost incoherent rant about how we should stop thinking about this stuff because we will never know the truth. I don't want to call it too harshly - maybe English isn't this guy's first language.

 "By definition, faith" By whose definition? Yours I suppose. Faith doesn't have to be about spiritual things or God. Faith is basically another word for 'trust'. You have faith in your husband or wife, faith in your family, faith that Ireland will win the Eurovision again. Maybe it doesn't need proof, but it can be backed up by endless heaps of evidence.

This one essentially adds up to another dodge of the question.

"One can present reasons which logically would dictate that God is a fiction."
Great! That's what I'm looking for! Give me an example! 
Oh... you're not going to? You're going to refuse because you think some believer is going to poopoo it with some sort of refusal to accept real logic? 
I like the way they use the royal 'we' and 'our' as though it's what everyone does and thinks. Yeah, everyone obviously knows that God is a "mean, evil SOB", so you're an idiot for being in the minority that doesn't...

So by this guy's thinking, God is evil. How does that prove that he doesn't exist again?

So there are ways to disprove aspects of religions. Ok. Don't bother with an example or anything. Seriously, don't. That's not what I asked for. I don't need religion for God to exist.

You can't give me an answer to my question. Ok great. Thanks for the help.

Default position of disbelief? The null hypothesis? Pretty dumb...