An absolute negation needs the proof of the positive to be certain?
Absolute negation: "You will never be anything but a drunk."
To be certain, requiring no faith, the positive, observing the rest of the life, have had to been witnessed. Yet, how could it have? It has yet to exist in the circumstance.
The same can be said about Atheism?
Are Atheist Certain?
I'd say a great deal more than 99%, but maybe not quite 100% Lacking any sort of positive evidence, it's hard to calculate how many decimal points would go into that probability.
I would be considered an agnostic atheist, like most atheists I know. Due to complete lack of evidence for things like fairies, unicorns, Thor, or Yahweh, I do not believe in any of the fantasy creatures or gods I've read about in religious mythology. However, I do not claim to know with absolute certainty that no gods exist, but this is mostly due to the fuzzy definition of the word "god".
Are you certain Zeus doesn't exist?
Good points, Jewelz. I think we don't need absolute certainty, and apart from anything else, just "not believing", just as I don't believe in unicorns (though they would be pretty damn cool) is good enough for me.
"Are you certain Zeus doesn't exist?"
Yes, I am as certain of that, which is to say 100%, as I am certain that I do not have a purple gnome masturbating on my shoulder, I will not ride a crocophant to work tomorrow, and god/thor/zeus/etc do not exist.
One thing is healthy and rational skepticism, another is mere quasi-intellectual attempts at promoting an "open mind".
I wasn't suggesting we all keep an open mind about the existence of purple masturbating shoulder gnomes, but thanks for the visual. I was comparing the degree of "certainty" most atheists profess regarding their lack of belief in the existence of OP's god to OP's lack of belief in Zeus.
Level of certainty regarding belief or lackthereof in a particular deity will vary from person to person, but even quasi-intellectuals like Dawkins admit they do not claim to know with 100% absolute certainty that there are no gods.
I personally don't see the difference between the gnome and god(s), or the beliefs therein, apart from the myth regarding gods have been repeated and analyzed to the point where some people get stuck in some rear-guard action argumentation for not dismissing the possibility (modern agnosticism). Indeed, by allowing for god you sorta have to allow for the gnome also, because at that point the only intellectually honest thing is to allow for every remote possibility. That's not realism anymore, it's surrealism.
I would also say that I do not perceive certainty/uncertainty in absolutist terms or in a binary way, but a scale usually illustrated by percentages. However, if I were ever forced to set the starting point of what I am certain of without a shadow of a doubt (100%) it would be the existence of deities. In fact, my certainty regarding that preposterous idea is firmer than i.e. that I haven't been probed by aliens, the CIA does not have a chip in my brain, and I am not stuck in the matrix. (And at least considering those possibilities make for fun philosophical 'what-if' scenarios.)
As an aside, at least I would be careful to compare myself to Dawkins. ;)
Most people think that something can't come from nothing, but because the laws of physics as we know them argues that points and proves that something CAN come from nothing, I am 100 percent certain in my atheism.
There is no god of any kind.
Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. I am certain I do not believe in gods.This is the same certaintly theists feel in the non existence of all the gods who are not their own.
Atheists do not claim that gods do not exist but that there is absolutely no reason to believe that there are any. For this reason we live our lives on the assumption that there are none. It would be very hard to function if we assumed that everything that has ever been claimed to exist does exist - all 30,000 gods, even more mythical creatures like mermaids and leprechauns, alien abductions, every conspiracy theory, supernatural powers etc etc.
When in an axiomatic system (a closed system based on first principles) you verify an argument: a conclusion to a set of premises, then to prove the conclusion is valid you: a) assume all the premises are true, b) assume the conclusion is false. Then you try to find (using a set of allowed rules) an interpretation, either in a truth table or another method. If an interpretation exists, this means that the conclusion is invalidated, given this set of premises. When an interpretation does not exist and the conclusion is proven valid, this does not necessarily mean that the argument is sound.
Atheism, like empirical sciences is not (axiomatically) based on first principles. It is not based on the assumption that God does not exist as an axiom, rather it entails the inductive conclusion that God does not exist, because every observation is consistent with the absence of a God, many are contingent, yet no observation necessitates the existence of a God.
In this sense many Atheists are certain, while reserving the right to change their minds once evidence to the contrary is forthcoming.
Thanks for the elaboration. I think it is useful to see the big picture. I do believe that there are conclusions we can reach through induction that are certain "beyond any reasonable doubt". This is probably an over-used phrase but here I think it has particular relevance. That there is no god is certain beyond any reasonable doubt; i.e. while there may be some exiguous doubts about the conclusion any discussion predicated on that doubt isn't reasonable.
Honestly, I think any true atheist has to believe at least that much. Anything less than that is agnostic, I would think, or what some call a "poser". :-)
I agree, in fact you can even (in a preliminary manner) quantify that "beyond reasonable doubt" position by using Bayesian analysis, like this way I learned in Sunday school: http://foxholeatheism.com/absence-of-evidence-is-evidence-of-absence/