Question for Everyone: The Atheist's "Burden of Refutation"

Torin

Well-known member
Most atheists on CARM seem to believe that theists on CARM have a "burden of proof:" that is, there is some sense in which theists on CARM need to have and/or provide arguments for God's existence.

So, here is my question.

Do you think atheists on CARM have a "burden of refutation:" that is, some sort of obligation to refute one or more arguments for God's existence, under some circumstances? Why or why not?

The question is intentionally vague to allow for a range of interpretations of the "burden of refutation."

Thanks for your thoughts! :)
 

Torin

Well-known member
To answer my own question, I think I am obligated to refute an argument if I want to persuade someone that it fails, or if I find it plausible by my own lights. This applies to God just like it applies to anything else.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
To answer my own question, I think I am obligated to refute an argument if I want to persuade someone that it fails, or if I find it plausible by my own lights. This applies to God just like it applies to anything else.
This is pretty close to how I was going to answer the question. The extent to which I want to believe I'm right, test my own ideas, or convince others that my POV has some merit, I have the aforementioned obligation.

It should be noted that this obligation is entirely self-imposed, which is different from the kind demanded when a claim is made. Claimants have a burden of proof, which is not self-imposed. The extent to which the claimant wants to have their claims believed (or taken seriously) is the same extent to which they must provide support for those claims.

---

This is why most atheists don't have much of a burden. While there are clear exceptions, few of them/us go around claiming gods don't exist. They'll opine such things if asked or if the topic is being discussed reasonably, but they generally don't argue these things as objective facts.
 

Howie

Well-known member
To answer my own question, I think I am obligated to refute an argument if I want to persuade someone that it fails, or if I find it plausible by my own lights. This applies to God just like it applies to anything else.
Are you able to disprove the existence of God?
 

J regia

Well-known member
I'll tske that as a no.
In the same way that you can't prove that gods or fairies exist.

And since I can't see any evidence that gods exist, then I have no reason to believe that they exist, let alone any reason to kowtow to them.
 
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Howie

Well-known member
In the same way that you can't prove that gods or fairies exist.

And since I can't see any evidence that gods exist, then I have no reason to believe that they exist, let alone any reason to kowtow to them.
In addition to other things, we have written document which prove His existence.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Most atheists on CARM seem to believe that theists on CARM have a "burden of proof:" that is, there is some sense in which theists on CARM need to have and/or provide arguments for God's existence.

So, here is my question.

Do you think atheists on CARM have a "burden of refutation:" that is, some sort of obligation to refute one or more arguments for God's existence, under some circumstances? Why or why not?

The question is intentionally vague to allow for a range of interpretations of the "burden of refutation."

Thanks for your thoughts! :)
I think it's a mistake to immediately jump into refutation mode, without first taking the time to learn the truth and then engage in doing what Jesus said.

It's my opinion that in jumping immediately into refutation mode, you're not actually interested in knowing the truth. Only in winning an argument for the sake of playing king of the hill.


I don't think that there are any actual good arguments for the existence of YHVH..... if all you do is argue. At some point, it's incumbent on the hearers of the arguments presented by Jesus followers to take the time to learn to do what Jesus said.

I know that there are many people who disagree with this.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2

1Co 2:1-7 WEB 1 When I came to you, brothers, I didn’t come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6 We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown, yet a wisdom not of this world nor of the rulers of this world who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory,

Note that Paul says that we don't want your faith to stand on the strength of arguments. Rather he wants your faith to stand on the power of YHVH.

It's noteworthy to state that according to the book of Acts, Paul was in Thessaloniki before he came to Corinth. Apparently he thought he would try arguing with the people of Thessaloniki.
In Acts Luke says

Act 17:1-15 WEB 1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 Paul, as was his custom, went in to them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women. 5 But the unpersuaded Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, and gathering a crowd, set the city in an uproar. Assaulting the house of Jason, they sought to bring them out to the people. 6 When they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and certain brothers before the rulers of the city, crying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 whom Jason has received. These all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus!” 8 The multitude and the rulers of the city were troubled when they heard these things. 9 When they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed; also of the prominent Greek women, and not a few men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there likewise, agitating the multitudes. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there. 15 But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed.

Paul reasoned from the scriptures. He had valid, sound, and solid arguments for them. They didn't care, and started fighting against those who became followers of Jesus.
 

J regia

Well-known member
In addition to other things, we have written document which prove His existence.
That's just words in a book.

But do you have any actual evidence that gods exist, such as photographs or videos of a god sharing a meal or a beer, as described in Genesis 18 when Abraham and a god shared a meal together and had a face to face discussion?
 

SteveB

Well-known member
That's just words in a book.

But do you have any actual evidence that gods exist, such as photographs or videos of a god sharing a meal or a beer, as described in Genesis 18 when Abraham and a god shared a meal together and had a face to face discussion?
So I'm guessing that means that you don't believe in the words in textbooks have any basis in reality and truth either?
 

SteveB

Well-known member
What on Earth has that got to do with whether or not gods and fairies exist?
I'm not talking about gods and fairies. You're the one who stated:

That's just words in a book.

So, since you don't actually know what you're talking about, I'm curious if you actually think that words in textbooks are not descriptive of reality just because they are words in a book.

You should have figured that someone was eventually going to call you to the carpet about this phrase sooner or later.

So, do you or do you not think that just because words are in books that makes them less true?
 

J regia

Well-known member
I'm not talking about gods and fairies. You're the one who stated:

That's just words in a book.

So, since you don't actually know what you're talking about, I'm curious if you actually think that words in textbooks are not descriptive of reality just because they are words in a book.

You should have figured that someone was eventually going to call you to the carpet about this phrase sooner or later.

So, do you or do you not think that just because words are in books that makes them less true?
Have you ever seen a god or a fairy, or know anyone who has?

If not, then how do you know that gods exist, and whether or not you need to kowtow to them?
 
Most atheists on CARM seem to believe that theists on CARM have a "burden of proof:" that is, there is some sense in which theists on CARM need to have and/or provide arguments for God's existence.

So, here is my question.

Do you think atheists on CARM have a "burden of refutation:" that is, some sort of obligation to refute one or more arguments for God's existence, under some circumstances? Why or why not?

The question is intentionally vague to allow for a range of interpretations of the "burden of refutation."

Thanks for your thoughts! :)
I would think we do and it would depend on the particular claim, there is after all plenty of "counter apologetics" about.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
Are you able to disprove the existence of God?
One doesn't have to disprove that which can't be proven in the first place.

Person A says leprechauns exist.
Person B says, "Prove it."
Person A responds, "Prove they don't exist."

Person B has no obligation or burden to disprove leprechauns, considering that person A has failed to prove they exist.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
In addition to other things, we have written document which prove His existence.
Nope. None of Christianity's written documents prove your deity exists. Other religions have written documents as well.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
I think it's a mistake to immediately jump into refutation mode, without first taking the time to learn the truth and then engage in doing what Jesus said.

It's my opinion that in jumping immediately into refutation mode, you're not actually interested in knowing the truth. Only in winning an argument for the sake of playing king of the hill.


I don't think that there are any actual good arguments for the existence of YHVH..... if all you do is argue. At some point, it's incumbent on the hearers of the arguments presented by Jesus followers to take the time to learn to do what Jesus said.

I know that there are many people who disagree with this.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2

1Co 2:1-7 WEB 1 When I came to you, brothers, I didn’t come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6 We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown, yet a wisdom not of this world nor of the rulers of this world who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory,

Note that Paul says that we don't want your faith to stand on the strength of arguments. Rather he wants your faith to stand on the power of YHVH.

It's noteworthy to state that according to the book of Acts, Paul was in Thessaloniki before he came to Corinth. Apparently he thought he would try arguing with the people of Thessaloniki.
In Acts Luke says

Act 17:1-15 WEB 1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 Paul, as was his custom, went in to them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women. 5 But the unpersuaded Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, and gathering a crowd, set the city in an uproar. Assaulting the house of Jason, they sought to bring them out to the people. 6 When they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and certain brothers before the rulers of the city, crying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 whom Jason has received. These all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus!” 8 The multitude and the rulers of the city were troubled when they heard these things. 9 When they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed; also of the prominent Greek women, and not a few men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there likewise, agitating the multitudes. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there. 15 But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed.

Paul reasoned from the scriptures. He had valid, sound, and solid arguments for them. They didn't care, and started fighting against those who became followers of Jesus.
We've been over this before... there are MANY atheists who seriously tried to find divinity and came up empty-handed. Your arm waving and excuse making doesn't take away that fact. The thing is you won't accept the fact that they looked when they tell you they didn't find anything.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
So I'm guessing that means that you don't believe in the words in textbooks have any basis in reality and truth either?
The words in your holy book don't prove a deity exists. Whatever basis in reality or truth your holy book might have it still doesn't prove a deity exists.
Other religions have holy books as well. Does that mean they are true and correct?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a book with a basis in reality (dwarfism is real, so are white girls with black hair). When you understand why no one regards Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as true you will understand why your holy book isn't evidence for a deity.
 
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