The Burden of Proof … December 15, 2014

 

The person who asserts that god exists must provide the proof of their claims. The person who asserts that god does not exist must also provide the proof of their claims.

For the scientist that uses the scientific method, and what scientist could be called a scientist that does not, that scientist must have something that is testable. It must be falsifiable.

The materialist who adopts the position that physical matter is all there is and that everything else is a manifestation of it must have proof of the metaphysical to accept its existence. That, I think, is an impossibility, that is, to prove something outside of what is, is. If something is outside of what is, it is not testable, hence not falsifiable (Except where the imagination is considered, it is illogical to think of anything outside of what is). The existence of the metaphysical cannot be proven. Manifestations of the metaphysical could simply be manifestations of the mind. If the metaphysical manifestations affect material, matter, then how could they not be physical? For the materialist, one that believes that matter is all there is, then the metaphysical is reduced to the imagination. For the materialist, if a god should exist, it would have to be made of matter. Such a god could not be all powerful as it would rely on matter and could not exist without it. If such a god was comprised of all matter, then everything is god, including us. If god is of matter, then that god had to appear at some point. A question arises, did that god create matter or merely rearrange it?  Again, to substantiate that said god exists it would have to be testable. Matter is testable and thus far there has been no incidence where such a god has been detected. But, has all matter been tested? Can all matter be tested? There is no way to test all matter, at least at this point in our development. Again, god turns out to be non-falsifiable.

Ah ha, cries the theist. God exists!

The burden of proof lies with those making the assertion. No one can prove that something does not exist. Be it unicorn, leprechaun, or a teapot orbiting some distant orb, the non-provable may exist somewhere. The mighty Thor, despite our knowledge how such a story came to be, may exist somewhere in this vast cosmos.

Yet, for the materialist, the metaphysical, or anything outside of what is the material universe does not exist. So, the moment the theist makes claims that cannot be manifested, falsified, through the testing of matter, such claims can be dismissed. The claim that god is everywhere can be tested, has been tested repeatedly, and no such proof was found. That claim must fall. Omnipresence is out. What about Omniscience? To prove its existence would require a test subject. Refer to Omnipresence. The same goes with the claim of being all powerful.

Conclusion:

Although the claim that no god exists could never be substantiated, since the christian bible claims that god is omnipresent, that god can be claimed to not exist, at least by the materialist.

Questions:

1. Does materialism permit the existence of parallel universes?

2. Infinite parallel universes presenting every possibility would suggest that in one of those universes god exists. Perhaps this god created everything, including universes like ours where that god does not exist? Would there be any evidence?

3. Is that cat in the box really dead, or is that something else that I smell?

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4 Responses to The Burden of Proof … December 15, 2014

  1. Ron Murphy says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of proof in terms of logical arguments. Because premises of arguments require their own proof, soundness is unattainable. So, as long as we are talking about evidence rather than logical proof then I don’t think it’s the case that we need to prove there is no god, because we don’t need to assert there isn’t one with any certainty.

    When a theist like William Lane Craig asserts God exists, he needs to prove it. So, he offers proofs. But his proofs are not only not sound (despite what WLC might claim) because his premises are easily challenged, his arguments’ premises tend not to contain God explicitly, so they cannot be arguments for God – and indeed they are not – as the Kalam argument as he expresses it is only supposedly proof of a beginning. His explanations that follow from there attempt to link that argument to God, but they fail. They fail as additional arguments themselves because his starting argument, Kalam, is not a sound argument; and they fail anyway because he makes additional dodgy moves that are not even valid arguments. So, when WLC claims he is offering a ‘proof’ he is doing no such thing.

    So, I think it’s all about evidence. So, what we get then is the typical Christian claiming evidence from the bible NT, and then c,aiming other evidence to support that.

    When examined this ‘evidence’ isn’t any good. Apologetics resorts to trickery like ‘textual analysis’, ‘best explanation’, ‘historical methods’, but it’s all bogus. We see claims of non-Christian support for the Christian story, and when look at what they are citing it’s sources like Josephus. But Josephus is only reporting what Christian tell him, is that’s hearsay not evidence. If celebrity X makes a slanderous remark about celebrity Y, and newspaper Z reports this, then this amounts to one accounts not two: the original slander and the libellous reporting of it.

    How many witnesses were there supposed to be to the resurrection? Let’s say ten people claim (think or actually did) they saw Jesus risen. Then there are only ten first had accounts. That’s ten sources. Not the ‘literally hundreds’ that Christian apologetics relies on. And of course many of the cited accounts, like some of the gospels, aren’t even reliable reports from witnesses but hearsay some distant number, and then we don’t have the originals anyway – e.g. Luke. Even if the resurrection were a true event, we would have insufficient reason to believe accounts of it today.

    It is a mistake to think that some hidden truth, being true, warrants belief. But if you can’t establish what that truth is, then it doesn’t warrant belief.

    So, there is simply no need to believe in God. But what does it mean to be an atheist, and to say there is no God?

    Let’s be specific, concrete. Suppose I imagine that there is some man in China, let’s say, Wuhan province, some small village there, and I further imagine he kicked his pet dog at midnight local time last night. Is that possible? Yes. Is it true? I don’t know. What should I do, given that it is possibly true? Nothing. It is a quite possible fact about this world that this little event might have actually happened, but as far as I can tell it makes no difference to me if this X is true or not. It makes so little difference (zero that I can tell) that I might as well act as if it isn’t true.

    And the same goes for another imagined incident in Peru. And one in Greece, three such events in Mumbai, Dubai, Tel-Aviv, …

    No matter how many such dog-kicking incidents I imagine, or cat kicking, or gold-fish tickling, or whatever, if there is no apparent effect then why act as if they occur.

    Now consider gods. Greek gods, Indian gods, Chinese gods, Peruvian gods, Islamic God, Jewish God, …

    All these different gods, with zero evidence or proof of their existence.

    That’s why it’s justifiable to assert, as a working model of reality, that there are no gods.

    Note another important point often misunderstood by theists: I cannot ‘act as if there are no Muslims’. Again, that Muslims believe in Islam is very significant in this world currently, and even what they believe is significant to their behaviour. But there is zero requirement that what they believe be true.

    As for metaphysics, all we can say is, “I don’t know.” There is no need for a materialist to provide any proof or evidence of some non-supernatural metaphysics. Do I have to prove there is not a committee of gods; or a good god and an evil god? No more so than I have to prove that some man in China didn’t kick his dog last night. It’s simply not on my radar and isn’t worthy of concern.

    The ONLY fact that makes theism of metaphysical interest is the very material presence of theists that interfere with me materially – in my case, politically, through privilege and government finance of tax relief and so on, and not sexually, luckily.

    So, the burden of proof, metaphysically with regard to gods, and materially, with regard to the material expression of their religion, is entirely on the shoulders of the theists, morally. Immorally, they impose on me the need to counter their nonsense.

  2. Ron Murphy says:

    “Does materialism permit the existence of parallel universes?”

    We know nothing of the physics that brings universes into being. We don’t know if there are ‘super’-laws that govern that business that are different from laws that apply inside a universe. As to fine-tuning, we don’t know if such super-laws produce wildly different universes, so that we just happen to be in an anthropomorphic one, or if every universe is always guaranteed to have the same laws as this one. We don’t know that even if the latter is the case whether every such universe is identical, or if each can vary from all the others in some chaotic sense, even though the same laws apply, because of some minor difference initially. And all that is based on the possibility of multiple universes, and whether that makes any sense in reality. Not knowing any of that there is nothing we do know that distinguishes the material from anything else. So, given what we do know, and guessing at what we don’t know, we cannot say that materialism DOES NOT permit the existence of parallel universe. It might even be more appropriate to ask if parallel universes permit variations on materialism within those universes.

    It’s a reasonable question, but one we have no useful answer to.

  3. drenn1077 says:

    Let’s be specific. I claim that the god of the Bible does not exist. I also claim that all the gods in all the texts and cultures that have ever been on earth did not and do not exist. In that respect I am claiming 7 on the scale, an absolute atheist. On the matter of some god somewhere unencountered unimagined, well there sure is no evidence of it, but I’ll give it an infinitesimal fraction of a percent possibility. It is of little concern to us for if such a god exists it seems oblivious to and of us.

  4. drenn1077 says:

    Wouldn’t you say that if there are parallel universes in such copious numbers that every possibility is possible, that one might contain a god? Certainly wouldn’t be the god Christians know. Certainly wouldn’t be obvious to us.
    “No matter how many such dog-kicking incidents I imagine, or cat kicking, or gold-fish tickling, or whatever, if there is no apparent effect then why act as if they occur.”
    I think this would apply to such a parallel universe god, should one exist, we might as well say who cares.

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