I would like to make a short video on YouTube describing why theists have the burden of proof.

However, I need to make sure I don't make any mistakes.

Here is the script I wrote out for the video.  PLEASE, somebody, help me out...


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Many theists like to tell us that we atheists can't prove that God does not exist.

And they'd be right.

Just not for the reasons they think.

Today, I'm going to teach all of you about one aspect of something called "the null hypothesis".

When one attempts to "prove", or verify, something, one is attempting to prove it in relation to it's opposite.  So, if you were trying to show that, say "marijuana causes cancer", your null hypothesis would then be "marijuana does NOT cause cancer".

Now, with the exception of certain maths, negatives can not be proven.  Instead, you must attempt to prove the opposite of the negative: the positive.  If the positive is deemed true, the null hypothesis, the negative, is disregarded.  If the positive is deemed false, then the null hypothesis, the negative, is kept as true.  So because a negative cannot be proven, the negative must ALWAYS be the null hypothesis.

So what does this have to do with the question of the existence of God?  Simple.  Since "God DOES exist" is a positive, and "God does NOT exist" is the negative, our null hypothesis MUST BE "God does not exist", because a negative cannot be proven.

Shaun McGonigal, a writer for Atlanta's Examiner, summed it up nicely in his article "Burden of proof and the null hypothesis":

"It is your job to provide good reason to accept the claim, not ours to disprove it.  You say God exists, I say I don't believe you.  I don't believe you because it's silly to accept such spurious claims with no good rational support.  You reject all the other gods, such as Zeus, Rama, or even Allah and I just reject yours for similar reasons."

Now, I want to point out that this doesn't mean it is impossible to provide proofs of the non-existence of God.  Randal Rauser, a Christian Apologist who writes for Christian Post.com, admits that there are some logical proofs and what he calls "weaker proofs" that the atheist can offer to show that our lack of belief in any higher power is logical.

But that's not the point.  The point is, the atheist doesn't have to provide any proof, because the atheist's position is the null hypothesis.  And one never attempts to prove the null hypothesis.  You must always attempt to disprove the null hypothesis.

So it is, quite frankly, up to the theist to prove the existence of the god or gods (s)he believes in.

So now we get to the Judeo-Christian god, God (with a capital "G"; also known as YHWH, YHVH, Yahweh, Adonai, and, in some circles, Jesus), and evidence for him.  Christians have always attempted to give evidence of God's existence, but that evidence always finds itself founded upon a still-untenable assumption: the Bible is true.

Much of the evidence given for God first assumes that the Bible is true.  This has never been adequately established.  We have verification of setting and minor characters most likely used to help in establishing setting (including minor tribes such as the Hittites).  But never have the details and specifics of the Bible been verified.  As such, any evidence that first assumes the Bible is true can not be counted.

The rest of the evidence always relies upon personal claims and experience.  For starters, this is an arrogant piece of evidence, because when a Christian says "I have experienced Christ and he has made my life whole", that Christian deliberately ignores or hand-waves away the people who have experienced and had their lives made whole by Brahma (or Allah, or Zeus, or Aphrodite, or Odin, or the Great Juju on the Mountain, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc).  For another, it is utterly unverifiable, which goes back to the fallacious, special-pleading argument that God is outside of science/the testable.

As such, no adequate evidence as of yet has been presented for the existence of any higher power.  A comment on Shaun McGonigal's article said it best:

"Look… there's no need to get tangled up in logical arguments, or quibble about different levels of 'proof'. It's simpler than that.

There are no god-artifacts that we're aware of. There's no credible objective evidence of god's presence or interference, past or present. There've been no credible, verifiable, corroborated god-sightings. There're only god-stories. That's IT... that's ALL… god-STORIES."

Since no one has ever adequately established the existence of a god or gods, then the null hypothesis (there are NO god or gods) must logically and rationally remain accepted until the positive (there ARE god or gods) has been adequately shown.

So again, I'm sorry theists, but the burden is on you.

"And when such claims are extraordinary, that is, revolutionary in their implications for established scientific generalizations already accumulated and verified, we must demand extraordinary proof." ~Marcello Truzzi

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." ~Carl Sagan
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Again... I really need help.  The more answers the better.  How can I make this factual yet simple and easy to understand?

I'd also like to add guidelines of what can't be accepted as evidence for the existence of gods and why.

And finally, I need recommendations for music to use.  I've been using unreleased Led Zeppelin studio outtakes, but that well is drying up because of the lack of really strong-sounding outtakes to use.  So if anyone has any ideas of what songs I could start dipping into to use that won't violate Youtube's stupid DMCA s**t, I'd appreciate it.

Again... PLEASE help.  I want this video to be good, but it'll suck without help..

Tags: Atheism, Hypothesis, Null, Statistics, The, Theism, YouTube

Views: 643

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for this. I have revised my script based largely on the first article. I'll post the new version above...
Looks good to me!
Shine on you crazy diamond, by Pink Floyd is pretty good.

I haven't really studied the null hypothesis, so I wouldn't know much about that
I would write the hypothesis as:

An intelligent god affects our universe.

As this is something that is firmly within the realm of science. It is an existential statement and somewhat well defined. I like the Shaun McGonigal quote!

It would be nice if you expanded on the idea of god-artifacts, I've never heard it before but I already like it! It is something solid and tangible, something that can be seen and observed, something real and well defined not some week and overly vague poorly defined concept like 'god'. It explains exactly what's needed for proof, you could also re-formulate the above hypothesis to be:

There exists a god-artifact.

Which makes the burden of proof even more explicit.
Thanks! Very nice article.

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