atheism and burden of proof


Seasons greetings everyone and a warm welcome to all our new followers and hearty greetings to all our old ones. It is my sincere hope that you all had a good festive season. For all those who might find themselves broke, don’t worry, such is life. In a month or two you will have made some money to cover for your over indulgence during the holidays. With niceties behind us, we can now get to the subject of this post.

We have a theist with beef. He writes

In the discussion of the existence of God, the burden of proof falls entirely on the part of the theist.  Since the theist is the one proposing the existence of something — namely, an invisible, incorporeal, supernatural being — it is unequivocally the theist’s job to prove such existence.

It would be sufficient just to say yes. The theist bears the burden of proof. I hope this particular theist has heard of the dragon in basement analogy. To claim that the person to whom the story of the dragon is being told has a burden of proof is simply ridiculous and it is the same with religion. Why the theist thinks his claim deserve special treatment in the market place of ideas is, well, beyond me.

His first beef with atheism is

My first objection is that this position tilts the playing field; it makes atheism out to be the philosophical “default” position, which I think is neither fair nor productive in a forthright and honest discussion.

Unfortunately for him, this does appear as the case. Religion and gods are learnt. No one is born with a specific religious belief, with no knowledge of gods. Unless the word default has a new meaning, the theist cannot claim that theism is the default position.

His second beef is

that yes, atheism does make unproven claims about God’s existence — namely, that He doesn’t.

And here is the problem. There is an assumption in this statement that what god is is known to all of us such that the question that only should be answered is whether or not it exists and therein lies the problem. The theist has a first duty to tell us what god is then and only then is even this debate possible. In the meantime, the atheist can say with confidence he lacks a belief in the existence of gods/ deity. While still on this objection, what evidence has the theist adduced in support of his thesis?

This blogger continues to write

A few examples that follow from the premise that God does not exist (note that some of these also assume naturalism, which while not exactly synonymous with atheism is, in my mind at least, the most defensible brand of it):

  1. Every personal human experience of the “supernatural” (religious experiences, near-death experiences, a deep and abiding sense of having contact with an actual entity outside of the self, etc.) is in fact entirely the by-product of the various functions of the human brain.
  2. Biblical prophecy is either the result of historical tampering, overzealous reinterpretation of text, or unlikely coincidence.
  3. The mountain of historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ must have another explanation altogether.
  4. The incredibly ordered and seemingly spontaneous event of the Big Bang must have an unguided, naturalistic explanation that is consistent with our knowledge of how the observed universe works. In other words, since we don’t see universes popping into existence spontaneously, atheists must explain what makes the formation of our own universe such a stark exception.

On issue #1, there is much evidence to support they are brain states.

On issue #2, why only two options. The bible can also be seen as oral tradition, a theologico-political work among many other conclusions.

On issue #3 I am interested in this mountain of evidence

On #4 I would like to know when this theist did see a universe being created. To make a demand such as this of the atheist is beyond ridiculous. No one stops the theist from offering an alternative explanation from the BB cosmology. Saying god did it is not explanation and ends up multiplying causes that then need explanation.

What I see and that must be a challenge to most theists to understand is that atheism is about a specific question. All others issues are secondary to it and each to a degree have its own specific science/ field of study. The theist however has a book that claims all the answers to all the questions.

I hate to be the deliverer of bad news, but the theist has the burden of proof. The atheist is not being lazy in demanding this of the theist. In fact, he is helping the theist to come to terms with problem at hand, that is, lack of evidence for gods/ deities.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

266 thoughts on “atheism and burden of proof

  1. shelldigger says:

    Ok, lemme get this straight, we have imbeciles arguing that a burden of proof does not exist, therefore god?

    Am I getting this right? Or do I need some more coffee?

    …fucking intelligence challenged buffoons.

    No amount of well presented logic can penetrate the depths of that kind of stupid.

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    • makagutu says:

      I think you are close to the problem we have here

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    • If you are referring to my comments you should get more coffee.

      I say the burden of proof does not exist and even suggest it is self defeating. But I don’t draw the conclusion “therefore God.”

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      • shelldigger says:

        Ohhhh, well in that case it’s only half as fucking ignorant as I thought it was.

        …and here I thought this was just some sort of creationist word gaming thing.

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          • Creationists didn’t create word games, God did. Everyone knows that who’s in the know. What are you people, atheists or something?

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          • makagutu says:

            something 😛

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          • Well, there then,that explains your ignorance, doesn’t it? Oh. Don’t ask me to provide evidence to support anything I say, OK? You see, I’m a lawyer and I know for a fact that reasonable doubt doesn’t exist, and empirical evidence is about as useful as frontal lobes on a Christian. 🙂

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          • makagutu says:

            What is reasonable doubt? Now you are even talking evidence. That is not required

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          • Where is your evidence to support the claim that evidence is not required to support things it isn’t required to support? The burden of proof is never necessary when people simply accept everything you say as true, but, there is no evidence needed to support any of this making you a fool to doubt it. See? Clear as the Bible.

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            You can trust this guy – he’s a lawyer!

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          • Arch. Thanks for believing that I’m really a lawyer. I’ve no evidence to support that claim, but who needs it, right? Christians don’t, so why should I?

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            I know for a fact that reasonable doubt doesn’t exist” – I have reasonable doubts about that!

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          • What an unreasonable belief to have, Sir! You are rude to doubt or question my extraordinary claims because….well, because I said you are. So there! Reasonable doubt! Burden of proof! Evidence! Who the fuck demands things like this? Certainly not brilliant attorneys like me, I tell ya.

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            And to think I once believed that I was the craziest nut on the internet – if I wore a hat, I would take it off to you, but I ate it right after I gnawed through my restraints —

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          • I happen to resemble those remarks, Sir. I have no evidence to support that claim, but, being the great lawyer I am, I don’t need it. As we who are in the know know, evidence is a highly over-rated commodity. I once gnawed through some restraints I thought were mine, only to later realize they were those of a large bear that was sharing my loonie bin cell with me for some reason. To say a ruckus ensued because of my actions would be a huge understatement, but, in world were evidence to support such a claim is meaningless, I hope you’ll just believe all I say is true, and have a pleasant day. WLC’s got nothin’ on me, man! Nothin’!

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            I trust that’s true, you’re a lawyer.

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          • I’m the best damn lawyer I can imagine myself to be, too, thank you.

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Corpus delecti, habeus corpus, and abba dabba doo —

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          • Sounds like something my friends, Bigus Dickus and Incontenentia Buttox, would say. 🙂

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        • “Ohhhh, well in that case it’s only half as fucking ignorant as I thought it was.”

          You might have even been doubly wrong.

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          • shelldigger says:

            While that is entirely possible, I would not rule it out entirely, I feel like there is a more obvious answer.

            One I don’t think you are going to care for.

            My take on this matter is we have a crank on our hands. A person so sure of their genius it should be obvious to everyone. Only it isn’t.

            And that is not all, you are a creationist crank. One who believes they have solved the ever lingering issue of anyone in their right mind to request, or even demand evidence of outlandish claims. (such as religion)

            You are so full of yourself, I don’t think you could take a shit without losing an important appendage.

            What you want to do with your claim is to drag anyone fool enough to play your word games onto your turf. Where the argument can devolve into pedantic definitions, shifting of the goal posts, and ignoring any and all logic against your ridiculous argument.

            Most of us have seen this little merry go round already. Most of us have no desire to play along with the ruse.

            I guess we could say a logical burden of proof is not something one could hold in your hands, or use to beat an ignorant nail into a board of intelligence in the hope it might gain some insights… but it exists nonetheless.

            It exists as a request for evidence here and now and for the rest of time and all time previous. it exists for all who refuse to believe whatever bullshit anyone wants to sell without a license. It can also be simplified into its most basic form. “Put up or shut up”

            The good news is the Templeton Foundation would probably love to hear from you. The rest of the enlightened world would be more likely put you out to sea with one oar and broken compass.

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Come on, Shelldigger – don’t mince words, tell us how you REALLY feel! 😉

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          • shelldigger says:

            🙂 You guys have no idea how much backspacing gets done before I can hit the enter key.

            Sometimes I scare myself when I look up and see what the keyboard keys have done while I was typing.

            This guy wants to play games. I like games generally, just not the kind he is playing. I will try to find my zen place and chill though.

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          • “This guy wants to play games.” Where is your evidence for these “games”? What constitutes a “game”? What evidence is there, for example, that the ridiculous shit I’m writing isn’t simply an attempt to be deliberately annoying and circular? Where is the evidence that an annoyingly circular way of writing out an argument isn’t what Jesus said we should do? I’m not a lawyer, but I’m playing one here. Thus, you have no evidence supporting I’m not, and, thus, no evidence is needed for me to claim, in a circular, masturbatory sort of way, that no evidence is needed for me to be right, and for you to be a poo-poo head because you dare to question my particular god and stupid ass faith. In conclusion, no evidence exists to prove no evidence exists. Thus, all I say is true though there’s no evidence to support it. $Amen$

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          • shelldigger says:

            He thinks he has thusly relieved religion of any need to provide evidence for any of its claims. And that it makes perfect sense. Most trademarked theologians stick to the meta/apologetic/harder to pin down stuff. It is of course equally ridiculous…

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          • makagutu says:

            Dealing with theologians and apologists for faith can be very annoying.

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          • “Dealing with theologians and apologists for faith can be very annoying.” And where is your evidence that this “annoying” exists, in the supposed inner workings of your evidence-lacking philosophy? A great make believe lawyer once said to me, “Son, unless you can prove a burden of proof is necessary to sway an argument, such a thing does not exist. Keep this in mind, and you’ll earn the respect of no one and the scorn of many. BUT, being that you’re American, you have the Jeebus given right to spout any shit you want, then be deeply offended when people call you out on it. Also, stay away from pinto beans during philosophical discussions. They’ll make your farts reek to high heaven. $Amen$”

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          • makagutu says:

            There is no need for evidence anywhere. And i don’t need evidence for this

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          • OK, but I simply must ask, where’s your evidence for that?

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          • makagutu says:

            No evidence is required

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          • Can you prove that statement? (Christ, this could go on for an eternity. WLC, I gots you beat!)

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          • “It is of course equally ridiculous…” And where is the evidence that this “equally ridiculous” exists? Man, this is fun. I can write volumes of books like this and never once provide evidence for a single thing. And my momma said I wouldn’t make good Christian apologist. Ha! What did she know?

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          • makagutu says:

            She didn’t know you would be a lawyer

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          • Well, not a fake lawyer, anyway.

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          • Only middle notch right now, but I’m still climbing in my fakery.

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          • makagutu says:

            You will soon be a real lawyer

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          • With fake credentials.

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          • makagutu says:

            A lawyer all the same

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          • And a damn handsome one too, I might add.

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          • makagutu says:

            I will let the ladies make that decision

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          • Really, when can I be expecting them to stop by?

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          • Damn, I’ve gotta jump in the shower!

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          • makagutu says:

            Don’t take too long and brush your teeth while at it.

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          • I will. Thanks for reminding me.

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          • makagutu says:

            That is what friends are for

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          • There is no claimed genius in my reply. I am just wondering if your view of the burden of proof is self defeating.

            “….but it exists nonetheless”

            Ok so you are making a positive claim that it exists. So according to its own terms you have the burden to prove it exists right?

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          • shelldigger says:

            I am making a positive claim something exists, yes. And it smells funny.

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          • ” And it smells funny.” Sorry, Shelldigger, that was me. I farted. Sorry.

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          • shelldigger says:

            So your farts smell like really bad philosophical arguments then? Could be worse I guess….

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          • Brother, my farts ARE philosophical arguments.

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          • shelldigger says:

            No more pizza and beer for you!

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          • I won’t argue with that.

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          • makagutu says:

            I like the one oar and broken campus part.
            Maybe he could tell us why people have philosophical arguments especially on controversial subjects

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          • Where is your evidence to support these “philosophical arguments” exist? There can be no arguing when you are always wrong and fake-ass lawyers are always right.

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          • makagutu says:

            I should have been a lawyer.

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          • You can be one if you want. All you have to do is say so. You don’t need to prove it to anyone in any way. The burden of proof is on them to just take you at your word. Because, Mak, you are you after all. 🙂

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          • shelldigger says:

            Some philosophical arguments are worth thinking on, for a few minutes. This one not so much. Anyone who has ever been in a boat will understand that one oar and a broken compass, equals constantly going in circles. This guy is already there. Sorry it took so long to get back to the conversation I had to go out of town, had some really great Mexican food, that was great going down, but the wife and I have been racing each other to the crapper since… Life is such a strange sequence of events…hey I think I figured out where this guys argument is coming from!

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          • “the wife and I have been racing each other to the crapper since” Some of that smell may just have been coming from you too. I’m just saying is all. 🙂

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          • shelldigger says:

            Hey, this guy was spouting crap well before my ahem, problems… started.

            I am a guilty man of many things, but my stink doth not contribute to this particular other.

            Unless, all shit is somehow linked in some sort of cosmic sense.

            I swear I will not step foot in this Mexican restaurant again.

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          • “Hey, this guy was spouting crap well before my ahem, problems… started.” I was farting long before your sojourn to the now fabled Mexican place, so, I’ve been stinking things up much more than you. However, I’ve no evidence for this. I just expect you to believe everything I say. If you don’t, I’ll get all pissy and say you’re attacking my religion, Christmas, and my Aunt Myrtle whom I really don’t have. Remember, it is much easier to believe something you do not need to prove. Though I’ve no evidence for this statement. $Amen$

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          • makagutu says:

            I don’t have evidence that this statement is true, but it is

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          • OK, here we go, we’re gonna come full circle. Ready? OK,… the burden of proof is on you to provide evidence for what you claim is true or I have no good reason to believe you. TOUCHDOWN! 7 points to the circular reasoning guy. We spent days saying lots of nothing and ended up back at the original question. This proves creationism and a literal reading of the Bible are true! $Amen$

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          • makagutu says:

            That is the most interesting thing in this debate. It started with no requirement for proof but that is where we still are, that we need to defend our assertions if we expect others to take us seriously

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          • OK, here we go. We’re gonna start all over again. Ready? OK…..Where’s your evidence that you need to have evidence if you expect people to believe what you assert is true? (God damn, I’m good, aren’t I? And I never answer a question but with another question. Jesus must really love me. :))

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          • makagutu says:

            Jesus must be clapping in heaven through the hole in his palms for you

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          • Those holes make him clap all the louder. Less wind resistance, you know.

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          • makagutu says:

            Even whistle

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          • While he works and claps.

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          • makagutu says:

            I tell you. I wonder if he can use his hands to scoop anything

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          • Water and fine powders would pour right trough them. Poor guy. It sucks to be crucified, even if you can come back afterwards.

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  2. shelldigger says:

    …oh, great post Mak, I got so sidetracked with the History Channel kind of stupid there I forgot to mention that. 🙂

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  3. Oh, and, Mak, I sense hostility brewing on your comment section here. Soon the name calling will start. It always does with TruChristians. So, if you need a guy who claims to be an attorney but isn’t, you can hire me. Together we can sue everyone who says nasty stuff and make millions. I’m a great lawyer, Mak. I never have to prove a fucking thing to anyone. I just make claims then throw a god damn fit when people dismiss me as a ranting blow hard. AND, I only charge 6 bucks an hour. Can’t lose with me. Everything I say is always right. Praise be Allah! The one and only God!

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  4. Say, Mak, whilst I was doing some make believe research to promote my expert legal theory, cause I’m a lawyer, don’t ya know, on why evidence is irrelevant when trying to make a point, I came across a lovely new pejorative term that fits one of the fake lawyers (not me) you have commenting here: Crank. “A crank belief is so wildly at variance with those commonly held as to be ludicrous. Cranks characteristically dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict their own unconventional beliefs, making rational debate a futile task, and rendering them impervious to facts, evidence, and rational inference.” I LIKE that! And that’s my free legal advise for today. $Amen$

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  5. archaeopteryx1 says:

    I’m confused. I’ve been trying to follow this, but is True and Reasonable saying that unless someone can present a burden of proof for the burden of proof, that there IS no burden of proof, and that no one needs to prove ANYTHING? That up can be down, right can be left, and no one needs evidence to make their assertions? That whatever anyone says, is automatically correct, even Inspired?

    Well, everyone have a very merry unbirthday! I can’t PROVE it’s your unbirthday, but no one can prove I NEED to!

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I think that is close to the case we have here.

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    • You betcha, Arch. That’s exactly what’s going on here. More exactly, what Fake Lawyer #1 (not me, I’m Fake Lawyer #2) is getting at is his creationist, Jeebus, B.S. should not be questioned unless it can first be proven that evidence for a “burden of proof” exists. In other words, prove you need proof or shut up. And you thought WLC was a bag of wind, eh?

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Theists like that do more to give religion a bad name, than atheists like us ever could – I guess we should thank them.

        I realize I just made a rather acrid accusation, and normally, I’d be ready to back it up with evidence, but since there is no proof for the burden of proof, I guess that’s not necessary, so it stands unchallenged!

        Like

  6. […] a comment I made on a post by makagutu at a blog I follow, Random Thoughts (https://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/atheism-and-burden-of-proof/), I remarked, “Reviewing this, it dawns on me that theists not only need to offer evidence, […]

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  7. […] they are not related. Here we have had a long debate on burden of […]

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  8. […] have met Seth in atheism and burden of proof a post as a response to his. He is back again killing the already dead horse, this time though he […]

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