Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I believe there is no god

Yes, I have shifted from "I don't believe in God" to "I believe there is no God".

I've been quite busy of late, so am only just catching up on blogs and such (and with TAM on the horizon, will be out of the blogosphere a bit more).

Any how, when I first read PZ saying "There is no evidence for God", I thought, that's not very scientific. We've not seen any evidence, but that some won't come along.

Jerry Coyne had similar, and better expressed thoughts, and challenged PZ that there must be some evidence, that, if presented, would make him agree.

Well, PZ has replied with "Eight reasons you won't persuade me to believe in god".

It's convinced me: There is, as far as I'm concerned, no god.

This also highlights one of the things I like about an atheistic/sceptical world view over a religious one: Changing one's mind when presented with a better argument/evidence etc.

Now, I might (but doubt) read a reply from Jerry, or in the expanding number of comments on PZ's piece, that makes me change my mind.

This is, of course, in stark contrast to dogma that is always right, even if it's wrong.

I never thought I'd change from "I don't believe in god" to "I believe there is no god", as, before reading that post, it seemed most unscientific. But, you know what? There is no god.


  1. Here is yet another way to approach the question of "God". There is no afterlife, so the existence, some where in the universe, of a supernatural being, is irrelevant.

    Some might say, "Prove it". And I say, "Calcium ions. That's all you need to know?" Calcium ions?

    Yes, if you're reading these words and processing them, it takes calcium ions to make it process from your optic nerve to your brain. You rely on memory, which is also dependent on real potassium, real calcium ions, to both create a memory, and to retrieve on. All those ions, and I mean TRILLIONS of ions, remain in your brain when you die. And what remains with those ions? All your memories, all your identity. All that you were, when you die, is like a light bulb lying in the Sahara, dark forever more. No electrons can light a light bulb, and nothing can move those calcium ions, those potassium ions, from your dead head to any other location. Useless and frozen.

    So the simple "proof" is "calcium ions". Without them, you are nothing, not a vapor, spirit, dream, or traveling to an afterlife.

  2. I do not understand why you need to move from lack of belief in a god into belief that there is no god. The result is the same but the potentail consequences are profound. Where belief is concerned one may believe whatever one chooses; it doesn't make the matter in question any more or less true. Religions through the ages have developed on just this basis. With lack of belief in a god it is a matter of, 'there is no evidence to believe therefore I don't believe'. Nothing more, nothing less. The god of Abraham or the flying spaghetti monster are, for me, on an equal footing.

    You say,"before reading that post, it seemed most unscientific." Is the any doubt that it is? You have made a jump into faith. Where is your new-found faith likely to end? The answer is, 'anywhere you choose' and that is dangerious.

  3. @Scott - thanks for your thoughts. I'm not sure I agree with this statement "There is no afterlife, so the existence, some where in the universe, of a supernatural being, is irrelevant". Logically - one could say that there could be a god, but that he hasn't made the universe in such a way that there's an after life. But I do agree -we are the products of the chemistry going on inside us, and once we die, our bodies get recycled, and all that remains of us is the memories people have.

    @The Pick Man. Thanks also for your thoughts. I don't think I have made a jump into faith, but can understand why you think that I have, as that is how I felt before. However, are we to give credence to all imagined things? Is it fair to say there is no Harry Potter? I think so.

    On top of that - if people define their gods, then they are shown to not exist, as the claims they make can be tested and shown to not be true. Likewise, we can say that homeopathy does not work for the same reason.

    Nebulous statements like "god is love" are meaningless, if that game is played, I could say anything is anything, which really means nothing.

    We all have to have a sort of belief at some point - for example, I trust the people that fix my car. I have faith they know what they're doing. However, this belief is based on the knowledge that they have certain qualifications etc. If one can back up why one believes something, and with evidence, then this doesn't mean that your belief can lead you anywhere, as there is always the question "Why should I believe that?".

    On top of that, as I said, I'm more than happy to change my mind if presented with a better argument/evidence - I'm receptive to the fact that I might be wrong in saying this, but I really don't think that I am.

  4. I think my objection is the use of the word 'believe'. From experience, my personal preference is to say, if I am asked about belief in a god, "I don't do belief one way or the other." Everything you said in your blog, and your comment above, could be expressed without the use of that word. A little research reveals its original meaning to be 'to hold dear'. The Catholic Encyclopaedia ( ) defines it thus:

    That state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority. There follows an explanation of the definition that touches on one of your own; belief used in the sense of trust. However, it continues:

    By the definition given above we are enabled to distinguish belief -
    • from intelligence, in that the truth of the fact or proposition believed is not seen intuitively;
    • from science or knowledge, since there is no question of resolving it into its first principles;
    • from doubt, because belief is an assent and positive;
    • from opinion and conjecture, in which the assent is not complete.

    I think that trust is something different. As with the fixing of your car, we assess people and situations as being trustworthy or not. Sometime our trust is justified, sometimes not. I am glad that you are able to put your car in for service with confidence. However, recently I wrote in my blog that a short time ago, I took a tumble and fell heavily on my shoulder making it difficult to use my left arm. My doctor suggested that a small operation may be necessary. He said that he would refer me to a specialist. Last week, four weeks after that promise, I found that no referral had been made. My trust has been shaken. I would have thought that this man, with whom I have had previous dealings would have proved worthy of my trust. But, I had no belief that had to be abandoned.

    Belief, by its very nature, is something that is 'held dear' and is therefore not given up lightly. It is, for that reason, rightly said, "You can't argue with a true believer." My fear, where belief is concerned, is that there is no limit what might be believed. I speak from experience.

    BTW - I'm not so sure that there's no Harry Potter :-))

  5. Ah, I think we are using different definitions of the same word. I was more going with belief/believe as in accept as true.

    I am very sorry to hear about your experiences with your arm, and the referral not being made.

    If you'll forgive me for using it as an example, I would say that you went to the doctor believing that he would help you, but that you no longer believe this following your experience. This is obviously contrary to the definition you have stated, but fits with mine.

    I hope this makes more sense now! Do you see what I'm getting at?

    More importantly, how is your arm?


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