Atheism: quick recap.
In light of recent comments received from a half-witted ignoramus named Grant I am going to do a quick recap on atheism.
Grant: “I dont think aliens exist. But I dont get on a blog claiming I know they dont exist like you do about God. I simply dont have any proof. And thats the difference isnt it? You dont know if God exists or not. Accept it. Now go and cuddle up with your mummy and get her to read you more of Dawkins fairy-tales.”
Recap on central claims:
- THEIST: I do profess a belief in God.
- ATHEIST: I do NOT profess a belief in God.
Which does NOT equate to:
“I know that God does not exist.” – see positive atheism.
- LAYMAN AGNOSTIC: I do NOT profess a belief in God. I also do NOT profess a belief in NO God (positive atheism).
- AGNOSTICISM: State of mind that some things are unknowable.
- UNICORNIST: I do profess a belief in Unicorns.
- A-UNICORNIST: I do NOT profess a belief in Unicorns.
Which also does NOT equate to:
“I know that Unicorns do not exist.”
Unicornists, like theists, construct a positive claim that something (X) exists.
So the spectrum is not actually ATHEIST <-> AGNOSTIC <-> THEIST. Rather, it is THEIST, and the rest are atheists, (many of which are agnostic) … either you make the claim that “God exists”, or you don’t.
As to clarify this point, if for example I said to you that there is a great white in my bathtub, you wouldn’t have to believe me. In fact, seeing that it is such an absurd claim, you would probably be assuming the null-hypothesis until I showed you photographs or video clips or some other evidence that I actually have a great white in my bathtub. Even then, you might still choose to be skeptical. At this point the burden of proof can and probably will shift towards you, as to why you discount the evidence.
So yes, the burden of proof can shift in the course of a debate.
However, you have admitted in your comment that you “simply don’t have any proof.” So, this so-called argument is over before it even started — why? Because the burden of proof has never once shifted towards me.
So as far as I am concerned, the burden of proof rests dominantly on the person who is making the positive claim that “X exists”. Atheism is the null-hypothesis, and it will be rejected as soon as you present sound evidence for X.
Otherwise, there would simply be no reason for me to reject the null-hypothesis. This, of course, does not mean that there is no God. It just means that your positive claim that there is a god is currently unsound and can properly be dismissed.