question about atheism and certainty
Good evening R.R.S. I just watched a bit of that Nightline debate and I'm sad that you weren't even challenged. Pretty much, you squashed their arguments like a cockroach. Maybe one day the theist position will have a good pair of minds to do some mental sword-play with you (and actually use tenable scientific evidence and not bad analogies.)
I have a question for you that has nothing to do with pushing theism or challenging atheism. The question is whether atheists (and forgive me, I'm generalizing) believe that the non-existence of God can be proved/demonstrated/argued/scientifically verified/etc. with certainty? Often, it seems like a lot of atheists I speak with or have read articles from, tend to come off sounding rather certain that God doesn't exist. This to me seems like a breech in the scientific and philosophical skepticism for an atheist to hold with certainty the non-existence of God.
Now granted, you may reply that the evidence is highly in favor of there not being a God. You may also say: "yes, it may not be certain that God doesn't exist, but are you certain that there isn't a elephant in your apartment right now?" I understand the reply you may be getting at, and you would also force me to admit that no, I am not certain that there isn't an elephant in my apartment (assuming that I'm currently away from my apartment and unable to verify the existence or non-existence of an elephant in my apartment.) I accept this point and grant you that there are many reduction tactics an atheist may use to say that this isn't proof for God. I understand this and I believe that there cannot be any proofs for the existence of God (because I feel all proofs of God are BAD/WEAK/HORRIBLE/REFUTABLE) I mean isn't that why theistic belief rightfully rests on faith? If the existence of God could be proven, then why would we need faith? Sorry for going off on a tangent, back to certainty and atheism.
The skepticism I have towards certainty is derived from David Hume's philosophical works concerning skepticism in the Enquiry. He is as you know a great philosopher and an empiricist to the core. He also happened to remain an atheist to his death. I don't want to assert any claims concerning theism. I am merely questioning the presumed certainty element pertaining to atheistic beliefs. (Again, forgive me for generalizing atheists as holding this tenet. I would be glad to hear that most don't assert certainty.) I merely want to point out, that certainty would have no place in a scientific and/or empiricist set of judgments. Furthermore,as I do hold the theist position, I in no way claim that my belief goes anywhere scientifically beyond probability (with arguable evidence). Ultimately, I want to see if atheists would make their claim for the non-existence of God associating mere probability to go along with the abundance of evidence.
If you disagree then please attack my argument/reasoning/assertions/generalizations/stupidity, not my personal beliefs. I look forward to replies from the most formidable community of atheists on the internet.
*disclaimer: I also want to apologize for uniting all atheists into one big lump. I understand that atheists share in diversity and uniqueness. Please regard my understanding of atheism merely as using the fundamental assertion that there is no God.*
The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller
Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat