Theists often argue that "atheists can't prove God doesn't exist". This often turns into a back and forth of atheists saying "but that's because you can't prove a negative". Etc...

I have a suggestion for such an incident. Ask them if they agree that one should be "innocent until proven guilty". Ask if they believe that is a good general rule and an important staple of the judicial system.


We don't believe someone did something... UNTIL we have substantial evidence.

So could that imply that anyone who believes in something without evidence might as well disagree with the judicial system's "innocent until proven guilty"? Is this NOT the same thing as a theist disbelieving something cause it can't be disprove? I suppose one plays on the playingfields of the gods, which we shouldn't understand but ultimately in daily life... but my point is that in everyday life we don't believe in things without proof. And why should we with religion.

What are other common methods of coming to conclusions without evidence?

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What are other common methods of coming to conclusions without evidence?

Rolling dice. e.g. how many slices of pizza is it healthy to eat (roll a few dice) oh good!, It's healthy to eat 14 slices!

Magic 8 balls!

This is true for morality as well. Look at female circumcision. the evidence says this child abuse. So if we take religion as truth we must answer it is not. but if we take into evidence all that encompasses that action. The pain involved. Reproductive restriction. Lifetime ramifications. Future health risks. These are quanitifiable facts that can lead to a conclusion just like a court proceeding. It is clearly child abuse. we can use this on any moral discussion to come out with a good decision if not a completely definitive one that may or may not concur with religion. 

I do get that discussion quite often, like the mere defining of the word god makes it real. Or that Atheist base everything on referential and tangible evidence. As if I don't understand my own feelings and thoughts are real just because I don't touch them. I have belief it leads me to scientific method to try and come to a conclusion. I must challenge my paradigm to find that solution and that may include examing supernatural powers. this does not require belief to examine possiblity. If i do not consider it I have not done my job in investigating it.

I think this is the best way to try to explain the reality of believing in things to people.

Although a common problem I run into when trying to explain this to people is that they think the accusation refers to their belief that they should be left alone to 'innocently' believe what they want until proven 'guilty' of false belief.

What needs to be explained to them is the obvious that in this analogy THE EXISTENCE OF GOD is the accusation and that we have convened court to decide on a verdict of 'guilty' = the accusation is true or 'not guilty' = the accusation is either not true or there is reasonable doubt as to it's truth.

AND THERE IS PLENTY OF VERY REASONABLE DOUBT!

Yes,.. hardly anything is 100%. levels of assurance are always floating in between 0% and 100% and we have to look at the evidence available to make the best decision for either ourselves, other people, or everyone.

good point, hadn't thought of that... (born guilty)

You might enjoy Atheism, A Philosophical Justification (Martin).

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