"Now wait just a minute, cl – atheists don't believe in God(s), so how could you expect them to present the evidence? Isn't that the believer's job?!?!"
If we're talking burden of proof, yes, it does fall on the positive claimant. The whole point of this challenge is to demonstrate the absurdity of the atheist's request in this regard. Many atheists and unbelieving skeptics are fond of hiding behind what I call "the evidence trope," which comes in several forms but always rests upon the assertion of an evidentiary vacuum as its main supporting claim. "There's simply no evidence for God," so goes the trope, while the peculiarity of the ability to even assert such apparently goes unquestioned.
For every reason Kayla Knight's case cannot constitute acceptable proof of a miracle, humans cannot acceptably prove God(s). In order to demonstrate this point, I invite anybody (not just atheists) to present any hypothetical data point they wish. For the sake of argument, I'll grant all data points as true, no questions asked. That's a pretty generous advantage, if you ask me.
So, especially if you are an atheist, feel free to share the evidence that would convince you that any particular God exists – and I'll do my best to show exactly why it shouldn't.
This morning I'd like to write a post about something that happened a year or so ago, something that pops into my head quite frequently ever since it happened.
It was just after eight o'clock when a buddy of mine who is also a published writer and also likes to drink beer called me up with the equivalent of, "Let's catch the bus down to club so-and-so, and grab a coupla' beers."
"Okay," was my immediate response, and that's how this story starts.
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First let me be clear: I consider myself a rational person, and the point of this post is not to denigrate rationalism or rationalists. The value of rationalism as a truth-filter and its tremendous impact on modern society cannot be overstated. When appropriately applied, the philosophy of rationalism leads to or complies with all sorts of tried-and-true concepts: The presumption of innocence sans proof of guilt, the scientific method, the burden of proof, etc. All of these things are sound derivatives of an evidence-based epistemology and by no means do I intend to challenge them.
Yet, any idea can descend into dogma, and no philosophy is good when our application of it encourages rigidity. Consequently, I've noticed I don't always agree with the scope and popular interpretations of rationalism that have ascended to the apex of today's epistemological food chain. In my opinion, they lend themselves all too well to dogmatic thinking and provide the perfect cover for those who unconsciously make the converse mistake of the gullible.
Going further, I often wonder if contemporary interpretations of rationalism entail an irrecoverable contradiction, and therein lies the topic of the post: Contemporary rationalism tells us to assume all claims without evidence are false, yet there's no evidence to support the claim that all claims without evidence are false, so on what evidence might we rest?
**Note: This is not an argument, conclusion or suggestion that all claims are equally credible, either, so don't start flanking me from that direction.
I've been waiting for another opportunity to poke holes in the lavish presuppositions folks often bring to POE arguments and this recent banter was just what I needed to get motivated.
To review, the Omni^4 Claim is the idea that the God of the Bible simultaneously possesses the following four qualities: omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence and omnipresence. IOW, that the God of the Bible is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and all-present. As an aside, many people disregard omnipresence as irrelevant to POE arguments, but I thought I'd throw it in there for historical accuracy if nothing else.
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Every now and again I meditate on the fact that the atheist / naturalist / materialist position cannot be empirically vindicated. By atheist / naturalist / materialist position, I mean the Epicurean idea that death entails the complete and final cessation of consciousness – that after we die, there will be no more thought, no more experience, no more anything.
One of the many disadvantages of this world view is that no other option can potentially befall it other than falsification. That is to say, even if this position is correct, we can never prove it, for how could we ever be conscious of the cessation of consciousness to prove that such was indeed the case? You need consciousness to prove anything, and indeed, the atheist / naturalist / materialist position cannot be empirically vindicated. It can only prove false, because if even one iota of consciousness continues in any form after death, the idea is effectively bunk.
And so the challenge is for any atheist, naturalist or materialist to satiate my curiosity by reasonably or at least politely answering the following questions: Why believe in an idea whose only possible empirical verification is disproof? What of the hypocrisy in committing yourself to a position that claims to rely on proof as the highest measure of truth when the position itself cannot possibly be proven?
I frequently pick fleas off our cats and crush them beneath my fingertips, and I invite any and all atheists to explain whether they think this behavior is wrong or not.
For the sake of the discussion, let's presume this causes suffering to the flea. Is it wrong for me to crush a flea? Why or why not?
Thanks in advance for comments and thanks especially if you link to this post from your own blog or website.