Proof? We don’ need no steenkin’ proof!

Question from Madoka:
I’m a Catholic but I’m open minded. I keep hearing about how God does not exist but how can you PROVE he doesnt exist? I’m just looking for your opinion because I read about some atheists who had near death experiences and became Christians so it’s kinda confusing. Have you ever thought that He might exist?

Answer by SmartLX:
I can’t prove God doesn’t exist, and I still think that He might exist. Neither of these is a good reason to believe in something, though.

In order to prove God didn’t exist, with our vague concept of what a god actually is, we would have to rule out every place in (and outside) the universe where He might be hanging out. This would be impossible to anyone except a being which itself had godlike powers, so it’s not worth trying. Thing is, it means very little that we can’t prove God’s non-existence if whether he exists makes so little difference to the pursuit. Put another way, we can’t prove that there’s never been any such thing as a leprechaun, but that doesn’t mean we should all believe in them.

I used to think God existed, because I grew up Catholic. When I realised there’s no good reason to think He does, and lost my faith, I didn’t suddenly declare that God can’t exist. I could still be wrong, and He could be out there somewhere. I just think that’s very unlikely, for reasons I’ve given here, and until we know that it’s the right God and not a jealous alternative deity it’s no use worshipping any particular one.

6 thoughts on “Proof? We don’ need no steenkin’ proof!”

  1. We Atheists here this a lot, but it is a silly question.

    Lets say I won the lottery, but instead of showing them my ticket, I demanded they prove I didn’t have a winning ticket, do you think I’d get any money? No, If I claim something exists to somebody who doubts this, it would be up to me to provide the evidence, not the doubter.

    You are the one claiming something extra, your god, it is up to you to provide proof.

    In a court of law does prosecution show the evidence it has collected, or does it just say it exists and tell the defence to prove it doesn’t? And If the defence say they have evidence to show the prosecution evidence is flawed, but refuse to show it… Ad infinitum. Can you really not see how ridiculous your question is?

    If you really want to play this card though, I ask you to prove Thor does not exist, if you are unable to do so, perhaps you should admit you are following the wrong religion.

    -Mex

  2. To add to the above – not only does the burden of proof rest on people claiming the existence of god, but the proofs of existence of god have to be clear cut, objective and tangible.

    Saying that Thor exists because there is lightning and thunder (who else can do that but Thor?) is a bad argument.
    Wishing and hoping for something and then part realizing that wish the next day (or the next month or the next year) is also not that great an argument for the existence of god.
    I put NDEs in the same category as partially realized big wishes or fully realized small wishes (like getting a parking space in a busy place). Even if most NDEs are similar it does not imply that god exists – only points to some commonality in brain wiring across humanity.

    Atheists turning theists after an NDE is a subjective emotional reaction to a personal, overwhelming experience. It can’t possibly be counted as proof of existence of god, no matter how convinced the person is that his/her experience was “real”.
    If I say that I talk to god daily and I am convinced of it enough, would you take that as proof that god exists?
    If you think you would … I’d like to set up a grand website and an ashram somewhere and ask for donations 🙂 … please be sure to contribute.

  3. The evidence ur looking for dosent exist. Your’re looking for “scientific” evidence for a spiritual non-scientific being. Basically, what I’m saying is ur barking up the wrong tree. You have to change ur definition of “evidence”. Evidence from a lab or that uses the natural laws of science to “prove” or disprove a spiritual being that is immaterial, timeless and is beyond any scientific natural law is ludicrous. God is the intelligent energy that existed before the Big Bang, Energy can’t be created but only changed and can not get something from nothing according to the law of thermodynamics. U cannot prove energy that xsisted before the big bang scientifcally becasue all scientific laws began AFTER the Big Bang becasue the Universe didn’t exsist before the Big Bang, If there was no universe, then the logical conclusion is that there were no scientific laws to govern a non-existent universe. But, the laws of thermodynamics still applies that something cant come from nothing. So, the only logical conclusion is there had to be “something” that created all the rest of the universe.

    Nothing cant create something. To think otherwise, is totally illogical. Also,is u say that “something” wasn’t God or intelligence, then u have to ask urself, “what kind of energy source can exist before the Big Bang, outside time and space that can create complexity and intelligence in the universe and in the human race related to human consciousness and the fine tuning of the universe. Non-intelligence can’t create intelligence and randomness can’t create complexity. To say that complexity just evolved over time from randomness is illogical. How can non-intelligence “evolve” into anything resembling complexity and intelligence. Nothing cant evolve into something unless that “nothing” is actually something that created that something. It ALL had to come from somewhere. And that someehere had to have intelligence to create the complexities and purposefulness we see in the universe, in the biological make-up in our bodies in addition to humans having consciousness and emotion.

    U have to ask urself, “Did an unintelligent, un-emotional, random, “thing” or event create something that was either instant or evolved into something with intelligence, emotion and consciousness that is able to think and reason? If u said yes, then there is no point even going into it any further casue u just DON’T or WON’T get it due to a mental block or willful ignorance based on preconcieved bias and or emotional reasons but it’s certainly not based on UNBIASED common sense logic….

    Actually THINK about EVERYTHING that I said before u make a negative comment, And if u do make a negative comment, please be something more intelligent than a one or two word general insult that does nothing more than the level of ur ignorance and avoidance of actual subject matter. Telling me this is “garbage” or something equivalent does nothing to prove ur point other than what I said makes u mad and u have no real intelligent counter argument. If u can rise above the instincts of a gorilla and actually make a civil and reasonable counter argument, I would be glad to listen. But for the rest of you who want to just be an an bitter, annoying, self absorbed, stubborn, narcissistic troll with nothing intelligent to say, i’d say just go argue with tree or something that will actually listen to unreasonable, unintelligent babble becasue actually listening and comprehending logic and common sense using deductive reasoning is not something u seem to be good at. Just becasue ur mad at what I said doesn’t invalidate any of my points and telling me I’m I’m stupid or any other kind of name calling doesn’t validate ur point either other than u have no real intelligent response and becoming defensive is ur only other option. Be civil and be intelligent …PLEASE

    1. Gregory, rather than respond to this positively OR negatively at all I’ll simply refer you to where your arguments have already been posed and addressed: this article on “something from nothing”, and a set of articles on the cosmological argument which is essentially the argument you’re posing here. If you feel these articles (none of which are all that long) do not address something you’ve said, feel free to say so here or comment under any one of them.

    2. Greg writes: [The evidence ur looking for dosent exist.]

      You cannot say, with 100% certainty, that no evidence exists. So your statement is pure conjecture basically.

      [Your’re looking for “scientific” evidence for a spiritual non-scientific being. Basically, what I’m saying is ur barking up the wrong tree. You have to change ur definition of “evidence”.]

      On the contrary, I think demanding evidence as we think of it today is not only practical, but prudent for the supernatural. When ghosts appear, whatever is behind them appears opaque. That means light n our universe has been refracted or reflected. That is data that can be gathered. When some divine creature appears as a burning plants and gives off intense light, that is data that can be collected. The thing about the supernatural is they supposedly interact with our universe all the time, and that interaction leaves data and evidence. (This is ignoring the obvious conflict that anything not of this universe appearing in this universe violates all kinds of conservation laws we know to be true, but why kill things that quick…)

      [Evidence from a lab or that uses the natural laws of science to “prove” or disprove a spiritual being that is immaterial, timeless and is beyond any scientific natural law is ludicrous.]

      A timeless god is a logical fallacy, do you realize that? If some goddess has just always existed, that means that it has no beginning or end. Problem is that a creature like that can never get to “here” from an infinite past.. They could never arrive to this point and time. It’s false logic, there is no middle of infinity. It’s utter nonsense.

      [God is the intelligent energy that existed before the Big Bang]

      Got any proof for this? No, you don’t, and we both know you don’t. So this claim is nothing more than pure conjecture…

      [U cannot prove energy that xsisted before the big bang scientifcally becasue all scientific laws began AFTER the Big Bang becasue the Universe didn’t exsist before the Big Bang, If there was no universe, then the logical conclusion is that there were no scientific laws to govern a non-existent universe. But, the laws of thermodynamics still applies that something cant come from nothing. So, the only logical conclusion is there had to be “something” that created all the rest of the universe.]

      If I may delve into quantum mechanics and relativity for a bit, the current line of thought is that all the energy in the universe was present at the singularity before the Big Bang happened. So to say that we can’t account for the energy is not correct. Also, you have no way of knowing what laws emerged after the Big Bang, and what laws were already present just before the Big Bang. Science does not assume, as you do, that all the laws of the universe came about as a result of the Big Bang. So both your premises that you use to reach your conclusions in the paragraph quoted above are false, and therefore your conclusion is also false.

      As for your thermodynamics comment, that is not entirely accurate. The total energy of a system cannot change. The appearance of the universe did not change the total energy of the system, because it was all contained in the singularity. But what is the universe? In relativity gravity is a negative energy, and all the other energies (heat, electrical, potential, kinetic, matter, etc.) are positive energies. When you add them all up, the net sum is….zero. The entire energy of the universe adds up to nothing. In other words the universe is just various parts of nothing that have split apart. Weird I know, but that’s the universe for you. I should also point out that particles pop into and out of existence all the time. It’s a proven thing, shown as Lamb Shift or Casimir Effect, and was predicted by quantum mechanics as part of quantum fluctuations. No divine creature needed for that to happen.

      While I am at it, I should also probably point out the false logic that is used when claiming that a god is needed to create a complex universe. The theist argument basically states that the universe is too complex to be natural, and therefore it had to be created, hence a god. But a god that could create the universe would have to be even more complex, and since we’ve already stated that complexity requires creation, that means something had to create the god. That means that some thing must have created the god that created the universe. BUT…that thing has to be pretty darn complex itself, and since it can’t exist without being created, there has to be something that created the thing that created the god that created the universe….on and on we go on the false logic merry-go-round, with nary an end in sight.

      Now, at this point believers usually throw out an exception. The god, they always tell me, didn’t have to be created, it just was. But now we have an exception to the rule that complexity requires creation, and that means that not everything that complex needs to be created. In fact, the universe, being less complex than a god, would be even more likely under the exception to happen on its own because it is less complex than the god. So no god is needed for the universe to exist after all.

      When looking at the whole thing from a simplicity point of view, a natural universe only requires one complex thing (the universe) to exist, whereas religious dogma requires TWO complex things. Call it Occum’s Razor, call it the KISS principle, but the simpler explanation usually makes more sense.

      There is no god needed for the existence of the universe, from both a logical and scientific point of view…

  4. One more comment, about randomness. I don’t know if you ever happened to take classes like statistics, but randomness does not prohibit complexity. Far from it. Algorithims for example are random AND complex at the same time. Don’t take my word for it, please verify this yourself.

    Also, you make note of “purpose” in the universe. There is no evidence or data that anything in the universe, including life, has a specific directed purpose or reason for existing. If you have some proof of that I would be happy to hear about it, but as of this writing I have never seen anything that suggests otherwise…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *