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.
The problem is that this argument is flawed from the beginning. No one* says that God doesn't exist because there is no evidence for his existence. They say that because there is no evidence there is no reason to believe that God exists. The argument relies on asserting that the dissenting opinion is something which it is not, i.e. not that until proof is discovered the question of God is a null state with regard to this argument but rather that he cannot exist outright.
The argument that God does not/cannot exist comes from much stronger philosophical points than this one such as the logically self-refuting concept of omnipotence, causality, theodicy and a loving God, conflicting moral objectivism, and the plurality of religious belief, etc.
*by no one I mean no one who is experienced in dealing with these questions. As such the term is much more subjective and open than literal.
Unfortunately, such arguments are generally employed by the people who fall outside your 'no one' category, i.e. the religious ignorant (defined here as those who do not question it, generally it's followers).
I am not personally making this claim and I agree with you fully, I would just like an easy as possible (akin to substituting of God for the IPU) interjection to show the faulty argumentation employed. Luckily, when I reached the end of my own wits, I can come here and use yours. :)
There is a mistaken train of thought in the theist community that it's up to atheists to disprove the existence of God. NOT TRUE! Just as Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster must be proven (and many are trying), the EXISTENCE of God must be proven by the theists and not the other way around. If I claim something exists, I have to prove it.
In reference to the above quote, "the mindsets and technology today is not capable of providing the evidence required to detect or understand a divinity," the fact is, we don't have to.
I got a funny reply on Youtube today, let me sketch the conversation:
christian says: I have visited atheist sites and on none of them there's any proof that atheism is right
I say: then where have you found proof that christianity is right?
christian says: I know what I believe and I know why I believe it, I don't feel the need to prove anything.
it made me laugh =p
Yes, in other words, that Christian is saying "I have an emotion or a "feeling" that what I believe is correct." That is all he feels he needs; but just before he said that - he accuses atheists of not offering acceptable proof that they are right. Why is he looking for proof from atheists when he does not even require it from himself? An emotion or a feeling that something is true does not make it true.
I can only assume he feels his "feeling of knowing" is more valid than scientific methodology and pure common sense and simple logic. As an analogy, in his mind you could say he thinks that the statement B + Tree = Mailbox because it "feels" true to him. Okay, fine, but I hope he never gets a job in the postal service.
"Mathmatics tells us that it is impossible for life to of began out of non-life,"
No. Nowhere in the field of mathematics is any such claim made.
"much less the universe."
It would be physics, not mathematics, which would make that claim. It doesn't. Only religion claims something came from nothing, not science.
"The Big Bang happens, ok. What started it?"
This is where I generally let people hide their god. We don't really know. Yet.
"Where does the first atom come from?"
From the first sub-atomic particles. Which came from the even tinier ones. Which came from what I believe is called the gluon soup or something which is the hypothesised state of the universe right after the particles and anti-particles were done annhialating eachother. I'm a bit iffy on the specifics, but everything is tracable pretty much back to time 0. plus infinite decimal places 1.
"Even Richard Dawkins himself said intelligent design was possible, just maybe from some sort of alien life form that evolved."
I believe he was using it as an equally unlikely scenario as religion puts forth and deserving the same level of reverence. Either that or that life came on a comet. This just means some initial processes potentially started somewhere else, but they just as well have started on earth. Even the DNA molecules are now being found in the intersection of chemistry and biology. We already know how organic chemistry evolved, it is a highly respected field.
"But where did they come from?"
Somewhere else or on earth, doesn't matter, the processes are the same. All planets are round, isn't that also a fascinating fact? But is it an act of a deity or gravity?
The rest i fully agree with and hope I have done to the best extent of my knowledge. I also search for the meaning of life, we all do (or at least we should), but I just don't see how a deity is necessary. The power to live my life rests solely inside myself. I physically occupy a tiny space in this vast and interesting universe, but mentally I dominate it as I am a collection of particles which can actually understand anything about it.
Its amazing you guys are writing your responses at 3 and 5 AM.
Just FYI, members of Think Atheist live all around the world. So while it may be 3 AM where you are at, it may be 10 AM where the responder lives.
Argh. Think Atheist ate my second reply.
--Sure there's evidence. We have the writings of the Bible (OT and NT) that show God coming to earth. So he's been here.
The bible is not good evidence for the existence of god for a number of reasons. First, it is a book of stories, some of which have been debunked by time and science. Secondly, the authors claim it was divinely inspired but only evidence to prove that claim is the authors' word that the bible was divinely inspired.
Secondly, the fact that the bible exists is not proof that god exists. Following that line of thinking then the fact that the Qu'ran exists would mean that Allah exists. The fact that the Hindu religious texts exist would be evidence that their pantheon of gods existed and so on...
Nelson has done a much better job than I could ever do in going through the details. I would like, however, to know if you have changed your mind or sought more information on the initial claims you made which I countered. For the sake of intellectual honesty:
1. Do you still think mathematics (or chemistry) claim that life cannot come from non-life?
2. Do you still believe science says the universe was created from "nothing"?
3. Any objection to my interpretation of your Dawkins paraphrasing?
If you do not take my word for it, there is plenty of good information out there on i.e. Youtube. If you like to think ponder the big questions, there are a number of very good deGrasse Tyson material out there dealing with these questions which delves much deeper into the underlying science than I am capable of doing.