Anti-Theist Christopher Hitchens and Naturalist John Shook fail to meet their burden of proof in a debate, videos below (with commentary)

  • >>>Anti-theist Christopher Hitchens in a debate dodges his burden of proof for atheism (in terms of the claim "God is less likely to exist than exist")<<<

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqs5jYxO1cQ

    For any claim and its opposite, if you are going to say one claim is more likely true than its opposite claim, you are making a positive knowledge statement and you have a burden of proof to show this to be the case.

    For example out of these two claims below:

    (X) The stars are even in number.

    (-X) The stars are odd in number.

    OR

    (X) The universe is symmetrical in shape.

    (-X) The universe is asymmetrical in shape.

    It is no good to just say there is no evidence for (X), as that is no evidence for (-X) to be more likely true.

    Even if I made a terrible argument for (X) being true, like:

    P1: My mother is a great counter.

    P2: My mother counted the stars last night from the back garden with her naked eye.

    P3: My mother counted the stars to be even.

    Conclusion: Therefore the stars are even in number.

    Though this argument above is easy to rip apart as fallacious and having terrible premises, that is still no evidence the stars are more likely odd in number. At this point you are only justified to be an agnostic holding each claim at a 50/50 based on what you don't (or do) know. If a person wants to assert the stars are more likely odd in number they will have to have their own arguments to demonstrate this (they can not just assert there is no evidence they are even in number therefore I default to it being more likely the stars are odd in number).

    The evidence of absence for a claim is not necessarily absence of evidence, as we have seen above (unless there is a certain criteria which is fulfilled). The only time the absence of evidence for claim (X) is evidence of absence, is that if (X) were to exist we should expect more evidence for (X) (or certain evidence for ([X]) which we do not find.

    For example look at these two claims below:

    (X) There is a planet the size of Texas between the earth and the moon.

    (-X) There is no planet the size of Texas between the earth and the moon.

    Now the absence of evidence for (X) in this case is evidence of absence, because we should expect more (and certain) evidence for (X) if (X) were true which we do not find. For example we should expect to find people seeing and reporting it, an effect on the tidal currents, it perhaps causing problems with satellites etc...

    Other than having actual evidence/reason/argument for (X) being more likely true than (-X), or by showing the absence of evidence for (-X) is evidence of absence thus evidence for (X); the other way to show (X) is more likely true than (-X) is by showing that by chance it is more probably true.

    For example, look at this claim below:

    (X) There is a tea pot on the backside of Mars.

    (-X) There is no tea pot on the backside of Mars.

    There is no evidence for (X), and there is no expected evidence for (X) which we should find if true which we do not find; yet it is still less probably true than (-X) in most peoples minds, why?

    Because we have a series of background beliefs about reality which basically inform us that the contingent possibility of (X) happening to be true by chance is far less likely than (-X) happening to be true by chance.

    So to summarize...

    Firstly, if you are going to say a claim is more likely true than its opposite you are making a positive knowledge claim and require a burden of proof (otherwise you should be 50/50 between the two competing claims).

    Secondly, to show a claim to be more likely than its opposite you have to:

    (1) Show actual evidence/argument/reason for claim (X) being more likely true than (-X).

    (2) Show that we would have more evidence for (-X) than we currently have if (-X) were true; thus the absence of evidence for (-X) is evidence for (X) being more likely true.

    (3) Based on background information/data/beliefs (X) is more likely to be true by chance than (-X).

    ***

    Based on the logical law of excluded middle there are only two options as to what the metaphysics of reality (Ultimate Reality) could be; that being either Personal or Impersonal....

    So the two options in more detail are:

    (1) Ultimate Reality in it's metaphysics (fundamental forces and processes) is Impersonal: that is to say it is intentionless, purposeless, meaningless, unguided, unaware and lacks teleology.

    (2) Ultimate Reality in its metaphysics (fundamental forces and processes) is Personal: that is to say it is intentional, purposeful, meaningful, guided, aware and has teleology.

    Now position (2) would normally be classed under Theism and thus atheism being the absence of Theism (that is what the "A" means in Atheism, just like Asymmetrical means the absence of symmetry on a specific aspect of reality) would fall under position (1).

    Now if a person says either position is more likely than the other to be true, they have a burden of proof.

    Christopher Hitchens totally failed to give any evidence/argument that Ultimate Reality is more likely Impersonal (Atheism) than Personal (Theism). Thus at best all Christopher is rationally justified to be is 50/50 between the two competing claims of "God exists" VS "God does not exist" (that is if actually refuted any of Craig's inferential arguments, which he failed to do).

    >>>Dr John Shook fails to justify his burden of proof for the claim that Philosophical Naturalism is true (the belief matter and energy is all that exists in reality)<<<

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcnZRctcleM

    In this exchange Dr John Shook seems to be arguing a straw-man. He seems to approach the debate as if the two competing claims are:

    (X) The natural world exists (matter and energy).

    VS

    (-X) The natural and supernatural world exist.

    That is not the debate, rather the debate is:

    (X) The natural world is all that exists.

    VS

    (-X) The natural world is not all that exists.

    To prove (X) is more likely true Dr Shook has to show evidence/argument/reason for this based on what we know from reality. It is no good to just show evidence the natural world exists (the straw-man argument), rather he has to show some evidence/argument/reason from the natural world (or some other means) which shows it is more likely to be the only thing which exists in reality.

    Now for either claim (X) or (-X) to be rationally considered more likely true than its equal and opposite claim requires reasoning based on what we know about reality. Let me give a similar scenario to demonstrate this:

    (E) There are not more than 230,000 species of fish in the sea (230,000 is the most recent estimate to date I believe for the amount of differing fish species we have found).

    VS

    (~E) There are more than 230,000 species of fish in the sea.

    Now if some one wants to rationally say one claim is more likely true than the its opposite, it has to be based on reasoned argument from what we know.

    For example somebody could make an argument for (~E) like; "Well, there is so much more ocean to discover which we have not been able to access so far, and based on what we know of life, if it can exist anywhere it will exist; therefore it is more likely there are more types of fish species in the sea yet to discover."

    An example argument for (E) could be something like: "Well all the sea left to discover which we have not accessed yet is under too much pressure for a fish to survive based on what we know of fish biology, therefore it is less likely there are any more types of fish in the sea."

    The bottom line is this, if you think a claim is more likely true than it's opposite you need a reasoned argument for that based on factors from what we know from reality, otherwise you should rationally be agnostic and hold each claim as a 50/50.

    **********

    The New Atheists seem to have a problem with Theistic beliefs, but this seems to be an un-justified problem.

    There are two categories in which the New Atheists could have a problem with Theistic beliefs, they are:

    (1) A preference issue; They would prefer it if Theists did not believe certain propositions (but then Theists might prefer it if the New Atheists did not believe certain propositions).

    OR

    (2) A moral issue; It is morally wrong (we "ought" not) to believe certain propositions, or it is morally wrong to believe certain propositions via a certain criteria (i.e. blind faith etc... But Theists could believe the same about the New Atheists).

    It seems the New Atheists go for (2), and it being based on the criteria of believing things with out justified reason/argument/evidence (so unjustified beliefs), that such a thing is immoral (thus it "ought" not to be done. As morality is what philosophers refer to as "oughtness").

    Yet it seems to me the New Atheists believe God is less likely to exist than exist with no evidence/argument to show that to be the case (thus they are violating their own moral standard).

    Based on the logical law of excluded middle there are only two options as to what the metaphysics of reality (Ultimate Reality) could be; that being either Personal or Impersonal....

    So the two options in more detail are:

    (1) Ultimate Reality in it's metaphysics (fundamental forces and processes) is Impersonal: that is to say it is intentionless, purposeless, meaningless, unguided, unaware and lacks teleology.

    (2) Ultimate Reality in its metaphysics (fundamental forces and processes) is Personal: that is to say it is intentional, purposeful, meaningful, guided, aware and has teleology.

    Now position (2) would normally be classed under Theism and thus atheism being the absence of Theism (that is what the "A" means in Atheism, just like Asymmetrical means the absence of symmetry on a specific aspect of reality) would fall under position (1). If a person says either position is more likely than the other to be true, they have a burden of proof.

    I as a Christian believe God exists (and certain things about God) based on two epistemic categories.

    Firstly I know inferentially (via argument and evidence) and secondly I know via immediate experience (what philosophers will call a 'properly basic' belief) of God; via His Holy Spirits revelation to me.

    For a quick layman's article on the difference between knowing God exists VS showing God exists, please go to the link below:

    https://www.facebook.com/1400753406812671/photos/pb.1400753406812671.-2207520000.1453744133./1634886343399375/?type=3&theater

    God bless



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