Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Burden of Proof III

I have already pointed out the many reasons that theists bear the burden of proving that their god exists.  In brief, they are:

1. Theists are the proponents of the hypothesis.
2. The negative of the hypothesis can never be proven.
3. The hypothesis is extraordinary and thus requires extraordinary proof, yet absolutely no proof exists.
4. In such cases, the absence of evidence for the hypothesis meets whatever burden the skeptic has regarding proof and gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the thing hypothesized does not exist.

In spite of all of this, theists will insist that non-believers prove that god doesn't exist and will argue that the non-believer's inability to explain the existence of the universe leads inevitably to the conclusion that god must exist.

Note that they are attempting to put the burden of proof entirely on the non-believer as to two impossible questions:  proving the non-existence of god and explaining the universe's existence.  Yet it is they who have asserted that they have answers to both of these questions.

Non-believers can respond by pointing out what they are doing and then saying:

"You are the one claiming to know things you can't possibly know.  All I know is that you haven't proven your case and, in the past when similar assertions became testable (Atlas, the Zephyrs), it turned out that there was a natural explanation that didn't involve invisible magic men."

Or, a more brief version:

"No human being knows that, but what I know is that theories about invisible people with magic powers are obviously nonsense."

If the believer insists on his point, then turn his logic around on him and dare him to prove that Atlas or the Zephyrs don't exist.  Claim that these ancient gods are using their magic powers to make us think gravity exists and that the wind is caused by the heat of the sun and the earth's shape and rotation.

The goal is to make the believer admit that absence of evidence for these ancient gods proves they don't exist.   He or she knows perfectly well that this is true, but is being dishonest about the application of that rule of logic to his or her favorite god.

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