Debating An Atheist: The Burden of Proof

July 22, 2010 by Lisa Krempasky  
Filed under faith

One of the favorite tactics of atheists is to say their is no evidence of God. Of course we know there is a wealth of evidence that they refuse to acknowledge but those proofs will be dealt with at a later time. Let’s start a step earlier.

Why must the burden of proof be on believers to prove the existence of God? The burden of proof comes from presumptions. In criminal law a person is innocent until proven guilty. Why is the presumption that there is no God? There is no logical reason why that should be. It is equally as logical to start from the presumption that there is a God and force the atheist to prove there is not.

You cannot accept their premise. If an atheist is intellectually honest at all they must at least start from the premise that we do not know whether there is a God or not and argue each side from there, but to accept their false premise plays into their step upon step of illogical house of cards.

Carl Sagan a world famous scientist and religious skeptic said the “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. He spoke of our impatience with ambiguity. For example the newest discovered star existed before it was discovered. Gravity existed before it was discovered. The western hemisphere existed before it was discovered. Further there IS a cure for cancer. People have been searching for it for millennia and the fact we have not yet found it does not mean it doesn’t exist.

But of course there IS plenty of evidence of the existence of God, just don’t accept the logic of the atheist.

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58 Responses to “Debating An Atheist: The Burden of Proof”
  1. Muriel says:

    You’re so right! I’ve been telling people I believe in the invisible unicorn and they look at me as if I’m mad. Not one offered proof the it does not exist. In fact, they all know what I am talking about. Isn’t that proof that the invisible unicorn is out there?… maybe right here! Everywhere!

    • If you want to believe in the invisible unicorn you that is fine. It may even exist. But again you prove my point. You are not being intellectually honest because let’s be real…you do NOT believe in the invisible unicorn.

      You tell me WHY I must prove the existence of God while you get a free pass on your presumption. Also tell me your evidence for the absence of God.

      The reason the atheist must start from a presumption of no God is because anyone who takes an intellectually honest look at the atheist position knows that it cannot be true. So instead the atheist starts from the position that their proof (that which they true to prove) is true. That does not cut the mustard and is very illogical.

      • Jason Maggini says:

        Thought experiment.

        Let’s say someone honestly, truly believed in the invisible unicorn, for whatever reason, With as much conviction as you do in your god.

        And moreover, they were to somehow convince a *lot* of followers that this was the deity of choice.

        Now picture the followers constantly hammering you with their belief system, saying what an unworthy, subhuman wretch you are without the holy-hoof print on your heart.

        Someone knocks on your door at 7:30 every Saturday with pamphlets telling you you MUST believe or be destroyed on the day the world is put down.

        Now imagine that all the vast followers of Unicornism have banded together to pass laws based on their holy writings. Horses are the unicorn’s messengers. Anyone allergic to the messengers are abominations and cannot marry. Wives must commit to wearing a saddle at all times. You must donate a percentage of all your earnings to the tithe trough. Jockeys are allowed to do horrible things to children and not be prosecuted.

        For forty days every spring you must eat only hay.

        And to get into the grand paradise pasture in the sky you had to have a horn surgically implanted on your forehead. You must do this and never question why. Otherwise you would be sent to the infernal glue factory of doom and have to muck stalls for all eternity.

        Essentially, they’ve got all the same ammo. A whole bunch of people that believe. An old book of contradicting stories that they claim was written by the unicorn. Years of tradition.

        And if they can’t convert, they’re willing to kill non-believers (probably with that horn) to get into good graces of their holy equestrian overlord.

        Wouldn’t you want some proof of this unicorn? Or would you just go along with it because, hey, YOU don’t believe it, but it would be presumptuous to assume there’s not REALLY a unicorn, right?

        • First of all that sounds like Islam you are speaking of not Christianity, but for the sake of argument I will accept your premise.

          I would say yes. If that was the long established prevailing majority view then I think it is the default position. I think it has the rebuttable presumption of truth. That is the same way with all scientific endeavor. The earth was viewed as flat until someone came in and proved otherwise. People may have thought it was not, but the flat earthers did not have to prove it was flat, the round earthers had to prove it was round. Of course the problem with that analogy is that nearly all of the examples we have will be of long held beliefs which were later proven wrong. However, there are innumerable views that were held by a minority that were not proven to be true.

          It sounds to me like your real issue is with your perception of God. You don’t like this Being because of your perception of how some of His followers. You don’t like your interpretation of what He has said. You don’t want to be bound to or by Him. But those are very different issues than does He exist.

          Very few people agreed with the things the followers of Hitler said, but he existed. Very few people liked his writings, but he existed. Very few people want to emulate him, but he existed.

          Your arguments to not tackle the existence, but the application of the existence.

          • Cmdr Zm says:

            I believe in God. Upon careful reflection, the list of assumptions about the universe is more compact and appealing if one believes. Occam’s Razor, “Assumptions must not multiply beyond necessity,” is useful when the thorough reasoner adds the need to explain consciousness.

            You are very respectful in your replies.

            I find people who feel God pursues them are right — even though there remarks come off as paranoid. E.g Mr Maggini remark, “Now picture the followers constantly hammering you with their belief system, saying what an unworthy, subhuman wretch you are without the holy-hoof print on your heart.” I hope the Sovereign God is pursuing you. Be still and be caught, Mr Maggini.

      • Larry Downes says:


        I think the problem is that both sides insist on winning the argument. While I do not believe in a god, I completely and totally defend your right to believe in whatever god you choose.

        At the same time, I must insist that you respect my right not to believe in your god. Where we run into difficulty is when you use force (the government) to force me to abide by religious rules I do not accept as valid.

        So, without god, what is valid law? Live your life by your values as long as in doing so you do not infringe on the rights of another to do the same.

        It’s really not that hard.

        Respectfully submitted

        • Thanks Larry. The problem with your theory is that it forces me to abide by religious rules I do not accept as valid and which are against the history and constitution of this nation. I respect your private exercise of your views, but do not want them imposed on me.

  2. Leaflet says:

    This is a very weak argument because by definition the burden of proof is upon the person who is making a claim.

    Take a philosophy class or two, it may give you some insight into the premise-conclusion standard.

    • See that’s where your argument breaks down. You don’t understand burden of proof. And you are trying to rewrite all of human history to line up with your views. Burden of proof is not exclusively on someone making a claim. Burden of proof is on the person trying to prove their argument. I do not have to prove their is a God. There is a presumption of God. You have to disprove Him or at least present sufficient credible evidence to shift the burden of proof.

      And by the way, your belittling my view does not give you credibility. I have taken plenty of philosophy classes and reject your view as illogical.

      • Constantine says:


        Why is there a presumption of God, i missed that part?

      • Constantine says:

        I just reread this and noticed the part where you said “You don’t understand burden of proof” ummm Leaflet pretty much just told you the definition of burden of proof, and i have also done in my posts.

        You are trying to argue that water isn’t wet because we don’t understand wet.

        • Sander Aarts says:

          “You are trying to argue that water isn’t wet because we don’t understand wet.”

          No, again you make the assumption that not being able to disprove a case is proof for the case. But they’re not the same. If you cannot prove something is white, it doesn’t mean it’s black. It could be yellow, grey, transparant or even… white.

          Sticking to your example: if we don’t understand ‘wet’ we can indeed not prove that water is wet. That would not water isn’t wet, just that we can’t be certain about it.

          Just as “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, so is the inability to disprove not proof.

  3. Constantine says:

    The burden of proof lies on the shoulders of anyone who wishes to make a positive assertion. To a completely rational mind nothing should ever be assumed as fact until it has been proven so. The fact that something exists before it is accepted as fact is irrelevant and can be a misleading argument.

    for example you state: Gravity existed before it was proven as fact, therefore it is possible that God exists despite not being proven as fact.

    That is certainly a fair argument but when you take it too far you get.

    Gravity existed before it was proven as fact, therefore it is possible that God exists despite not being proven as fact. Gravity exists, therefore God exists also.

    The difference is that gravity has been proven as real, while god has not.

    Have you hear of “Russell’s teapot”? It basically states that I can make the claim that a tiny invisible teapot is in close orbit around the sun and you would be unable to prove that false. Your god is not so different from the teapot or the invisible unicorn. Your logical starting point is always set to zero and it is up to the person that wished to add to that, to make their case. Not the other way around. Else you end up with invisible teapots and many other bits of foolishness being taken as fact.

    It is very possible that there are invisible forces at work in the universe that we do not yet understand or acknowledge, this is true. They could be be they the work of a higher intelligence that we would perceive as deities; alien life; or unknown aspects of physical law. But until there is a sizable body of scientifically tested and peer reviewed research that supports them the assumption has got to be that these forces, are completely fictitious.

    And while I have stated that the possibility of god is certainly there. Until there is proof, an intelligent and logical person must overlook that and rely instead only on what is supported by fact. Without proof, the possibility is irrelevant.

    Perhaps god lives in the teapot?

    • I disagree. You say the burden of proof lies on anyone making a positive assertion. That simply is not universally true. You are making a scientific argument and that does not equate to all of life, but is a principle that science has decided to (as opposed to is required to) follow. However there are many other areas of life where we work on presumptions. Presumptions happen because the collective experience of human kind has said they are generally true. For instance anthropology looks at unrelated societies and sees what similar views they have and if there is enough unrelated experiential evidence creates theories from that. The same is true in law. It is presumed that a person is dead when you haven’t heard from them in 7 years. Does that mean it is always true? No, but mostly it is. There is a presumption of paternity in a husband when his wife is pregnant. Is that always true? Of course not. As a society there are many presumptions our human experience has told us is true and it is the one contesting the presumptions that must prove it is false.. God is one of those presumptions.

      • Constantine says:

        well, we are all guilty of pressurization, but i am not sure that is a good model for scientific inquiry.

        The 7 years dead law is needed because if you keep assuming that the person is alive, then you are going to run into issues. so they had to draw a line in the sand somewhere. 7 years seems reasonable. It is just an arbitrary rule.

        Children are the parents of the husband, or even the boyfriend? hardly. I have watched enough episodes of Murry to know that one. Personally I never assume paternity, but i have had one to many unfaithful girlfriends. I suppose that is human experience creeping into my judgment.

        all that is fine and good. 7 years, 5 years, doubt that will ever matter to me. And if some dude is fine with raising another guys kid, well that is his issue, not my problem.

        But what you are talking about (god) is not a small matter, and depending on who is right it will have life changing consequences for one of us. Not a situation that i think we should approach carelessly or make assumptions about, as this is really heavy duty stuff here. So it needs to be examined with the greatest of care. But so far, doing that has meant that Jehovah, Yog-Sothoth, Zeus, Odin, Cthulhu, Osiris, Set, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Poseidon, Satan, Sekhmet, Chalchiuhtlicue, Hecate, Minerva, Isis, Pan, Yig, Anubis, Dagon, Krishna, Hades, Azathoth, Thor, Shiva, Loki, Bastet, Diana, Nyarlathotep, and the rest are just folk tales and superstitions. Same as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause.

        There is an old saying about the value of assumption. I won’t repeat it, but i think you get the gist.

        • Cmdr Zm says:

          May I remark? It is clear to me that you have heard God’s call, and are honestly seeking God.

          What I read in your reply is uncertainty. You have been deceived by people and things. You don’t want to be certain of God because you have not experienced God. You are not sure if that can be done. You expect such an experience to have far reaching consequence in life, so you want to be certain. Is this right?

          Good. I believe if you sincerely seek God, God will reward you with intimate contact with Himself. This will be worth it.

          As for what standard of evidence, let me say this: Do you believe in unseen things? Noble stuff like truth, right and wrong, fairness, love? Despite these being in short supply at times, you probably believe in them. They are unseen, unquantifiable, but you can tell when you’ve experienced them.

          Seek what is noble, believe in it. The Bible states you have the instructions of God written on your heart. You are starting your search for God when you seek the things of His kingdom.


          By the way, the use of the pronoun Him, etc., for God is purely traditional. God is not limited by sex; the English language is.

          • Constantine says:

            I am really curious about how you came to that conclusion.

          • Cmdr Zm says:

            I can’t seem to find a reply link for your remark, so I will reply to myself. Sorry.

            Are you asking about my conclusion that you are searching? If you had all your answers, would you be posting here? What would matter to you? Why?

            I take it your motives are similar to mine. You are seeking the truth while you can. That takes faith. You want to be sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

            Look, you may not accept this right off the bat, or ever, but please read the Letter to the Hebrews, especially chapter 11.

            the people the letter talks about are not just names, nor is God just a thought. The people and God are real.

          • Constantine says:

            Same issue with the replay button.

            I’ve read Hebrews. In fact i have read most of the Bible, and the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita, and the Satanic Bible, and the teachings of Buddha, and extensive works regarding the Cthuhlu Mythos, as well as the works of Alister Crowley. And others.

            Faith is irrelevant because we do not live in a subjective universe. Meaning that no matter how hard we hope for something or believe it, it doesn’t make it true.

            For thousands of years,people had faith that the world was flat (it wasn’t) later, they had that the Earth was the center of the universe (it wasn’t). Now we have people who still cling to faith in God. I think you see where this is going.

            but suppose that there is a god, why is yours the real one? what about Loki, Pan, Osiris, or Yog-Sothoth? surly the people who believed in (or still do believe in) these gods had faith in them. and if faith is the cornerstone of the Christian argument then one god is just as good as any other. Without evidence you can believe in what ever you want.

          • Cmdr Zm says:

            Although I disbelieve its testimony, I also read Koran. I am one of “the people of the book,” in Mohamed’s parlance. What fascinated me about Gita was the background Hindu mythology of creator god, sustainer god, and leveling or destroying god. These are the cycles of nature, expressed as gods. I don’t know about the fiction works of Cthuhlu Mythos or much of the occult jazz you refer to. But we have some points of contact in our somewhat desultory search.

            What makes one believe or disbelieve is the matter to hand. The notion that we do not live in a subjective universe shows you understand that the Truth is out there — What is the truth is your question. Am I right?

            If God is God, He would have to be entirely greater than His creation (which also assumes He is a Creator-God). This makes Him immediately beyond all we can imagine. This is very Godlike, the God who is transcendent of His creation. In context, the notion that God is also immanent, and interacts directly with creation is nearly impossible to grasp. But that is essential of both the Christian and Jewish beliefs.

            Necessarily, my evidence for my beliefs are based on witnesses to incredible occurrences. I believe the witnesses because I find a deep consistency in their witness. There are some inconsistencies at a superficial level, but most of those are easily explained away. I’m getting a little off the subject.

            And my other witness is only a witness to me, and me alone. I refer to personal , mystical experiences. These experiences are useless to most other people, but I cannot ignore them. Taken together, I have evidence which compels me to believe. I can only offer what I believe — as my personal witness.

            Now, about the flat Earth… People still cling tot he idea the Earth has substance. This, despite the fact that absolute vacuum is full of all kinds of violent physics. Why should any matter or energy persist at some point in time and space if matter and energy flit in and out of existence?

            Indeed, what makes one think he can think? Why do you feel self-aware? Is this only a property of matter at a certain level of organizational complexity? Why should you believe I am?

            None of the gods you mention are particularly foreign to humanity. Loki was imagined as mischievous to the point of cruelty, Pan was similar in behavior, if of different habitat. Either were not pleasant, but had limited, human-like characters. Not very god-like

            Osiris as god of the underworld is pictured as granting life, since the soil ‘grants’ life to plants. So the ancient Egyptian picture of the afterlife has a fairly nice god — until Osiris was killed by Seth. (I can hear you saying Ba — Sorry, bad pun.) But death is a human endurance. Not very god-like.

            If God is God, God must exceed all of what we are. There is no point of contact with god unless God has established the contact. The Christian belief is the contact is fully human, and also fully God. Right away you should feel an intellectual friction in your mind.

            But the incomprehensibility makes sense. If we have any genuine encounter with God, God would reach us, since we cannot even begin to compass Him. Thus the transcendent picture of God as the Christians and Jews present Him is a better picture of how He would have to appear to us.

        • Constantine says:

          So what you are saying is that: If God were real, we wouldn’t be able to understand him/her/it. Since we don’t understand the concept of God, God must be real. I see what you did there.

          If this was all just academics and philosophy it really wouldn’t mater. Atheist could have their facts and evidence and theist could have their magic and thw world would go on just fine.

          But it gets complicated because people who think they have a god, start acting the way they think their god wants them to act. They vote based on how they think their god wants them to vote.

          Members of the super far ultra right (which is about par for the course in America) have attacked Obama numerous times because he isn’t Christian enough for them. Kentucky candidate Rand Paul has come under fire for his link to Aqua Buddha. The Mormons wear magic underwear because god tells them to, Muslims wear headdresses and burkas (sp?) because there god tells them to, the Westboro Baptist Church protests funerals because there god tells them to, Antone LaVey used naked women as alters for ritual magic because his god told him to, a lady i worked with bought me lunch one day when i was broke because her god told her to. How does this make any sense?

          While this debate is fun, there are very real world consequences that are very important even for the people who aren’t interested in the debate one way or the other. All things being equal, i’d rather have people basing their opinions of facts and science and logic rather than taking their cues from an invisible buddy that i can’t see.

          • Cmdr Zm says:

            If you’re summarizing my post, you are making stuff up. You may want to re-read the post more carefully. It is conversationally important to reply to what someone says.

            The thrust of my post was that God is utterly different from us, yet the Christian message is God reached us. We could never reach God. You are under no obligation to me to agree, but that is clearly stated, so you ought to understand.

            Many conservative Muslims I know like Mr O, yet they are ultra-religious, their women covering and all. A.Z.LaVey was strange. The honey rituals were the weirdest. There is no need to account for others viewpoints. To do so involves the sheerest of speculation.

            Your political riff makes no sense. If the “par” for America were ultra far-right, is that an indictment of the electoral process? Mr Obama is not far ultra right whatever. How would he garner a majority of ballots cast if what you say is true?

            Burka is spelled ???? ?

          • Constantine says:

            Not trying to make stuff up. Meant no offense. Just saying that the argument that since God is inherently different from us, making it impossible to understand God, seems like a way to sidestep the issue of proving the existence of God.

            Personally, i don’t think that the Christian God is all that different from humans in the way he/she/it is presented in the Christian bible.

            He/she/it displays a wide range of human emotions at various times. He is pleased with Abel but angry with Cain (i don’t understand why but whatever). Right before the flood he is regretful of his decision to create humanity, he loves loves man to the point that he is willing to give up his child for them (us), and he is jealous about the idea of other Gods and angry about the idea that we might worship one or more of them and not him. That sounds pretty relatable to me.

            I think the “God is different from us” argument. Is most likely a way to explain the jarring contradictions we see in the nature of God in the bible, and not understanding the cultural meanings of some of the things that God is credited with doing in the Bible.

            It is just as easy to explain these inconsistencies by saying that the Bible was written by many different people, from a couple of different cultures with somewhat different values, over many hundreds of years.

            The main point of my earlier post was that even if i wanted to assume at face value, without supporting evidence that there was a God how would i know which one to follow. Should I look into Aqua Buddha, or start trying to get my lady friends to undress so i can make alters out of them (I am actually rather fond of Lavey’s work), Should I start protesting funerals, or giving money to my poor co-workers?

          • Cmdr Zm says:

            Its hard to tell the difference between sarcasm and obstinacy: “saying that the argument that since God is inherently different from us, making it impossible to understand God, seems like a way to sidestep the issue of proving the existence of God.”

            Gee, if only that were the argument….

            The original post first stated that this point was the difficulty in such proof.

            The accuracy of the witness may be questioned. The concept of “burden of proof” requires the thinker to accept an observation made by others if it fits a logical framework. A free thinker will realize there is no room for preconceived conclusions for true inquiry. Sorry about the redundancy.

            Syllogistic logic requires a listing of posits, which are inherently assumption, or ultimately based on assumption. Logical assumption ought to be based on a priori reasoning, that is, prepositional, esthetic principle, or observation, either as reported by someone, e.g. a personal observation. Then the logical thinker proceeds with the logical syllogism.

            A logical conclusion is based on accuracy of the posits, and the quality of the argument. Since my post was in simple syllogism, the quality of the argument is sound. I know this is a review of elementary logic, but you haven’t recognized the pattern yet. If you re-read the post with care, you will see it fits this pattern.

  4. Constantine says:

    The burden of proof lies on anyone trying to claim the existence of something because it is impossible to prove a negative.

    I point you to the argument made by Russell’s Teapot, where you cannot prove that there is not an invisible teapot in close orbit around the sun. Such a teapot clearly does not exist, but its nonexistence can not be proven. That is why it is up to the person stating that the teapot is real to make a case for the teapot and defend that position with evidence.

    The idea of an invisible unicorn has already been mentioned, and i would also like to suggest you read “Dragon in My Garage”. A very short but useful essay by Carl Sagan which also deals with this topic.

    The starting point for a logical mind has got to be zero, and any addition to that, had to be supported by evidence. Else we end up with Teapots, Unicorns, dragons, and gods.

    Perhaps god lives in the teapot?

    • Constantine says:

      sorry for the near double post. My bad

    • 1, Do you believe in evolution? Prove it.
      2. How was the earth formed? Prove it.
      3. How do we ever put anyone in jail under your argument?

      The burden of proof does not lie on someone trying to prove the existence of something. The burden of proof lies on the person trying to CHANGE long accepted and nearly universally believed things. I would agree with you perhaps if we were starting in a vacuum and there was not 1000s of years of human experience and belief that created the presumption of God. He is an rebuttable presumption…perhaps. So get about rebutting.

      Or in maybe a term that you could understand, it is not that I have no evidence of God. It is that you have rejected that evidence. It is not that there is no proof of God. It is that you have invalidated the proof because you don’t believe it. Part of the proof and evidence IS the thousands of years of human experience. Culture after culture after culture did not just spontaneously come up with a fable that people across the culture universally believed.

      It is very much like convicting someone in court. Plenty of the time there is no real “proof”. A lot of it is circumstantial. Much of it is testimony of people who were there and experienced the event. That’s the same with news. It’s the same with history. It’s the same with a wide variety of things. Yet they are true. For instance how do we know that the crusades happened? I say they happened, but I don’t have any objective proof of that (by your standards). There were no pictures to record the events. Everything about them is subjective and from a person’s point of view, not subject to independent analysis. But there are enough subjective and personal accounts that we believe them to have happened.

      Perhaps you live in a teapot?

      • Cmdr Zm says:

        Dear Lisa K,

        I think I am amplifying your argument.

        Proof consists of evidence and a logical structure which accounts for the known facts. Technically, it is possible for a logic argument to be valid in formal structure, but based on bad evidence. The conclusion is in doubt because the evidence is weak or misapplied.

        Personal experience is evidence. A vast accumulation of personal experience should not be rejected based on a preferred result. That would require the result be assumed, and that is circular reasoning.

        To itemize: I did not assume there is a God. I had to read the Bible and take it to be a sincere and reasonably accurate exposition of quite a number of witnesses. I have had personal, mystical experiences. Taken together these convinced me that there is God. Then I learned to trust God.

        The evidence is not much different in quality than the evidence I have that you, Gentle Reader, exist. The main difference is the quantity and magnitude of the consequence. God is great.

    • It is false that you cannot prove a negative. I can prove that there is no elephant in this room. Further claiming there is no god is a positive assertion.

      The starting point for a logical mind is not ground zero. The starting point for a logical mind takes all the wisdom of the ages and builds on them. What makes you superior to them?

  5. Leaflet says:

    ^ Michalos, Alex. 1969. Principles of Logic. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. p 370 –

    “one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed.”

  6. Leaflet says:

    “1, Do you believe in evolution? Prove it.
    2. How was the earth formed? Prove it.”

    Have you ever seen a cladogram before? Ever been to a museum that didn’t end at 20,000 years ago and didn’t have people riding dinosaurs? Maybe it’s about time to take a step outside of your trailer.

    You are trying to equate Christianity with Evolution as though they each don’t provide ample evidence. Pragmatically we can say that it is more likely that evolution exists because scientific theory points to it, not because someone wrote it down in a half-complete book where the main character was recalled 50 years after his death.

    • Could you say your viewpoint with attacking a person for having a view other than yours? Why are you so offended by my view?

      Yes I’ve seen a cladogram. And yes I’ve been to many museums that contain evolutionary propoganda.

      There is no proof of evolution. You can drive a truck through that “science”.

      • Sander Aarts says:

        “There is no proof of evolution. You can drive a truck through that “science”.”

        Can you name some of the truck sized holes in evolutionary science? And what do you base your conclusions upon when it comee to evolution?

      • Sander Aarts says:

        There are many forms of christianity. Some take every word in the bible literaly, others take them metaphoricly. To which group do you belong Lisa? Do you believe god created Adam & Eve, the way it’s written in the bible?

    • Bob Qat says:

      Does a cladogram demonstrate Darwinian evolution? Taxonomic groupings are plausible, but that doesn’t prove relation in a generative meaning of the word.

      The main problem with morphological phylogeny is the missing data. The assumption the model is valid depends on faith in the model, not the continuity of the data.

      Which is the strangely familiar complaint I’ve heard about religion. Seems that no human intellectual construction can contain the full subtlety of God’s creation.

      • Sander Aarts says:

        “The main problem with morphological phylogeny is the missing data. The assumption the model is valid depends on faith in the model, not the continuity of the data.”

        Knock knock, who’s there?
        God who?
        God of the gaps.

        Let’s assume for a second that evolution is all nonsense. Would that mean god exists? No, not in any way.

  7. Lisa,
    Thanks for becoming my follower on Twitter. I am new to your site and especially enjoyed your article on the evidence of God. I am a volunteer Ordained Christian Minister of over 25 years and study and teach the Bible as our guideline to everlasting life to hundreds in the past and at present. My basic premise is that “We Need God’s Kingdom to Come, His Will to be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. That is Christ’s message for the hope for humankind and seeing the happenings of our world the evidence becomes ever more clear that we need that Kingdom Government Now! (Dan. 2:44)

    In addition, I’ve been the lead writer and guitarist for a small group “Positive Message” out of Ivy Log Georgia. Our music deals with commonplace issues affecting mankind but is geared mostly toward our children. I would love it if you would share our website with your followers. Our songs have a great message and are educational and moral for our young ones.

    I have also recently released a Music Video entitled “Small Voices In the Winds of Disaster” along with our new single “Wish You Were By My Side”. This is geared more toward our adult audience and may be a little disturbing to some young ones, but it is also enlightening as the what is happening in all parts of our world today.

    I ask that you please consider posting the link to our video on your website and send a copy to all of your followers. I appreciate all that you can do to help me circulate this important message. The link is below.

    Thanks Very Much. Please View:

  8. Spitfire says:

    Okay, then how about this: why should I believe in Christianity more than, say, Norse mythology? What makes it any more provable? Show your work. If you can’t make a solid case for why God created the universe in seven days* as opposed to Audhumla the cow licking the ice and releasing the first humans, well, Norse mythology came first, therefore it must be right.

    *: The Bible doesn’t say that God created the universe at all. Read your Bible, you’ll find that all it says is that there was an expanse of water and God created a bubble in the middle of it, exposed some land, and created a structure to keep the water from crashing back down. So where did the water come from? Once again we come back to the increasing likelihood of Audhumla.

    • 1. It’s not my Bible. It’s God’s.

      2. I have not even begun a discussion of why God. Can you prove to me there is no god? Are you atheist or agnostic?

      3. You obviously did not understand the argument because I did not say what comes first wins. I said what people across history and culture accept as true is given a presumption of truth. You are free to disprove it if you can.

      • Sander Aarts says:

        “1. It’s not my Bible. It’s God’s.”

        You do understand that this is a very poor argument in a discussion with atheists, agnostics or anyone else who doesn’t share, or is skeptical of, your particular believe, right?

    • Cmdr Zm says:

      By the way, the First line says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

      You might suppose that includes water.

  9. Sander Aarts says:


    If atheists are the ones to proof that there’s no god, will you than proof that there are no other gods than yours? People around the world believe in many gods and have believed in even more. Why are/were all those people wrong? What’s the proof against the existence of Allah, Ra, Ganesha, Zeus, Freya, Waaq and even the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that matter?

    Most atheists don’t believe in a god as there is simply no need for a god to explain most things in life. And for the things that can not be explained by our current knowledge, those are still no proof for the existence of a god. It just makes no sense trying to explain something incompehensible by something even more incomprehensible.

    The reason why the burden of proof for the existence of god lies with you as a believer is that there’s no direct proof for his existence. All ‘evidence’ is indirect. God doesn’t show himself. We can not smell, touch or measure him. Or count ;) If we could, the burden of proof would indeed rest on the shoulders of non-believers, but we can’t.
    If someone claims the moon doesn’t exist, (s)he will have to deliver the proof for that claim as there’s a lot of direct proof that it does exist. For the existence of Zeus on the other hand, is no direct evidence. So the burden of proof for his existence lies with the believers in Zeus. The same goes for any god out there.


    • I disagree. Atheism is a positive assertion about the existence of God. It is against the weight of human experience and disparate histories and cultures all believe in a god. Once we establish there is a god then we can examine if there are intellectual bases for choosing one over the other.

      • Sander Aarts says:

        Many people have, mostly as kids, experience with imaginary friends as well. That is not evidense that those kind of friends realy exist outside their imagination. The fact that many people say, believe or even claim to experience something, doesn’t make it true. Our brains are easily fooled.

        And if I read your comment correctly, you are saying that there’s absolutely a god, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the christian god. Interesting.

  10. Sander Aarts says:

    BTW, nice scientology ad ;)

  11. Terry Day says:


    As an ex-Xian, I can tell you, quite confidently that I know the bible fairly well, probably better than most Xians because of my background.

    If I took the perspective of giving the belief in a god the “benefit of the doubt”, then “opened my heart to scripture” (Mormons use a variation of this to convert people), and read… If I did that with any sort of education at all, I would soon come to realize that the bible is a very poor representation of a god. It also conflicts with known science and geology. The old and new testament gods like two different gods.

    I have a lot of problem taking the bible as just literature because it is so poorly written.

    I was indoctrinated into a belief in god. I was taught to prove everything I believed so that nothing to shake my faith. It was in this indoctrination over many years that I came to see that the bible had some serious problems. As Mark Twain once said, “It not what I don’t know about the bible that bothers me, it’s the things I do know”.

    I soon came to feel that if there was a god, it didn’t really care about humanity. I left the Xian ways of thought and became an agnostic. I soon just started identifying with Atheist and that is how I identify myself now.

    I have never seen any evidence in events or “personal” experience that would lead me to believe that an all knowing, all powerful god is in existence.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you will join in the discussion when we get to the topic of the Bible and of what God to believe and what to believe about Him. However at this juncture I am just debunking the myth that Christians have to prove the existence of God. That is just false. Atheists make a positive assertion against the weight of the evidence and human history and their major tactic is to try to shift the burden to others to prove their assertion.

      • Sander Aarts says:

        Can you at least show us some of the evidence for the existence of god? I know you want atheists to proof the absense. But you keep on mentioning there’s overwhelming evidence for his existence, and all atheists/agnostics here keep on explaining why it’s simply impossible to prove god’s absense (god’s existence cannot be compared with the presence of an eliphant, an animal who’s existence can and has been proven).

        BTW, there are still some old (December) comments of mine waiting for moderation. One here and one on

        • Cmdr Zm says:

          No ridicule is intended — The following is only for those well skilled in logic. Ridicule leads nowhere.

          Please consider that any logical construct is based on assumption. The companion assertion is very little is known a priori.

          Any posit for argument are going to be assertion of faith: “This thing I believe to be so.”

          Thus it is clear that any logical system starts with assertions, which are statements of faith, according to the aesthetic of the logician.

          Whether you believe in a posit is not based on evidence so much as having a taste for what you believe. The posit may be part of a grand theory, but that in no way demonstrates its accuracy.

          There is no proof of an assumption. God is not apart from faith of the believer. This is no failing, since all rational thought proceeds from assumptions the logician decides to believe.

          My belief in God is akin to my aesthetic. There is no demonstration of God’s presence. This is just as the basic assumption of any statement of faith (Darwinism, for example) is based on identifiable posits.

          • Sander Aarts says:

            If you will… the fact that I call myself an atheist instead of an agnost you may call ‘believe’. Because as I said there’s no way one can prove with absolute certainty that god does not exist.
            But there’s also no way anyone can ever prove with absolute certainty that there are no unicorns, that there is no Tooth Fairy and no teapot in orbit around the sun. It’s very unlikely that there are, but you can’t prove it with absolute certainty. It’s just impossible.

            So in a sense we’re all agnostic: unicorn agnostic, Tooth Fairy agnostic and teapot agnostic. Though every sane adult will say that he/she is certain that these things just don’t exist as the probability that they do exist is so little it can be ignored. So we’re all a-unicornists, a-Tooth-Fairyists and a-teapottists. There’s simply no evidence to support their existence.

            The same with god, any god. There’s simply no evidence to support god’s existence. This makes me agnostic, but I ‘believe’ the probability that there is a god is so little that it can be ignored. And therefor I call myself an atheist instead of an agnost. I think this is true for most atheists.

            About assumptions and science…
            Scientific research may originate in assumptions, it’s the results from empirical experiments that make something a scientific fact or not. Not the assumption that may have lead to the experiments.

            The fact that science demands reproducible experiments with reproducible results makes its evidence solid. And it shows, because all modern technology is based upon scientific research.

            There would be no religious tv and radio stations with hosts questioning scientific facts, no churches where pastors/reverends call evolution a lie through a sound system, no websites where people claim that science is a believe system. None of that would exist if science hadn’t made it possible. There would not even be cheap bibles as production and transportation would take a lot of labour.

            The scientific approach has been proven to work, time and time again. Still, the religious right, time and time again, uses the products of scientific efforts to call that same science nonsense.
            Some will say atheists do something similar to god. The difference is that science is based on solid evidence (I’m writing this on a piece of modern technology, a product of scientific research) and that god/religion is based on believe.

          • Cmdr Zm says:

            Your statement that “it’s the results from empirical experiments that make something a scientific fact or not” made me smile. The underlying assumption you apparently did not recognize is that “empirical science” is based on the assumption that results are consistent.

            The only evidence of that is a host of examples. Only one exception would disprove the whole lot. The absence of that example is only an absence of evidence.

            No triumphal crowing. Just making a clear eyed statement about what you appear to believe.

            With the remarks about sound systems and such, you insinuate that engineers and scientists are always at odds with preachers and teachers, suggesting scientists and engineers are always non-believers. Come up with a list. You will find you are wrong.

            One of the greatest theoreticians of science is Isaac Newton. He was also an alchemist, before chemistry emerged, and a devout believer in God. Much of his theorizing was to reveal God’s great creation. Many scientists and engineers are of the same disposition.

            Dismissiveness about God by crowding Him with a host of fantasies (e.g. absent unicorns) makes it clear you are not comfortable to discuss the matter to hand: The presence of God. You are using the technique of introducing a matter not in evidence, i.e. you are confused. Stay on topic. If you decide not to believe, fine. If you are not willing to discuss in relevant terms, why are you posting?

            You have not used the capitalized form of the name God. Do you intend to be rude to others who do?

            The fact that you use a political term “religious right” shows you have other fundamental issues that are wide of the discussion to hand. Again, stay on topic.

  12. Sander Aarts says:

    “Your statement that “it’s the results from empirical experiments that make something a scientific fact or not” made me smile. The underlying assumption you apparently did not recognize is that “empirical science” is based on the assumption that results are consistent.”

    I agree that I could have phrased it better. But that was what I implied (English is not my native tongue), although I never used the term “empirical science”. You did that. It’s the evidence that is empirical if the results are indeed consistent when experiments are reproduced.

    “The only evidence of that is a host of examples. Only one exception would disprove the whole lot.”

    Not necessarily, it can point out that there are exceptions. New questions that have to be investigated.

    “The absence of that example is only an absence of evidence.”

    Why? You only know that it is when that evidence shows up. In which case, the theory will have to be adjusted. And it will. And that’s what I meant with the scientific approach being solid. It may not always be 100% correct, but it is the best way to get as close to that 100% as possible. Exactly because it readjusts in case of new evidence.
    And modern technology proves this approach of fine-tuning works.

    “With the remarks about sound systems and such, you insinuate that engineers and scientists are always at odds with preachers and teachers, suggesting scientists and engineers are always non-believers.”

    No, I don’t, that your interpretation. Even though I’m puzzled by how some seem to combine these aspects.

    “Dismissiveness about God by crowding Him with a host of fantasies (e.g. absent unicorns) makes it clear you are not comfortable to discuss the matter to hand: The presence of God. You are using the technique of introducing a matter not in evidence, i.e. you are confused.”

    Religions/religious people are the ones introducing matter not in evidence. Atheists and agnostics only mirror this with unicorns and the like.

    “Stay on topic.”

    You’re absolutely right, and I will, as this is not about science and evolution. There’s just really no evidence that supports the existence of god, no matter what science/evolution says. There.

    “If you are not willing to discuss in relevant terms, why are you posting?”

    The article is about debating atheists. Well I’m a debating atheist.
    What else do you consider to be relevant terms?

    “You have not used the capitalized form of the name God. Do you intend to be rude to others who do?”

    No, I don’t intend to be rude and I’m not.

    What is rude is telling full grown women that their lives are worth less than that of their underdeveloped unborn child (even if this child is not going to survive the pregnancy anyway). Rude is the mutilation of the genitals of kids.
    Not capitalizing the word ‘god’ is not rude. And if there should happen to be a god and he thinks it is rude then he probably knows where to find me. But if you are offended by not capitalizing, then you’re just too easily offended. Deal with it.
    BTW, I’m not saying that specificly you do/say the things I just called rude. But we both know these things happen in the names of gods, including yours.

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