Burden of Proof - Does it ever lie with Atheists?

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Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
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Fine. I claim that everything in the Lord of the Rings is true. We just haven't found Middle Earth yet.

Prove me wrong.
 

jackstar7

Lifer
Jun 26, 2009
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So was Noah's Ark (its construction and its mission) a miracle?

Because if you believe he followed instructions and then watched as literally billions of species climbed onboard (and though never mentioned, the ark apparently was also full of weeks of food for each of those species without them eating each other; and super-lucky on the no disease wiping them all out) AND then dismiss how all of the subsequent inbreeding among each of those billions of species would have left the ecosystem of the earth ready to collapse... well, I'm sorry, but calling it a miracle is the copout. Or call it a story and not historically accurate and let the bible simply be a book of stories and it doesn't matter what is true or not.

Calling it a guide on your spiritual journey is reasonable. Calling it the truth is not.
 

Murloc

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2008
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It's scientifically proven that the bible is allegoric and mostly not to be taken literally.

On the God part, I think you can't prove that one doesn't exist or does exist, you either believe or you don't and that's it.
 

TraumaRN

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2005
6,893
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The simple answer is no.

Moreover I will paraphrase Carl Sagan and say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Moreover this video from youtube is a good place to start and answers a few of the common reasons why the burden of proof lies with those who claim any god or gods exist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KayBys8gaJY
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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Yes, null hypothesis.

If someone makes a claim, burden of proof is on them. We don't have to prove the bible is false, believers must ALWAYS prove that it is true. This holds for any argument, religious or not.

Similarly, some atheists make the claim that the bible was written as a con, or by people as a method of control, etc. In those cases the burden of proof is on atheists, as they are making a declarative, positive argument.

As to the truth or falsity of the bible though, sorry guy. Atheists never have the burden of proof.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
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And for the record, the same also applies to any atheist who says he or she knows for a certain that gods do not exist, or that Jesus never lived, or any other positive assertion.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
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Are we seriuosly arguing about why it is impossible to prove a negative?

Dear Rob M.,

It is impossible to prove a negative.

Sincerely,

DanK
 

Retro Rob

Diamond Member
Apr 22, 2012
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Charles, Ekimospy-

I agree with you guys and I'm not saying that since I believe the Bible is true, you have to prove its false.

You've been saying what I've been saying all long in different words - someone sayin the Bible is fiction is indeed saying its characters are as well especially if they aren't specificitly pointing out a certain scenario.

I call Atheists out who make sweeping assertions about fabrications to either prove it was, or show a little supporting evidence. In my experience, little, if any, evidence is ever put forth OUTSIDE of speculation, which is the mother of all eff-ups.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
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Are we seriuosly arguing about why it is impossible to prove a negative?

Dear Rob M.,

It is impossible to prove a negative.

Sincerely,

DanK

Pretty much. Moreover "burden of proof" apples if someone is trying to make a physical claim based on any religion.

From Hebrews

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen". Modern Western technological minds don't deal well with such statements, and that's part of the divide.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
84,348
48,610
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Charles, Ekimospy-

I agree with you guys and I'm not saying that since I believe the Bible is true, you have to prove its false.

You've been saying what I've been saying all long in different words - someone sayin the Bible is fiction is indeed saying its characters are as well especially if they aren't specificitly pointing out a certain scenario.

I call Atheists out who make sweeping assertions about fabrications to either prove it was, or show a little supporting evidence. In my experience, little, if any, evidence is ever put forth OUTSIDE of speculation, which is the mother of all eff-ups.

I would agree that people use wrong language sometimes, but I generally think that what people are getting at is that in most cases there is no evidence that what the bible is saying is true.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
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... someone sayin the Bible is fiction is indeed saying its characters are as well especially if they aren't specificitly pointing out a certain scenario.

This really isn't true -- not in a general sense, and not in a biblical sense. There are millions of people who believe in the idea of a monotheistic God but think that what is written in the bible is nonsense. And certainly, in the specific case of Jesus, many people believe he existed, but don't necessarily trust the stories told about him decades later and codified into scriptures.
 

Retro Rob

Diamond Member
Apr 22, 2012
8,150
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This really isn't true -- not in a general sense, and not in a biblical sense. There are millions of people who believe in the idea of a monotheistic God but think that what is written in the bible is nonsense. And certainly, in the specific case of Jesus, many people believe he existed, but don't necessarily trust the stories told about him decades later and codified into scriptures.

This is not the same as saying something isn't true, which is the difference between evidence being required and not being required.

Personally, I am perfectly fine with folks who don't trust the stories, but not with those who assert they're false and made-up.
 

jackstar7

Lifer
Jun 26, 2009
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This is not the same as saying something isn't true, which is the difference between evidence being required and not being required.

Personally, I am perfectly fine with folks who don't trust the stories, but not with those who assert they're false and made-up.

But some have been proven to be false...
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
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This is not the same as saying something isn't true, which is the difference between evidence being required and not being required.

Personally, I am perfectly fine with folks who don't trust the stories, but not with those who assert they're false and made-up.

You may not be comfortable with it but it's still on you to prove they are factual (and some elements of the stories have proven to be possible).

For example; some scientist hypothesize that a "god particle" exists, you say that it doesn't, how would you prove that? In order to prove it doesn't exist you would have to run every experiment imaginable and unimaginable and even still you may not be able to prove it doesn't exist because maybe you haven't done the right experiment yet.
On the other hand to prove it does exist you just need one experiment that proves your hypothesis.

To show you the absurdity of having to prove a negative, prove to me you don't exist, because you say you do exist but I say you don't; play a devils advocate and prove me right. How would you do it?
 

SphinxnihpS

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2005
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Obviously, this is a continuation from the Bible Movies thread.

I obviously know that if we're saying that God exists, we have to prove it.. this I understand totally.

However, is there every any burden on those who claim the Bible is a work of fiction or God doesn't exist? As far as I know, they unfaily keep the burden on the believer, but they tend to make claims. When asked for evidence (speaking about those I've encountered on this fourm), I hardly see any outside of clams.

I ask because I can't being to recount how many Youtube vids I've watched of Dawkins and other Militant Atheists scream and shout to the top of their voices about we're all delusioned and the Bible is nothing more than a work of fiction. I have also looked to seek out the evidence they have to back this claim. Honestly, for a goup of people who base their whole careers off of whether or not they have something "observable and testable", they surely base all these claims with hardly anything observable and testable.

I don't think the burden is on agnostics because they cleverly, and rightly, hold the default position until they've seen sufficient evidence. However, you have strong Atheists who never really provide any proof for their claims against the Bible, yet it seems ok that they can actually make claims and not prove them.

Any thoughts? I am just curious and if I am wrong, I can take rational correction.

You don't need to be an atheist to claim the Bible is fictional. You can be completely theist and claim the Bible is a pile of filthy lies. You can even worship the same god and still think the Bible is full of it.

So my question to you is, why are you picking an atheists?
 

stormkroe

Golden Member
May 28, 2011
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History is rich with man butchering the Word of God. And while I gladly admit that there are TONS of untestible claims in the Bible (did Jesus walk on water, did Jonah live in a fish for 3 days, etc), the fact is that all testible claims pass with flying colors. Now slow down and unclench your panties... What DOESN'T pass the test is man's interpretations (global scale flood, 6 24hr creation 'days', etc).
So for the atheist, the burden only shifts to them when a Christian gives real support for Biblical claims and they refuse to believe it.
Just like politics, all you get are talking points from the other side and the same unwillingness to learn.
For instance, if you still say the Bible is a fable because 'Omg billionz of animals in the ark where did they all poops?!" then you haven't really tried too hard to read it. No, you haven't.
Last point: proof of God doesn't negate faith. To Christians, the faith part is that He is who He says He is, not whether or not He exists.
 

jackstar7

Lifer
Jun 26, 2009
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History is rich with man butchering the Word of God. And while I gladly admit that there are TONS of untestible claims in the Bible (did Jesus walk on water, did Jonah live in a fish for 3 days, etc), the fact is that all testible claims pass with flying colors. Now slow down and unclench your panties... What DOESN'T pass the test is man's interpretations (global scale flood, 6 24hr creation 'days', etc).
So for the atheist, the burden only shifts to them when a Christian gives real support for Biblical claims and they refuse to believe it.
Just like politics, all you get are talking points from the other side and the same unwillingness to learn.
For instance, if you still say the Bible is a fable because 'Omg billionz of animals in the ark where did they all poops?!" then you haven't really tried too hard to read it. No, you haven't.
Last point: proof of God doesn't negate faith. To Christians, the faith part is that He is who He says He is, not whether or not He exists.

Just so you notice, you provided no evidence of anything.
 

stormkroe

Golden Member
May 28, 2011
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Just so you notice, you provided no evidence of anything.

Just so you notice, this thread is about where the line is for an atheists' burden of proof.

If you have a particular testable portion of the Bible you would like me to TRY to provide evidence for, by all means say it. Let's try to keep tactics like 'purposely missing the point' to P&N.
 

Abraxas

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2004
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Just so you notice, this thread is about where the line is for an atheists' burden of proof.

If you have a particular testable portion of the Bible you would like me to TRY to provide evidence for, by all means say it. Let's try to keep tactics like 'purposely missing the point' to P&N.

Perhaps you should clarify then what constitutes a testable portion of the Bible then. You dismissed Noah's ark as testable (I think?) but I don't understand why. We can test if there is sufficient water on Earth (there isn't). We can test if a ship can be built of gopher wood and pitch to the specified parameters (they can't). We can test if all of the animals in the world can fit in that size space (no). We can test if there is a simultaneous genetic bottleneck for all land dwelling species that occurs simultaneously (take a guess). We can test if there is a linguistic bottleneck that occurs for all cultures which would be indicated by only eight survivors (nope). We can test if the plants of which there is no record of Noah collection could survive on the bottom of the ocean (hell no) or could even all survive in the environmental conditions of the Ark (orchids could not). The list goes on.

Noah's ark contains a lot of testable propositions and a huge number of them fail and so some clarification might be in order for explaining why this isn't one or what exactly you are talking about.
 

jackstar7

Lifer
Jun 26, 2009
11,679
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Just so you notice, this thread is about where the line is for an atheists' burden of proof.

If you have a particular testable portion of the Bible you would like me to TRY to provide evidence for, by all means say it. Let's try to keep tactics like 'purposely missing the point' to P&N.

Was I missing the point? You stated plainly:

"the fact is that all testible claims pass with flying colors."

You even use the word "fact" right there. So while this thread is about the burden of proof when it comes to atheists, you sir, have spawned a tangent with an amazing claim that I think requires at least 10 examples.

Others may be satisfied with fewer (and some way desire many more), but I'd like 10 testable claims that pass with flying colors, please, since you stated it is a fact. I'd like the evidence to back up that assertion. Heck, you don't even need to show how they pass with flying colors, I'd like to just start with a list of 10 testable claims of the bible, and I'm sure we can do our own research from there on how easily they hold up to analysis.
 
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stormkroe

Golden Member
May 28, 2011
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Sorry for seeming unclear Abraxas, let me clarify it a bit.
Perhaps you should clarify then what constitutes a testable portion of the Bible then. You dismissed Noah's ark as testable (I think?)
I didn't use Noah's ark as 'testable', merely as an example of people refusing to read past an interpretation that proves their point (in this case the Flood doesn't require a global covering, which in turn doesn't require billions of animals to fit.)
I'll just bullet the rest for an example.
but I don't understand why. We can test if there is sufficient water on Earth (there isn't).
Agreed. Global flood not necessary OR likely (see above)
We can test if a ship can be built of gopher wood and pitch to the specified parameters (they can't).
No one really knows what is meant by 'gopher wood', so this isn't perfectly testable. Also, there was metal work at the time for reinforcement and if economic concerns are removed, a ship that size of wood is viable.
Here's an audio clip (the first topic so you don't have to wait for it) on the subject.

We can test if all of the animals in the world can fit in that size space (no).
Agreed. Again, see above.
We can test if there is a simultaneous genetic bottleneck for all land dwelling species that occurs simultaneously (take a guess).
Agreed. Again, this is another assumption that all creationists believe in 24 hour interpretations of 'day' in Genesis. In actuality, the 'long period of time' interpretation of the word 'yom' harmonizes better, not only with modern science, but with other verses in the Bible.
We can test if there is a linguistic bottleneck that occurs for all cultures which would be indicated by only eight survivors (nope).
We can't test this against a more scientifically realistic interpretation that puts the flood back to 50,000 years ago. In order for a flood to wipe out the 'world' of man in the Mesopotamian valley, it would have to date before the migration of modern humans from that area. It would be awesome if we had literature that old, but sadly that's not the case.
We can test if the plants of which there is no record of Noah collection could survive on the bottom of the ocean (hell no) or could even all survive in the environmental conditions of the Ark (orchids could not). The list goes on.
No need of this.
Noah's ark contains a lot of testable propositions and a huge number of them fail and so some clarification might be in order for explaining why this isn't one or what exactly you are talking about.
As I said before, the Noahs' ark story doesn't fail a single test. Man's interpretation of it (billions of animals) does.
This is a good example of my point exactly.

jackstar7 Was I missing the point? You stated plainly:

"the fact is that all testible claims pass with flying colors."

You even use the word "fact" right there. So while this thread is about the burden of proof when it comes to atheists, you sir, have spawned a tangent with an amazing claim that I think requires at least 10 examples.
snip
Yes, you're missing the point. I'm trying to be thorough with this so I built my post like this:
1: Man always butchers Bible texts.
2: The 'testable' (historical, geographical, almost NEVER supernatural) portions never fail.
3: Perceived failures of testable Biblical claims ALWAYS stems from misinterpretation by man.
4: The ON TOPIC DELIVERY- The burden of proof ONLY falls on the atheist when they disagree with a testable claim made by the Bible.

If you want a tangent on Biblical proofs, I'm quite happy to oblige you as best as I can. Just as long as you realize that you DID miss the point of the post which was to show an example of when the burden of proof falls on the atheist.
Also keep in mind that this is an EXTREMELY tangential topic by nature, and while I'm happy to answer everything I can there has to be some triage to the post content to avoid overload, just like there needs to be some prefacing details to avoid a ridiculous one-liner. Imagine how thin my post would have been if I only said this:

For the atheist, the burden only shifts to them when a Christian gives real support for Biblical claims and they refuse to believe it.
To me, that asks a billion more questions than it answers.
 

bunnyfubbles

Lifer
Sep 3, 2001
12,248
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Atheism is the rejection of the claim that deities exist, it is not making a claim of its own, thus the onus is solely on those making the claim (theists) to provide the evidence in order to give the atheist reason to be theist.

Now shifting to the topic of the Bible, if someone says that it is 100% fiction, then that's something that could be challenged pretty easily. however when someone says something more along the lines of "the bible is a work of fiction", its typically done so as a generalization based on the plethora of instances that go against testable reality.

And getting down to the meat of this topic, even if we can prove that certain parts of the bible are historically accurate, that does not reinforce other parts of it.

At any rate, the bible, or any text for that matter (including Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species'), will never be taken 100% by any skeptic because our understanding of the universe changes the more we learn about it, and things we write down now should always be under scrutiny to be updated to be more accurate as time goes on (including the possibility that our understanding is changed completely), that's always been the beauty of science
 
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randomrogue

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2011
5,462
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With all due respect to the person above trying to justify Noah's Ark....

Noah died at the tender age of 950 years old.
Genesis specifically mentions a flood that destroys the Earth.

You might want to read Genesis.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh,[c] for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.[d] Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits,[e] its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof[f] for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.