« on: August 18, 2014, 01:44:23 pm »
So here's something that I'm wondering about. It applies to the athiests v's theists debate but it can arise in other situations. It's about this burden of proof thing.
The atheist's position is invalid because they can't prove there's no god, right? I can't help thinking that this clause is subject to abuse.
Staying away from the larger metaphysical question of whether there's some kind of creator or emergent consciousness, within or beyond the universe and sticking to the narrow, orthodox christian theory that planet earth was created a couple of thousand years ago by Cartman from Southpark, why is there a burden of proof necessary? Surely when a theory is so blatantly ridiculous, one is intellectually allowed to dismiss it as so, without having to provide evidence?
Is it something to do with the number of people who do believe the theory?
Here's a theory - earths gravity is a function of the existence of human pinkie fingers. If we were to remove all the pinkie fingers from every man, woman and child on the planet, we'd collectively be able to fly. It's highly unlikely that anyone could ever provide hard evidence this theory is false, but, lets face it, it's pretty fucking ridiculous. Say maybe only half a dozen people believe it. We'd dismiss it out of hand, surely? Or would we be required, to maintain intellectual honesty, to accept it as a possible hypothesis?
What if one and a half billion people believed it? Does this change how ridiculous it is? And, if so, why? The bible is a series of stories about talking snakes and people with magical powers and shit. Sure I can't actually prove it never happened but I'd be prepared to bet anything and everything I could raise as a stake.
I'm thinking the ability to dismiss the ridiculous is inversely proportional to the number of people who believe it?
I think that this frustrates the hell out of atheists and I could kind of sympathise if it wasn't so fucking funny.