I used to be a Bible discussion group leader, but in the early 90's, I threw out everything I believed, adopted a more skeptical and more open perspective, and within three years, I began calling myself an atheist, which means that I do not have any beliefs in God, gods, magic, or anything supernatural, and that I have investigated, and I am confident that it is unlikely that any believers have any compelling evidence or arguments (that they are willing to share)—although I am always open to new evidence—especially evidence of the extraordinary (e.g. one of my favorite shows is Ancient Aliens).
Can I prove that there is no god and that one will never be discovered?
As I said in Science Explained, science doesn't actually prove a theory is true. Science can only prove that a falsifiable theory is false. Instead of proving that a falsifiable theory is true, science maximizes the probability that a falsifiable theory is true. In other words, a true scientist (anyone who adheres to the philosophy of science) would never believe that, in the strictest context, a theory is 100% proven (which would mean that it will never be disproven). For example, one cannot ever prove that one has considered all the variables and that the discovery of a new variable will not later falsify a seemingly proven theory.
However, philosophers/scientists will often express 100% certainty, and not just because they feel it (certainty is an emotion), but because the context is rarely the strictest context, and because the audience might actually be mislead to hear less than 100% certainty.
We are genetically programmed to dismiss anyone who expresses less than 100% certainty. For example, at work I am often an expert among non-experts, but if I express less than 100% certainty (which I do all the time) or provide no guarantee (which I rarely provide), then the non-experts will often dismiss what I am saying—as if I am wrong and/or incompetent—as if they are qualified to make that judgement. Now consider that most people will believe the absurdities spouted by confident people on TV.
Not everyone is the same, but many will interpret any uncertainty as a 50% probability. Therefore, if the probability is 99.9999999999%, then expressing uncertainty would be very misleading to those individuals and will be at least somewhat misleading to just about everyone.
Therefore, one must express certainty regarding important knowledge that has a 99.9999999999% chance of being correct—especially if the alternative can lead to significant suffering.
Next we must consider that "God, gods, magic, and the supernatural" refers to any explanation of the extraordinary other than: aliens, AI, nature, technology, superior humans, illusion, deception, error, conspiracy, or a simulated universe. It is irrational to invent God, gods, magic, and the supernatural unless one has disproven all of these other rational explanations.
"gods" is the easiest one to address. Although I think there is no compelling evidence for "gods", even if there were compelling ironclad evidence that some things exist that could be described as "gods", it is more rational to simply explain it as aliens, AI, etc. It seems impossible to prove that gods are anything else. For example, even if we could somehow prove that such "gods" had powers beyond what any aliens could rationally do (e.g. moving galaxies), then we could explain them as the possibility that we are in a simulation, and that they are AI empowered by the simulation software (e.g. part of the simulation software) to perform such miraculous acts, but I wouldn't call them gods—other than perhaps as a convenience of language.
Now let's address "God".
Let's warm up with this thought: There could be some first cause of everything (beyond our universe), and it may even have a will and may even still exist, but if we know nothing about it, and if it and doesn't know about us or care about us or impact us, then why do we care, and why should we care? I don't even see anyone telling us we should care, or worship, or change our behavior in any way because of such a "God". Humanity (perhaps our whole universe) might be as unknown to such a God as some ant hill that cropped up in a corner of my property that I haven't visited in 10 years. Such a "God" would be a non-issue for our daily lives.
The minimum qualifications of "God" are thus:
- first cause of everything
- has a will
- must not be dependent on other wills/minds
- has infinite power
- has infinite knowledge
- is infinitely good
- is perfect
- knows we exist
- has intentionally created our universe
- has intentionally created us
- still exists to this day
- cares about humanity
- cares about each one of us
Note that "requires worship" is not in the list. A "God" that requires worship is not infinitely good, and is not perfect.
To be clear, we could imagine "God" being all of these things, and requiring worship because he is less than perfect and less than infinitely good. Of course, we should then kiss his ass, just as we kiss the ass of those who are above the law—because we don't want to die—or worse, but there should be limits to what we accept—even if it means the extinction of humanity. In fact, if we accepted an atrocity that scrubbed those genes that constitute the Soul of Humanity from the gene pool, then humanity would in fact have become extinct, and those who remained would only carry the Soul of Animals. Sure, they would look (and mostly act) like humans—the worst of humans. What a wretched and pathetic world that would be. (BTW, this is already happening right before our eyes—just not because of "God"—hence the knights of the League.)
Is it possible that all religions are wrong only because they have greatly distorted some actual truth about "God"? Is it possible that although religions have been proven wrong again and again, that they are right about some fundamental truth about "God"? If that were the case, and "God" were relevant, then he would have set us straight.
I am declaring that based on the evidence, there is a .0000000001% chance that God exists as advertised. Now consider how many hundreds of millions have suffered and/or died because of belief in God.
Therefore, the most healthy and most useful position, and one that does not confuse people about the probabilities—the corect position—is a bold assertion that God does not exist. Therefore, humanity desperately needs—has always needed—a familiar word that refers to that correct position. Any position that communicates uncertainty, such as "agnosticism", can only confuse people on such a critical issue. The correct position is thus "atheism".
We all start out as atheists because we have not been convinced of any claims about the supernatural yet, and although many are later persuaded by claims, the most important lesson about the many who are initially persuaded is that the burden of proof was indeed on those making the claim—obviously. Therefore, we don't need to prove believers wrong because the burden of proof is on them because they are the ones claiming something exists. Instead of proving them wrong, I will merely explain why they are so unconvincing to some, and why they nevertheless do convince so many.
Believers haven't been able to convince me that there is more than a .0000000001% chance that God is real because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and yet when making the most extraordinary possible claim, they make arguments like these:
- "The universe exists, therefore my god is real."
- "Life exists, therefore my god is real."
- "Intelligent life exists, therefore my god is real."
- "Humans are imperfect and therefore couldn't imagine a perfect god unless they were given that ability, therefore my god is real."
- "The Bible is too impressive to have been written by humans, therefore my god exists."
- "Everyone knows god exists, therefore my god exists."
- "You can't prove my god isn't real, therefore he is real."
- "Evolution is impossible, therefore my god exists."
- "Someone saw a miracle, therefore my god is real."
- "I saw a miracle (or heard a voice), therefore my god exists."
Each of these kinds of arguments contains multiple flaws, but the one flaw they all have in common is that none of these arguments is evidence that the believer's particular God exists.
Such arguments mean that one believes only because one wants to believe, but believers are able to convince many others because of our genetic programming:
- We have evolved to think husbands, fathers, parents, and kings naturally have legitimate authority—and are good.
- "We have those genetically programmed behaviors (mutations) that helped our ancestors avoid being banished/castrated/killed by priests/kings/governments." —excerpt from: The Illusion Of Legitimacy
- We have evolved the ability to think in abstractions; therefore, we can imagine an infinite hunting ground/territory/civilization—even across the galaxies, and we can imagine infinite speed/power/hierarchy/knowledge, etc.
Let's explore further—just for fun.
In the future I may find it useful to imagine a particular God just to help myself and others get on the right path and stay on it when trying to be the best version of ourselves—just as I created this pledge for that same reason. However, I might still call myself an atheist so as not to empower unhealthy beliefs.
Our minds can create love, and that love can create love, and love can create greatness that lasts for thousands of years that manifests both physically and in our minds, and yet all that love is totally dependent on our minds. So why shouldn't we turbo-charge love by inventing a particular God in our minds? I like it, but how long before people start claiming God is real (not dependent on our minds) and fighting about it? If only there were some way to make ideas immune to such corruption by our genetic programming. For example, many people already believe absurdities like the law of attraction and will thus believe that our minds actually created God, and that he now exists independently of our minds.
"Those who can make one believe absurdities can make one commit atrocities."—Voltaire
Just because aliens is a more rational explanation that God, consider that one should also be extremely skeptical of any evidence of aliens because an alien hoax could be used to further the agenda of the same people who are killing the Soul of Humanity.