The Instigator
Musibrique
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Burden of proof should be on both claims, not just the positive.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 728 times Debate No: 52943
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

Musibrique

Pro

It is often believed that the burden of proof should only lie on a person claiming a positive. That is, if I claim X exists, then it is up to me to prove that X exists because I'm the one possessing the burden of proof. This technique is widely used by atheists and skeptics. Although I do agree that the burden of proof should lie on the person making a positive claim, I also think the burden should be on those who claim the contrary. Now before I proceed the reasons why I think this way, I will first let my opponent Con make his case.
SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman

Con

The burden of proof is an essential element in debating the existence of God. The subject of the burden of proof is the question of who is obligated to offer evidence for their position in a debate. If theists fail to share the burden of proof with atheists, the debate will end before it ever even begins. For instance, imagine if someone flipped a coin and covered it with their hand. Just consider if this person then said, "It"s tails" but you need to prove to me that it"s heads!" This wouldn"t be a fair beginning to the debate, would it? Of course not! Both people would share the burden of proving their case.

To determine who bears the burden of proof, we need to identify who is making a positive truth-claim. If you are not making any kind of claim, then your opponent needs to bear the burden of proof. In the case of the coin flipping, both people are making a claim about the coin; therefore, they both need to offer arguments for their position. In the same way, when debating the existence of God, both atheists and theists are making a claim about God. Regarding the existence of God, you have three options: (1) affirm, (2) deny, or (3) withhold judgment. Since atheists are making the claim that God does not exist, then they need to offer evidence for that claim. As you can see above, atheism is not the "lack of a belief in God." This is agnosticism. Instead, atheism is the positive assertion that God does not exist. If atheism is merely a "lack of belief in God," then on this redefinition, babies are atheists because technically they lack a belief in God! Or as philosopher William Lane Craig has argued, his cat is technically an atheist on this definition. But is this really what we mean when we say the term "atheist"? Of course not. Atheism is not merely a psychological state of mind; it is a philosophical position that is defensible.

This redefinition of atheism is a slick maneuver performed to elude the need to share the burden of proof. If an atheistic debater can set up the definition of atheism in this way, then he makes atheism the default position. This word play is disingenuous, however, because it fails to take an honest position. Imagine if theists redefined their position to say, "I lack belief that there is a godless universe, so you bear the burden of proof to prove that there is no God." This kind of word play is really a distraction. Does God exist or not? Let"s cut the word play, hear both sides, and consider the evidence.

If atheists do not bear the burden of proof, then why write books about atheism? Are we really to believe that Richard Dawkins is writing 400 page books about how he doesn"t have a position regarding God"s existence? Of course, he is convinced (and making a case) that God does not exist; he is not merely withholding judgment. If he merely "lacks belief in God," then he needs to change the title of his book from The God Delusion to The God Decision or The God Discovery or The God I"m Not Sure Exists.

We need to be willing to judge claims based on the evidence"not just denying claims a priori. To illustrate, imagine an ultra-skeptic who didn"t want to be duped by any false claims. So he simply didn"t believe in any truth-claim for his entire life! When he dies, no one ever fooled him of anything. By contrast, consider the ultra-believer who didn"t want to miss out on believing any truth-claims. So he simply believed every claim he heard for his entire life! This way, when he died, he was able to believe the maximum number of true claims. Of course, both options are not good options for thinking people. Instead, we should judge truth-claims based on the evidence"not ultra-skepticism or ultra-gullibility.

Of course, there is very good evidence for belief in God. But we need to establish the rules of the debate before we consider this evidence. Otherwise, the debate will be unfairly advantaged from the start in favor of atheism. Atheists often picture theists as saying, "Since x cannot be disproved, therefore x should be believed." But this is not what theists are arguing. Instead, we want an equal playing field in discussing and debating the evidence for and against the existence of God.
Debate Round No. 1
Musibrique

Pro

I agree that the burden of proof is essential for debating the existence of god; however, it is also essential for those claiming the opposite. Even though you and I seem to be in the same boat, I'm going have to disagree with your coin logic. The concept of whether or not a claim is positive depends on the nature of the claim. Saying I got heads or tails are pretty much positive claims because they're both the same perspective from two different point of view. Regardless, both positive and negative claims have the burden of proof.

As far as the rest goes, it seems we really don't have anything to debate on. I notice that you claim there is evidence of god. Why don't we debate about that instead?

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman

Con

Yes of course
Debate Round No. 2
SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman

Con

SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Musibrique

Pro

Musibrique forfeited this round.
SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman

Con

SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by progressivedem22 3 years ago
progressivedem22
Well, it seems that no one has already pointed this out...

Con's entire argument has been plagiarized from this link: http://www.evidenceunseen.com...

His first argument is word-for-word this.

For goodness' sake, we need to have some type of a turnitin.com filter for these arguments...
Posted by PeacefulChaos 3 years ago
PeacefulChaos
Con, I believe you're arguing for what Pro is arguing for.

If I'm not mistaken, shouldn't you be arguing that the burden of proof doesn't lie with atheists?
Posted by nonprophet 3 years ago
nonprophet
@SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman There are two ways one can believe something:
1. You believe everything until you can prove things false. (which makes you very gullible)
2 You only believe something when you can prove it true.

So which one is the default?
Posted by nonprophet 3 years ago
nonprophet
@SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman Agnosticism is about knowledge, Atheism is about belief. The lack in the belief in a god is an accurate description of atheism, because it's lack of belief, not lack of knowledge.
Posted by Musibrique 3 years ago
Musibrique
@Theunknown I can create a new debate for you if you want me to.

Although just make sure you disagree with the argument.
Posted by Theunkown 3 years ago
Theunkown
i was gonna accept but SyadieAlFawazAbdurrahman beat me to it.
Well good luck to both of ya.
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