The atheist’s extraordinary evidence


A theist has written the following address to us

Many of these people have had experiences which they have assessed to have been caused by a super-natural agent or force. Many have come to believe in the super-natural on the basis of arguments and evidence that their rational faculties have told them are sound. And yet you tell us that all these people—billions and billions of people in all sorts of different settings, cultures, and social groups—are wrong. Only your comparatively tiny group—the “bright” luminaries of humanity—are right. But that, my friends, is an extraordinary claim.

and then asked

Where is your extraordinary evidence for the extraordinary claim that everyone else is wrong but you?

And I as an atheist, I will attempt to answer him. First, I want to tell him the claim by the atheist isn’t extraordinary. And doesn’t need extraordinary evidence.

To say more, the atheist doesn’t deny the experiences people have had across the ages. What we are saying is they have been attributed erroneously to divine or not so divine agency. As far as we can tell, humans have no faculty for detecting the supernatural. All our experiences involve natural stuff, they could be inexplicable but they are still natural.

It is the theist who is making an extraordinary claim when he claims his very natural inexplicable experience is the working of a supernatural agency. It is the theist who must tell us how they know that the experience is supernatural and which supernatural agency caused it.

And I hate to destroy the believer’s bubble but I must end his party abruptly by telling him that whereas he has written

And please note, since you are the ones making the positive claim that the rest of us are all mistaken, the burden of proof is on you to prove that claim….have fun!

the burden is on him to demonstrate that the experiences are supernatural. The believer has to tell us how they know a particular event is supernatural. So we will have fun, yes, but we will be doing so waiting for you to demonstrate that the experience is not natural or not caused by some natural agency.

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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

103 thoughts on “The atheist’s extraordinary evidence

  1. shelldigger says:

    In a world where everything must conform to the belief, this is their logic. Ass backwards, asinine, and so silly most 5th graders can see through it.

    Wishful thinking, appeals to tradition, and shifting the burden, are laughable as arguments. Childish. But that appears to be the level that creationist minds operate at.

    It is my pleasure to contribute, if you can call it that. Spouting off what comes to mind might not always be contibutions. 🙂

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  2. nannus says:

    The problem is that people are educated in an environment where they are trained to interpret certain things as being caused by god. E.g., they are trained to believe that certain types of emotions (that are caused, for example, by singing and dancing in church) are caused by god’s presence. Than they “feel gods presence”. The feeling is real, but god’s presence is an interpretation.
    That there are “billions and billions” of people believing something is no argument as long as they all get their belief from the same source. They are not independent wittnesses.
    I wonder how these people want to proove that anything they experienced has a supernatural cause. Personally, I have never experienced anything like that and I do not know anybody who claims anything like that, except for some churchy people.

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    • makagutu says:

      Nannus, you get my point exactly and which this fellow misses. No one is denying the experience, it is the attribution/ interpretation we challenge.

      He think by claiming billions and billions believe something it now has some modicum of truth.

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      • nannus says:

        Funnily, miracles seem to be restricted to areas where a lot of people believe in them. Here in Europe, the miracle concentration is very low.
        About the argument with the “billions cannot be wrong”, if they are christians, ask them if the billions of muslims are right. There are so many of them, they just cannot be wrong, can’t they?
        The argument is flawed simply because religion is a self-reproducing system. The number of people a belief system has infected does not say anything about its truth, only about how effective it is as an infectious agent. Virulence is not truth.

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  3. […] similar from this author before. As it turned out, this other post was examined by Makagutu here. That post concerned a demand for Atheists to provide evidence of a non-existing entity, thereby […]

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  4. […] while back when I wrote an atheist’s extraordinary evidence, the blog author to whose post I had responded to, did write a 2000 word rebuttal which I saw no […]

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