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Evidence and atheism

Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 4:44:26 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:42:48 PM, bulproof wrote:
Theists have no evidence ergo atheism.
Really simple isn't it?

"Atheism" is a Trojan horse term.
bulproof
Posts: 25,296
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5/21/2016 4:51:50 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:44:26 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:42:48 PM, bulproof wrote:
Theists have no evidence ergo atheism.
Really simple isn't it?

"Atheism" is a Trojan horse term.
No Benny boy it describes the rejection of your unsubstantiated claim that gods exist.
Really simple isn't it?
desmac
Posts: 5,078
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5/21/2016 4:52:42 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

Either gods exist or they don't. There is no verifiable evidence that they do, so until such evidence is provided non-belief in gods is the default position.
PureX
Posts: 1,528
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5/21/2016 4:57:47 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Ben,

Good post.

"Atheism" doesn't exist until a theist articulates a theistic proposition. Once that has occurred, those who reject that theistic proposition become "atheists" in relation to it. Otherwise, the designation "atheist" is meaningless.

For an "atheist" to assert an atheistic proposition is basically not logically possible,. Because as you pointed out, a lack of evidence is not evidence of lack (it's only evidence of our unknowing), and to assert non-existence as an existing condition is in itself logically incoherent.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 4:59:48 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:52:42 PM, desmac wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

Either gods exist or they don't. There is no verifiable evidence that they do, so until such evidence is provided non-belief in gods is the default position.

yes, but meaning that there's no favorability one way or the other between the proposition "God exists" and the proposition "God does not exist."
bulproof
Posts: 25,296
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5/21/2016 5:03:51 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:59:48 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:52:42 PM, desmac wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

Either gods exist or they don't. There is no verifiable evidence that they do, so until such evidence is provided non-belief in gods is the default position.

yes, but meaning that there's no favorability one way or the other between the proposition "God exists" and the proposition "God does not exist."

There is only one proposition on the table and it is yours that gods exist.
Provide evidence to support your proposition or have it rejected by any thinking person.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/21/2016 5:05:19 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

This is useless semantics.

If you look up the definition of god, it entails a personal supreme creator that intervenes in the physical world to reward or punish humans (usually for something genital related). Someone who owns the belief that this kind of god exists is a theist. Someone who does not own that belief is an atheist.

I don't believe in an interventionist god for the same reason you don't believe in the flying spaghetti monster. There is no discussion of semantics about someone who does not believe in the FSM, what they are called or what they are not called.

Theists way overthink this for some reason I am still not aware of.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 5:08:04 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:57:47 PM, PureX wrote:
Ben,

Good post.

"Atheism" doesn't exist until a theist articulates a theistic proposition. Once that has occurred, those who reject that theistic proposition become "atheists" in relation to it. Otherwise, the designation "atheist" is meaningless.

For an "atheist" to assert an atheistic proposition is basically not logically possible,. Because as you pointed out, a lack of evidence is not evidence of lack (it's only evidence of our unknowing), and to assert non-existence as an existing condition is in itself logically incoherent.

I agree. I wish you would post on the forum more. You have some valuable insights.
bulproof
Posts: 25,296
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5/21/2016 5:14:59 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:57:47 PM, PureX wrote:
For an "atheist" to assert an atheistic proposition is basically not logically possible
There is no atheistic proposition (whatever that is).
Atheism is a rejection of the unsubstantiated claim that gods exist.
Substantiate the claim and atheism ceases to exist.
But until that time theism is a ridiculous concept, like the toothfairy.
Kyle_the_Heretic
Posts: 748
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5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.
Thinking is extremely taxing on the gullible, and it takes hours to clear the smoke.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].
mrsatan
Posts: 429
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5/21/2016 9:44:04 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
Kyle_the_Heretic
Posts: 748
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5/21/2016 10:17:32 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

Did you mean "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"?

If not, then I agree that it is indeed evidence of absence. Otherwise:

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

The meaning, as you present it, is redundant. That's not logic; it's a fallacy.

In this instance, I must agree with mrsatan, save that I would like to add one word:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] probably not existing.
Thinking is extremely taxing on the gullible, and it takes hours to clear the smoke.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 10:20:00 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 9:44:04 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.

Even as you put it, the conclusion isn't rationally justifiable. It's illogical because basically it says that 0 information about X is information about X.

I think you're confusing evidence of absence with absence of evidence.
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,238
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5/21/2016 10:36:43 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 10:20:00 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:44:04 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.

Even as you put it, the conclusion isn't rationally justifiable. It's illogical because basically it says that 0 information about X is information about X.

I think you're confusing evidence of absence with absence of evidence.

Do you believe in things which have no evidence to its existence, Ben?

Do you hold out with a belief for things which have no evidence to its existence, Ben?

No evidence=no reason to believe. AKA, disbelief. To say its an irrational prospect would be akin to saying it IS rational to believe in any cock and bull story presented.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
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Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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5/21/2016 11:05:24 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 10:36:43 PM, FaustianJustice wrote:
At 5/21/2016 10:20:00 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:44:04 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.

Even as you put it, the conclusion isn't rationally justifiable. It's illogical because basically it says that 0 information about X is information about X.

I think you're confusing evidence of absence with absence of evidence.

Do you believe in things which have no evidence to its existence, Ben?

I would neither believe nor disbelieve until evidence would lead me one way or the other.

Do you hold out with a belief for things which have no evidence to its existence, Ben?

No, but I wouldn't disbelieve it.

No evidence=no reason to believe. AKA, disbelief.

Disbelief and non-belief are two distinct and separable concepts. Disbelief is the mental rejection of something as untrue or false. Non-belief is the non-acceptance of something as true or existing. Disbelief is necessarily cognitive but non-acceptance can be cognitive or non-cognitive. Rejection necessarily entails non-acceptance but non-acceptance doesn't necessarily entail rejection. AKA disbelief necessarily entails non-belief but non-belief doesn't necessarily entail disbelief.

To say its an irrational prospect would be akin to saying it IS rational to believe in any cock and bull story presented.

That's not true. If you said "a dragon lives in your garage" then I have evidence of that dragon's absence every time I enter and exir my garage and would therefore disbelieve your statement. "Absence of evidence" literally means "0 information". Think of it that way.
mrsatan
Posts: 429
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5/21/2016 11:06:47 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 10:20:00 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:44:04 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.

Even as you put it, the conclusion isn't rationally justifiable. It's illogical because basically it says that 0 information about X is information about X.

No, it's saying 0 information about the proposition "X exists" is, in itself, information about the proposition "X does not exist". An absence of supporting evidence for something's existence is exactly what would be expected if that thing does not exist.

I think you're confusing evidence of absence with absence of evidence.

No, you're equating them. Suggesting both instances of the word "evidence" are in reference to the same proposition, which they are not.
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
Benshapiro
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5/21/2016 11:37:45 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 11:06:47 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 5/21/2016 10:20:00 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:44:04 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 5/21/2016 9:07:35 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.

Even as you put it, the conclusion isn't rationally justifiable. It's illogical because basically it says that 0 information about X is information about X.

No, it's saying 0 information about the proposition "X exists" is, in itself, information about the proposition "X does not exist".

That still doesn't make sense. 0 information about the proposition "X exists" is 0 information about the proposition "X does not exist".

I think you're conceptualizing "0 information" to mean "empirical verification of non-existence" then concluding that this is information about the proposition "X [God] does not exist." That, again, is evidence of absence because empirical verification is a form of evidence.

An absence of supporting evidence for something's existence is exactly what would be expected if that thing does not exist.

no available information = information?

You're still thinking in terms of evidence of absence. Think of evidence as being synonymous with information.

I think you're confusing evidence of absence with absence of evidence.

No, you're equating them. Suggesting both instances of the word "evidence" are in reference to the same proposition, which they are not.

What do you mean by that?
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,238
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5/21/2016 11:57:52 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

Dr. Sagan later points out that absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but nobody repeats this, because it's not a nifty little antimetabole. If we apply proper reason and logic, absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. Just not, as pointed out, proof of absence.

I disagree.

"absence of evidence is evidence of absence" literally means

absence of an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists] is an available body of facts or information indicating whether [X exists].

Allow me to fix that for you:

Absence of an available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] existing is the available body of facts or information indicating the truth of [X] not existing.

Even as you put it, the conclusion isn't rationally justifiable. It's illogical because basically it says that 0 information about X is information about X.

I think you're confusing evidence of absence with absence of evidence.

Do you believe in things which have no evidence to its existence, Ben?

I would neither believe nor disbelieve until evidence would lead me one way or the other.

Do you hold out with a belief for things which have no evidence to its existence, Ben?

No, but I wouldn't disbelieve it.

No evidence=no reason to believe. AKA, disbelief.

Disbelief and non-belief are two distinct and separable concepts. Disbelief is the mental rejection of something as untrue or false. Non-belief is the non-acceptance of something as true or existing. Disbelief is necessarily cognitive but non-acceptance can be cognitive or non-cognitive. Rejection necessarily entails non-acceptance but non-acceptance doesn't necessarily entail rejection. AKA disbelief necessarily entails non-belief but non-belief doesn't necessarily entail disbelief.

To say its an irrational prospect would be akin to saying it IS rational to believe in any cock and bull story presented.

That's not true. If you said "a dragon lives in your garage" then I have evidence of that dragon's absence every time I enter and exir my garage and would therefore disbelieve your statement. "Absence of evidence" literally means "0 information". Think of it that way.

That still equates to zero credence and zero reason for belief, and when the story is one that is utterly fantastic, the more one is simply inclined to reject it for lack of any form of rationality.
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mrsatan
Posts: 429
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5/22/2016 12:47:27 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 11:37:45 PM, Benshapiro wrote:

I don't think we were going to get anywhere there, so I'm going to try starting over, with the following statement.

"There is 0 information available to indicate the existence of X".

For the sake of argument, let's say that is a true statement for whatever X is. (If it's not a true statement, then there is not an absence of evidence to even consider being evidence of absence).

So, given the assumption of truth for that statement, we know that there is 0 information available to indicate that X exists. That knowledge is the information indicating that X does not exist, the evidence of absence.

Put another way, the statement, "There is 0 information available to indicate the existence of X", is a statement that, if true, informs us about something.

---

I don't think I can explain it any better than that, but I'll still try to respond to any misgivings you may have.
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
AWSM0055
Posts: 751
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5/22/2016 1:05:14 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

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"Evolution proves necessity is the mother of invention" - David Henson

"Calling my atheism a religion, is like calling my non-stamp-collecting a hobby" - MagicAintReal 2016

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Matt8800: "When warring men kidnap damsels of the enemy, what do they do?"

Jerry947: "They give them the option of marriage."

Matt8800: "Correct! You won idiot of the year award!"

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RuvDraba
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5/22/2016 1:19:32 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'
Facts evaluated how? Indicating truth or validity by what method?

Empiricism is compatible with this definition. It is legitimate to reject as non-facts traditions, intuitions and appeals to untestable authorities. In fact, it is not only legitimate but broadly accepted in science, engineering, law, journalism, commerce, management and public administration.

Indeed, it's broadly accepted everywhere but in theology.

Theology is the odd man out. Society has accepted the incremental refinement of its recognition of fact and evidence to provide greater assurance of accuracy, greater transparency in reason, and greater accountability for ignorance and error.

In response, theology has continued its retreat into the evasive and dishonest excuse-making of apologetics.

Consequently, the rest of your argument is both ignorant and dishonest, Ben.

It's ignorant because you ignore that societies themselves have set a higher standard for evidence than ancients used, and you're trying to drag it back down.

It's dishonest because you're pretending that there are no valid, practical and ethical reasons for having done so.
PureX
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5/23/2016 4:02:34 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 5:03:51 PM, bulproof wrote:

There is only one proposition on the table and it is yours that gods exist.
Provide evidence to support your proposition or have it rejected by any thinking person.

That reality has manifested life, and then consciousness, is evidence for the existence of "God". As in each case the ream of physics has transcended itself into a new realm of being. This stands as evidence in favor of the possibility of further metaphysical realms of existence, beyond those we are aware of.

You will no doubt dismiss the realm of consciousness as being imaginary, or "make-believe". And yet without that realm of "make-believe" we would not be having this conversation, and you could not have even formulated a question, or a doubt, regarding the nature of existence. Let alone a summation.
Redfordnutt
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5/23/2016 4:06:44 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.

Can you name something that could be the evidence of an absence?
PureX
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5/23/2016 4:08:52 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

The answer is Ignorance. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, it is the evidence of unknowing.

The absence of evidence is evidence only our ignorance regarding that which we seek to confirm or deny.

Carl Sagan was wrong in this instance. But then he was a scientist, and not a philosopher.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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5/23/2016 4:13:12 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
So there's zero evidence that unicorns do not exist. There's zero evidence that there's an invisible leprechaun living under a toadstool in my back yard. I still assert they exist. You have no evidence to the contrary so you must accept my assertion. That's your logic, Ben. So, do you believe in unicorns or in the invisible leprechaun?
Redfordnutt
Posts: 222
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5/23/2016 4:18:34 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/23/2016 4:08:52 PM, PureX wrote:
At 5/21/2016 6:53:12 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:

While I am not an atheist, I must challenge the statement, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This oft quoted statement was created out of irony by Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, pg. 213. Sagan was an atheist, leaning toward being an agnostic, who was challenging the logic of such a statement, not supporting it.

The challenge is, if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, then what is absence of evidence, evidence of?

The answer is Ignorance. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, it is the evidence of unknowing.

The absence of evidence is evidence only our ignorance regarding that which we seek to confirm or deny.

Carl Sagan was wrong in this instance. But then he was a scientist, and not a philosopher.

How can an absence be ignorant?
ken1122
Posts: 492
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5/23/2016 6:28:57 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/21/2016 4:39:06 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Evidence is defined as 'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.'

I've seen many atheists confine the term 'evidence' to mean whatever is empirically observable. This is not the correct usage of the term.

"Atheism" is a term that many people still use incorrectly. A-theism literally means "not theism." The prefix "A-" means "non."

Some atheists believe that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism and that there are no other classifications. Therefore, they believe, if theism can't be proven, atheism is the default position. They then erroneously conclude that God is non-existent until proven otherwise. Per the definition of "evidence", arriving at the conclusion "God is non-existent until proven otherwise" is a rationally unjustifiable position. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Essentially, arriving at a position based on lack of evidence means that you based your position on ZERO information.

If theism can't be proven, the default position is atheism meaning non-theism. Non-theism entails disbelief, ignorance, and agnosticism. So, as you can see, there is not a dichotomy between atheism and theism with no other classifications. That's like saying theres only classifications of white or non-white. No, there's blue, red, yellow, orange, etc, that fall under an umbrella term of "non-white." If something is colorless that is also classified as "non-white."

It's important to understand that if you define yourself as an atheist who lacks belief in God you hold a position that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. Non-belief has no ontology. There's no favor between "God exists" and "God does not exist" if you merely lack belief in God.
I recognize there are plenty of beings that people worship as God that do exist, but because I don"t call them God, I am atheist towards their God. An example would be Rastafarian; Haile Selassie is considered the incarnate of Jesus and is worshipped as God. Though he died back in the 1970"s he was as human as I am.

Another example would be certain sects of Hindu worship Kumari who is seen as the incarnate of one of their Gods. These people are as human as you or I but people worship them anyway. Now wouldn"t it be foolish for an Atheist to sit there and look at these people and say they do not exist simply because they are considered Gods?

And of course, there are those who worship nature, the Sun, and other inanimate objects as well, and it would be just as foolish to look at these things and say they do not exist. I"ve always maintained an atheist shouldn"t say God doesn"t EXIST before the God is even described. I believe Jesus existed and worshipped as a person just like Haile and Kumari, but because I don"t see them as God, I am atheist towards that Christian belief.
So if we assume Yahweh exist, the fact that I do not call him God ( weather it"s because I am unaware of his existence or for the same reasons I don"t call Kumari or Haile God) would make me atheist towards Yahweh; wouldn"t you agree?

Ken