proof that there is no proof

There is more stupidity in the universe than hydrogen and it has a longer shelf life, Frank Zappa.

The author of this post is asking for proof there is no evidence for gods. Further he wants to be shown proof that demonstrates that you have no burden of proof. He does this, as he says, so that

By exposing such error and praying God will bless our doing so, we should hope to see fruit. May the Glory of God shine through it!

When I first read the post, I thought it was a load of crap and said almost as much. The author thinks I am being unfair. So I asked him to tell me what gods are. His answer[emphasis mine]

an absolute, objective authority exists and is self evident.

I am interested in knowing any believer who goes to church to worship such a monster. Why, if any god is self-evident do we question its existence? Is the questioning not enough evidence that the existence of gods, any god, is not obvious.

I think every christian believer, believes in a god that is a person, that hears prayers, punishes others, is sometimes jealous, is loving and so on. But because they modern christian finds such a god impossible to believe, they pretend to believe in an abstraction. They call it by many names such as ground of being, necessary being, infinite being and so on but this is so far removed from the very idea of god they have in the bible. So that at the end, the god argued for is different from the god believed in, and such is christian apologetics.

He then in his response writes

P1: If it is impossible to deny that an absolute, objective authority exists, without first assuming it is true, then it is true that an absolute, objective authority exists.
P2: It is impossible to deny that an absolute, objective authority exists, without first assuming it is true.
C: Thus, it is true that an absolute, objective authority exists.

which can be rewritten to read thus

P1: If it is impossible to deny that anabsolute, objective authority a green donkey exists, without first assuming it is true, then it is true that an absolute, objective authority a green donkey exists.
P2: It is impossible to deny that an absolute, objective authority a green donkey exists, without first assuming it is true.
C: Thus, it is true that an absolute, objective authority a green donkey exists.

I maybe missing something, but I would love to be shown if P1 and 2 are valid and whether the C follows necessarily from them.

IMV, the first premise is loaded. What is being sought is already assumed to be true.

The burden of proof and time sheets

No, they are not related. Here we have had a long debate on burden of proof.

There is this post from medium on the same that I think is interesting.

I hate time sheets, in fact, I hardly ever fill them. We have it on the intranet and I don’t have an idea whether anyone ever fills them. They are to me a massive waste of time. This person agrees.

Nice weekend everyone

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.

Blog Break 12: Thoughts out of season

Fellow sufferers, I haven’t been asked, but I have seen it asked elsewhere by theists, why do we write about our disbelief? They ask why do we engage with theists? I don’t know about you, but I write first because I enjoy writing; two because I enjoy a good conversation with people and especially so that someone who is so steeped in religion may be inspired by my work to think about his/her religion, to entertain some doubt of the received teaching, put it on the table of reason and adopt only those portions, if any, that pass. I write also as a response to what religious apologists write, just so that anyone who happens to come by the particular post may someday find a refutation of the same, at least, to have to hear from both sides.

Having said that, it is for one of the said reasons that I will consider this post, in which the author a preacher comments about a debate he watched but expresses his bias from the word go. He starts by writing

[…]I started to think again about the validity of an “Un-categorized” category. It seems to me that this category is akin to an atheist position while the un-checking of all categories is more like the agnostic position.

Where he contends that the atheist position is un-categorised. I hope the rest of his post will tell us more why this is so. He says the opening statements of the atheists are what irked him from the word go. So what did the atheists say?

Atheism is merely the absence of believe in any God. We are all born atheists, we must be taught to be theists

and

Atheism is a lack of a belief. So I would just like to remind all of you that you are atheists… when it comes to Zeus, Apollo, Thor, or any of the other countless imaginary people that we’ve come up through human history.

Anyone who thinks this definitions are contentious please raise up your hand….. well, I will refer us to wikipedia where atheism is defined as

 in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.

Now that we have established that the two atheists were right in their definitions, as well as their qualifying remarks about children being born atheists and that almost everyone alive today is atheist in reference to Thor or Zeus, let us now proceed to the issues the OP has with atheists. He writes

To me this seems so untrue that I can’t believe it came from the mouth of a self-proclaimed “agnostic atheist” (kind of a contradiction in terms itself, like an “Independent Republican”)

The contradiction rests only in his mind and his failure to understand whatever he sets out to attack. There is no contradiction in terms in a person claiming to be an agnostic atheist. As has been said countless times, agnosticism deals with knowledge claims, and especially about the nature of god, atheism deals with the question of belief or lack thereof. Therefore, when one calls himself agnostic atheist, there is no contradiction.

Do we have to sell dictionaries or distribute fliers to explain the simple fact that atheism is simply a lack of belief in the existence of gods and not a belief system. One wonders why, with the availability of online articles on atheism, a person would still write

you can never say that your system of belief about God is the absence of belief. That makes no sense. How can a structured belief system consider itself to be the lack of all belief. I might agree if they were trying to represent a purely agnostic position, but the “agnostic atheist” can’t make those claims.

and show to the world his ignorance of what he purports to write about? Is it part of christian apologetics to misrepresent atheism to an extent that anyone reading their posts is left more confused that they began? Isn’t rather fair that both sides, as much as possible, at least stick to facts?

He continues by conceding

that we are born atheists, but we’re also born without language and any knowledge of history or science. These all must be taught. You could argue that the only thing we can be seen to be born with is some general morality, though that needs to be fostered through development, and that would seem to point to the competing perspective.

many things that no one contends. We are born without any belief, that much should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Why he makes it an issue is beyond me.

But his next statement is both shocking and unwarranted. He writes

There is an inherent superiority and snobbery in saying that your system of belief is somehow the default belief. By declaring it as the absence of all belief, you then put the burden of proof on the theist. In my opinion, the person making that point then is basically saying that they have no reason to be an atheist, they are just one by faith.

Last I checked, truth claims, do not respect how a person feels. If you feel inferior that your position ain’t the default position, hang it elsewhere. Examine your beliefs and get a life. And yes, the burden of proof rests squarely with the theist. If you don’t like it, don’t be a theist or easier still don’t write about it. And you are wrong, placing the burden of proof where it belongs shows the person knows his stuff and knows who should be asked to provide evidence for their claims. As your friendly atheist, :-P, wow me with the evidence. I can’t wait to be persuaded.

His next statement is quite ridiculous. He claims, he knows that the above definition

 is not the normal atheist position

and one expects that he will tell us about what this position is. But alas! I must be too ambitious to expect so much from him. He writes

I’m used to Hitchens and others who are brilliant men and persuasive debaters.

Friends, please help me here! Did Hitchens have a different definition for atheism and who are these others our interlocutor is used to?

And as is usual, it gets to the point where the theist decides not to make any sense. For we read

 I know atheists that have spent a lot of time researching and debating within themselves and others and have come to some kind of reasoned atheism. I would challenge that, but I respect that.

Don’t you all think if he knows such atheists as he claims, he would at least know the definition of atheism, he would know with whom the burden of proof lies and lastly he would know that there is no snobbery in declaring the atheist position is the default position.

One wonders why the theist always has to reduce atheism to his level? For, why, tell me, a statement such as

I am opposed to un-reasoned faith of any kind, atheist or theist.

still appear on the web? Are people so impervious to learning?

All too often Christians have made such silly anti-intellectual claims that belie the fact that they haven’t really wrestled with any kind of opposition.

The jury is out on who has made silly anti-intellectual claims. The two atheists or this theist who set to correct them? I have taken my vote, it is a win for the atheists. It is the christian who has made a fool of himself, by setting out to write about atheism and then showing in so many words that he knows nothing or close to nothing about atheism and should remain a preacher, for that is a job that in many cases requires little learning.

It was fun writing this post :-P!