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Atheists Have The Burden of Proof

GeoLaureate8
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3/2/2011 7:57:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I just thought I'd give this discussion it's own thread so we can have a more diverse discussion on the topic. Here's the dispute:

GeoLaureate8: "the specific [Theist] arguments I presented explain that God may not actually be a positive assertion, but rather something already inherently a part of existence."

belle: "asserting that something is an inherent part of existence is a positive assertion though >.> instead of god imagine someone made an assertion for a new physical force... call it the somewhat wimpy force. lol. even if they were claiming its an inherent part of the universe (which the fundamental forces are posited to be) they would still have the burden of proof in proving it...."

GeoLaureate8: "Yeah, but I'm saying that the assertion "God exists" may actually have the same epistemological basis as saying "the physical universe exists.""

belle: "so at best its possible that atheists might have the BOP if we are living in such a universe. but the theist still has the BOP to demonstrate that we are living in such a universe for that argument to even begin to apply."

My current response: Your post begs the question because you are assuming that we are "living in such a universe" but it could be the case that we are "living in other such universe." So again, the Theist and the Atheist have to demonstrate that we are living in such the universe that they propose.

To reiterate, Atheists must justify the statement "Atheism is true," EVEN IF you're a Weak Atheist for even the Weak Atheist must believe that "Atheism is true" as opposed to the alternative "Atheism is false."

Note that I am not changing the definition of Atheism to mean "certain that God does not exist," I use the word Atheism to mean what everyone else recognizes it to mean. It does not necessarily entail absolute certainty in God's non-existence.

Also, what PCP said:

popculturepooka: "Stating that the existence of a deity is unlikely is a positive claim. If one expects to be taken seriously they better have some reasons for thinking that. A BOP of sorts."
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tvellalott
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3/2/2011 7:59:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'm happy to share the burden of proof to the extent of justifying why I don't believe God exists.
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Puck
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3/2/2011 8:14:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Not sure what you don't understand about atheism =/= necessarily making a claim on anything to be considered an atheist. Atheism =/= there is no god. Atheism =/= 6 on Dawkin's scale. Atheism =/= anti religion and so on. These are all positions within atheism. Not atheism itself. As such stating atheists have (i.e., it is inherent in the label atheism itself) the BOP is simply false. Certain positions within atheism do. Arguments for belief justification do. It is not however, the necessary requirement to be atheist, to state such things, and as such, it is not necessary for an atheist to have the BOP.
annhasle
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3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 7:57:33 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
To reiterate, Atheists must justify the statement "Atheism is true," EVEN IF you're a Weak Atheist for even the Weak Atheist must believe that "Atheism is true" as opposed to the alternative "Atheism is false."

My response to you:

Not at all. I'm a weak atheist, and if someone asked me, "Do you believe atheism is true?" I would answer with, "I do not have the necessary knowledge or proof to assert that. I live under the assumption that it is though since the alternative seems to be even less likely." I think most atheists here would answer in kind.

Note that I am not changing the definition of Atheism to mean "certain that God does not exist," I use the word Atheism to mean what everyone else recognizes it to mean. It does not necessarily entail absolute certainty in God's non-existence.

For what you are trying to prove now, atheism would have to mean "absolute certainty of God's non-existence" -- like Puck has stated.

My response to PCP:

Stating that the existence of a deity is unlikely is a positive claim. If one expects to be taken seriously they better have some reasons for thinking that. A BOP of sorts.

Giving reasons for being skeptical (even highly skeptical), is different than BoP since you aren't affirming non-existence but instead giving reasons why the existence seems to lack reason. There's a distinct difference since the latter can hardly be held to the same standards as the BoP for "God exists" or "Atheism is true".

But yes -- I would ALWAYS prefer that the atheist be able to justify their non-belief in a coherent fashion and be open to debate. :)
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Puck
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3/2/2011 8:15:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 7:59:39 PM, tvellalott wrote:
I'm happy to share the burden of proof to the extent of justifying why I don't believe God exists.

Sure. The issue is trying to make it inherent. Which it isn't.
Puck
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3/2/2011 8:18:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM, annhasle wrote:
Atheism is true

See even that is presupposing a very specific definition i.e., to be an atheist one must be a geo type atheist. Just isn't so. The statement really doesn't make sense. At best you get "God doesn't exist is true" or "my world view is correct", whatever - great, BOP to your hearts content. That's not the definition though, that's specific stances within.
annhasle
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3/2/2011 8:24:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:18:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM, annhasle wrote:
Atheism is true

See even that is presupposing a very specific definition i.e., to be an atheist one must be a geo type atheist. Just isn't so. The statement really doesn't make sense. At best you get "God doesn't exist is true" or "my world view is correct", whatever - great, BOP to your hearts content. That's not the definition though, that's specific stances within.

I never stated that. -__-
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Puck
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3/2/2011 8:25:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM, annhasle wrote:
Stating that the existence of a deity is unlikely is a positive claim. If one expects to be taken seriously they better have some reasons for thinking that. A BOP of sorts.

Giving reasons for being skeptical (even highly skeptical), is different than BoP since you aren't affirming non-existence but instead giving reasons why the existence seems to lack reason. There's a distinct difference since the latter can hardly be held to the same standards as the BoP for "God exists" or "Atheism is true".

Sure. In that case your BOP simply becomes along the lines of 'I have no good reason to believe it is so' and you can explicate on that - it's only when you are refuting specific arguments that it can change, but I'm not sure that should be considered BOP, more like justification for belief.
Puck
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3/2/2011 8:26:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:24:39 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:18:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM, annhasle wrote:
Atheism is true

See even that is presupposing a very specific definition i.e., to be an atheist one must be a geo type atheist. Just isn't so. The statement really doesn't make sense. At best you get "God doesn't exist is true" or "my world view is correct", whatever - great, BOP to your hearts content. That's not the definition though, that's specific stances within.

I never stated that. -__-

Yar quote mishap.
annhasle
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3/2/2011 8:27:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:25:50 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM, annhasle wrote:
Stating that the existence of a deity is unlikely is a positive claim. If one expects to be taken seriously they better have some reasons for thinking that. A BOP of sorts.

Giving reasons for being skeptical (even highly skeptical), is different than BoP since you aren't affirming non-existence but instead giving reasons why the existence seems to lack reason. There's a distinct difference since the latter can hardly be held to the same standards as the BoP for "God exists" or "Atheism is true".

Sure. In that case your BOP simply becomes along the lines of 'I have no good reason to believe it is so' and you can explicate on that - it's only when you are refuting specific arguments that it can change, but I'm not sure that should be considered BOP, more like justification for belief.

Yes, there is a BoP for such an assertion. But the standard of BoP is not as high as it would be for "God Exists", like I said.
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socialpinko
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3/2/2011 8:30:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
One does not have the BOP if they say they do not believe in unicorns. The BOP is on the one making the positive assertion. Just choosing not to believe an assertion made by someone else(theists), does not give one the BOP.
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GeoLaureate8
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3/2/2011 8:34:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Puck, it doesn't appear that you have read everything in the initial post because I will now have to be repeating some things here.

At 3/2/2011 8:18:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:15:04 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"Atheism is true"

See even that is presupposing a very specific definition

FALSE. I just stated in the OP:

"To reiterate, Atheists must justify the statement "Atheism is true," EVEN IF you're a Weak Atheist for even the Weak Atheist must believe that "Atheism is true" as opposed to the alternative "Atheism is false."

Note that I am not changing the definition of Atheism to mean "certain that God does not exist," I use the word Atheism to mean what everyone else recognizes it to mean. It does not necessarily entail absolute certainty in God's non-existence."

i.e., to be an atheist one must be a geo type atheist. Just isn't so.

Again, I never stated that, in fact I stated the contrary. See above.

That's not the definition though, that's specific stances within.

I see what you're saying, but I am NOT alluding to "Strong Atheism" when I say the word "Atheism." When I say "Atheism," I am referring to all subsets of Atheism whether Strong OR Weak Atheism.

As PCP rightly said:

"Stating that the existence of a deity is unlikely is a positive claim. If one expects to be taken seriously they better have some reasons for thinking that. A BOP of sorts." -- popculturepooka
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
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InsertNameHere
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3/2/2011 8:39:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:37:46 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I was under the assumption that only agnostics were excluded from Bop.

I think they are since they're not making any claims. Atheists and theists are,however.
annhasle
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3/2/2011 8:39:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:37:46 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I was under the assumption that only agnostics were excluded from Bop.

That depends on the assertion.
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GeoLaureate8
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3/2/2011 8:40:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:30:14 PM, socialpinko wrote:

How about before you comment in a thread, actually READ the original post. You would not be saying the things you are if you had read it.

One does not have the BOP if they say they do not believe in unicorns.

That's because unicorns and God don't have the same properties, qualities, nor ontological status. Sorry, try again.

The BOP is on the one making the positive assertion.

Yeah, ok, I already refuted that in the initial post. Go read it.

God could be a logically necessary being and as well, God could also be regarded as a "basic belief."

Just choosing not to believe an assertion made by someone else(theists), does not give one the BOP.

That's because you misunderstand my argument altogether. And just to be clear, I am a Strong Atheist.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
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3/2/2011 8:42:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:37:46 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I was under the assumption that only agnostics were excluded from Bop.

Hahaha, don't EVEN get me started on Agnostics, or else I might have to make a thread called "Agnostics Have the Burden of Proof." (Of course, only a legit case can be made against Strong Agnostics, it'd be a bit more difficult to tackle the Weak Agnostic.)
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Puck
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3/2/2011 8:50:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:34:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
Puck, it doesn't appear that you have read everything in the initial post because I will now have to be repeating some things here.

That gets dull very quickly. You not understanding =/= me not reading.

I use the word Atheism to mean what everyone else recognizes it to mean.

Clearly not. Certainty is a knowledge claim not a belief claim. Uncertainty is a knowledge claim, not a belief claim. Atheism is irrelevant to the knowledge claims associated with it, or more accurately, knowledge claims can demarcate types within atheism, not atheism itself. The degree of certainty is irrelevant.

i.e., to be an atheist one must be a geo type atheist. Just isn't so.
Again, I never stated that, in fact I stated the contrary. See above.

You make the same error multiple times. That the assertion that there is a claim, is the defining part of atheism. It isn't. Weak atheism =/= claim about certainty, though it can be implied within it. It is not the defining feature. As such the claim of "must" or "has" etc., only applies to strong atheism here.

That's not the definition though, that's specific stances within.

I see what you're saying, but I am NOT alluding to "Strong Atheism" when I say the word "Atheism." When I say "Atheism," I am referring to all subsets of Atheism whether Strong OR Weak Atheism.

Except you contradict yourself if you do. Or simply lack the knowledge of what weak atheism actually is. It is not defined by uncertainty. It is not defined by opposition to strong atheism. They denote very distinct beliefs in this regard.
Puck
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3/2/2011 8:51:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:39:04 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:37:46 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I was under the assumption that only agnostics were excluded from Bop.

I think they are since they're not making any claims. Atheists and theists are,however.

No. An atheist may. It is not a requirement to be an atheist to do so.
InsertNameHere
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3/2/2011 8:53:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:51:30 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:39:04 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:37:46 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I was under the assumption that only agnostics were excluded from Bop.

I think they are since they're not making any claims. Atheists and theists are,however.

No. An atheist may. It is not a requirement to be an atheist to do so.

Strong atheists make claims so yes, they do have a BOP.
Puck
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3/2/2011 8:55:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:53:30 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:51:30 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:39:04 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:37:46 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I was under the assumption that only agnostics were excluded from Bop.

I think they are since they're not making any claims. Atheists and theists are,however.

No. An atheist may. It is not a requirement to be an atheist to do so.

Strong atheists make claims so yes, they do have a BOP.

Strong atheists =/= atheism. Trying to trade points is quite silly.
tvellalott
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3/2/2011 9:20:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
'Atheists' don't have a burdon of proof, but some of the claims of Atheists certainly do.
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GeoLaureate8
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3/2/2011 9:33:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:50:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 3/2/2011 8:34:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
Puck, it doesn't appear that you have read everything in the initial post because I will now have to be repeating some things here.

That gets dull very quickly. You not understanding =/= me not reading.

Ok, I think I get where the misunderstanding is coming about. We are going by different notions of what Weak Atheism is. I was going by the Dawkins Scale, you were not.

- Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical.
- De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
- Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

I use the word Atheism to mean what everyone else recognizes it to mean.

Clearly not. Certainty is a knowledge claim not a belief claim. Uncertainty is a knowledge claim, not a belief claim.

Correct.

Atheism is irrelevant to the knowledge claims associated with it, or more accurately, knowledge claims can demarcate types within atheism, not atheism itself. The degree of certainty is irrelevant.

Sure, but even though it's a belief claim, it is the belief in a specific claim in which one must have an epistemological basis for that belief. Now, that is what is meant by "Atheism is true." It is a reference to the object of belief.
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PARADIGM_L0ST
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3/2/2011 10:07:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Its not just theists who hold the burden of proof. Atheists make the positive claim of God's non-existence frequently as well. But you are right, an atheist has no justification for what he believes or claims. All I ever see from an atheist is attacking theistic proofs and repeating the same mantra over and over again "There is no evidence!". Proof is objective, persuasion is subjective. It is quite rare to see an atheist actually give an argument for atheism or an argument against theism.:

Atheism is non-belief (a negation of supposed positive evidence offered by an opposing theory). The only reason it exists is because of its counterpart, which are theists who posit that God exists. The only argument an atheist can rationally make is a challenge to theistic claims. The only one's who could present positive claims about God are theists, not atheists. Therefore the sole objective for an atheist is to challenge the veracity of theistic postulations.

The burden of proof lies ONLY with the one making a positive affirmation since it is impossible to disprove something doesn't exist, if it in fact, does not exist.

Since theists are the one's claiming the existence the sole burden of proof lies with them unless they take a position of strong atheism (7 on the Dawkins scale).

Think about that deeply for a minute, gather a team of monkeys working around the clock to help you, and then smack yourself, really f*cking hard, across the face.
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DATCMOTO
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3/3/2011 5:10:31 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 10:07:40 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Its not just theists who hold the burden of proof. Atheists make the positive claim of God's non-existence frequently as well. But you are right, an atheist has no justification for what he believes or claims. All I ever see from an atheist is attacking theistic proofs and repeating the same mantra over and over again "There is no evidence!". Proof is objective, persuasion is subjective. It is quite rare to see an atheist actually give an argument for atheism or an argument against theism.:

Atheism is non-belief (a negation of supposed positive evidence offered by an opposing theory). The only reason it exists is because of its counterpart, which are theists who posit that God exists. The only argument an atheist can rationally make is a challenge to theistic claims. The only one's who could present positive claims about God are theists, not atheists. Therefore the sole objective for an atheist is to challenge the veracity of theistic postulations.

The burden of proof lies ONLY with the one making a positive affirmation since it is impossible to disprove something doesn't exist, if it in fact, does not exist.

Since theists are the one's claiming the existence the sole burden of proof lies with them unless they take a position of strong atheism (7 on the Dawkins scale).

Think about that deeply for a minute, gather a team of monkeys working around the clock to help you, and then smack yourself, really f*cking hard, across the face.

Atheism IS a belief; you have to BELIEVE there is no God AND against COLLOSSAL evidence: something NEVER comes from nothing it ALWAYS comes from something; thus the big bang theory AND the origins of life are both negated.
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PARADIGM_L0ST
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3/3/2011 5:54:10 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Atheism IS a belief; you have to BELIEVE there is no God AND against COLLOSSAL evidence:

Since the evidence is just so colossal, please present irrefutable evidence of God's existence.

something NEVER comes from nothing it ALWAYS comes from something; thus the big bang theory AND the origins of life are both negated.:

Nice, the 'ole "God of the gaps" fallacy. Sorry, mate, but you can't just erroneously claim God exists whenever you don't understand something.
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GodSands
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3/3/2011 10:40:23 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/2/2011 8:30:14 PM, socialpinko wrote:
One does not have the BOP if they say they do not believe in unicorns. The BOP is on the one making the positive assertion. Just choosing not to believe an assertion made by someone else(theists), does not give one the BOP.

Yeah, they kind of have, to a degree unicorns could exist. Therefore one must prove that unicorns DO NOT exist. The key factor here is that they COULD and thus one must show that they CAN'T or DON'T. Same with God. So I am with Geo 100% on this one.
unitedandy
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3/3/2011 12:07:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Although I think something like a presumption of atheism has to be well argued for before one could establish such a thing, I can't share the view that atheists share a BoP with theists. If someone makes a claim, they have to make it fit certain criteria (logically consistent, etc). Such a position also has to explain things about the world, and to do so better (again to some sort of criteria) than alternative explanations. All the atheist has to is show problems with this explanation to fulfil their role in any debate. As much as I prefer to see positive arguments for atheism, when debating the existence of a particular God, such arguments are not strictly necessary (even if they do tremendously increase the atheist's hand). As far as worldviews go, things like metaphysical naturalism DO however make equivalent claims about the world and DO require the same BoP as say, Christianity.
CosmicAlfonzo
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3/3/2011 12:15:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
IN the future, there will be unicorns.

Then we'll see who has the last laugh.
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JustCallMeTarzan
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3/3/2011 12:32:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It doesn't matter who is making the positive or negative claim. The burden of proof lies with the moving party no matter what the assertion actually is.

Geo's assertion that God could be a natural part of existence isn't an argument about who is making a positive or negative claim, but rather just some quibbling about who is really the moving party.

So the question on this point (Geo's argument) is whether God is a natural part of the world. And thus, we have to consider two pertinent things:

1) Can God be detected by natural means?
2) If yes, has he?

If the answer to either of these is "no," then the theist bears the burden of proof. Now we can argue all day long about what "natural means" constitutes, but for all intents and purposes, you could replace it with "science."

Furthermore, since humans are not born already believing in God, the theist always bears the burden in any discussion with a non-theistic position (including agnosticism).