The plural of anecdote is not “data”.

I’ve just finished watching a YouTube video by TMM, he’s commenting on a disingenuous, possibly dishonest, Christian who is attempting to prove that his particular god is real, by suggesting that atheists have not defined what evidence would be acceptable, as if it’s the responsibility of unbelievers to present a definite criteria of what gods are.

It’s an argument I’ve heard time and again, theists realise that totally unsubstantiated promises of eternal rewards and threats of post mortem torture aren’t working, they understand that their claim to superior knowledge and morality isn’t cutting the mustard, so they switch to an ill fated attempt to shift the burden of proof, from the theists, who claim that a god or gods are real, to atheists, who reject that claim.

Incidentally, I am seldom at odds with the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), but when it comes to atheism, I disagree with the OED where it describes atheism as a belief that “god does not exist”. Firstly, I take issue with the word “god” when it’s used as if it were a name, secondly, in every other English word, the addition of an “a” at the beginning indicates a lack of something. Asymmetry is the lack of symmetry, not the belief in the absence or nonexistence of symmetry, to be amoral is to lack morals, not believe in the nonexistence of morals, and I could go on, aseptic, agnostic, abacterial, acaloric, and so on.

Atheism is not a belief, it is the absence of theism.

Back to the subject.

I have had theists ask me what sort of evidence I would accept for the existence of their gods, but only their gods, not all the gods the theist in question regards as false gods.

The answer is, any evidence at all. No theist has ever progressed past the point of trying to turn flawed philosophical ideas or pointing to something we have yet to understand (or more probably, that they have yet to understand, like evolutionary biology), and saying “That’s evidence of my god/s, why don’t you accept that?”, as if mystery automatically means that a supernatural force is involved.

If a god spoke to everyone on Earth simultaneously, or gifted us with indestructible scripture, that would count as evidence, but whenever I point this out, I’m told that this would violate our free will to accept or reject a supernatural supervisor. This is, of course, a fatuous and silly response, quite aside from the fact that it would no more impinge upon free will to have a magically presented written scripture, than it would to have any of the many versions of ancient scrolls and books supposedly given to humanity millennia ago, but even if we were given such evidence of a deity, we could still choose not to worship it.

Theists will sometimes suggest that their gods are outside of the scientific realm, or even that they exist outside of the universe (which is pretty much the same as admitting that gods don’t exist, without actually having the fortitude to admit it internally), beyond the reach of the science that threatens their mythology so. But those self same theists will claim that their gods intervene in our universe, that they alter things to subtly favour their followers, in other words, that gods supposedly do exist within our universe, that they interfere and intervene in a measurable way, in which case, they are not outside of the scientific realm. In which case, the believer should be able to present reliable evidence of the intervention of their god/s.

So far, all we get is cherry picked data, blind assertions, deliberate attempts to subvert the truth and outright lies.

I would accept evidence for gods, if it was presented, but theists don’t seem to understand what evidence is, or that the second law of thermodynamics is only one third of a set of laws that contradict many theistic claims, or that whichever text they hold dear is not evidence, or a scientific paper, or that people like Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, Ray Comfort etc, are either ignorant of science and evidence, or blatant con artists and obvious liars.


Author: Toby

I love being alive, it's difficult sometimes, but it's so much better than the alternative. Lots of things interest me, sport is not one of those things.

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