Whose burden is it?

One of the subjects I encounter continuously and almost certainly is on the burden of proof, and its killing me that I am always getting different answers from the believers. So I will now be visiting each of these and try to give my reasons on why they might not be valid. When I discuss with believers about the Burden of Proof with religious believers, there are four main different perspectives on the subject.

1) Agrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker

Real life example: “Yes, it is true that the burden of proof falls on the claim maker, however, if the non-believer are rejecting every evidence we provide and being close-minded about it, there is really nothing we can do to convince them otherwise. ”

2) Agrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker, but also on the person rejecting the claim

Real life example: ” So the atheist has plenty to prove, a few of those things are: the non-existence of God, the non-existence of a soul (or mind), the non-existence of any other abstract entity. The atheist then, has his work cut out for him just as much as the theist does.”

3) Disagrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker, but lies entirely on the person for rejecting the claim

Real life example: “You are the one denying my claim, so you should be the one proving why you think we are wrong. For example, here I am stating that gravity is true, if you want to deny gravity, you have to be the one with the evidence for denying it!”

4) Disagrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker or the person rejecting the claim and is ambivalent that anyone has the responsibility to prove their belief/disbelief.

Real life example:  “Yes I am sure I will have disagreements over politics or religion with someone but that doesn’t mean I or they have any philosophical burden of proof. I may or may not think I need something but my feelings or beliefs would not create a burden of proof.  I hope I gave good reasons for either group to abandon the notion and just think about whatever the issue is for themselves.”

Now, I am going to refute each of these four arguments (all of which came from actual debates I had)

1) Agrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker

There are two main perspectives for this particular perspective from the religious believers on the burden of proof  and that is

A) Scientific, empirical evidence for god exists

or

B) Scientific, empirical evidence for god does not exist, but there are other kinds of evidence  (The bible, personal experience etc.)

  1. If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, we would talk about the “science of God” rather than “faith in God”
  2. If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, the study of God would be a scientific endeavor rather than a theological one
  3. If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, all religious people would be aligning on the God that had been scientifically proven to exist. Instead there are thousands of gods and religions, and all of which have followers insisting that their faith is the correct one.

Response to 1B:

Evidence can be of two types: Subjective and Objective.  Subjective evidence is the testimony of what happened based on the statements of a witness, or Subject.  The quality of the subjective evidence depends upon the honesty of the witness, and their ability to perceive reality.  Unfortunately, subjective views are often inconsistent and biased.  People may see what they want to see, or what they expect to see.  For example, when one hears stories about near-death experiences, we often hear stories about entering heaven, and the funny thing is everyone’s version of heaven is similar but yet different. Eg. the way they ascended to heaven, what they end up doing in heaven, what they see in heaven, what god looks like, Who was there.  And that’s the problem with subjective evidence, they fail the test for consistency because of how fallible all of our perceptions can be,and one cannot help but be skeptical because of how vulnerable we are to hallucination, illusions, emotional manipulation etc.

Watch this video for a demonstration of how susceptible our minds are to believing in things that are not real: https://unconfirmedabsolutes.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/how-to-convert-an-atheist/3. 

One can argue that science uses these very same subjective senses to collect information. True, however, we do have repeated testings from different organizations, people of different backgrounds all coming up with consistent data. Physical evidence is far more reliable than personal testimonies because it is subject to replication and verification by independent observers. And the lack of physical evidence when that evidence should be there, such as the absence of archaeological confirmation of the Exodus, can be used to reject the historicity of some biblical myths.

So yes, there is a burden of proof on the claim maker and if you are not able to give reasonable objective evidence for it, no non-believer is going to believe or accept the asserted claim. And yes, faith (Whether you believe blind faith and faith is the same thing or not) is never a satisfactory answer. Because faith is the belief in something regardless of the evidence. And if faith is such a virtue,  we wouldn’t have religious apologetic in the first place. Because everything would just be answered with faith.But that will not really satisfy most of us would it?

2) Agrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker, but also on the person rejecting the claim

There are two main perspectives for this argument

A) The skeptic are also making their own claim that god does not exist

The rejection of a claim is not a claim. I do not believe in your claim, does not mean the explicit definite position that your claim is false. Many non-believers are not saying god does not exist, we are saying there is no proof of god, therefore the probability of a god’s existence is really low. And I will behave as though a god does not exist until proven otherwise.

B) The burden of proof of god switches from one side to the other depending on where the argument goes

“Let’s see how this works in practice. Suppose a theist invites an atheist to consider the evidence for the existence of God. Initially, the theist bears the burden of support in that segment of the conversation. But if the atheist finds the evidence for God unconvincing, he or she may claim that the our universe, precisely fine-tuned for life as it is, could still be explained by naturalistic causes. Suppose the atheist invokes the multiverse (infinite or nearly infinite number of bubble universes, one of which is ours) to help get that argument going. Fine, but in this part of the conversation, the atheist bears the burden of support” (Extracted from http://blogs.christianpost.com/science-and-faith/how-theists-and-atheists-share-the-burden-of-proof-18367/) Do you see the flaw in this rationalization? Though it is true that both parties have the burden of proof depending on where the argument is going, they do not however, both share the burden of proof for god. If the Atheist in this example is saying, “hey! just because the Earth is at the right distance from the sun, doesn’t mean that god exists…it could just be a work of chance, and I have a theory that could support that..” So, the Atheist is offering the possibility that just because something is the way it is doesn’t mean it equates to “Therefore god exists.” The Atheist of course has to support the theory with evidence, but that would not be the main point, because there is still no concrete proof of god. The burden of god still lies with the claim-maker of a god, and if the argument goes somewhere else like on the subject of morality,the burden of proof does not shift to the responding skeptic, but would still be on the claim maker to prove the existence with valid evidence.

3) Disagrees that the burden of proof of god falls on the claim maker, but lies entirely on the person for rejecting the claim

I could say that a three-legged furry invisible hippo exists somewhere in the Antarctic. You cannot prove me wrong, but that doesn’t mean it exists.We are not obliged to take every claim seriously and that is why the burden of proof needs to be on the claim maker. If not every other person can just make his own claim and get anyone to disprove his claims. “God says eating mint flavored ice cream will lead to one’s eternal damnation, we need to ban mint ice cream from being manufactured” one might say. And nobody can prove him wrong, does that make the person right, that it is true? No. Logical statements have to abide by certain rules and restrictions. In order for a statement to be logical, it must be falsifiable, which means that it has to be presented in such a way that it could be proven incorrect. Its obviously absurd to disprove a negative claim because you don’t even know where to start. One could say “Ice-cream is not mentioned in the bible.” But that will not be disproving the claim though it would be a reason not to believe in the claim. Just because we cannot prove you wrong doesn’t mean that you are right. We do not have the responsibility of proving that mint ice cream won’t bring someone to hell. But the person making the claim needs to be the one giving the evidence for his claim. So, if you are making a claim that a god exists, its true we cannot disprove your claim, but with the contradictions in your holy book, by comparing all the other religions, we can assume that it is highly probable that a god does not exist. The skeptic does not owe the believer arguments for non-existence but the believer has the burden to make an adequate case. Oh and the gravity example as mentioned way above does not work as it already presumes that god most definitely exists that it has grounds as strong a case as the law of gravity.

4) Disagrees that the burden of proof falls on the claim maker or the person rejecting the claim and is ambivalent that anyone has the responsibility to prove their belief/disbelief.

I agree that we do not have the responsibility to prove our belief should we live in an ideal world.  In that sense, I agree. A philosophical burden of proof might not exist. However, we live in a world where our beliefs/behaviors affect those around us whether its intentional or unintentional, direct or indirect. Beliefs like “non-believers will burn in hell, or that they are the spawns of the devils.” are laughable, but not so much when people are being discriminated against. Or when two people of the same sex who deeply loves one another do not have the rights to be recognized by the state as a couple because the holy books claim it is morally wrong but does not justify why other than because it is not natural. And many other examples of oppression which one can find here: https://unconfirmedabsolutes.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/stop-shoving-your-disbelief-down-my-throat/ You may say it is not your god that condones these acts or rules, that all these are an abuse of religion, but isn’t the bible the word of god? And if it isn’t, why are you believing in a oppressive religion revolving around a book that is most probably not by god himself? When Stalin demanded for a secular nation, he did not have to prove anything and look at how that turned out….so while the burden of proof might not exist on philosophical grounds, it most certainly has to exist in the moral and ethical level.

Also, have you taken the time to ask yourself what’s all the fuss about the burden of proof? There is only one rule. You make a claim, you prove it. Do not shift it just because you can’t prove it. And ask yourself whether or not you might be shifting this burden for fear of losing one’s identity, ego or hope. The burden of proof is seen as threatening to many because it just means we might have to explain our position which we might not have a good answer for.

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29 thoughts on “Whose burden is it?

  1. “…so while the burden of proof might not exist on philosophical grounds, it most certainly has to exist in the moral and ethical level.”

    I’m glad you agree that there is no philosophical burden of proof.

    But you say there is one on a moral or ethical level. I am not sure what you mean or how it would work. I teach my kids that they should do things like keep their promises, and not lie cheat or steal. I don’t really prove they shouldn’t do these things. But maybe you think its different with kids?

    Lets say I went to Church and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was there preaching that we should not be racist. Lets say I leave there convinced that racism is not something Christians should tolerate and that it is immoral. Do I have a burden to prove this to someone before for I can elect a representative that wants to make it against the law for people to choose to discriminate based on race? If I am on a state legislature do I have the burden of proving racism is immoral to someone before I pass a law preventing others from discriminating based on race?

    If I have such a burden of proof who do I need to prove it to? What is the standard of proof? And if I don’t prove it to this person I can’t vote or legislate against the immorality of racism?

    “There is only one rule. You make a claim, you prove it. Do not shift it just because you can’t prove it.”

    Ok first I agree the burden of proof should not be shifted. This is the straw-man argument from your youtube video. I do not think anyone should shift the burden of proof. No one has a burden of proof to anyone else.

    Secondly I would be interested in your thoughts on my blog here:
    http://trueandreasonable.co/2014/01/11/extra-extra-read-all-about-it-gods-existence-proven/

    In sum proving something to someone is very subjective. I can give you a sound argument with all true premises and a conclusion that logically follows from those premises, but if you don’t believe the true premises it will not prove anything to you. Sometimes people stubbornly deny true premises and therefore are not convinced by sound arguments. This is not less true when it comes to morality either.

    S I have a different rule: Think for yourself.

    I Don’t think I get a free pass or can be complacent with my beliefs because some other guy can’t prove something to me. His failure does not justify my lack critical thinking and research on issues that are important to me.

    • Hi truesandreasonable,

      Thanks so much for your response! Its been a while…

      “Lets say I went to Church and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was there preaching that we should not be racist. Lets say I leave there convinced that racism is not something Christians should tolerate and that it is immoral. Do I have a burden to prove this to someone before for I can elect a representative that wants to make it against the law for people to choose to discriminate based on race? If I am on a state legislature do I have the burden of proving racism is immoral to someone before I pass a law preventing others from discriminating based on race?” Yes, the claim-maker needs to meet this burden of proof. And when it is accepted and commonly recognized, then the need to prove this concept would soon fade. For example, in the past, man owned slaves. It was the norm to own one, it shows the owner’s power, status, wealth. However, activists of the past spoke out with the burden of proof that owning another human is immoral, giving valid points as to why it is so. And now because they are able to justify their beliefs, slavery is no longer an acceptable act. We don’t have to keep reinforcing that slavery is bad because everyone now accepts that slavery is bad. So, while it is true that the moral activists of the past could keep quiet and just not own slaves themselves, on the moral level, they see the need to voice it out because of the damage it is causing the slaves and even to the owners. On the ethical level, if you can do something, if it is in your power to make a change that would benefit or improve humanity, why keep it to yourself?

      “I teach my kids that they should do things like keep their promises, and not lie cheat or steal. I don’t really prove they shouldn’t do these things. But maybe you think its different with kids?” The thing is, kids do not need as much justification as much as adults do, and because you are a trustworthy adult or authority figure, they see no reason to doubt you. When I was really young my mom told me that praying to my god would get me good grades, I didn’t doubt her one bit, or that a monster would come up and get me should I keep making noise at night. Because of the lack of experience and understanding of this world, children sometimes have little choice but to trust these authority figures and what they say as true. (There is also an evolutionary perspective, but I won’t get into that) And you have kids? WOW. cool…

      “In sum proving something to someone is very subjective. I can give you a sound argument with all true premises and a conclusion that logically follows from those premises, but if you don’t believe the true premises it will not prove anything to you. Sometimes people stubbornly deny true premises and therefore are not convinced by sound arguments. This is not less true when it comes to morality either.” Nobody said proving your beliefs is easy. Because of things like ego, logical fallacies, intellectual dishonesty etc. But it is something one has to face if he is making a decision or is following a belief that would affect others.

      In sum proving something to someone is very subjective. I can give you a sound argument with all true premises and a conclusion that logically follows from those premises, but if you don’t believe the true premises it will not prove anything to you. Sometimes people stubbornly deny true premises and therefore are not convinced by sound arguments. This is not less true when it comes to morality either.

      “Think for yourself” Though that is not the rule I follow when it comes to the burden of proof, it is one of the rules I follow in life. As a free-thinker, I do not follow any dogma, I do not let a holy book dictate what is right or wrong for me, nor do I need it. I question at every given opportunity and I do not give excuses for the answers I find. I will not give my religion or thinking the benefit of the doubt. But if proof of god exists, I will not question its existence.

      And yes! I have read it! When I first found your blog, that was one of the first few posts I have read. I do not agree with many parts of it. “But it’s really of value mainly when people are open minded and intellectually honest about what they think. ” This is interesting because I do not find myself close-minded one bit. And I would also argue that it is the believers that are close minded. I, as a free-thinker, is open to all possibilities as long as you show me the evidence, I will follow wherever objective evidence leads. However the religious are close-minded to other gods, other possibilities, already fixed on the premise that their religion is the one true religion and their open-mindedness is that as long as it makes sense to them, that shall be regarded as proof. And perhaps to prove this point again, look at our usernames. HAHAAHA. Please explain to me why you think non-believers are intellectually dishonest, I haven’t discussed on this topic before.

      “The idea that someone will come up with a logical proof that will convince everyone God exists is extremely unlikely.” Exactly. But proving god’s existence didn’t use to be a problem you know, its only because he stopped appearing and performing miracles in front of thousands of people that we have to resort to theological arguments. “But I think using logic can convince some people that believing in God is the rational way to go.” If believing in a god is so rational then what’s the use of faith? (As mentioned in the blogpost above)

      But I do think the writing you have employed in that article was really cute and funny. 😀 And as always, its such a pleasure talking to you!

      With regards,
      Unconfirmedabsolutes

      • Hello Unconfirmedabsolutes. Sorry it’s been a while since I was posting. I have had less and less time lately.

        I said:
        “Let’s say I went to Church and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was there preaching that we should not be racist. Let’s say I leave there convinced that racism is not something Christians should tolerate and that it is immoral. Do I have a burden to prove this to someone before for I can elect a representative that wants to make it against the law for people to choose to discriminate based on race? If I am on a state legislature do I have the burden of proving racism is immoral to someone before I pass a law preventing others from discriminating based on race?”

        You answered that with:
        “Yes, the claim-maker needs to meet this burden of proof.”

        But you didn’t answer my other questions:

        “If I have such a burden of proof who do I need to prove it to? What is the standard of proof? And if I don’t prove it to this person I can’t vote or legislate against the immorality of racism?”

        I am really not sure how this works.

        ” If believing in a god is so rational then what’s the use of faith?”

        Faith is just belief and trust in God. You define it differently than I do. You seem to think all faith is blind faith. But that is not what pistis is. (pistis is the greek word used by those who wrote the bible) Believing and trusting in God is useful in doing what is good.

        Both believers and non – believers can be closed minded. Both can claim the other is. But IMO its really something we should judge on an individual level.

        I enjoy talking with you too. Because we might not agree on the conclusions but we do at least agree on what topics are important to talk about. Getting people to think about important issues is much more than half the battle, and it’s always fun to hear different perspectives.

  2. @unconfirmedabsolutes
    @trueandreasonable
    I enjoyed the discussion between both of you.
    First I read about burden of proof on “trueandreasonable ”; then on “unconfirmedabsolutes”. You both are fine and civilized people. You discussed it very nicely.No ridiculing and no belittling the other; this is how the discussion should be made.
    I appreciate it.
    Thanks and regards to both of you.

    • Hi Paarsurrey,

      Thank you for the compliment, it takes one to know one, so I am sure you are a fine civilized man as well, interested in the honest search for the truth 🙂 (Pardon the use of the idiom, I know its supposed to be used for criticism, but here, I am using it as a compliment) Trueandreasonable, I am sorry that I have not posted for so so so long, I am currently working on a project, and its really time consuming, I hope to return to our discussions, I know I Ieft lots of your replies hanging without answers, but my projects will be done by this month. 🙂 Looking forward to our discussions.

      Cheers,
      Unconfirmedabsolutes

  3. Pingback: Of “The Burden of Proof” | paarsurrey
  4. @ unconfirmedabsolutes

    I believe in the One-True-God very naturally; like I believe in my own existence or my parents’ existence; and I don’t need any evidence or proof for that for my own self. This is my open standpoint; and this has come to me very naturally.
    I am an ordinary man in the street without any claim to piety or scholarship. I don’t bother for any burden of proof; there is no burden on me in this connection. There is no reason for me to doubt my position unless one, says an atheist, gives me evidences and proof that he is right with evidences as proofs rather than proving me wrong.

    Whenever I explain my above standpoint to my atheist human friends; they start the discussion of the burden of proof; and that exposes them, in my opinion, that their position is weak and in fact not a valid standpoint.

    Even then they insist me to give evidences and proofs. I ask them to define as to what they understand from evidence in their own words rather than quoting from some dictionary; they even avoid it.

    I don’t think they are reasonable. Are they or their standpoint?

    • If they were to claim that your failure to prove God exists to them, is somehow proof does not exist, then they would be committing the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. That would be unreasonable.

      On the whole I can’t see how people can continue to think others have some sort of burden to prove anything to them. When you think about it, it is really like a strange sort of entitlement to have knowledge spoon fed to them instead of working for it for themselves.

      • Hi trueandreasonable,

        Its been a while 🙂

        ” it is really like a strange sort of entitlement to have knowledge spoon fed to them instead of working for it for themselves.” The thing is, we are not asking for you to spoon feed us. We have read the bible, we have considered other religions, personally, I am constantly on the search for new information on the subject. So no, I don’t think we have any entitlement to be spoon fed nor are we asking to be spoon fed. We just want to understand why eg. being gay is immoral (I know that’s not your opinion, but in the bible its stated) If judgement is being passed onto others, and infringe the rights of others, than yes we need to ask. If public funds are being used to build a giant statue of the cross, then yes, we need to question. I know it irks you when I use this example(apologies), if we were to put up a statue of Allah using public funds, what would you think? Wouldn’t you also question? Wouldn’t you also challenge them? I am going to say this again, in an ideal reality, when our beliefs do not affect those around us then yes, the burden of proof need not be enforced. But this is not an ideal reality. If one says that math is a useless subject, and we need to abolish the subject. He has a burden to prove it. To explain and justify. He cannot go about saying “Because it just is.”

        “If I am on a state legislature do I have the burden of proving racism is immoral to someone before I pass a law preventing others from discriminating based on race?” Yes. That’s the sad truth. We do. because morality is subjective. And its socio-culturally bound. What is accepted in 1678 may be seen as immoral in 2008 and what is considered okay in 2008 is seen as a horrible crime in 1940. People change. Society change. its inevitable. And that is why the burden of proof is important, though you may think racism is wrong, you are only saying it in hindsight, there are hundreds of people in the past who see it as the norm and if you were born in the past you would probably see nothing wrong with it either! So you do have to persuade them. If you look at the LGBT movement. It is gaining much popularity now. in the past, homosexuality was unthinkable. Now many religious people are changing their views, despite what the bible says. In the future, I am predicting that homophobes will be the minority…right now, we have to persuade everyone why homosexuality is not morally wrong…not everyone accepts it, you ask whose the judge, the answer is the people around you, the individuals, the community, the societies, the countries and the world.

        “Both believers and non – believers can be closed minded” I will be writing a post about that…you and Parrsurrey are constantly providing me with ideas for new content! THANK YOU! ❤ Hope to hear from you soon!

        Best regards,
        Unconfirmedabsolutes

      • Hello Unconfirmedabsolutes I am glad you responded.

        I think you are somewhat conflating the notion that there is a philosophical burden of proof with the notion that it might not be politically helpful to pass certain laws. My argument was about the philosophical burden of proof and I don’t think you provided any philosophical reasons to think it exists. But you have provided some political reasons to think we should act in certain ways.

        Let me go through what you said and give you my thoughts.
        I said:
        “it is really like a strange sort of entitlement to have knowledge spoon fed to them instead of working for it for themselves.”
        You replied:
        “The thing is, we are not asking for you to spoon feed us. We have read the bible, we have considered other religions, personally, I am constantly on the search for new information on the subject. So no, I don’t think we have any entitlement to be spoon fed nor are we asking to be spoon fed. We just want to understand why eg. being gay is immoral (I know that’s not your opinion, but in the bible its stated) If judgement is being passed onto others, and infringe the rights of others, than yes we need to ask. ”

        First I am not sure who “we” refers to. Not every atheist has read the bible and considered other religions.

        I do think that to the extent you insist on a philosophical “burden of proof” you are demanding that others prove their beliefs to you. I can give you the reasons why I believe. It might be in the form of a sound argument. You can then say you don’t believe a premise – even though it’s true so this doesn’t count as a “proof” for you. To the extent I need to prove something to *you* I then need to try to find other true premises that you will accept. But what you if you are so emotionally attached to your view that every time i present you with a sound argument you then reject a premise rather than accept the conclusion? I of course will have failed to prove this to you but so what? Certainly you are responsible for your own mind not me. I explain about proofs and why it is a not one way street here:
        http://trueandreasonable.co/2014/01/11/extra-extra-read-all-about-it-gods-existence-proven/

        Ok and finally I do not think the bible says being gay is immoral. It does say acting on homosexual desires is immoral. But there is an important difference.

        Here is my view:
        I think government has no place defining what marriage means and the like. I don’t think its practical to accommodate all the different views so they should step aside.
        http://trueandreasonable.co/2014/01/10/government-should-get-out-of-the-marriage-and-divorce-business/

        As far as homosexual conduct or heterosexual conduct Christianity teaches some very strict requirements which should likely not become civil law.

        “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

        I am a Catholic and they rule all sexual conduct that is closed to the possibility of reproduction is off wrong. No sex between husband and wife using birth control if the intent of its use is to prevent pregnancy. No oral sex even between husband and wife, no masturbation etc etc.

        Enforcing this against nonbelievers is likely to do more harm than good for both Christians and Non-Christians.

        Given the fact that Homosexuals have been discriminated against, Christians should be even more hesitant to try to isolate that one group and preach about that conduct and not other actions which are not acceptable according to our religion. My form of Christianity is likely about as strict as they come but many would accept adultery lustful thoughts toward someone not your spouse and perhaps even masturbation as sins. Should all of these be illegal as well? I say no. Not because I think they are moral behaviors I accept my churches teaching. But my view on the law is that all law is based on morality but not every immorality should be illegal. It is immoral to cheat at monopoly but I don’t think anyone should be arrested for it.

        You say:
        “If public funds are being used to build a giant statue of the cross, then yes, we need to question. I know it irks you when I use this example(apologies), if we were to put up a statue of Allah using public funds, what would you think? Wouldn’t you also question? Wouldn’t you also challenge them? I am going to say this again, in an ideal reality, when our beliefs do not affect those around us then yes, the burden of proof need not be enforced.”

        This question does not irk me. You may have me confused with someone else.
        I don’t have a problem with statues relating to other religions being put up with public funds. As long as I am free to exercise my religion I don’t mind. If I live in a mostly Hindu state and they democratically decide to spend tax dollars on statues of gods I do not believe in that is ok. I do not feel my vote should count more. However if they require that I violate my own beliefs by giving some offering to the gods or something like that, its different. Then they are infringing on my free exercise of religion. I think that is a very poor decision for political reasons.

        The reason its a bad idea for the state to try to force people to abandon their religion is it will just lead to unrest and violence. People are not about to abandon what God tells them to do because someone like Barrack Obama George Bush jr or senior, or Bill Clinton says they should. I live in Illinois and the same goes for my views of Pat Quinn, Rod Blagojevich, or George Ryan. (the majority of which were convicted of crimes). If anyone thinks I will disobey God to do what those men want they are mistaken. This is why America adopted a right to the free exercise of religion.

        You say:
        “If one says that math is a useless subject, and we need to abolish the subject. He has a burden to prove it. To explain and justify. He cannot go about saying “Because it just is.””

        Of course, he can. It’s still a free country, right? What are you going to do arrest him for stating his view? Do you think the state should control what we think and what we say?

        You say:
        “If I am on a state legislature do I have the burden of proving racism is immoral to someone before I pass a law preventing others from discriminating based on race?” Yes. That’s the sad truth. We do. because morality is subjective. And its socio-culturally bound. What is accepted in 1678 may be seen as immoral in 2008 and what is considered okay in 2008 is seen as a horrible crime in 1940. People change. Society change. its inevitable. And that is why the burden of proof is important, though you may think racism is wrong, you are only saying it in hindsight, there are hundreds of people in the past who see it as the norm and if you were born in the past you would probably see nothing wrong with it either! So you do have to persuade them. If you look at the LGBT movement. It is gaining much popularity now. in the past, homosexuality was unthinkable. Now many religious people are changing their views, despite what the bible says. In the future, I am predicting that homophobes will be the minority…right now, we have to persuade everyone why homosexuality is not morally wrong…not everyone accepts it, you ask whose the judge, the answer is the people around you, the individuals, the community, the societies, the countries and the world.”

        Ok so you think morality is subjective. And you think something is morally wrong if the majority view it as such? You seem to concede that your views on Gay rights is rejected by the majority so you are wrong! Why do you keep arguing when you know you are wrong?

        Subjective morality will lead to incoherence. You argue in favor of Gay rights because you think its the right thing to do. Same with Martin Luther King Jr. If he thought racism was morally good as long as the majority of people thought it was morally good he would not have fought to have the laws changed – after all if he accepted subjective morality then they were morally good laws.

        There are several different reasons that religious people might agree that laws should not discriminate against homosexuals. Trying to say some philosophical burden of proof does the trick really misses the point. Nor does attacking religion really help.

    • Hi Paarsurrey,

      Nice to hear form you! We have absolutely polar views on this subject of evidence and proof. From what I gathered with your message, I take it that your faith is extremely strong. I think our goals are extremely different. Your goal seem to be faithful to the “truth”, whereas mine is to search for the “truth”. Yours is a destination that’s already been found. Mine’s a process that could lead me anywhere.

      “I believe in the One-True-God very naturally; like I believe in my own existence or my parents’ existence; and I don’t need any evidence or proof for that for my own self. This is my open standpoint; and this has come to me very naturally.” I understand where this is coming from, but I have to remind you, that I have seen my parents, I have heard from them, and everyone else cannot dispute that they do not exist. Its not that you do not need prove for your parent’s existence. But you actually do have the evidence that your parents exists. With regards to being “open”, that’s also where we differ. I am open to anything should the evidence present itself. Needing evidence before believing something is not being close-minded. If you showed me objective evidence of a god, I assure you, I will believe you. Just like if someone captured the bigfoot and presented in front of everyone in the zoo, and after testing that the specimen is real, I will believe that the bigfoot does exist. However, I would actually throw the argument of being “close-minded” back on you. You have closed your doors for any other gods, or any other possibilities(such as the non-existence of god, maybe god is not all-loving etc.) other than the one you have now. I watched a show where a creationist said, that if the Quran/Bible says that 2+2=5, he will not question it. But he will work out how it is true. I think that’s the position you have adopted, by accepting your view as the absolute truth.

      “I am an ordinary man in the street without any claim to piety or scholarship. I don’t bother for any burden of proof; there is no burden on me in this connection. ” I admire your humility. However, we do not need to have qualifications to have to posses any burden of proof, as long as you are asserting your claim to be the truth, then the burden of proof is on you. However, if you are keeping the belief strictly to yourself, then yes, I agree that you have no need to prove anything. 🙂

      “they start the discussion of the burden of proof; and that exposes them, in my opinion, that their position is weak and in fact not a valid standpoint.” I do not understand why the burden of proof exposes our position of questioning your claim as weak or invalid. Do explain.

      “Even then they insist me to give evidences and proofs. I ask them to define as to what they understand from evidence in their own words rather than quoting from some dictionary; they even avoid it.” They giving their own definitions? Of course they do. If everyone gave their own definitions then everything in the world will be thrown off. For example, I can call a grape an orange. This Orange is purple. And people will also have their own definitions, no…this orange is green. Why is discussing the nature of definitions important? If two people involved in a debate are using entirely different types of definitions for the same term, they may only end up talking past each other. Definitions shouldn’t necessarily be accepted at face value, but analyzing the worth of a definition requires understanding what sort of definition you are faced with. And having a fixed definition means that one will not be able to change the meaning anyhow and any-when just to fit their argument.

      Tell me what you think? And thanks again for taking time to voice out your thoughts!

      With regards,
      Unconfirmedabsolutes

  5. @ unconfirmedabsolutes : Reference to your Comments of February 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    “Your goal seems to be faithful to the “truth”, whereas mine is to search for the “truth”. Yours is a destination that’s already been found. Mine’s a process that could lead me anywhere.”

    Now that is not the case; though we have opposite views; yet we might be on the same path that is “Truth” and that “leads to Truth” located on the same straight line; if we are sincere in our search and research.

    One cannot say that one is on the false or untruth path as of today; can you?

    If one is sincere one is never biased against the absolute Truth.

    A sincere person is always on the Truth and yet craving for more Truth, where-from it comes to one and whenever it comes to one, one goes on accepting it of course after due diligence, inquiry and search; it is a never ending process/path/line.
    Like, man started search in scientific fields; at a given point of time one could know for which one had the tools; in the subsequent time he was better equipped and more experienced based on his previous knowledge; then he moved ahead on the scientific truths/facts. We can never say that we have known all the scientific facts in the nature or universe/s. AS we go the goal posts widen.

    This is the path of never ending scientific truths/facts/knowledge.

    • Hi parrasurrey!

      Nice to hear from you again!

      You haven’t replied to most of the previous questions I posed to you! Looking forward to your reply on those subjects!

      “I believe in the One-True-God very naturally; like I believe in my own existence or my parents’ existence; and I don’t need any evidence or proof for that for my own self. This is my open standpoint; and this has come to me very naturally.” and “If one is sincere one is never biased against the absolute Truth.” You have already regarded your position as the absolute truth. That’s the point I was getting at. You have already found your “truth”. And nothing anyone says or demonstrate would change your position. My position can be changed, I do not see it as an absolute, I can be pretty sure there’s no god. But I cannot of course say with absolute certainty. Once I am presented with objective evidence then yes, my position will change to match what the evidence presents to me.

      And I find it quite amusing how you are telling me about the scientific process. Believing in god is not a scientific process. That’s why the term “Faith” exists. Belief in something without empirical evidence. Science is all about empirical evidence! If we had scientific proof of God’s existence, we would talk about the “science of God” rather than “faith in God”. Science looks for answers without bias.

      With regards,
      Unconfirmedabsolutes

      • @ unconfirmedabsolutes says:March 4, 2014 at 7:22 am

        “If one is sincere one is never biased against the absolute Truth.”

        I think I could not express myself fully to make you understand my viewpoint properly. I try once again to make it clear.

        I did not mean that I have already reached the absolute Truth. I am treading on a straight path, which presently seems to be truthful to me, to reach to the Absolute Truth. I will be rather eager to accept any truth which I have not yet known that leads me to the Absolute Truth.

        If there will be no Absolute Truth no one would be searching truth or researching for truth in any branch of knowledge or sciences.

        I will quote here from Quran:

        [29:70] And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good.

        http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=29&verse=69

        The essence of the verse or the argument given in it is that one who strives gets its fruition; a sincere effort never goes waste.

        The fellow humans are open to help one another in this regard.

        Does it help?

        I will try to answer your other question also; I will see if I can.

        Thanks

  6. Pingback: Path of never ending scientific/religious truths/facts/knowledge | paarsurrey
  7. Hi Trueandreasonable,

    As always, thank you so much for taking the time to discuss with me. Really appreciate it! 😀

    Some things to settle first:

    Firstly, I do want to remind you that you have already convinced me that no philosophical evidence for the burden of proof exists. (Reread our previous conversations! I agreed with you eventually!)

    Secondly, whenever I say “we”, I am not referring to atheists. because I am not one. I am referring to people who are like me, and follow where empirical evidence brings me.

    So let’s get down to our discussion 🙂

    “Ok and finally I do not think the bible says being gay is immoral. It does say acting on homosexual desires is immoral. But there is an important difference. ” and “I think government has no place defining what marriage means and the like. I don’t think its practical to accommodate all the different views so they should step aside.” Firstly, I want to point out that regardless of your stand with law, judging someone’s actions as wrong just because a book says its wrong and without giving any good reason for it, is just as bad. You are thinking of these people as wrong-doers and regarding their acts of love as sin. Please tell me why homosexuality is morally wrong. Don’t just tell me its wrong because the bible says so. (I won’t accept that. Since you are reasonable)

    “Ok so you think morality is subjective. And you think something is morally wrong if the majority view it as such? You seem to concede that your views on Gay rights is rejected by the majority so you are wrong! Why do you keep arguing when you know you are wrong?” I think you have severely misread what I wrote. NEVER have I said that whatever the majority says is morally right. NEVER. Please reread what I said. Yes, morality is subjective. It is up to the individual. However, for laws and rules to pass, the majority needs to see the reasoning of why something is wrong or right. We fight for what we think is right. Morality belongs to us. Ourselves. The majority can always be wrong, they may think they are right, but they may not be. Just the very difference between the believers show that morality is subjective. Some Catholics think that abortions are immoral, while some don’t. Some think that allowing gay people to marry is immoral. Some don’t.

    Oh, and “I don’t have a problem with statues relating to other religions being put up with public funds. As long as I am free to exercise my religion I don’t mind. If I live in a mostly Hindu state and they democratically decide to spend tax dollars on statues of gods I do not believe in that is ok. I do not feel my vote should count more. ” Yes you may not think your vote counts more. But many of the religious do. That is why America has the whole issue with the separation of church and state. And that’s when it provokes us.

    With regards,
    Unconfirmedabsolutes

  8. Pingback: One who strives gets its fruition | paarsurrey
  9. @unconfirmedabsolutes : February 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I will try to reply your queries or questions one by one; it may take some time. Thanks for reminding me.

    Paarsurrey wrote:

    “I believe in the One-True-God very naturally; like I believe in my own existence or my parents’ existence; and I don’t need any evidence or proof for that for my own self. This is my open standpoint; and this has come to me very naturally.”

    unconfirmedabsolutes wrote:

    “I understand where this is coming from, but I have to remind you, that I have seen my parents, I have heard from them, and everyone else cannot dispute that they do not exist. It is not that you do not need prove for your parent’s existence. But you actually do have the evidence that your parents exists.”

    Paarsurrey explains:

    By my words “for my own self”; I meant for my own satisfaction. One believes one’s parents as one’s own parents for the natural love, affection and care they take of one, never needing to go after the possibly available DNA proofs etc.

    And for my own existence; I don’t even need that. I am because I have the consciousness that I am; that is ample proof for my own existence.

    Does it help?

    Thanks

  10. @UNCONFIRMEDABSOLUTES
    Hi friend

    You wrote:

    “With regards to being “open”, that’s also where we differ. I am open to anything should the evidence present itself. Needing evidence before believing something is not being close-minded.
    If you showed me objective evidence of a god, I assure you, I will believe you. Just like if someone captured the bigfoot and presented in front of everyone in the zoo, and after testing that the specimen is real, I will believe that the bigfoot does exist.
    However, I would actually throw the argument of being “close-minded” back on you. You have closed your doors for any other gods, or any other possibilities (such as the non-existence of god, maybe god is not all-loving etc.) other than the one you have now. I watched a show where a creationist said, that if the Quran/Bible says that 2+2=5, he will not question it.
    But he will work out how it is true. I think that’s the position you have adopted, by accepting your view as the absolute truth.” Unquote

    Paarsurrey says:

    I think I did not say that you are a close-minded person. I only told about myself that I am an open minded person; never hinting at you that you are a closed minded person. If I said, I apologize for that.

    I don’t agree with those who say if Quran/Bible says (2+2= 5); I will believe that. I will definitely question it; yet it is a fact that Quran never says such untoward things; that is my experience with Quran.

    I never adopted such a position. You definitely got me wrong. I accept Quran in ethical, moral and spiritual realms; and that is the purpose of the Revelation of Quran, it is clearly stated in its very beginning:

    [2:1] In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
    [2:2] Alif Lam Mim.
    [2:3] This is a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous*,
    http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=2
    * or truth seekers

    In other than ethical, moral and spiritual fields which pertain to religion and not to science i.e. in secular, material and physical matters I will go with the facts and laws of the respective sciences and relative branches of the knowledge to which they specifically pertain.

    I am not a creationist; in the sense that I believe that the human beings got evolved in millions of years.

    The One-True-God spoke the Word “Be” and lo!, everything in the Universe started taking a shape, a formation, they could not refuse the command of the Creator; maybe it was a big-bang out of a black-hole perhaps but in billions of years, it came to the present form. The process is known as Evolution. The process continues, till the One-True-God speaks the Words “Not to be” and then it would stop; it would come to an end.

    Thanks and regards

    Does it help?

  11. Pingback: Belief in existence of God is natural; like belief in existence of parents or belief in my own existence | paarsurrey
  12. Pingback: God the creator was not in a hurry to create the Universe and life in a jiffy | paarsurrey
  13. UNCONFIRMEDABSOLUTES wrote:

    Quote: “I am an ordinary man in the street without any claim to piety or scholarship. I don’t bother for any burden of proof; there is no burden on me in this connection. ”
    I admire your humility.
    However, we do not need to have qualifications to have to posses any burden of proof, as long as you are asserting your claim to be the truth, then the burden of proof is on you.
    However, if you are keeping the belief strictly to yourself, then yes, I agree that you have no need to prove anything.” Unquote

    Paarsurrey says: I don’t agree with you. There was a time when Atheists mostly kept silent; then they could say to the evangelizing Christians, Muslims or others to present their proofs/evidences to them if they were attempting to evangelize them; that could have made a sense, as you say, I think.
    Now there is no dearth of evangelizing New Atheists; so their excuse for not presenting evidences is stretching the burden of proof point too much; that is why I say their continuous insistence to it shows that their viewpoint is weak.

    UNCONFIRMEDABSOLUTES wrote:
    Quote“They (the Atheists) start the discussion of the burden of proof; and that exposes them, in my opinion, that their position is weak and in fact not a valid standpoint.
    I do not understand why the burden of proof exposes our position of questioning your claim as weak or invalid. Do explain.”

    Paarsurrey says : I think I have sufficiently explained it above.

    I want to make one thing clear here. I am not in a debate to win from you or anybody else necessarily. I just want to understand and want to come on the same page with the Atheists for co-existence in this world peacefully without an ill-will.

    Thanks and regards

  14. Pingback: Continuous insistence of New Atheists to shift burden of proof on to others only shows their standpoint is weak | paarsurrey
  15. UNCONFIRMEDABSOLUTES wrote : Quote“Even then they insist me to give evidences and proofs. I ask them to define as to what they understand from evidence in their own words rather than quoting from some dictionary; they even avoid it.” Unquote

    Paarsurrey says : As I said, burden of proof is not an issue with me; I feel no burden of it; and I deny anybody putting burden of it on me. I immediately know that the person is weak in arguments as also his standpoint is weak, hence he avoids to share the ethical and moral burden of a joint discussion.

    I want the Atheists to realize that it is not rational or reasonable for them to always be on the questioning end. But they are always like that; never being on the answering end and always pushing others to the answering end; maybe just for convenience. On this important issue of the “Existence of God or otherwise”; they just sit pretty; never giving any positive evidences that “God does not exist”.

    If we give proofs or evidences; they just reject them arrogantly saying these are no proofs and evidences. It is for this that I ask them to define as to what they personally understand from the words “proofs and evidences”; only then we could be on the same page for discussion or understanding.

    Thanks and regards

  16. Pingback: Atheists always pushing others to the answering end | paarsurrey
  17. UNCONFIRMEDABSOLUTES wrote :Quote: “They giving their own definitions? Of course they do. If everyone gave their own definitions then everything in the world will be thrown off. For example, I can call a grape an orange. This Orange is purple. And people will also have their own definitions, no…this orange is green.
    Why is discussing the nature of definitions important? If two people involved in a debate are using entirely different types of definitions for the same term, they may only end up talking past each other. Definitions shouldn’t necessarily be accepted at face value, but analyzing the worth of a definition requires understanding what sort of definition you are faced with. And having a fixed definition means that one will not be able to change the meaning anyhow and any-when just to fit their argument.
    Tell me what you think?” Unquote

    Paarsurrey says : The dictionaries only help to define a word as it is currently being used and words have a lot of meaning, original meaning, derived meaning, meaning in a scientific field, meaning in the law, philosophical meaning; they don’t define what a particular person understands from it.

    The second thing is that the words are used as a terminology, shifted to another than the original meaning, in different branches of knowledge; that is not the normal meaning of a word. Evidence would be different in physical sciences while it would be different in Ethics or Theology.

    When words mean different things in science:

    There are times when words have more than one meaning. One of the most confusing circumstances is when they have completely different meanings in common speech versus in scientific and technical contexts. It can cause a great deal of confusion when these terms are used by lay persons.

    http://depletedcranium.com/when-words-mean-different-things-in-science/

    With this I think I have replied all the points of your post.

    Thanks and regards.

    P.S: How are you fairing with your studies? Wish you success.

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