Why I Know There Are No Gods

March 22, 2017


Formally, I classify myself as a gnostic atheist, meaning I know there are no gods. Most atheists (from what I read online) appear to be agnostic atheists, people who are without gods but who do not claim to know there are no gods. Some people who fit this description simply call themselves agnostic. But, on formal forums, like reddit’s atheism subreddit, all who are without gods are atheists and agnostic or gnostic is a statement of whether they know or have doubt. Similarly, they allow for agnostic theists, those who believe in god(s) but have some doubt.

Regarding knowledge:

In no other area of discussion do we expect certainty or proof when we speak of knowledge. Nearly all knowledge, outside of mathematics, is empirical knowledge, gained by empirical evidence.

Empirical evidence, also known as sensory experience, is the knowledge received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and experimentation. The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).

After Immanuel Kant, in philosophy, it is common to call the knowledge gained a posteriori knowledge (in contrast to a priori knowledge).

This is the type of knowledge we use when we say that we know that if we drop a ball on the surface of the earth, it will fall. I don’t hear a whole lot of people telling me, you can’t claim to know that because you can’t prove it. But, indeed we cannot. We know the ball will fall because it has done so the last gazillion times we performed the experiment.

For some reason, most people expect that if you say that you know there are no gods, that this one case of knowledge requires certainty. We do not require certainty from any other type of knowledge. Why do we demand certainty to state knowledge only when we are discussing knowledge of the existence or non-existence of gods?

Why this one?

Nowhere in the definition of knowledge does it ever specify that we must have 100% certainty.

So, when I say I know there are no gods, I mean it the same way that I know the ball will drop or that I know the planet on which we live will continue to rotate through the night causing the appearance of a sunrise in the morning, even if it is blocked by clouds. Night will become day as the earth rotates. I know it. You know it. We cannot prove it to 100% certainty. We only know that it has always done so before.

Classifying gods:

To begin our discussion, we have to classify gods. This way we can address different claims of gods individually.

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Excuse Me, I’m Looking for 144 Million Idiots …

June 19, 2012

… oh … never mind. I found them.

In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Remember folks, if you do not believe in evolution, you do not believe in modern medicine.

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The Word Scientist Is Already Taken

September 30, 2007

We need a new word to denote one who believes that for which there is overwhelming evidence and gives credence to that for which there is some evidence and gives no credence to that for which there is no evidence. Scientist might be used as a word to mean a believer in science. However, just as sexist has already been used for another purpose, so can’t be used to indicate one who believes in sex, scientist has already been used to indicate one who actually practices science for a living, so cannot be used to indicate a believer in the tremendous value of scientific evidence.

Atheist is actually a bad word for this because, as Dawkins points out in God Delusion, this defines one by their non-belief. I am an atheist. I am also an athorist and an azeusist and an aodinist and an abaalist, etc. For this reason, I prefer to call myself an antitheist. This works for me because I actually do believe religion is an evil institution and am opposed to all forms of theism. So, for me, this works.

However, we still do not have a good name for one who does not oppose theism, but simply does not believe in it. Skeptic is one word that could accurately describe such a philosophy, but is also overloaded with other meaning both connotations and denotations.

So, the question is, what should we call someone that believes that extraordinary claims, such as an invisible man in the sky, must be backed up by evidence in order to be given credence (other than unelectable for office at any level anywhere in this U.S.)?