agnostic atheism

Prove there are no gods.

Is there a positive, standalone atheist argument which can be used to prove that theism is false and there are no gods? Preferably, it should be one of the form: premise, premise, ..., conclusion.
Atheist Answer: 

The short answer is no, because "theism is false" is actually further than most atheists are willing to go.

Even Richard Dawkins would not unequivocally say there are no gods, which must be true in order to conclude that theism is false. The chapter of The God Delusion directly concerned with God's existence is titled, "Why there *almost* certainly is no God".

Would you say that because Dawkins felt he needed the "almost", Richard Dawkins is not an atheist? Of course not. Atheism is not a stone cold denial, it's not a positive belief that there are no gods (that's "strong atheism"). It's a lack of belief in any god or equivalent and the associated conclusion that there probably aren't any. To invite atheists to argue that theism is definitely false is like inviting an astronomer to argue that aliens are impossible.

Here it is from the standpoint of statistics. It's impossible to disprove a null hypothesis; you can only find sufficient evidence to reject it and accept an alternate hypothesis. The absence of any gods is the null hypothesis, because it requires no evidence to even suggest.

This is proven by the existence of "implicit atheists", those few with no exposure to religion and no self-taught religious beliefs. Many young children and some remote tribespeople are examples. Atheism is the default position for a human being, at least to begin with. Any god is therefore an alternate hypothesis which you may accept on the basis of whatever you regard as evidence. You can never deny the possibility outright. I don't try.

Moving from the disputed truth of theism to the pros and cons of professed theism: With the possibility of a god intact in my mind, this atheist is ostensibly at risk of paying dearly in hell while believers are rewarded. This is only likely to be the case if there is only one possible god. There are 20,000 or so invented gods and an infinite number of other possible gods. Whatever the probability of SOME god existing, the probability of a particular god is one in infinity, or near to zero as darn it. Live as though only your god or gods exist and, infinity to one, you're backing the wrong horse. The vast majority of invented gods are very unforgiving of that. Better to approach the worst-case scenario of a foreign god with no other gods in hand, I say. Besides, wouldn't any god see through a fake self-serving belief professed only to escape punishment?

As you can see, theism invites criticism even when you admit it is not definitely false.

The following is an attempt to reason against theism as strongly as an honest atheist should dare.

Premise 1: There is no apparent empirical evidence for the existence of any god or equivalent supernatural being.

(Break this premise if you like by presenting some. The value and definition of "apparent empirical evidence" will need hammering out first of course, and I won't do that here.)

Premise 2: For the truth of theism to be at all likely, some empirical evidence for the existence of a god or equivalent supernatural being would need to be apparent.

(You'd need a very good reason why some other type of evidence is acceptable, or even evidence at all.)

Conclusion: Theism is likely false.

I invite readers to try writing their own step-by-step logical arguments in a similar vein. Have fun.

- SmartLX

(As a sidenote, Penn Jillette once wrote an article called "There is no God." You might like it. - Brian Sapient)

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