Proving a negative

There could be many atheists and theists alike who say we can’t prove a negative. Well, we can and do this several times. In this post, the author quotes W. L. Craig to bolster their case that atheists have not done their homework well.

Craig we are told, writes

The second claim is typically given as the reason why a universal negative cannot be proved: no matter how much knowledge you have acquired, there will always be more facts that you do not yet know, and perhaps the exception is among them. So one can never prove that there is no God. Perversely, this is somehow interpreted, not as an admission that atheism is indefensible, but as a demonstration that it is in no need of defense!

which though they would not want to admit as being true is really the case. Every time atheists have demonstrated that the arguments for god are insufficient as proof, the theist has always redefined god. If they are not calling god the ground of being, they refer to it as universal consciousness and so on. The word god becomes so nebulous, you cannot hold it. That notwithstanding, it has always to be repeated to the theist that the word god has not been defined coherently and that it is meaningless unless made in reference to a particular religion. Atheism is in no need of defense. The theist has his work set out for her. Tell us what god is, and whether god is and we shall know. Believing that a god exists on your say so will not work.

Craig must first demonstrate that the god he is arguing for exists and what it is before he can begin to say atheists are wrong in their assertions. To make blanket statements and assume we know what he is talking about when he says god will not hold. To quote him as a defense shows a lack of seriousness.

And again here, Craig is lying

Second, the statement that “God does not exist” is not a universally quantified statement. When the theist asserts that “God exists,” the word “God” is being used as a proper name, not as a common noun.

which god? Which theist? Would Craig admit that this is the case if the theist talking about god is a believer in some traditional village god or a Hindu or better still Allah? Is it Zeus? God is not a proper name. It is meaningless.

The author of the post then puts up their challenge to the atheist. They write

[..]Look where you expect the thing to be evident, and show that the evidence is not there. For example, show evidence that the universe is eternal.

and here there are two things to say. One is what is god? What evidence will we be looking for? How would we know we have identified god if we are not told what god is? The existence of the universe is not proof of god. It is possible to show the universe had a beginning but that the being responsible is not a god or are several gods better still we can argue, and rightly so, that the author of the universe is a supremely malevolent being.

The author goes on to say

The second way is to show that the concept of God is logically contradictory, e.g. – that the concept of a “timeless person” is self-contradictory

which first the author has to demonstrate how they have come to this knowledge. They must tell us how they know the nature of god. Besides that to say a being is both wholly just and merciful is self contradictory. In the case of the christian god, it must be evident to anyone with some grey matter that this god is self contradictory and as thus cannot exist. The christian says his god is all loving, just and forgiving but has at the same time created hell for damnation of a greater majority of the human race. What level of contradiction does the theist want to see that there is one?

And as is common of theists, they can’t help insults. The OP writes

Scholarly atheists try to do this, but this has not filtered down to the rank and file, which is why they still hold to these atheist slogans like “you can’t prove a universal negative”.

as if atheism is a religion with a head and followers. Let each man be his priest and his king. He does not need to have a shepherd to tell him this is wrong or right. He can walk on his own and share the knowledge that has been gained by members of the human family of hundreds of years.

For a person to argue thus

But the more we study the good, scientific arguments for God’s existence, the harder it is for naturalism to account for it. I am talking about the origin of the universe, the cosmic fine-tuning, the habitability argument, the origin of life, the origin of phyla, scientific evidence for consciousness and free will (e.g. – mental effort) and so on. Not to mention other arguments like the moral argument and the minimal facts case for the resurrection of Jesus.

is to say with all respect that they don’t read. Tomes have been written to disprove each of the cases written above as being arguments for god and only an idiot would repeat them as proof for a god.

To claim that the data we have now supports a theistic worldview without telling us what this data is simply naive.

Setting a challenge such as

I can imagine all kinds of data that would argue against Christian theism. Finding the bones of Jesus. The universe being eternal. Experimental evidence for the multiverse. A probable naturalistic scenario for the origin of life.

only demonstrates that the person in question has ceased to be reasonable. How would we know these are the bones of Zombie Jesus? Will they have a tattoo? There are many creation stories, and as such showing the universe as having a creator is not proof of christian theism, far from it. It would take a case of so much special pleading to make that the case. Any explanation for the origin of life is not proof of god, the christian god. It is to commit a fallacy of equivocation to use creator and god interchangeably as if they meant the same thing. It would be possible to find a creator that would be malevolent but not supreme.

If our theist here thinks arguments are sufficient for proof of god, she is definitely misled. Very few people I know believe in god because of the veracity of arguments, on the contrary arguments are used by those believers who have realized they have no proper reason to continue believing and are interested in creating the impression their belief is rational and reasonable. If as they are wont to say that the existence of god is self evident, why they would need 2 arguments to explain it is beyond me. In fact why they would need an argument is beyond me.

What we want from the theist is proof of his assertions. He can shift the burden of proof all he wants but we will not relent. We will ask always to be told what god is and whether the being so described is. Making silent premises or assumptions will not fly.

Chronicles of YHWH 19: Notifications


YHWH’s Facebook activities:

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Notification: Lilith sucked your Lollipop on “The Celestial Warpath” Game. Suck her Lollipop back by clicking HERE.

YHWH: **Click**


N/B: For access to all anecdotes in this series, check out List of all “Chronicles of YHWH” notes.