I have been debating with myself one specific point which essentially stems from the fallacy that a lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack. (Note that this a purely a thought experiment, not a claim, and that, on balance, the whole set of arguments against theism outweigh one possible philosophical issue which only relates to intellectual decency.)

Essentially, the fact that there is a lack of evidence to support theistic views does not mean that it's evidence of a lack of God. Imagine God to be something similar to our 21st century minds and technology like the continent of America was to 15th century Europe.

(Side note: To avoid potential nitpicking about this specific premise, I know that America was discovered and rediscovered, but the "official" discovery was an accident as the goal of the expedition was to find India. That some in the 15th century Europe might even have been aware that America existed is a bit irrelevant as society as a whole certainly did not believe it was there, and it's the mindset of those who did not believe which is interesting.)

Now, try to enter this mindset and think that God is in a similar situation. Just like the 15th century mindset and technology could not comprehend the continent of America, the mindsets and technology today is not capable of providing the evidence required to detect or understand a divinity.

Therefore, a God may exist (but it doesn't matter).



Edit: The title was erroneous in it's use of the word "for". This is not an argument for theisim, it's an argument not against theism. Thanks to Kasu for this insight.


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This is an argument that comes up every time I try to talk to a theist, so I guess it's worth thinking about. The problem with this is that you can prove an existence, but you can't prove a non-existence. My view on this is that the gods as we know them, like the christian and muslim god, are being contradicted by science, and therefore cannot exist. But the non-existence of some other supreme being, well that's something else. But I think that the existence of a supreme being is so highly unlikely, that we better just assume there is none.

"But I think that the existence of a supreme being is so highly unlikely, that we better just assume there is none.'

That is my starting position too, but same as you, I do see the validity of the argument. In a vacuum it's a good argument, but on balance between the universe of atheistic and theistic arguments it's not strong enough to force a conclusion in favor of theism.

The universe we live in is weird enough and we do not fully understand it yet.  God is too simple an explanation for out complex and weird universe(s).  For example, this - we started with 1D and then went on to 2D and 3D - we recently entered the 4th dimension.  God is for simple minds.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420152059.htm


Primordial Weirdness: Did the Early Universe Have One Dimension? Scientists Outline Test for Theory

ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2011) — Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension?

They suggested that the early universe -- which exploded from a single point and was very, very small at first -- was one-dimensional (like a straight line) before expanding to include two dimensions (like a plane) and then three (like the world in which we live today).

The theory, if valid, would address important problems in particle 


Hmmm... I struggle to fault your logic here. Seems to be a good counter.

On a side note, it seems to me that spatial dimensions relies on a singular force, namely gravity. 'Up' is movement away from gravitational field while 'down' is the opposite. Sideways is lateral movement within the same gravity field. Are therefore dimensions not caused by the observation effect?

Devils advocate time! :D
Isn't complexity a thing used by theists to point to a divine designer? I think to turn it around and say it points away from a divine designer is sorta just a switch around. The logic isn't that sound, If your argument is

If A simple explanation cannot explain something complex
And God is a simple explanation for a complex universe
God cannot exist (or if you prefer "god is for simple minds")

Either way the premises don't really fit the conclusion since because something can't explain something else or something can exist without something else that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I guess we get to Occam's razor then, since we are given two choices to explain something and one is more complex than the other, thus if you are arguing god is a simple explanation you just argued for theism.

Hehe.. This one is a mind bender :)

I guess the objection to that would be that Occam's razor is not a law, just a heuristic. Just because one should think horses when hearing hoofbeats does not negate the existence of zebras.

The razor thing isn't my main point. I'm saying to me JWAMOMOB doesn't have quite that sound logic to his argument. Not saying you aren't logical, but that the argument is flawed, if it is indeed:

If A simple explanation cannot explain something complex
And God is a simple explanation for a complex universe
God cannot exist (or if you prefer "god is for simple minds")

Either way the premises don't fit the conclusion. Forgive me if I'm reading you're statements wrong but that's what I got from it.

Good point and I see the issue now.

I guess the furthest such an argument could be extended would be:

Complexity generally requires complex explanations.

God is a simple explanation.

Therefore it is unlikely that a simple God created something complex.

Of course, moving from absolute to general argumentation and conclusion isn't exactly aiding the cause per se, in combination with all the additional evidence, non-existence of a deity becomes first a fact beyond a reasonable doubt, secondly, due to mathematical modelling, the convex curve of probability quickly starts approaching zero.


(To explain my last point, let's define the cumulative probability of error 1-probability of success multiplied by attempts--> (1-Ps)*A.

Scientists produce original conclusions based on evidence within a certain set of parameters, other scientists then attempt to reproduce the findings. As the conclusion under the original set of assumptions moves closer to becoming a "de facto" fact, other scientists again will attempt to move from the specific to the general by applying the conclusion to ever less restrictive sets of parameters until it becomes an axiom.

For the sake of argument, let's say the original study has an 80% chance of being correct, and the probability of erroneous conclusion is therefore 20%. Assuming an overly simplified situation (to make the math easier) of constant error rates of 20%, after 5 iterations the cumulative probability of erroneous conclusion would be 20%^5=.0064%, thus effectively rendering the conclusion to be a fact.)

Or why not have a discussion based on the idea that just like the 15th century mindset and technology could not comprehend the continent of America, the mindsets and technology today is not capable of providing the evidence required to detect or underhand Casper the Friendly Ghost."? I know plenty of people who believe in ghosts without any real evidence, should I believe them, too? I don't know where this argument would end, so I'd rather not begin down that road.

The slippery slope is a decent interjection (though I personally prefer pink unicorns over Casper the friendly ghost.)

But the natural counter is, just because we have not been overrun by a flock of pink unicorns, does it mean that pink unicorns does not exist? The slippery slope approach ends up being a black swan type of conundrum.


It is an argument from incredulity. That God may or may not exist based on a lack of evidence is not an argument that one should submit to God. The plurality of things which may exist simply because we have not proven they do not is infinite. To suggest that one must allow for the possibility of God to exist but not the myriad of other things is merely evidence of bias. Thus this argument falls flat on its face.

"not an argument that one should submit to God."

I was attempting not to draw the argument quite that far. One thing is whether or not the concept of a deity is philosophically possible (which was the basis for the argument), not whether it is correct or not to worship such a concept. 

(It must be noted that while I cannot philosophically close the door as long as I see arguments not wholly without merit, the natural colloquial follow up of "So what?" makes me override mere thought experiments such as this one with common sense. Lack of evidence may not be evidence of lack, but at a certain point, by applying common sense, it just is - no matter how logically fallacious such a conclusion might be. I believe this is the very point you eloquently propose.)



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