(Original post by BeanofJelly)
Sorry to butt in - but I think you can be sure that something doesn't exist, when its nature dictates that you would see certain evidence of its existence, and that evidence isn't there.
For example - if I go to a garden which is not tended, the plants are overgrown and disorganised, the grass is not cut, and there is no sign of interference - is it not fair to conclude that there is no gardener? (If there is a gardener, they're not exactly meeting the job description).
Likewise - I look around and see a world determined by natural laws, which has no motives, no inherent justice or design or benevolence - no interference
just what happens
- I can conclude that there is no interferer
, no external conscious force, no God.
EDIT: And there's nothing that controversial about this. We draw these conclusions, correctly, every say in almost every aspect of life. No eggs have gone missing from the fridge, therefore there is no egg thief in the house. I haven't found any nibbled wires or rodent droppings in my room, therefore mice aren't living under my bed. I don't feel tugging on my scalp, I can't see anything in the mirror, and I shower just fine - therefore there isn't a monkey clinging to my head.
Ah but if there was a God, I can be pretty sure there'd be pretty good evidence to believe he existed. It's just not plausible that God can exist and there will be no evidence of it.
Therefore no evidence = no God.
Not with an absolute certainty perhaps, but with the same reasonable certainty I apply every day to other things like egg thieves, mice under the bed, and monkeys clinging to my head.
EDIT: And btw, you can bet your trousers that if there was a long history of people believing in monkeys clinging to our heads, and many people in the world, otherwise intelligent and rational, were still raised with that belief and believed it strongly, and attended meetings about it, and entire countries based their laws upon it, and even the people who didn't really believe it were sort of still influenced by it (say, monkey repellant hairstyles remain the cultural norm) that I could as easily be having an argument about that instead of God. And it would seem controversial for me to conclude that head-clinging-monkeys don't exist.