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Offline junebug72

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How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« on: December 04, 2016, 08:24:13 AM »
Coming soon!  I don't have time this morning to post an eloquent OP.  It's going to take a while to gather all the links that I think are interesting and provide some insight into my mind and why I have drawn the conclusions I have.

There are atheists that use the adjective strong to describe their atheism.  In the links to come and in my own mind this shifts the burden of proof.  It's the same thing as gnostic atheist.  It is a positive claim and that shifts the burden of proof.  I appreciate the way Matt explains it in his video; it's all about where you put the "not".  You can have two opposing claims a)gods exist or b)gods don't exist or you can have a positive claim and the default position I do not believe your claim until you prove it.

I'm most interested in why an atheist would allow the shifting of the burden of proof?  Is this not how theists dig their rabbit holes? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_burden_of_proof

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTMDjyG5u_A
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Offline The Gawd

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2016, 08:30:10 AM »
Even if it does shift the burden of proof, which I don't think it does, it's an easy burden to meet since the lack of proof IS the proof. The reason I don't think it shifts the burden of proof is because "strong" just represents the person's confidence in their particular stance. I believe strongly that The Chicago Bears are an awful, but regardless of my strength of believe the evidence would be the same, their poor record.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2016, 09:39:11 AM »
Failing to find evidence for something, where one reasonably expects to find evidence for it, is itself a form of evidence.  For example, when they were testing the Higgs field, they had to perform tests to attempt to produce a Higgs boson, and every time they failed to do so, they were able to exclude certain mass ranges from future consideration.  To put it another way, failing to find the Higgs boson at certain mass ranges was evidence that it did not fall within those mass ranges.  If they had failed to find it within all expected mass ranges, that would have been pretty solid evidence against its existence (and by extension, the Higgs field).

I suspect the reasoning that strong atheists use regarding gods is something like, "we've looked for gods and failed to find them, which itself is evidence against them existing, therefore I don't believe they exist".  I am not a strong atheist, so I don't know for sure, but that stands to reason.  So it's not so much a positive claim as it is a stronger negative conclusion.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2016, 05:00:10 AM »
Failing to find evidence for something, where one reasonably expects to find evidence for it, is itself a form of evidence.  For example, when they were testing the Higgs field, they had to perform tests to attempt to produce a Higgs boson, and every time they failed to do so, they were able to exclude certain mass ranges from future consideration.  To put it another way, failing to find the Higgs boson at certain mass ranges was evidence that it did not fall within those mass ranges.  If they had failed to find it within all expected mass ranges, that would have been pretty solid evidence against its existence (and by extension, the Higgs field).

I suspect the reasoning that strong atheists use regarding gods is something like, "we've looked for gods and failed to find them, which itself is evidence against them existing, therefore I don't believe they exist".  I am not a strong atheist, so I don't know for sure, but that stands to reason.  So it's not so much a positive claim as it is a stronger negative conclusion.

I agree evidence of absence is evidence to us atheists but it is not evidence to a theist.  No amount of science out there is evidence to a theist their gods don't exist.  They just tweek it or deny the science.

When a theist says you have no evidence that god does not exist they are asking for objective proof.  This is not possible for a negative or default position.  They literally want a picture of gods not existing. 
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Offline jetson

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2016, 08:45:23 AM »
Failing to find evidence for something, where one reasonably expects to find evidence for it, is itself a form of evidence.  For example, when they were testing the Higgs field, they had to perform tests to attempt to produce a Higgs boson, and every time they failed to do so, they were able to exclude certain mass ranges from future consideration.  To put it another way, failing to find the Higgs boson at certain mass ranges was evidence that it did not fall within those mass ranges.  If they had failed to find it within all expected mass ranges, that would have been pretty solid evidence against its existence (and by extension, the Higgs field).

I suspect the reasoning that strong atheists use regarding gods is something like, "we've looked for gods and failed to find them, which itself is evidence against them existing, therefore I don't believe they exist".  I am not a strong atheist, so I don't know for sure, but that stands to reason.  So it's not so much a positive claim as it is a stronger negative conclusion.

I agree evidence of absence is evidence to us atheists but it is not evidence to a theist.  No amount of science out there is evidence to a theist their gods don't exist.  They just tweek it or deny the science.

When a theist says you have no evidence that god does not exist they are asking for objective proof.  This is not possible for a negative or default position.  They literally want a picture of gods not existing.

I'm glad that you recognize this, and you put it into words very well. "They literally want a picture of gods not existing."

As ridiculous as that sounds, it is as close to what some Christians seem to expect when they attempt to shift the burden. In my mind, when a thing is posited, a reasonably educated person can make a fairly quick assessment on accepting or rejecting the claim. This is obviously more difficult when things are complex, like the precise calculations needed to shoot a rocket off of earth and to the moon. However, history shows it is reasonable because we did it, so something went very right. Most people have seen images of earth or they've seen globes, or both. So the claim that the earth is a sphere is obvious, and easily acceptable (although there are flat-earthers out there, sigh.)

When it comes to god claims, the challenge is in the emotional attachment and inability to separate myth from reality for many humans. Parents passed their beliefs onto their children with enough conviction and authority, along with heaps of fear, guilt, and shame to completely embed the delusion into the minds of their young, impressionable children. This is not something that can be easily shed by many. The comfort of a loving god that is taking care of their grandparents, and will reunite them is too strong. The fear of hell is too strong.

I have also done some reading on the topic of "levels of atheism", including all of the nuanced versions of agnostic and gnostic, etc. Those labels don't appeal to my inner atheist, I guess. To me, you either accept there is a god, or you reject the claims. The inbetweeners are basically undecided in my book. If you reject claims that gods actually exist, you are atheist. If you think there may be a higher power, that is something altogether different than the claims of named gods from holy books and ancient myth. Those are specific. Higher powers, or Deism, is about as close as I could get to considering an intelligence that perhaps created stuff. I don't have a good reason to consider that possibility though, so it's another rejection for me at the moment.

I have argued many times on this site that when I reject god claims, I am not making a positive assertion that a god does not exist, I am making a strong assertion that no god has ever been shown to exist. No one seems to want me to prove that no god has ever been shown to exist. I wonder why that is? Perhaps it is because most theists realize they will never be able to show me a god. They know their god is invisible, they know it works in "mysterious ways", and they know that the problem with accepting the premise lies with my refusal to just believe. Sorry, Jet don't play that game!

If the statement "no god has ever been show to exist" is a positive assertion, then we are back where we started. We are at the place where anything can be asserted, and the burden of proof is on the person who rejects the assertion - which is patently ridiculous, and gets us nowhere.

TL;DR - I have ZERO burden of proof on god's not existing. I will never say anything more than "show me your god." I leave the tiniest crack of possibility that there is a god involved in our universe and planet - about as much room as I give for the existence of Thor - pure mythology.

Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2016, 06:05:16 AM »
Even if it does shift the burden of proof, which I don't think it does, it's an easy burden to meet since the lack of proof IS the proof. The reason I don't think it shifts the burden of proof is because "strong" just represents the person's confidence in their particular stance. I believe strongly that The Chicago Bears are an awful, but regardless of my strength of believe the evidence would be the same, their poor record.

This opens the door to theists saying you have faith in atheism.  Why?  Because confidence is from the Latin root confi defined means faith and other words that are similar to faith.   That's why I used the term rabbit holes.  When you allow the shifting of TBOP you are going down a rabbit hole. 

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=confidence
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2016, 07:14:05 AM »
@jetson Yea man they say atheist can't even exist!  I'm going to find that argument.  http://www.charismanews.com/world/44633-scientists-atheists-may-not-exist-seriously

This is clearly shifting TBOP.  They are saying theism is the default position.  That is wrong until they meet TBOP. 

Once theists get TBOP right then they will quit coming up with these ridiculous illogical arguments that ''the flock'' can not recognize as illogical.

Strong/Gnostic atheism is, IMHO, a roadblock to preventing this shift.  Perhaps it's a strong desire to prove gods don't exist and to get rid of the harm religion causes to democracy.  I have that passion too.  That's why I'm anti-theism.  I don't have to add subsets to atheist, thereby complicating the definition and opening the rabbit hole the theist wants to go down, to be passionate about that.

Theist need subsets because faith is not a reliable path to truth.  Atheists should not need subsets.  It's a default position.  How can there logically be more than 1 default position?  Okay I just learned you can have more than 1 default position but it only applies if the prerequisite is true.  I think.  whoa!
 
edit to add links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Default_logic

A common default assumption is that what is not known to be true is believed to be false. This is known as the Closed World Assumption, and is formalized in default logic using a default like the following one for every fact F.

   
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed-world_assumption

Damn logic is hard! 


« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 07:45:38 AM by junebug72 »
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Offline jetson

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2016, 08:32:18 AM »
So, you make a good point. From a basic perspective, there really is no nuance to the atheist position. I would imagine that the god question is binary without room for anything between a god and no god. However, humans have really smeared the palate with so many gods and religions over time. For those who have chosen their god, they have an impossible time dealing with the fact that most humans disagree with them and either have their own god, or at the least, their own version of a god.

Perhaps we are really talking about the approach taken by atheists in discussing gods. What I mean is that we cannot have any conversation if we cross our arms and say "there are no gods" and refuse to engage until a god is shown to exist. If we did that, there would be no conversation, and it seems there are atheists who might prefer that approach. The problem is that the existence of gods is not as important as what some humans are doing on behalf of their beliefs that needs to be directly challenged.

Separation of church and state is probably where I am most concerned as a U.S. citizen. If there is any way to get the religious people to stay out of government with their faith nonsense, I'm in full support. But me telling them there is no god is not going to move that needle. In fact, it is likely far more prudent to find ways to let them practice their religion freely and without government interference, and help them understand that the separation is the best way for that to remain intact. Of course, they cannot help themselves in crying foul that Islam does not deserve equal footing in the U.S. Their faith won't allow it, apparently. To them, the only good religion is their own.

Again, within the context of certain conversations, I adjust my arguments and adjectives to suit the situation in order to achieve my goal. In these discussions, the goals change as different versions of believer engage me.

Offline velkyn

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2016, 05:48:12 PM »

This opens the door to theists saying you have faith in atheism.  Why?  Because confidence is from the Latin root confi defined means faith and other words that are similar to faith.   That's why I used the term rabbit holes.  When you allow the shifting of TBOP you are going down a rabbit hole. 

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=confidence

does confidence mean faith as used by a Christian in that context?
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2016, 05:59:43 PM »
@jetson,

I'm in no way advocating for shutting down communication.  No, no, no. BUT...To me it seems rather useless if we can't agree where that BOP lays.  A wise man once told me to ask questions.  I think that's a wonderful approach to communicating with theists.  If they try to shift the BOP I won't be shy about letting them know it's on them.


Letting theists give it their all like I did and still come up short in being convincing matters.  The ad hominem was not necessary.  In fact  it prolonged the process.  The simple fact that I could not prove what I was saying was a pivotal moment in my deconversion.  Matt Dillahunty has a similar testimony.  It was his lack of proving god to others that caused him to rethink his position of the claim god, particularly Yahweh/Jesus, exist. 

It wasn't the science it was my failure to meet TBOP.  I did learn some stuff about science but mostly it was over my head.  I understand basic concepts of Theories and I definitely respect the process, I find it has integrity unlike religious processes of fear and shame and unfounded promises of heaven or hell.  I'm going to encourage my grandson to explore the universe! Just saying. ;)

Theists agree they use logic and this, to me, is a basic foundation, TBOP, of how logic starts to work.  Whether you claim it comes from gods or evolution both sides claim to use logic and reason to make conclusions or reject claims.  When they claim we have no foundation for logic if not for gods here again it's a shift in the burden of proof.  Brain fizz.  According to some I have a bad case of that. :laugh:

I'm with you on that separation! 

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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2016, 06:03:29 PM »

This opens the door to theists saying you have faith in atheism.  Why?  Because confidence is from the Latin root confi defined means faith and other words that are similar to faith.   That's why I used the term rabbit holes.  When you allow the shifting of TBOP you are going down a rabbit hole. 

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=confidence

does confidence mean faith as used by a Christian in that context?

To a wiley theist it does.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2016, 07:28:05 AM »
I have to say I'm disappointed that no one answered the question in the OP.  Why would you want to shift the BOP? 

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Offline jetson

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2016, 08:35:51 AM »
I would not allow it. But again, the nuances that atheists must use just to have a conversation can make it a challenge.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2016, 08:38:48 AM »
How exactly is calling yourself a strong atheist shifting the burden of proof?  Please explain.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2016, 09:22:52 AM »
How exactly is calling yourself a strong atheist shifting the burden of proof?  Please explain.

Because it's the same thing as gnostic atheist.  A weak atheist is agnostic so it's a logical conclusion to make that strong atheist is gnostic.  Gnostic is defined as knowledge.  Knowledge claims require proof. 

Will you answer my question?  It is the OP.  Thanks.  Apparently asking for clarification is deflection Jaime.  Did you not get the memo? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwASABbCRVY

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/strong_weak.htm 

« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 09:39:32 AM by junebug72 »
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2016, 09:36:38 AM »
I would not allow it. But again, the nuances that atheists must use just to have a conversation can make it a challenge.

That's for damn sure! 

It does seem to require a level of arrogance I'm not comfortable with on principle to claim knowledge that gods do not exist.  I think much more needs to be learned about the universe to make such a bold and confident claim.  It's more like an I don't know but I'd be happy to change my mind with some proof for me. 

BTW will you please give an example of the kind of nuance you are talking about that would require you to use I'm a strong atheist compared to I am an atheist?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 09:44:10 AM by junebug72 »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2016, 11:33:59 AM »
For the record, I do not consider "strong atheist" to be the same thing as "gnostic atheist", nor do I consider "weak atheist" to be the same thing as "agnostic atheist".  What I posted before was intended to show that people sometimes mistake one for the other - for example, calling themselves a strong atheist when their position is closer to that of a gnostic atheist.

Here's an important section from that same article:

Quote
So is there any value at all in the terms? Yes ? which label a person uses will tell you something about their general inclination when it comes to debates about gods. A person who uses the label ?weak atheist? may deny the existence of some gods, but as a general rule isn?t going to take the step of asserting the nonexistence a particular god. Instead, they are more likely to wait for the theist to make their case and then examine whether that case is credible or not.

A strong atheist, on the other hand, may be a weak atheist by definition, but by adopting that label the person is in effect communicating a willingness and interest to take a much more proactive role in theological debates. They are more likely to assert right up front that a particular god does not or cannot exist and then make a case for that, even if the theist doesn?t do much to defend the position of belief.
Based on this, I would say that strong atheism is not shifting the burden of proof, because a strong atheist will make a case to support their argument, which involves assuming a burden of proof.

It may be true that some strong atheists do not do this, and calling them to task on it is a good idea.  But I think it is a serious overstatement to claim that this happens with atheism generally.  In addition, I think it is a mistake to assume that we do not have enough knowledge to make positive statements about something not existing.  For example, I would have no issues with the statement that YHWH does not exist, even though it is impossible to positively confirm that something does not exist, because the evidence we have goes against the things that YHWH was claimed to do.  And similarly, other such statements against specific gods would also work for the same reason.
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Online albeto

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2016, 01:00:04 PM »
I have to say I'm disappointed that no one answered the question in the OP.  Why would you want to shift the BOP?

Your OP was answered, and it was explained why your question is moot.

Strong atheism, like gnostic atheism, or even antitheism, does not change the definition of atheism. Because the definition of atheism remains unchanged, there's no shifting of any burden.

If you're asking how theists dig their rabbit holes, the answers vary. Some theists can't wrap their head around the idea of lacking a belief not being an alternative belief, and so moving on to other, more complex philosophical concepts is unwarranted at the time. Some theists comprehend these differences without any problem and the conversations evolve smoothly and interestingly. It's rather a broad (and unfounded) brush you're painting all theists with, imo.


Offline jetson

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2016, 03:21:53 PM »
I would not allow it. But again, the nuances that atheists must use just to have a conversation can make it a challenge.

That's for damn sure! 

It does seem to require a level of arrogance I'm not comfortable with on principle to claim knowledge that gods do not exist.  I think much more needs to be learned about the universe to make such a bold and confident claim.  It's more like an I don't know but I'd be happy to change my mind with some proof for me. 

BTW will you please give an example of the kind of nuance you are talking about that would require you to use I'm a strong atheist compared to I am an atheist?

[edit, posted prematurely]

I do not claim to know gods don't exist. I merely await proof of a god - until then, no need to acknowledge further. The nuance comes when I address Christian ideas as though their god is real, in order to converse. Also, the probability of a god is too close to zero to matter in practical terms. If it is not obvious to a person that all gods are mythological, there's little to nothing that can be done to help them.

So, my use of strong atheist is just a strength indicator of my confidence that there will never be a proven god. I am very, very confident that a god will never be shown to be real. I won't go as far as making any positive assertion that a god cannot exist, however, most people (religious or otherwise) have almost no problem whatsoever claiming that Zeus does not or never did exist. They place Zeus squarely in the myth category, and for obviously good reasons.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 03:40:55 PM by jetson »

Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2016, 04:40:46 AM »
@jetson

WLC I think is the theist I remember nailing an atheist with that confidence has a Latin root meaning faith comment.  The atheist did not have a good response. 

That example you gave seems more in line with being agnostic for the sake of conversation so I still don't see the use in declaring strong atheism in conversation with a theist.

I totally see how it works for the individual, I do.  I really do.  I don't hate you or disrespect you for it.  I respect people.  I know people want you in boxes so they can sort us out and divide us.  Maybe I'm a label hater.  I've been labeled my whole life, an abomination, the black sheep, a sinner, good mom, bad mom, good friend, bad friend, insecure, not respected, poor, middle class, poor, white trash, single mom they never end.

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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2016, 05:28:23 AM »

I have to say I'm disappointed that no one answered the question in the OP.  Why would you want to shift the BOP?

Your OP was answered, and it was explained why your question is moot.

Is it invisible?  I can't see it.

Strong atheism, like gnostic atheism, or even antitheism, does not change the definition of atheism. Because the definition of atheism remains unchanged, there's no shifting of any burden.

Of course anti=theism doesn't change the definition of atheist. :?  Just go ahead and define strong atheism.  I've said all along it complicates the definition for theists along with Webster's Dictionary!  It gives them wiggle room around the BOP.

If you're asking how theists dig their rabbit holes, the answers vary. Some theists can't wrap their head around the idea of lacking a belief not being an alternative belief, and so moving on to other, more complex philosophical concepts is unwarranted at the time. Some theists comprehend these differences without any problem and the conversations evolve smoothly and interestingly. It's rather a broad (and unfounded) brush you're painting all theists with, imo.

I never said all theists but I did not reduce it to some either so you have a point and I will be more careful.  Thanks.  Did you watch the video or any link I shared.  There's no boogey man in there I promise. &) 

Do you think it's ever an atheist's fault for leading them to the rabbit hole?  I do.  In a world so, okay trump has made useless part of my vocabulary, populated I'm sure there are more reasons than 100 atheists could come up with.  WE can only control us and what we stand for.  If there are errors in our approach to our communication with theists we should discuss them.  By we I do mean atheists.  Me and you are in this together albeto.  Before you go there I'm not looking to start a group or an army.  I'm just saying we are both atheist and in that case must have similar civic goals.

Surely we both want separation of church and state and jetson does too.  I think it would be very difficult to find a rational atheist that does not cherish this part of our Constitution.  How effective can we be if we don't work together on that common interest?

How about the environment?  Women's rights?  Civil rights?  Animal rights?  Better education? 

Some theism interferes with all those goals.  IMO we're doing a public service by introducing them to the BOP. ;)

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Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2016, 06:01:02 AM »
For the record, I do not consider "strong atheist" to be the same thing as "gnostic atheist", nor do I consider "weak atheist" to be the same thing as "agnostic atheist".  What I posted before was intended to show that people sometimes mistake one for the other - for example, calling themselves a strong atheist when their position is closer to that of a gnostic atheist.

Here's an important section from that same article:

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So is there any value at all in the terms? Yes ? which label a person uses will tell you something about their general inclination when it comes to debates about gods. A person who uses the label ?weak atheist? may deny the existence of some gods, but as a general rule isn?t going to take the step of asserting the nonexistence a particular god. Instead, they are more likely to wait for the theist to make their case and then examine whether that case is credible or not.

A strong atheist, on the other hand, may be a weak atheist by definition, but by adopting that label the person is in effect communicating a willingness and interest to take a much more proactive role in theological debates. They are more likely to assert right up front that a particular god does not or cannot exist and then make a case for that, even if the theist doesn?t do much to defend the position of belief.
Based on this, I would say that strong atheism is not shifting the burden of proof, because a strong atheist will make a case to support their argument, which involves assuming a burden of proof.

It may be true that some strong atheists do not do this, and calling them to task on it is a good idea.  But I think it is a serious overstatement to claim that this happens with atheism generally.  In addition, I think it is a mistake to assume that we do not have enough knowledge to make positive statements about something not existing.  For example, I would have no issues with the statement that YHWH does not exist, even though it is impossible to positively confirm that something does not exist, because the evidence we have goes against the things that YHWH was claimed to do.  And similarly, other such statements against specific gods would also work for the same reason.

A theist can easily get around that argument Jaime.  It's metaphorical.  People lived harder even brutal lives back then so they perceived Yahweh as cruel.  It was just bad perceptions.  There are good ones in there too.  You chose which ones inspire you and which ones don't.   

Down the rabbit hole you go.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 06:09:45 AM by junebug72 »
Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man...Thomas Paine

Offline jetson

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2016, 07:24:07 AM »
@jetson

WLC I think is the theist I remember nailing an atheist with that confidence has a Latin root meaning faith comment.  The atheist did not have a good response. 

That example you gave seems more in line with being agnostic for the sake of conversation so I still don't see the use in declaring strong atheism in conversation with a theist.

I totally see how it works for the individual, I do.  I really do.  I don't hate you or disrespect you for it.  I respect people.  I know people want you in boxes so they can sort us out and divide us.  Maybe I'm a label hater.  I've been labeled my whole life, an abomination, the black sheep, a sinner, good mom, bad mom, good friend, bad friend, insecure, not respected, poor, middle class, poor, white trash, single mom they never end.

My position remains the same when I acknowledge the YHWH character for the sake of a conversation, but sometimes theists don't get it. It gets more complicated when atheists admit that Jesus could have been a real person (but certainly not a god.) Hell, many theists argue that atheists sure do talk about God a lot given they don't think he exists! I try to explain that if all atheists refused to talk about the character by giving them the benefit of the doubt, then there would be nothing to discuss. Maybe atheists like me should prefix their arguments with "I do not accept any god claims, but suppose there is a god...etc." The fact that god belief has had such an immense influence on humanity is the only reason it gets discussed and debated. Yet, here we are in 2016 with no gods to show for all of the bloviating.

The god question is most likely binary. It is a yes/no question to be sure if we isolate to YHWH. For the sake of argument, many humans seem to have settled on the god of Abraham as their character for three major religions. Even though there are disagreements among theists in those religions, they are all apparently worshiping the same god character. So it comes down to a simple binary answer of yes or no. But I don't consider it a question that needs to be answered. Theists will always believe in their gods, and atheists will always reject the premise that a mythical character invented by humans is real.

The nature of the entire question renders it an impossible scientific endeavor because the definition of this supernatural, mythical character cannot be falsified. So the very idea that there is even a question is actually preposterous if you think about it - at least from a rational perspective. This entire website is dedicated to showing people that God cannot be real for many, many good rational reasons. It takes the approach of assuming there is a god, then proceeds to show how utterly irrational it is to think that a god actually exists.

Humans had good reasons to invent gods, but time and science have removed those reasons down to wishful thinking and philosophical musings designed to make us feel better about our place in the universe. I don't need those things, nor do I consider them worthy of too much careful thought or consideration. The lack of an actual god does not bother me at all. It just reminds me that our desire to understand our place in the universe is strong enough to keep many people in various states of delusion based on a primal lack of complete knowledge about everything. I think it is very possible that there is no such thing as objective truth, and those who choose to assign all things to a god are intellectually lazy and uninterested in even trying. We can do better.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2016, 09:12:27 AM »
A theist can easily get around that argument Jaime.  It's metaphorical.  People lived harder even brutal lives back then so they perceived Yahweh as cruel.  It was just bad perceptions.  There are good ones in there too.  You chose which ones inspire you and which ones don't.
A theist can get around any argument if they put their mind to it, junebug.  It's a concept known as 'sophistry', from the old Greek term referring to "elaborate and devious arguments".  So if they're going to try to dance rings around an argument either way, why worry overly much about being punctilious?  Just pick something that works well enough and is fairly easy to remember, so it survives being transmitted from person to person rather than being distorted all out of recognition.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2016, 12:42:50 PM »
Do you think it's ever an atheist's fault for leading them to the rabbit hole?  I do.  In a world so, okay trump has made useless part of my vocabulary, populated I'm sure there are more reasons than 100 atheists could come up with.  WE can only control us and what we stand for.  If there are errors in our approach to our communication with theists we should discuss them.  By we I do mean atheists.  Me and you are in this together albeto.  Before you go there I'm not looking to start a group or an army.  I'm just saying we are both atheist and in that case must have similar civic goals.

Surely we both want separation of church and state and jetson does too.  I think it would be very difficult to find a rational atheist that does not cherish this part of our Constitution.  How effective can we be if we don't work together on that common interest?

How about the environment?  Women's rights?  Civil rights?  Animal rights?  Better education? 

Some theism interferes with all those goals.  IMO we're doing a public service by introducing them to the BOP. ;)

I think you're confusing atheism with humanism or activism. Atheism simply refers to a lack of belief in god/s. It doesn't refer to political goals or social ideals. So when you say things like "what we stand for," I think you're conflating one thing (atheism) with another (political/social activism). At least you are in this portion of your post.

In your OP you asked why an atheist would allow the shifting of the burden of proof. That, you said, is what you are most interested in. Is it now your argument that in avoiding shifting this burden of proof (which you believe words like "strong" does), society will better understand the value of separating church and state? Assuming this is so, while I don't like words like "fault" with regard to this kind of subject, I do agree that more the health and wellness of society benefits from a more rational and less superstitious approach to life. I do agree that there are more and less effective means of communication, however I don't agree with the premise in your OP; I agree with the first two responses to your OP.

Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2016, 05:00:33 PM »
Do you think it's ever an atheist's fault for leading them to the rabbit hole?  I do.  In a world so, okay trump has made useless part of my vocabulary, populated I'm sure there are more reasons than 100 atheists could come up with.  WE can only control us and what we stand for.  If there are errors in our approach to our communication with theists we should discuss them.  By we I do mean atheists.  Me and you are in this together albeto.  Before you go there I'm not looking to start a group or an army.  I'm just saying we are both atheist and in that case must have similar civic goals.

Surely we both want separation of church and state and jetson does too.  I think it would be very difficult to find a rational atheist that does not cherish this part of our Constitution.  How effective can we be if we don't work together on that common interest?

How about the environment?  Women's rights?  Civil rights?  Animal rights?  Better education? 

Some theism interferes with all those goals.  IMO we're doing a public service by introducing them to the BOP. ;)

I think you're confusing atheism with humanism or activism. Atheism simply refers to a lack of belief in god/s. It doesn't refer to political goals or social ideals. So when you say things like "what we stand for," I think you're conflating one thing (atheism) with another (political/social activism). At least you are in this portion of your post.

In your OP you asked why an atheist would allow the shifting of the burden of proof. That, you said, is what you are most interested in. Is it now your argument that in avoiding shifting this burden of proof (which you believe words like "strong" does), society will better understand the value of separating church and state? Assuming this is so, while I don't like words like "fault" with regard to this kind of subject, I do agree that more the health and wellness of society benefits from a more rational and less superstitious approach to life. I do agree that there are more and less effective means of communication, however I don't agree with the premise in your OP; I agree with the first two responses to your OP.

I think you're confused about everything I say!  You did not answer the fucking question, do you think it's ever an atheist's fault? You're getting on my last god damn nerve with your bullshit. 

I'm not confusing atheism with humanism or anything else.  Wow.  Just Wow!  I think you just like the word confuse.  How about you shove it where the sun don't shine light it on fire and let it burn?    Me and the guys are having a good conversation.  I'm learning something here and you're getting in the way.  I don't think you have the kind of critical thinking skills and kindness and respect necessary to talk to me productively
Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man...Thomas Paine

Online albeto

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2016, 06:55:31 PM »

I think you're confused about everything I say!

Perhaps so.

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You did not answer the fucking question, do you think it's ever an atheist's fault?

I replied to your question, "I don't like words like 'fault' with regard to this kind of subject."

Allow me to clarify.

I don't think there is necessarily fault one way or another. That someone would be at fault suggests to me the person at fault would bear the responsibility of fixing it. Consequently, I begin to wonder if the atheist would then bear the responsibility of making the theist agree, because to me, that's what fault implies - responsibility.

I interpret your argument to suggest this as well. Let me explain my thought process:

You imply that because atheists use certain concepts such as strong atheism, theists get distracted (due to a shifting burden of proof) and run down various rabbit holes. ("I'm most interested in why an atheist would allow the shifting of the burden of proof?  Is this not how theists dig their rabbit holes? ") The flip side of that is that if atheists don't use these terms, theists won't get distracted and run down rabbit holes, or at least not to the same extent. In other words, we could save lots of time by doing away with this vocabulary and so it's our fault if we continue to use vocabulary that distracts theists.

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You're getting on my last god damn nerve with your bullshit. 

I guess so.

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I'm not confusing atheism with humanism or anything else.  Wow.  Just Wow!  I think you just like the word confuse.  How about you shove it where the sun don't shine light it on fire and let it burn?    Me and the guys are having a good conversation.  I'm learning something here and you're getting in the way.  I don't think you have the kind of critical thinking skills and kindness and respect necessary to talk to me productively.

It should come as no surprise to know I disagree. You state we have "similar civic goals" precisely because "we are both atheist" ("I'm just saying we are both atheist and in that case must have similar civic goals.") I disagree civic goals are a part of, or necessarily a consequence of atheism. Anyway, I'll try to explain in a different way. Sometimes different words or different angles help:

I don't agree that using qualifiers like strong shift the burden of proof with regard to atheism (in answer to your OP). While I think we agree that theists muck up society when they let their superstitious, irrational beliefs guide public policy, I don't agree words or concepts like strong have anything to do with this, nor does the use of this word necessarily lead theists down any rabbit hole. I don't think anyone is at fault, it is what it is. I don't find blame here, just cause and effect.

Offline junebug72

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #27 on: Yesterday at 08:35:47 AM »
I'm going to agree with you about placing blame.  It really is what it is. 

Those links from theists I shared really jerk my chain.  Atheists don't exist!  Whoa!  The one thing they both have in common is not adhering to the BOP.
Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man...Thomas Paine

Offline velkyn

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Re: How Atheists Shift the Burden of Proof
« Reply #28 on: Yesterday at 01:30:58 PM »

This opens the door to theists saying you have faith in atheism.  Why?  Because confidence is from the Latin root confi defined means faith and other words that are similar to faith.   That's why I used the term rabbit holes.  When you allow the shifting of TBOP you are going down a rabbit hole. 

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=confidence

does confidence mean faith as used by a Christian in that context?

To a wiley theist it does.
evidence?
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