Burden of Proof
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01-05-2012, 10:31 AM
Burden of Proof
I'm sure we've had threads like this before. However, I'm posting this to highlight the incoming results of a poll asking who bears the burden of proof that I started on another forum. The choices were: 1) atheists 2) believers 3) both. I asked people to vote on the poll and give background as to why they chose what they did. This is what I wrote:

Quote:I chose that believers bear the burden of proof. In order for people to understand my POV, consider the following (often quoted) scenario originally put forward by Carl Sagan. If I claim that I have a fire-breathing dragon in my garage, a person naturally won’t believe me until they have seen it. When the garage is found to be empty, I counter that it is invisible. When flour spread on the floor reveals no footprints, I counter that it is flying. When its fire doesn’t show up on infrared, I counter that the flame is cold. When spray paint doesn’t adhere to its skin, I counter that it’s intangible. This continues on and on without any evidence of the existence of the dragon coming forth, but yet I still expect the person to believe that the dragon exists. Now imagine that 95% of the world believes that they have one type of mythic creature or another in their garage, and you are a part of a small but fast growing minority that doesn’t take stock in such beings since you haven’t seen supporting evidence. This is how atheists feel.

Just because a large portion of the world believes in one form of deity or another doesn’t mean that these deities actually exist. Every culture has their own god or sets of gods and each adherent of these respective religions have their own holy books, historical personages, and, most importantly, “personal experiences” that prove to them that their deities exist. How can all of these gods be real? Why are some thought to be real, while the rest are fake? If viewed from an anthropological perspective, the origin of each culture having religion most likely descends from the very small early human population bringing their shamanistic beliefs with them as they left Africa for other parts of the world. Just like language, these early beliefs splintered and snowballed into the religions that we have today.

I am surprised at the results so far:

Atheists - 3
Believers - 11
Both - 7

There has been a lot of talk about "knowing" and "believing." One person said that if you assert that you "know" there is no god, then you are responsible for providing proof. This seems like a reasonable position. I personally don't go around saying I know that god doesn't exist. I face palmed when I read this comment:

Quote:Just my opinion, of course, but my own experience has been that believers (of diverse schools) are generally happier, more positive companions, and more giving (both as friends and in public life) than non-believers. I don't think it would be fair to advise someone else to wait for unspecified proof before deciding in favor of belief.

So they would rather believe in a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater and be blissfully, ignorantly happy than living in the real world. Sometimes it hurts my head to hear such things. It's no different than someone shooting heroine to escape life. I guess endorphins are just as addictive as the hard stuff.
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01-05-2012, 11:07 AM
RE: Burden of Proof
Just use the invisible pet dragon analogy.

Tell them you own an invisible pet dragon. If they take the stance of non-belief, tell them to prove it to you as they are the ones that have the burden of proving that you do not.

It's always good practice to flip the opponent's logic back on them.

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01-05-2012, 11:10 AM
RE: Burden of Proof
My personal answer is "no one" or "invalid".

As an atheist, it is not your job to convince a theist of no deity. You can present evidence as to why you believe a certain way, but your purpose shouldn't be to convince.

Proving that God absolutely does not exist is impossible.

As a theist (Christians in particular), it is not your job to convince an atheist that there is a deity. You can present evidence as to why you believe a certain way, but your purpose shouldn't be convince. It is that deity's job to convince non-belief into belief.

Proving that God absolutely exists is impossible.

Since there is no definitive proof, the belief or non-belief is based on faith. A non-believer bases their faith on the knowledge and proof that points to the non-existence of a deity. A believer bases their faith on the knowledge and proof that points to the existence of a deity.

Since faith is not empirical, and it is the crux of the proof for the debate, the argument become invalid.

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01-05-2012, 11:17 AM
RE: Burden of Proof
(01-05-2012 10:31 AM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  I'm sure we've had threads like this before. However, I'm posting this to highlight the incoming results of a poll asking who bears the burden of proof that I started on another forum. The choices were: 1) atheists 2) believers 3) both.


None of the 3 choices.

I think it is the common mistake by Atheist and Apologetics alike that result to never ending debate.

“The burden of proof belongs to the person asserting a claim”

That will be only applicable to a claim that cannot prove itself… thus, other people needs to prove it.

Thus, I think people should not take pains to prove their celestial teapots or spaghetti monsters.

Let the “celestial teapots” have the “burden of proof”.
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01-05-2012, 11:26 AM
RE: Burden of Proof
(01-05-2012 11:17 AM)ahoy Wrote:  
(01-05-2012 10:31 AM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  I'm sure we've had threads like this before. However, I'm posting this to highlight the incoming results of a poll asking who bears the burden of proof that I started on another forum. The choices were: 1) atheists 2) believers 3) both.


None of the 3 choices.

I think it is the common mistake by Atheist and Apologetics alike that result to never ending debate.

“The burden of proof belongs to the person asserting a claim”

That will be only applicable to a claim that cannot prove itself… thus, other people needs to prove it.

Thus, I think people should not take pains to prove their celestial teapots or spaghetti monsters.

Let the “celestial teapots” have the “burden of proof”.
Not quite sure what you're getting at here...

Because the idea of God cannot be proven so as you say, "it cannot prove itself". Therefore the burden of proof argument is a valid one by your very logic.

Let's say something can prove itself like Me. My friend claims that I exist. You refute that claim. My friend is the one that has the burden of proof so he introduces me to you. I say Hello and have thus proved myself.

The burden of proof didn't shift in this scenario. Burden of proof ALWAYS lies in the hands of those that make the claim. Atheism is not a claim (at least it shouldn't be), it's a negative stance. It's a stance that wouldn't exist without the claim of religion.

Just like how you wouldn't have the necessity to refute my existence if my friend never claimed that I exist to you.

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01-05-2012, 11:30 AM
RE: Burden of Proof
(01-05-2012 11:07 AM)NoahsFarce Wrote:  Just use the invisible pet dragon analogy.

Tell them you own an invisible pet dragon. If they take the stance of non-belief, tell them to prove it to you as they are the ones that have the burden of proving that you do not.

It's always good practice to flip the opponent's logic back on them.

One of practical problem I met was: religious believers are never logical enough to know their logic is flipped back already...

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01-05-2012, 12:21 PM
RE: Burden of Proof
(01-05-2012 11:30 AM)Jedah Wrote:  
(01-05-2012 11:07 AM)NoahsFarce Wrote:  Just use the invisible pet dragon analogy.

Tell them you own an invisible pet dragon. If they take the stance of non-belief, tell them to prove it to you as they are the ones that have the burden of proving that you do not.

It's always good practice to flip the opponent's logic back on them.

One of practical problem I met was: religious believers are never logical enough to know their logic is flipped back already...
Dealing in absolutes will get you in trouble.

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01-05-2012, 12:39 PM
RE: Burden of Proof
Dealing in logic will get you excommunicated.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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01-05-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: Burden of Proof
Ghost, You murdered my sister, I know you did, I am taking you to court, I won't bring any papers or even hire a lawyer.


Good luck proving you didn't commit murder while I read a book and wait for the jury to convict you.

Can we understand now why the burden of proof lies on the claimant? You(The religious, Not the op) are claiming God exists, I reject that claim, For me to believe this you must provide proof. Further more if you want to insist that your sky daddy should be governing how I live then you damn sure better have irrefutable,testable evidence.
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01-05-2012, 01:06 PM
RE: Burden of Proof
(01-05-2012 12:58 PM)angry-santa Wrote:  Ghost, You murdered my sister, I know you did, I am taking you to court, I won't bring any papers or even hire a lawyer.


Good luck proving you didn't commit murder while I read a book and wait for the jury to convict you.

Can we understand now why the burden of proof lies on the claimant? You(The religious, Not the op) are claiming God exists, I reject that claim, For me to believe this you must provide proof. Further more if you want to insist that your sky daddy should be governing how I live then you damn sure better have irrefutable,testable evidence.
No, that's a bad example. The murder is provable. God is neither provable or unprovable.

It also depends on the point of view. For most Christians, God exists and is accepted as truth. If you say He doesn't exists to a person that accepts it as truth, then it is up to you to hold the burden of proof.

But, like I said, this argument is invalid because definitive proof for either case can never be found.

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