The Atheist’s Cudgel: The Burden of Proof

As I have discussed various issues with atheists over the years, I have noticed that there is one area about which they are more sensitive than any other.  An atheist can calmly discuss the many difficulties of evolution, they are serene when discussing the nihilistic implications of atheism, they are enthusiastic when discussing the difficulties of the Old Testament and they are generally sanguine about admitting to a belief in the fantastic number of alternate universes necessary to dispute the fine-tuning of the constants of physics.  Despite this general equanimity, however, an atheist can become positively unglued when you discuss the burden of proof.  I think that this is because atheists know that if they lose this argument, they lose the war.  Since it is well known that it is impossible to prove non-existence, atheists know that the only way they can intellectually justify their position is to assume that atheism is true and place the burden of proof on theists.  Let us, therefore, examine the issue of who has the burden of proof in the God debate.

The Burden of Proof in the Criminal Justice System

The issue of the burden of proof is familiar to most of us through our experience with the criminal justice system.  “A defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” is the phrase with which most of us are familiar.  Most people don’t know that the burden of proof in civil cases is different and that the “preponderance of the evidence” decides the issue.  Why does the burden of proof matter?  Why the higher burden of proof in criminal cases?

To show how vitally important burden of proof is, let us consider a criminal case where the accused is innocent and the strongest evidence for guilt is a fingerprint that has been found at the crime scene.  CSI lab analysis finds that the partial fingerprint matches the suspect, but the match is only partial.  Some 5% of the population of the city would match the partial prints and there are, therefore, thousands of other possible suspects who could have committed the crime.  In a country where the burden of proof is that the prosecution must prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt”, the defence attorney can rejoice at this news.  With thousands of other suspects who could have left the fingerprint, this evidence does not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  But what would be the case if the defence had the burden of proof?  What would happen if the suspect was assumed guilty and had to prove that he was innocent?

If the burden of proof were reversed, then the defence attorney would be devastated by the news that the fingerprint matched at all.  To prove the defendant innocent, the defence attorney might have been able to prove that the fingerprint belonged to the criminal and that his client could not have left the fingerprint.  With any degree of match, however, the defence attorney cannot use the fingerprint evidence one way or the other.  If he proves that the fingerprint belonged to the perpetrator, then the suspect is plausibly guilty.  If he proves that the person who left the fingerprint could not have committed the crime, then the defendant is still plausibly guilty.  Either way, the accused goes to prison unless some ironclad exculpatory evidence can be found.

As we can see from this example, the issue of burden of proof has a devastating impact on arguments in a debate.  With the same evidence, an innocent defendant who was virtually guaranteed to go free under one system is virtually guaranteed to go to prison with the opposite burden of proof.  Given that the burden of proof should be on the prosecutor, why should the prosecutor have to prove that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”?

If you ask a lawyer why the prosecutor should have such a difficult burden of proof, the lawyer will say that the prosecutor has all of the resources of the state to use against the defendant while the defendant only has a very small amount of resources with which to defend himself.  While this is a good reason to place an onerous burden of proof on the state prosecutor, there are several other very good reasons for assigning the burden of proof in this way.

As we have seen from the thought experiment above, if the burden of proof is placed on the defendant, then it is very easy to get false convictions.  If you tried 1000 people for the same crime, then you could very easily get 50 convictions 49 of which must be false if there was only one guilty party.  (50 = 5% of 1000)  If an onerous burden of proof is on the prosecutor, on the other hand, then the worst that could ever happen if you tried 1000 people for the same crime is 1 false acquittal.  A simple statistical argument, therefore, indicates that an onerous burden of proof should rest on the prosecutor.

But there is another reason that an onerous burden of proof should be on the state prosecutor.  This has to do with the negative impacts associated with erroneous results.  Since a career criminal that is falsely acquitted is likely to be convicted of a later felony and since felonies carry a heavy penalty, false acquittals are less damaging to society than false convictions.  Consider the O. J. Simpson case.  Though many people believe that Mr. Simpson avoided conviction in the murder of Ron Brown and Nicole Simpson by getting the best defence lawyers that money could buy, he is still in prison for many years.  Why?  Because he had a criminal mentality and this eventually led to his conviction and removal from society.  Or consider the case of the real life mobster Henry Hill who inspired the movie GoodFellas.  Despite the low conviction rate of crimes in our society and a high degree of criminal sophistication, Mr. Hill spent a good deal of his life behind bars.  Contrast this to the high penalty of false convictions where an innocent person can lose their entire life to a single false conviction.

For all of these very good practical reasons, therefore, we as a society have decided to impose an onerous burden of proof on state prosecutors in criminal cases.  This brings up an important question.  Where should the burden of proof be placed in the debate between Christianity and atheism?

The Burden of Proof in the God Debate

When atheists discuss the burden of proof in the debate over the existence of God, they tend to make arguments that focus on the implausibility of a particular set of theistic beliefs.  “If you came to me and told me that you had a time machine in your back yard”, one atheist said to me, “Do you expect me to believe you without any evidence?  Of course not.  Belief in such a fantastic claim cannot be consented to by a rational person without commensurate evidence.  In just this way, a Christian must prove that the Bible is true before I will believe.  Where is your proof?”  Though this argument may seem reasonable, it is in fact irrational.

To see why this is, we have to examine the entirety of the question.  As human beings, we observe that we exist and that we have certain astonishing characteristics.  We are capable of reason and our reasoning leads us to mathematical theories of the world around us that can be verified to 20 places of the decimal.  We are social beings capable of relationship and love.  We are moral beings who believe in right and wrong and are capable of making choices.  We are astonishingly complex in our biological composition and even the most ardent atheists admit that we appear to have been designed by a superior intelligence.

Because atheism gives us no good basis for believing in the transcendent realities that are central to human experience, establishing atheism as the a priori default truth by placing the burden of proof on theism requires us to reject the reality of these basic human observations.  While it might be rational to place a strenuous burden of proof on a particular brand of theistic beliefs such as Islam or Christianity, it cannot be rational to place such a burden on the reality of reason, morality and love.  For the same practical reasons that we impose a burden of proof on the prosecutor in criminal cases, therefore, we should place a burden of proof on atheists who wish to deny the reality of transcendent values.

Despite the fact placing the burden of proof on transcendent values effectively rejects the reality of human experience, atheists will never give up their most prized weapon.  The fact is that they cannot give it up because the arguments for their position are far too weak.  With the burden of proof on their side, atheists can laugh and mock at every theist attempt to “prove” theism.  If the burden of proof is on them, however, they are the ones whose pathetic attempts at “proof” would be the objects of ridicule and scorn.  The enormous problems with naturalistic scenarios for the origins of the first living organisms, for example, would cause atheism to fail any reasonable burden of proof in and of themselves.

“But”, an atheist will argue, “What difference does it make if we reject transcendent values by placing the burden of proof on theism?  Nobody is stupid enough to actually do the evil things which a belief in atheism would allow.”   This exact sentiment was expressed by an audience member in a presentation by Ravi Zacharias that I watched on YouTube recently.  “China is secular”, this man reasoned, “and they don’t rape and murder each other so why are you afraid of subjective moral reasoning?”  This attitude represents an astonishing level of ignorance.

I know a man who works with Falun Gong refugees from China and the stories that he has told me about human rights abuses in China are absolutely horrific.  People being imprisoned without trial, censorship, torture and even the government murdering prison inmates in order to harvest kidneys and other organs for sale on the black market.  This audience member thinks he knows about life in China, but he only sees what the Chinese government allows him to see through the so-called, “Great Firewall of China“.  A westerner, for example, might hear that shoes are made by “prison labour” think that this is an acceptable practice.  “Felons are made to pay a bit of their debt to society by making shoes.  What is wrong with that?”  What this person doesn’t realize is that when the prison needs additional labourers, the general population is subject to random arrest and imprisonment in order to provide the necessary people.  “Don’t worry, such corruption and abuse will never happen in western countries because we are better human beings than they are.”  Why does this ignorant and racist assurance fail to make me feel any better?

If you examine history with an objective eye, you will find that functional societies are more fragile than they might appear.  Without even mentioning third world countries, we can see that China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea and Germany have all experienced horrific atrocities in just the last 100 years.  If a society places the burden of proof on reason, morality and love, that society eliminates the only beliefs that have ever successfully attained any degree of freedom or prosperity.  The inevitable long term consequences of such behaviour can only be a return to what is observed to be the historical norm of totalitarianism and misery.   If I thought it wasn’t already too late, I might plead with atheists and their secular humanist allies in the west to be reasonable.  “It is fine to put a personal burden of proof on the truth of Christianity, but don’t impose a societal burden of proof on the truth of theism which is the only basis for human dignity.” Unfortunately, atheists don’t believe that transcendent values have any importance and they work diligently to undermine the influence of these values in western society.  Anna Kendrick might be singing as the personification of transcendent moral values when she sings “You are going to miss me when I am gone” in this video I found on YouTube.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -The Declaration of Independence

**AMENDMENT**

This post gave many atheists the impression that I am attempting to pose the burden of proof on atheists for their personal choice not to believe in god.  The paragraph on the “time machine” argument is the reason for this.  I have considered rewriting this post to remove that difficulty, but I have decided to move on.  I wrote a second post on the burden of proof that clarifies my position on this topic.

About Robert V

Former atheist currently living in Toronto.
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26 Responses to The Atheist’s Cudgel: The Burden of Proof

  1. Let’s revisit that:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all _people_ are created equal, that they are endowed by their _existence_ with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

    Non-persons and those who are dead do not have these rights, only those persons who exist. So it is that by existing they are endowed with these rights. No constitutional lawyer will argue that the dead have these rights, nor that non-persons have these rights. The constitution has been interpreted over the years to eliminate any value the word ‘creator’ might have imbued when taken out of context as you have done.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you and you really mean that women were not created equal? The declaration of independence is not the constitution. Even our founding fathers saw the need to leave god out of the constitution. Apologists constantly talk about taking their text in context and if this is valid, then looking at the times and society when the declaration was made should be valid.

    The wall of separation that Jefferson spoke about was not to protect the believers from the atheists but to protect the believers from other believers. It was the righteous that the Danbury baptists were afraid of. So let’s put that in perspective. The constitution has no religion exactly because the religious were afraid of being killed by other religious people.

    Crow all you want about that one mention of creator but then you have also to admit the rest of the story. It was the religious who were persecuting and executing other religious believers. I don’t care how you paint that picture, it is an ugly picture of violence by believers. Swallow that whole!

    • Mal,

      The fallacy that runs throughout your post is called the baseline fallacy. Looking at the effects of an environmental stimuli without having a control group to compare with and assuming that all the negative effects are the result of the stimuli is committing the baseline fallacy. It is common among atheists to believe that religion is the source of all evil and that human beings would all behave wonderfully if only we didn’t poison their minds with the sermon on the mount and the teachings of the New Testament. You will in your lifetime see the results of the experiment that you and your fellow atheists are performing on western society. I hope I am wrong, but I foresee horrific consequences.

      I have discussed my view of church history in a number of previous posts. In “Quantum Mechanics in Kindergarten” I express my view that the history of the church is the history of advancement in moral knowledge and understanding just as the history of science is the history of advancement in the knowledge and understanding of physical processes. In both cases, you will see long periods of stagnation, dead ends and periods of advance. In “Reductionism in History” I discuss why the positive effects of moral teaching can be hard to detect. In the “Church History” I discuss the fundamental theological error of thinking that the Old Testament law represents the best way to govern society when in fact it represents the worst way that society can be governed. In none of these essays, neither in this essay am I “crowing” about anything. The history of the church is deeply shameful and requires a great deal of explaining. I feel about Christianity the way Winston Churchill felt about democracy. It is the absolutely worst belief system possible, except for every other one that has ever been tried.

      God Bless and thanks for your comment,

      rob

      • Wow, I think you need to define this a bit better “history of advancement in moral knowledge and understanding” because as far as I understand things there has been very little change or advancement in moral knowledge or understanding by those that claim to believe in the god of Abraham. Such believers are still burning witches, persecuting gays, suppressing the rights of others and so on. Sure you can claim that in some higher circles religious morality has advanced but what good is that when the rest of religion is out burning witches? For every good you might claim of religion it can be shown that reilgion is still commiting atrocities in the name of their gods. Yes, yes, you’ve said similar things but to claim there has been any advancement in moral knowledge would need some evidence for one to believe it, no?

      • Mal,

        While I think that western civilization represents more of a high-water mark in terms of societal advancement than you seem to, I am not interested in defending that thesis. As I admit in the “Reductionism in History” post, it is not at all easy to see. (Though it is obvious once you know what you are looking for. To see how this is possible, you might read my post “Obvious Yet Hard to See”) If you want to reject the God who uniquely offers forgiveness to all mankind because human beings require enormous amounts of forgiveness, then I suppose that is your prerogative.

        Thanks for your feedback,

        rob

      • Rob,

        It is interesting that you say “If you want to reject the God who uniquely offers forgiveness to all mankind because human beings require enormous amounts of forgiveness, then I suppose that is your prerogative. ”

        If I can see no reason to even begin believing that such a god exists, how can I reject it? Do you reject the alien space ship hovering over Washington DC?

        Second, such a god does not offer forgiveness. The tale, as it is told, is that he offers a pardon rather than forgiveness. Forgiveness is given free of recompense. The sinner is told they must perform certain acts to be forgiven or serve their punishment for eternity. That’s called a pardon. They are very different things. The god of Abraham is not capable of forgiveness. He could not forgive Adam and Eve. Except for what was on the Ark the story tells us that he could not forgive other humans and in his rage destroyed all life on this planet in anger. Forgiveness is not one of his attributes. According to the book humans require forgiveness not for their individual transgressions but because Adam ate from that one tree. The god of Abraham’s anger and wrath are so great that he has already condemned every human that will ever be born. He continues to do so despite any attempts by the christ to change things up. To forgive would require a lifting of the condemnation of all humanity. Even if you declare your servile lacky allegiance to this god he continues to condemn you should you fail to serve your part as a pawn in heaven. Lucifer, as some call him, is a fallen angel they say. Getting into heaven is no guarantee that you won’t spend eternity in hell. Forgiveness is not an attribute of the god of Abraham.

        Should it turn out that this god is real I’d rather take my chances at killing him than serving him… but he supposedly already knows that. This might just be why there are supposedly so many demons. Think about it. You’ve only heard one part of the story.

      • I find your post to be intensely distressing. I believe that God created me as well as he could, allowed me to see the consequences of living a life without his guidance and love and offered me a life of love, fulfillment and blessing beyond measure by sacrificing himself for me. The only thing I have to do is accept his gracious offer and strive to emulate his love as best I can. I tell you this and your response is that you don’t believe that this God exists and that if he did exist we should try to kill him. It seems to me that such anger can only be in response to some great hurt and I will pray that God find a way to heal you of that experience, whatever it was.

        For the record, I should note that I think we know closer to 1% of the story than half, but whatever the rest of the story might turn out to be, I want to be on the side of the Jesus of the gospels. He is loving, generous, forgiving, kind merciful and just and I want to be more like him.

        Thanks for coming,

        rob

      • I won’t fault anyone for wanting to be “loving, generous, forgiving, kind merciful and just” but I don’t think you need a deity to do that. You can be all those things without a deity myth. Would you in turn punish people for eternity for not loving you? If not, perhaps you are better at these things that the god of Abraham?

      • I have spent the last 20 years reading the Bible and trying to get the know the God of Abraham better and be a better person. I have gone to church with others who also sought to know him better and be more like Him. Why do you think that you know the God of Abraham better than we do?

        rob

      • Rob,

        Not to put to sharp a point on it, there is a reason that there are more divinity schools than one, a reason that there are more denominations (sects) than one, a reason that not even Christian and Jewish theologians can agree what the Christian holy book really means. That reason is simple: every last word of it is up for interpretation and as such there is no one right or wrong way to interpret that book. If you would like to rest on the laurels of years of study then I’ll point you to the very learned Jewish scholars who are now convinced that the exodus did not happen, that Moses is just a story, the 10 commandments are just a story, the ark of the covenant is just a story. They are unconvinced of hell and don’t see the genesis of humanity as told in Genesis as literal. If you don’t like how I interpret it I can get you a couple dozen very scholarly opinions that disagree with yours. The fact is that you don’t know the god of Abraham outside of that book and that book is anything but clear cut.

        Be a better person, indeed, but don’t look for your particular interpretation of that book to be better than anyone else’s, including mine.

      • Mal,

        Your view assumes the truth of your beliefs and is an example of circular reasoning. If God does not exist, then yes it is true that no interpretation is better than another. The Bible is just a piece of literature and saying that my interpretation is better than yours is like saying that my view of “Star Wars” is more correct than yours. If God does not exist, then Biblical interpretation is subjective and my interpretation cannot be better than yours in any meaningful sense. If anything, yours could only be better than mine since it, at least, is based on the correct assumption that the Bible is a work of fiction.

        If God does exist, on the other hand, then a genuine study of the Bible can lead you to know the God of Abraham better and there are “correct” interpretations of the stories and incorrect interpretations. In that case, my interpretation can be better than yours and I can know him better than you do. The issue here is the Rorschach inkblot test nature of the Bible. As I pointed out in my post the “Bedrock of Atheist Beliefs”, the God you find when you read the Bible bears a striking similarity to the God you went looking for. If you went looking for a God of love, forgiveness, kindness and patience, then your interpretation and understanding are going to reveal that God to you. If you went looking for a villainous monster, then this is what you are going to find. I firmly believe that you can only interpret the Bible “correctly” if you go looking for a God of love, kindness, forgiveness, grace and mercy.

      • Rob,

        My views are not contingent on whether YHWH exists or not. If in fact YHWH did exist he should probably explain to us all which interpretation is correct, but you and I both know that won’t happen. He’d rather you spend your life studying a confusing, internally inconsistent set of texts written by men, with dubious authorship, and some clearly bad advice in it in order to get to “know him” better. If you can figure out a way for that to make logical sense I’ll skip drinking coffee for a day.

        What exactly is the point of going “looking for a God of love, kindness, forgiveness, grace and mercy.” if a god who is a villainous monster is also there, and in fact is one and the same. Isn’t it just wishful thinking to overlook the evilness of the god in preference for a loving and kind god? I will not say that he offers forgiveness. What is on offer is a pardon which you are not guaranteed won’t be overturned at some future point. That loving god claims to be judge, jury, and executioner, convicted you of sin before your birth, condemned you to eternal torture before your birth, but will pardon you if you grovel at his feet. That is not love. That is not kindness. It most assuredly is not forgiveness.

      • Mal,

        My answer to this post was to long for a comment and I made it a separate post. See https://athoughtfulchristian.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/rational-wishful-thinking/

        Thanks for your time and your comments,

  2. Allallt says:

    I think the real sensitivity on the burden of proof lies in the misunderstanding of atheism that is assumed when one tries to shift the burden of proof onto the atheist. The atheist needs to make a claim before they have any burden of proof. So often the conversation will start with a religious person making a religious claim (hence, that is where the burden of proof is) and the atheist explaining why you’ve not met it.
    Once an atheist makes a claim, then you can demand they explain it or cut off from the conversation. But, until then, you are asking them to proof their point before they make a claim. And that’s just silly.
    How could an atheist lose the argument on the burden of proof? In what way could we logically say “oh, you don’t hold a particular belief? Prove the validity of the absence of that belief!”? What does that even mean?

    • Allallt,

      As I mention in my post, there are a number of claims that can be derived from philosophical atheism and when an atheist claims that atheism is true, he is simultaneously claiming all the propositions that can be derived from atheism. So an atheist is essentially claiming, “There is nothing real about our perceived experiences of reason, morality, free will or love because atheism provides us no basis for believing in the existence of such transcendent phenomena. Reason, morality, free will and love are all delusions foisted upon us by the evolutionary process that created us.”

      If you give the existence of love, morality, reason, joy an onerous burden of proof as many radical skeptics do (see my post “Proof of Life”), then you might as well kick the neighbourhood golden retriever in the face as you are walking down the street and shout “bah humbug” at every homeless person who asks you for help. The tools of radical skepticism are so powerful that they can be used to defend any position that is assumed true without question from any attack of reason or evidence. When you claim that atheism is true, you are making fundamental claims about the nature of reality and it is only rational to be skeptical of those claims especially when they are so at odds with the evidence. When Richard Dawkins has to start out all of his books by saying, “wow the millions of biological species we find in the biosphere around us really look like they were designed for a purpose”, then maybe you should insist on a mathematical model that can explain how random mutation and natural selection can create this vast amount of genetic information? When scientists look at the constants of physics and find that they are fine-tuned to allow intelligent life to exist anywhere in our universe, maybe you should ask why that should be instead of having faith in a quantum foam with trillions of unknowable universes? Of course, if the burden of proof is on theists, this evidence is not going to seem very meaningful to you, but maybe it isn’t rational to put the burden of proof on the existence of love, morality and reason?

      God Bless and thanks for your comment,

      rob

      • Allallt says:

        Your response is indicative, again, of a misunderstanding of atheism. Atheism is the position that insufficient evidence for God has been presented or that the criticisms against such evidence are profound and destructive i.e. nonacceptance of the claim that a God exists. It is not a truth position, and thus cannot be claimed “true”. As such, there is nothing that can be derived from atheism.
        “There is nothing real about our perceived experiences of reason, morality, free will or love because atheism provides us no basis for believing in the existence of such transcendent phenomena. Reason, morality, free will and love are all delusions foisted upon us by the evolutionary process that created us.” This is simple fallacious. It is trying to draw philosophy from biological evolution. It is what I call religious nihilism: it assumes that all things have no value except with God. Thus, it perceives the atheist’s world as having no values. But that is a quirk of your starting position, not mine.

        When atheists make claims like quantum foam and multiverses and the like, then they have a burden of proof. But when they simply say “your argument doesn’t convince me” then they have no burden of proof. Of course, an interesting atheist will point out exactly why they don’t find it convincing… placing some burden on themselves to demonstrate the fallacy as they see it.

      • Honestly, this seems as though you have taken what used to be called agnosticism and re-branded it as atheism. Why do you call yourself an atheist? The term is the negation of the theist position and has traditionally been assumed to have consequences in the real world. It cannot be that you call yourself an atheist merely because its fashionable to call yourself an atheist?

        A fascinating conversation so thanks for stopping by.

      • Allallt says:

        A- (to be without) -theism (belief in God or gods). Agnosticism is a knowledge position, either one who does not know or thinks we cannot know. I’m agnostic too.

      • This is a very subjective atheist view and not at all common as far as I can see. In my post, I say that if it wasn’t already too late (it is, Western civilization is finished) I would ask that atheists recognize that it is appropriate to have one standard of proof for personal belief and another standard of proof for public policy. I might not like smoking or using guns or riding motorcycles, for example, but enforcing a ban on these things as public policy because I don’t like them is not at all appropriate. In a similar way, it might not be good for my own subjective beliefs to be the basis of public policy, especially if I accepted these beliefs without proof. Do you recognize the need to make this distinction? Or do you think that the beliefs that you have accepted without proof can form the basis of public policy decision making?

        rob

      • Allallt says:

        What beliefs have i accepted without evidence? And what possible reason can one have for recognising that about themselves and still hold the belief?

      • What beliefs do you have? Any position that is advocated in the realm of public policy has associated with it a worldview that makes truth claims. If a Marxist atheist, for example, wants to abolish property law, he is making truth claims about economics, history and the psychology of human beings that won’t, in my view, withstand skeptical scrutiny. I was asking if you recognize that when you advocate a public policy position you have the burden of proving the truth claims associated with the worldview from which that public policy position has been derived. If you are an anarchist, for example, and believe that getting rid of government will lead to human improvement, then you have the burden of proving your position that human beings are capable of that level of self-governance. You cannot simply say “My beliefs require no burden of proof and should be the unquestioned basis of law and public policy.” That would be ridiculous. Do you recognize this truth?

      • Allallt says:

        Yes, i recognise that.

  3. Allallt says:

    Our conversation got wildly off topic, and quickly. There is a question I need your answer to before this conversation can spread into politics:
    (1) What definition of atheism are you using? You believe atheists have a burden of proof, yet no part of atheism necessarily has a truth claim associated with it. You seem to disagree, which suggests we do not agree about the definition and assigned claims of atheism. What defines atheism, to you?

    • I wasn’t trying to turn the conversation to a conversation on politics. I was trying to get a handle on what you believe and what evidence you view as sufficient to hold those beliefs.

      My view of atheism is the aggressive beliefs of the New Atheists. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett have called themselves the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and their beliefs have come to be the creed of a generation of atheists. Their beliefs are aggressive and militant and held to be based on scientific and historical evidence. They believe that there is no god, that free will is a delusion, that there is no evidence for design in either biology or physics, that religion is a great force for evil that needs to be eradicated, that there are no absolutes in morality, that anything that two consenting adults want to do in the bedroom is acceptable and that human beings are capable of of attaining peace and prosperity without the help of God.

      You are obviously not an atheist in the mold of the new atheists, so I am trying to get a handle on your beliefs.

  4. Pingback: Burdens of Proof | Amusing Nonsense

  5. Pingback: Atheism, Axiomatic Truths and the Burden of Proof | A Thoughtful Christian

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