From Greek: A is without; theos is god. Atheism is not "I don't know," that's agnosticism (again, Greek: A is still without; gnostos is knowledge). Atheists affirmatively say there is not a god (or God, depending on your opinions about capitalization, or gods if you are Hindu). It is one among the many isms that proclaims to affirmatively know the answer and, as such, bears the burden of proving that answer is the correct "one" among the, literally, infinite number of possible answers.
Not much different from saying "there is one answer and it is the Flying Spaghetti Monster" in my book.
Biased much? Lacking a burden for proof is too convenient for atheists. Are atheists the only group immune to this, or are they a specific version of a generic rule that respondents to a claim have no obligation to contribute? There had better be, or this is cheating, an unfair advantage.
In (almost) all instances, the burden of proof lies with the party making the assertion, whatever that assertion is.
Claim "there is a God," and you can be asked to support that belief. The reason is because you'd need proof evidence God exists does itself exist.
Claim, "there is no God," and you can be asked to support that belief. The reason is because you'd need omniscience to be able to prove no evidence exists. Then some Smart Alec might come along an provide evidence for God, and prove the statement there is no God wrong.
Claim, "we cannot know if there is a God or not, because there is no evidence either way," and you can be asked to support that belief. The reason is because you'd need omniscience to be able to prove no evidence exists. The alternative is you lack the ability to recognize evidence for God's existence, or lack the ability to make a decision based on the evidence.
The burden of proof rests on the one making a claim, whether than claim is positive or negative!
If someone makes the argument that God DOESN'T exist, the burden of proof lies with them to prove it, just as a theist has the burden of proof when it comes to proving the existence of God.
If a theist claims that God exists, the atheist is well within his rights to demand proof without needing to provide evidence to the contrary. If the theist can't deliver to the atheist's standards (most likely falsifiable, physical, empirically-based evidence), then they part their separate ways.
If an atheist asserts the NON-existence of God, then the theist is well within his rights to demand proof without needing to provide evidence to the contrary. If the atheist can't deliver to the theist's standards, then they part their separate ways.
Finally, if both atheist and theist enter into a debate about whether God exists, then BOTH must provide sufficient evidence for their position, while also refuting the other position.
The fundamental difference between the first two scenarios and the last is that in the first two, only ONE person is making an assertion. The other is refuting the opponent's position but not asserting a position themselves. In the third scenario, both people assert opposing positions, and therefore each have the burden of proof.
The atheist can't say "God DOESN'T exist! Now prove me wrong!"
That is just absurd and intellectually dishonest.
Atheism, like religion, makes a claim. Therefore, in order to be taken seriously, it must provide evidence and proof of its claims.
To say otherwise makes Atheism no different and no better than religion in this regard. It is being asked to be given special treatment without having earned it.
If a biologist comes along and says: "Unicorns most probably do not exist", he needs no proof. The reason he says 'most probably' is because in these four-thousand years that man has observed the earth, no-one has really found proper evidence for their existence. But that should not mean that in the years coming, no-one does.
Monotheists indeed need the most proof, but an atheist, who says: "There can in no way be anything like God", has a burden of proof as well. Because all truths are born from facts, and facts are only facts if they have evidence to support them.
Like religion, Atheism is based on faith. And like religion and anything else that is based on faith, atheists carry the burden of having to prove what they believe.
Just because there is no proof that a God does exist doesn't mean that that is proof that a God does to exist. Logically and rationally I suppose you could take it this way, which is what atheists (or at least some do), but in speaking in a truly logical sense atheism is based just as much on faith as belief in a religion is.
Neither have actual irrefutable proof that their belief that a higher power/force/entity (or a God as I will refer to out of laziness, though I do acknowledge not all religions believe in an entity as such) does or does not exist. They both ignore the fact that there is no proof supporting their arguments.
Theists believe that because there is no proof a God does not exist, a God must be able to exist. (Possibly among other things).
Atheists believe that because there is no proof that a God does exists, a God must not be able to exist/must not exist.
Like atheism takes an, at least sort of, rational approach in that a lack of evidence means that something does not exist, it is entirely rational of theists to believe that a lack of evidence about something not existing means that it exists.
Speaking from a logical sense, both are based on faith that lack of proof one way or another is irrefutable evidence, gives support and is proof of their own arguments and beliefs. As such, both then must bear the burden of proving that what they believe (their faith) is right outside of this lack of evidence, for lack of evidence (whatever way it points) is not evidence in itself. All it means is that they are both theories (like in science) that have neither been proven or disproven and as such are as equally possible and impossible as each other.
So yes, Atheists carry the burden of proof and the need to prove their faith.
The burden of proof rests with the person making the claim, regardless of whether or not that claim is positive or negative. Take for instance the claim that there is no largest prime. Can I make that assertion and not provide evidence?
Now take the assertion: there are infinitely many primes. This is a positive assertion and so I must support it with evidence, right? But I can simply restate it as "there is no largest prime."
Any position that one takes can be stated in both positive and negative terms. Theists' core proposition, in positive form, is "God exists." Atheists' core proposition, in positive form, is "God does not exist." Theists can state their position by claiming disbelief in the negation of their core proposition, like this: "We do not believe that God does not exist." Atheists can, and usually do, state their position in this way. However, both sides bear a burden of proof.
In a formal debate setting, the positive claimant for the proposition in question is said to bear the burden of proof, because that side is "bringing the issue to the table" so to speak. Note that the proposition in question for a debate can be a negative or positive proposition.
Outside of formal debate conventions, however, the one-sided burden of proof does not actually apply. Any position of any type, in order to be properly considered rational or reasonable, must in fact be supported by evidence and arguments.
We know this intuitively whenever we find ourselves in a position where we are trying to win someone over to our point of view. In order to convince someone of your point of view, you automatically begin giving reasons why your point of view is valid, and usually reasons why alternative points of view are invalid. You are automatically assuming a burden of proof because you are trying to shift someone else's point of view over to yours.
When atheists say they have no burden of proof to establish their position on the question of God, what they are really doing is trying to argue that atheism is some sort of "default" or "neutral" viewpoint for humans, and so we all ought to be atheists unless and until the existence of God is proven to be probable. This assumption of neutrality, however, is philosophically controversial, and the ironic reality is that the atheists now have a burden of proof to establish this new claim about the supposed "natural neutrality" of an atheist viewpoint.
The burden is on the atheist and must then prove the origin of life on earth. This must be observable proof as they would ask the theist to provide according to the scientific method. Want to stump a so-called atheist? Just ask them how life originated on this planet. Their answer will mirror faith of those in God.
Atheists are not making a claim- they are rejecting the claims of theists as unsupported. In any argument, the person making the positive claim has the burden of proof, and this would be the theist. It is also logically impossible to prove universal nonexistence, so claiming an atheist should have to prove no gods exist is just silly.
After all, if I claim I have an invisible, intangible dragon in my garage, I must prove it- it is not on the person calling "BS" to disprove my claim.
Atheists do not carry any burden of proof because not believing in a deity is the default position. The one making the claim, in this case the person claiming there is a god, will have to convince and/or prove to the one receiving the claim and information that there is a god.
To claim that there is a god is a claim. It requires evidence, convincing arguments, or proof to be validated. The atheistic stance is saying "I am not convinced by what you have put forth." This is not a claim, it is a rejection of a claim and therefore, atheists do not hold any burden of proof.
Atheists believe in facts, so what we do believe in has already been proven. Religious people can't say " well you can't disprove my God, therefore he exists." A famous atheist once said " I can't go up to people and say ' Prove that I can't fly', they'd go ' what do you mean prove you can't fly? Prove that you can!'" That is exactly the same thing. We've already proven what we believe in, now it's time for you to try and prove what you believe in... Without using the word faith.
Assuming that you want them to back it up you should hold religion to the same standards. Because frankly theres no proof there is a god. But on the flip side there is no proof there is not a god. Athiests can claim to be able to back it up with the science of the creation of the Universe, while religions have nothing but books of fables and potato chips bearing the blurred image of the virgin mary.
Why should we have to disprove the existence of any gods? No one has come up with any actual proof of their existence. In my opinion, things should be proved first and taught later, rather than taught first and then tested for truth or lies. Burden of proof should NEVER go to the opposition to an idea.
Atheism is the rejection of belief in claim that have not met their burden of proof. Atheism, at least most atheism, is NOT the positive assertion that there is no god; that is called 'strong atheism'. The default form of atheism, however, is simply being unconvinced that any gods exist. It is the null hypothesis.
Atheism is the default position; it is the lack of a particular belief. The burden of proof lies with the positive claimant to provide evidence for their claim, not on others to disprove their claim. If I claim to be able to fly, it isn't up to you to prove I can't, it's up to me to prove that I can.
Only those who do not understand the burden of proof and/or atheism claim that atheists own even a part of the burden of proof. Atheism makes no claim, is is simply a word used to describe the state of not having a belief in gods.
As a secondary thought, if believers feel that atheists should have to own a piece of the BoP, than they own a burden to show that all of the gods they don't believe don't exist.
Basic logic dictates that any burden of proof always lies on the party making the claim. Atheism is not itself a claim, but simply refuting the positive claim of theism, that is, that at least one being, called god and defined as any combination of Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnibenevolent, exists. Atheism is not a positive claim of 'not believing' this, which doesn't make any sense , just a lack of belief in this positive claim. Simple logic dictates that theism carries the burden of proof, not atheism.