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Why Do Atheists Shift The Burden?


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#61 Cassiterides

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:55 AM

PhilC Tell me a creationist author you know and what creationist book you have read.

By this i mean an actual physical copy of the book, not that you have just done a 5 minute job of browsing of creation literature on the net.

#62 Ron

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 10:15 AM

Firstly, Ron.  Here I am not arguing whether one side is right or wrong, so the quote I have taken I am not arguing about if it is actually factually correct or not. 

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Actually, Phil, when you said:

Most creationists have a misguided view of the theory of evolution, but think they understand it. 

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You were arguing that you are correct (or are right) about evolution, and MOST creationists are wrong (or misguided, incorrect, ignorant etc…). Therefore your judgment was an argument, and you are stuck smack dab in the middle of a logical and moral dilemma. In this dilemma you are attempting what is known as the “pretended neutrality” fallacy, and you are also building an argument based on the “Converse Accident” fallacy. In any case, you are nowhere near what you are claiming. Again, you said “Most Creationists” then you attempt to deconstruct Fred Williams’ paper. And, without agreeing, or disagreeing with Fred’s writing, I can expose your argument by simply saying “Fred is not Most Creationists”.

And, unfortunately for your argument, you are actually proving my point about atheists shifting the burden. Just because someone disagrees with your view of evolution, that doesn’t make them wrong, and you right.

#63 PhilC

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 11:38 AM

It is extermely revealing that you attack me rather than actually dealilng with the fact that Fred obviously misrepresented evolution.

That is an ad hominem. Shifting the argument from whether Fred makes claims about evolution that are patently wrong and change that to a detailed examination of my use of English.

Fred in the article described misrepresented the Evolutionist position. Whatever your views of me as an individual you must be able to see that when he says there should be millions of transitionals he is not presenting the evolutionist point of view despite the fact that he says "if evolution is true".
Cass, I have read "Darwin on Trial", "Life: How did we get here?" A book by Gitt about information theory (can't remember the name, sorry) and am currently in the middle of "Creation / Evolution: Do we have to choose?" lent to me by my local Vicar. Plus a couple of others.

#64 Cassiterides

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 01:07 PM

The books you need to read to understand creationism are Evolution the fossils say no! by Duane T. Gish, Scientific Creationism by Henry Morris and It's a Young World After All. by Paul Ackerman.

The book It's a Young World After all free to read online:

http://www.creationi...erman/index.htm

#65 PhilC

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 02:19 PM

I tell you what, I will start that this week but the soon the book misrepresents Evolution, I will post that on here and stop. If it doesn't then I will read it until the end.

If its ideas are not the same as evolution and it puts a case for creationism without misrepresenting evolution then I will read it all.

#66 Ron

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:45 AM

It is extermely revealing that you attack me rather than actually dealilng with the fact that Fred obviously misrepresented evolution.

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The funny thing here is; I never attacked you Phil. I pulled apart your argument (well, the beginning of it anyway), by exposing the logical fallacies you (wittingly or unwittingly placed in it). What is revealing here, is that instead of refuting my assertions, or admitting your mistakes, you falsely accuse me of an ad hominem attack on you, with a reverse ad hominem abusive on your part.

If you actually go back and read my posts, you’d soon uncover your mistaken prognosis. An ad hominem abusive would be me attacking your character or circumstances (i.e. Phil is a bone-head, he has no clue!). It’s when the statement or argument at issue is dropped from consideration or is ignored, and your character or circumstances are attacked and used to influence opinion.

As you’ll notice, I went after the mistakes, miscues, and fallacies in your argument, and not you. I would suggest, and I do mean this as an aid to you and not a slam, that you do a little research into logical fallacies and definitions, brush up on debate protocol and interaction.


That is an ad hominem.  Shifting the argument from whether Fred makes claims about evolution that are patently wrong and change that to a detailed examination of my use of English.

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Again, this is nothing like an ad hominem, and you really should look into such an accusation more carefully before you make one.

I dismantled the beginning of your argument. We haven’t even gotten to the part of it when you attempt to refute Fred’s paper yet. If you want to get there, you need to make some corrections on your part first. You are stumbling there, and must clean it up first.

#67 PhilC

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:49 AM

So, because I cannot express my point of view very well, ie that I don't know everything, but I can spot mistakes, you will not look at an obvious misrepresentation?

Is that right?

#68 Ron

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:41 AM

So, because I cannot express my point of view very well, ie that I don't know everything, but I can spot mistakes, you will not look at an obvious misrepresentation?

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Again, Phil, if your premises are mistake laden from the beginning, the mistakes carry on until the end. This is common in many walks of life. And this is how misrepresentations begin and become commonplace.

Also, no one knows “everything”; hence that part of your statement is a “non sequitur” (i.e. it does not follow the stream or context of the conversation). And, when combined with the rest of the statement, causes a self-refuting statement.

Therefore, someone can express themselves all they like (that is their right in a free society), no matter how incorrect they are.

Is that right?

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Things end up being much less “obvious” at the end, once one realizes the mistakes they are making throughout the beginning and middle. And the mistakes in the beginning tend to escalate and compound upon themselves by the time you get to the end.

#69 PhilC

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:54 AM

You were arguing that you are correct (or are right) about evolution, and MOST creationists are wrong (or misguided, incorrect, ignorant etc…).


Okay, I apologise. I take back all those comments.

Now, do evolutionists claim we should see millions of transitional fossils, like Fred claims we do?

#70 Ron

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 09:19 AM

Okay, I apologise.  I take back all those comments.

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No problem. We all have to study “lessons learned”, and glean knowledge for them to grow intellectually and experientially.

Now, do evolutionists claim we should see millions of transitional fossils, like Fred claims we do?

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After reading through the paper from Fred, I must have failed to see where he made the assertion that “evolutionists claim we should see millions of transitional fossils”. If you could point it out to me, I would greatly appreciate it.

#71 PhilC

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:39 AM

Oops! I've just reread the quote. The word millions is not where I remembered it to be:

[quote]If evolution were true, the fossil record should be littered with countless examples showing many different transitions leading up to the millions of species of these complex creatures. YET WE DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE EXAMPLE! NOT EVEN ONE! /quote]

He says "littered with" and claims we do not see a single one.

Notice that he says "if evolution were true" and then says this.

I'm guessing he's not talking about varieties of fossils within a kind, so he must be talking about transitionals at above the family level.

Evolutionists say these will be rare, but we have them.

Therefore, Fred is misrepresenting what evolutionists say.

#72 Ron

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:51 AM

Oops!  I've just reread the quote.  The word millions is not where I remembered it to be:

If evolution were true, the fossil record should be littered with countless examples showing many different transitions leading up to the millions of species of these complex creatures. YET WE DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE EXAMPLE! NOT EVEN ONE! 


He says "littered with" and claims we do not see a single one.

Notice that he says "if evolution were true" and then says this.

I'm guessing he's not talking about varieties of fossils within a kind, so he must be talking about transitionals at above the family level.

Evolutionists say these will be rare, but we have them.

Therefore, Fred is misrepresenting what evolutionists say.

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I think you are incorrect on your interpretation of Fred's paper, and the traditional claims of evolutionists as well. But I don't have time to go into it right now.

#73 Ron

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:08 AM

Keep in mind, there are rules in this thread:

1- No equivocations on the questions, or to the questions!
2- No time wasting or side tracking to divert from the questions (i.e. tangents, or rabbit trails).
3- If you don’t know, simply say “I don’t know”! But, understand, in saying so, you give up all right to say (for example) “there is no God”; because you said “I don’t know”. This includes making statements like (for example) “there is no evidence for God, therefore there is no God” because; you said “I don’t know”. If you do attempt such, you are equivocating.
4- If you are going to make a “Negative” assertion without factual evidence for said assertion, you are equivocating.
5- If you are going to make any assertions to support your argument, insure they are factual assertions, not simply opinion. Otherwise you are equivocating.
6- Any assertions that do not deal directly with the questions are either equivocating or time wasting.
7- If you post links to other people’s opinions (regardless of their scholarship) without factual supporting evidences for said opinion, you are equivocating (and so were they).
Opinions are fine if they can be backed up by facts, but equivocations will not be allowed.

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And the original questions were:


1- Do the attempts of atheists to dilute the meaning (or definition) of atheism stem from Bradlaugh’s assertion? What is the motive for such a shift in meaning for atheism?

2- Is it an attempt to shift the burden of proof regarding the existence of God to the theist?

3- Shouldn’t anyone who claims, "God does not exist," have the same responsibility to shoulder a burden of proof just as much as anyone who claims, "God exists." http://www.thedivine...org/athart3.htm 

4- Could this shift of Bradlaugh be due to the lack of a origins foundation for atheism, and therefore the need to shift the goal posts due to a lack of said foundations?

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Some tend to get side tracked, and wander far from the OP.

#74 PhilC

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:52 AM

This is from Wikipedia and it is the way that I would use it:

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on him or her making a claim. This burden does not demand a mathematical or strictly logical proof (although many strong arguments do rise to this level such as in logical syllogisms), but rather demands an amount of evidence that is established or accepted by convention or community standards.

This burden of proof is often asymmetrical and typically falls more heavily on the party that makes either an ontologically positive claim, or makes a claim more "extraordinary", that is farther removed from conventionally accepted facts.


We may argue about whether the existence of a supernatural deity is a conventionally accepted fact, but the burden of proof does fall on the person making the positive claim.

#75 Ron

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:03 AM

This is from Wikipedia and it is the way that I would use it:

We may argue about whether the existence of a supernatural deity is a conventionally accepted fact, but the burden of proof does fall on the person making the positive claim.

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First and foremost, let me say that Wikipedia is a less than desirable source for many reasons. And, for many reasons I have never allowed it be used by my students as reference material in any academic setting of my employ (nor has any of my colleagues, or the institutions I’ve worked for, to the best of my knowledge).

Second, the word “positive” in this context is “an emphatic statement that something is true” (i.e. the atheists claims it is true that there is no God). Therefore, if you claim there is no God, you have the direct burden to prove your assertion, or admit it as an opinion only.

http://www.lectlaw.com/def/b064.htm

The “burden of proof” is employed to signify the duty of proving the facts in dispute on an issue raised between the parties in a cause. (i.e. the atheist claims “there is no God”; and must therefore provide evidence to support said assertion).

The burden of proof always lies on the party who takes the affirmative in pleading.
Affirmative in this context means:

True: confirming or asserting that something is true
Indicating Agreement: indicating agreement or giving assent
Relating to a type of proposition: logic relating to or consisting of a categorical proposition in which the predicate's extension is contained partially or wholly within the subject, as in "All humans are mammals"
Positive assertion: an emphatic statement that something is true
Word conveying agreement: a word or statement conveying agreement or approval
Side supporting a proposition in a debate: the side in a debate that supports a proposition


In all cases, if the atheist says “there is no God” then they are responsible to provide evidence for their assertion. If they say that they don’t have to support their claims, they are committing the “Shifting the burden of proof” fallacy. There was a time that atheists were responsible enough to attempt to prove their assertions. Instead, now, they attempt to “shift the burden” so as not to shoulder their implicit responsibilities.

#76 jason78

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:20 AM

The atheists claims it is true that there is no God

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No Ron. An atheist is someone that does not believe that gods exist.

You are a theist. Specifically a Christian. Not only do you believe that gods exist but you believe specifically that your god Jesus exists. Once you have made a claim like that, the burden of proof is on you.

#77 PhilC

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:42 PM

Wikipedia is as good as its sources, and has been checked for accuracy by an independant panel and it compared well with the Encyclopedia Brittanica (7 errors in one, eight in the other), but I can understand a reluctance of a lecturer in using at as a primary source.

When people say the burden of proof lies with the person making the positive statement, it lies with the person saying that X exists or X is true, not the ones that say X does not exist or X is false unless there are particular circumstnces.

It is much harder to 'prove' a negative. In the evolution/ creation debate, I would say that the burden of proof lies with the evolutionist. They are making the positive statement that things evolved and creationists are taking the negative position of things didn't evolve.

I would not expect a creationist to show me how something didn't evolve.

If I argue that there are fairies down the bottom of my garden and you took the view that they didn't exist, it would be me that would have to present the evidence because I am making the positive statement.

You argue that God exists, atheists say that God doesn't exist. You are making the positive statement. "God does not exist" is a negative statement.

#78 Ron

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 03:55 PM

No Ron. 

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Yes Jason... But saying so doesn't make it so. And using the “Shifting the burden of proof” fallacy doesn't help your case either.

An atheist is someone that does not believe that gods exist.

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Therefore, atheists are saying it is true that there is no God.

You are a theist. 

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That is a fact

Specifically a Christian. 

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Another fact Jason.

Not only do you believe that gods exist but you believe specifically that your god Jesus exists. 

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Once again, another fact.


Once you have made a claim like that, the burden of proof is on you.

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Just the same as when you say there is no God, the burden of proof is on you Jason. Semantics and word play cannot hide the “Shifting the burden of proof” fallacy being used there Jason. Nor will misinterpretation or misdirection.

#79 Ron

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:38 PM

Wikipedia is as good as its sources, and has been checked for accuracy by an independant panel and it compared well with the Encyclopedia Brittanica (7 errors in one, eight in the other), but I can understand a reluctance of a lecturer in using at as a primary source.

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Being a member of Wiki, and at one time a contributor, I have personally seen the contradictory and biased nature there. And the extent the admin uses to suppress those biases. It is pretty well known and documented. I believe Ikester is a contributing member there as well. We have discussed the inadequacies of wiki at length elsewhere in this forum, so I am not going to sidetrack this thread with it.

But, I suggest that you would do well to pedal that elsewhere. I use wiki for the sources only. And some of those are sketchy as well.

When people say the burden of proof lies with the person making the positive statement, it lies with the person saying that X exists or X is true, not the ones that say X does not exist or X is false unless there are particular circumstnces.

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As I pointed out earlier, with actual reference (not wiki or atheists sites)refutes your assertion. The “burdon of proof” is a legal term, and is incumbent ANY person making a claim. Be it point, or counterpoint. That is why there is cross-examination.


It is much harder to 'prove' a negative. 

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Actually, it is very easy to prove a negative… There are no spotted geese on the moon. And there are no dancing deer on the sun. The “its hard to prove a negative” fallacy is just another shortcoming, and ruse to hide the burden of proof the atheist has for making a claim. It is a mistake of the Argumentum ad Ignorantiam fallacy. It is error in reasoning that is often expressed with influential rhetoric. If someone argues that God or telepathy, ghosts, or UFO's do not exist because their existence has not been proven then this fallacy occurs.

In the evolution/ creation debate, I would say that the burden of proof lies with the evolutionist.  They are making the positive statement that things evolved and creationists are taking the negative position of things didn't evolve.

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AS I pointed out, and backed with evidence, earlier; you are misusing the term “positive” evidence. The word “positive” in this context is “an emphatic statement that something is true” (i.e. the atheists claims it is true that there is no God). Therefore, if you claim there is no God, you have the direct burden to prove your assertion, or admit it as an opinion only.

http://www.lectlaw.com/def/b064.htm



I would not expect a creationist to show me how something didn't evolve.

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Again, incorrect; Man did not evolve, he was created.


If I argue that there are fairies down the bottom of my garden and you took the view that they didn't exist, it would be me that would have to present the evidence because I am making the positive statement.

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No, I would argue that you are making the assertion without the evidence. And we could investigate based upon the statement you submitted.

You argue that God exists, atheists say that God doesn't exist.  You are making the positive statement.  "God does not exist" is a negative statement.

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But, it is a statement, and assertion none-the-less. And you have to back up your assertion. We could, if you like, argue for and against God. And, what you’ll find is that the probability of God is so great, that your negative assertion pretty quickly dissolves in the face of the evidence. But if you wanted to argue for the probability of “fairies down the bottom of your garden” dissolves away just as quickly.

#80 jason78

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:53 PM

Yes Jason... But saying so doesn't make it so. And using the  “Shifting the burden of proof” fallacy doesn't help your case either.

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How is this an example of using the “Shifting the burden of proof” fallacy?

You say something exists.

I say that's absurd. I don't believe that.

And you can apply that to any fantastic claim.

Therefore, atheists are saying  it is true that there is no God.

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Perhaps they are. But if it weren't for people going around saying that there are gods, atheists wouldn't have anything not to believe!

Just the same as when you say there is no God, the burden of proof is on you Jason.

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I don't think so.


Actually, it is very easy to prove a negative… There are no spotted geese on the moon. And there are no dancing deer on the sun. The “its hard to prove a negative” fallacy is just another shortcoming, and ruse to hide the burden of proof the atheist has for making a claim. It is a mistake of the Argumentum ad Ignorantiam fallacy. It is error in reasoning that is often expressed with influential rhetoric. If someone argues that God or telepathy, ghosts, or UFO's do not exist because their existence has not been proven then this fallacy occurs.

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Claiming that there are geese on the moon (spotted or otherwise) is a fantastic claim. NASA and other space agencies have mapped the moon extensively and found no geese or any other avian.

No telepath or psychic has ever been able to prove under reasonable experimental conditions that they are able to read minds.

No claimed ghost sightings have ever been able to bear close scrutiny.

No one has ever been able to produce an alien space ship or even a part of one.

And no religious person has ever been able to show that their god (or gods) empirically exist.




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