But Finding Proof is Hard!

(via The Atheist Pig)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Heh. I like the flying spaghetti monster emerging from behind the cloud.

  • Guest

    Yeah.  Just ask an atheist to prove atheism is true.  You’ll find out quick just how hard it is.  Usually you’re met with ‘atheism is an unbelief and you can’t prove negatives and blah, blah.’  Of course that doesn’t stop the atheist from then heaping tons of positive truth claims on the admittedly unverifiable belief that atheism is true.  Atheists seem to think, for some strange reason, that having established the impossibility of proving a negative, the atheist can now say anything or make any truth claim they wish without any evidence at all.  That, of course, is what makes atheism so darn fun.

  • HatmanUK

    We make no claims – theists make them.

  • Piet

    Just ask an atheist to prove atheism is true.

    You truly are clueless aren’t you?
    What do you think atheism is?
    Seriously, I am very interested what your definition of athesime is.

  • Gordon Duffy

     Being able to listen to your conscience is what makes atheism so darn fun.

  • Coyotenose

     Jesus, what a whiny liar you become when you can’t present an argument. Which is apparently all the time.

  • Piet

     I know you probably won’t answer this, but what are those claims that atheists make? Can you give us a citation of these claims?

  • Agnostic

    I am not theist because no one can prove to me there is a god. If atheists can prove there is no god, I will gladly become an atheist.

  • Piet

     How does that answer my question to Guest?

  • Indorri

    “Not a theist” = atheist

    You’re confusing “logical proof if the inexistence of gods” with the value judgement of not accepting the existence if something we judge we have inadequate evidence for.

    Now, granted, we can argue about what constitutes inadequate evidence or whether such a value judgement is useful, but that is a separate argument.

  • Bender

    I am not theist because no one can prove to me there is a god. If
    atheists can prove there is no god, I will gladly become an atheist.

    Nobody has disproved the existence of smurfs. Are you agnostic about smurfs too, or that would be just stupid?

  • Bender


    Of course that doesn’t stop the atheist from then heaping tons of
    positive truth claims on the admittedly unverifiable belief that atheism
    is true.

    For example?


    the atheist can now say anything or make any truth claim they wish without any evidence at all.  

    It’s funny because that’s both false and stupid. That’s actually what you do. Religion makes claims without evidence.
    It’s hilarious how your attacks to atheism consist in claiming it’s as stupid as religion.

  • MegaZeusThor

    Q: Prove God doesn’t exist.
    A: That’s a tough one. Show me how it’s done by proving Zeus and Apollo don’t exist, and I’ll use your method. Same goes for leprechauns and werewolves.

    Hint: the person making claims (“There is a deity; he’s everywhere; all powerful; and he loves me!”) has the burden of evidence. Otherwise we’d believe all manner of unproven claims.

  • Guest

    What a lame comeback you offer when you can’t offer an actual comeback.

  • Blacksheep

    From my experience, smart atheists on this site say, “I don’t think that there is a God because there’s no evidence for one.” And that’s a perfectly valid response to life –  to a point – (in my opinion) depending upon what one considers proof and evidence. believers like myself, for whatever reason, find proof in the more subjective world of experience, personal conviction, what brings them peace, etc. 

    Other atheists say, “I hate religion / Christianity because it’s cruel / hateful / judgemental.” Another perfectly valid response to the world - but certainly one to debate (maybe forever) because into gets into the meaning of the Bible, why Christians do un-Christian things, etc. (I would say, for example, that judgemental Christans have forgotten the meaning of the Gospel).

    The third group says, “There is no God, period.”  Sounds like you are mainly addressing this group, and if so, I agree with you – but don’t forget, to an atheist saying that is the same as us saying, “There is no santa, period.”

  • Guest

    Right.  Which is why when atheists actually begin to make claims, they most provide the evidence.  The problem atheists have is that they seem to say ‘since we clearly don’t have to provide evidence that God does not exist but those claiming God exists must provide evidence, and since they can’t, therefore God doesn’t exist and anything I now say based on that assumption is obviously true and therefore needs to other evidence than an atheist said it.’  You see? 

    Plus, burden of evidence  how?  Based only on the physical sciences?  Physics?  Chemistry?  Just what kind of evidence do you want?  One verifiable miracle?  Define.  What would constitute a verifiable miracle?  God appearing physically and saying ‘here I am!’?  What if God, by very nature being God, won’t do that?  And then, assuming all of these questions are actually answered, that merely says that God cannot be proven based on the parameters you have set.  It doesn’t mean anything and everything asserted by atheists in light of this has to be true and no evidence needed. 

  • Piet Puk

    Any type of evidence, bring it on!

  • Guest

    Oh I see atheists make plenty of truth claims.  An atheist who says there is no evidence based on certain parameters to believe God exists is fine.  But when one then utters the phrase ‘God isn’t listening because God doesn’t exist’, one has now made a positive truth claim.  You have to show evidence.  That’s the problem atheists miss.  They seem to think anything and everything they have to say about religion is by default true and doesn’t need any evidence to support it since it must all be saying a negative and therefore doesn’t need proof.  I can’t go a day without hearing atheists make claims that, if those claims were made by a religious person, that same atheist would demand evidence for.

  • Guest

    But if you make the positive truth claim then you have to provide evidence.  Say ‘I see no evidence to believe in Smurfs’ and you’re off the hook.  Say that there are absolutely no smurfs and therefore don’t expect any help from Papa Smurf, however, demands some evidence on your part.  Again, just because atheists are atheists doesn’t mean anything and everything they have to say about religion is a negative that requires no proof. 

  • Bender

    ‘God isn’t listening because God doesn’t exist’, one has now made a
    positive truth claim.  You have to show evidence. 

    You made the claim first and you didn’t present any evidence. What’s asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. So STFU.

  • Guest

    I’ve responded to several similar points, so take a look at those.  I’m merely trying to point out the obvious that many atheists seem to miss – simply saying something about God doesn’t mean you’re off the hook regarding evidence.  Saying ‘I don’t believe in God because I don’t see the evidence as I demand it’ is fine.  No burden of proof on your part.  Claiming, however, that miracles can’t happen because there is no God now demands evidence, because it is a truth claim, just like standing on the 5th century shores of Western Ireland and stating that there is no land beyond the horizon was a truth claim – and one that would have turned out false. 

  • Bender


    But if you make the positive truth claim then you have to provide evidence.

    That’s what I keep repeating this retarded smurfious person who keeps repeating that Papasmurf loves me and that I need to accept him in my heart.

  • Octoberfurst

     I just had a debate on YouTube about this very topic.  The Christian was saying that I had to prove my claim that God doesn’t exist.  I told him the burden of proof was on him since he was the one claiming God was real. His silly response was that God was real because he knew it in his heart that he was real.  I said, “Well I could feel in my heart that Leprechauns are real. Does that make is so?”
    He then tried to give me examples of answers to prayer as proof. Nope, that could be coincidence.  He then gave me the example of changed lives. I told him I could give examples of people who claim Buddhism changed their lives.
       By now Mr Christian was getting pissy and claimed that NO proof could satisfy me and demanded to know what evidence I would find satisfactory. I had to ponder that.  I eventually told him to give me either a rock-solid argument that I could not refute or have  God  let a “miracle” happen to me that could not be explained by science.  He then said that he has already given me rock solid arguments–no, he hadn’t!–and that only evil people seek a sign and he went off in a huff.  That’s typical of the debates I have. 
      So the burden of proving God’s existance is on you Guest.  You’re the one making the claim. But if you can’t that is not my problem.  I don’t NEED to prove God doesn’t exist just like I don’t need to prove Leprechauns or unicorns exist.

  • Glasofruix

    So tell me about the last time you heard from your invisible friend when you asked him questions please.

  • Glasofruix

    Well, for startes we could see if he can regrow a limb with just some prayers as fuel, but i don’t see that happening…

  • The Other Weirdo

     With actual video footage, unaltered, with no special effects. Even then it would be doubtful.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    The only truth claim an atheist needs to make is that they don’t see sufficient evidence to believe in God. And by “God”, the atheist is referring to some mental image of “God” that is socially defined in the society where they live.

    For example, an atheist living in a predominately Christian community would view “God” as the Christian notion that God is a supernatural entity that created the universe to consist of two realms (a here and now and an afterlife) where the afterlife has some specific rules governing what happens to you.  The Christian notion continues that God set things up so that all people will go to a nasty placed called Hell by default (because of something called original sin) unless they take advantage of a “gift” God has made available to man-kind.  That is, they get to go to a nice place (called heaven) if they repent for their sinful ways and believe in Jesus and accept Him as their personal savior.  There is also something about Jesus needing to die for some reason. 

    Anyway, the atheist in the Christian community thinks this whole God-construct is pretty far-fetched and the atheist sees no evidence for this afterlife realm that supposedly exists after you die nor any evidence that these specific rules govern what happens to people within that supposed afterlife realm.

    Operationally, it is convenient to just adopt the null hypothesis and simply say that there is no such God (until proven otherwise).

    In all honesty, there are probably about as many notions of God as there are people having notions of God.  “God” by itslef is almost a meaningless term.  To discuss claims made about God, one first has to define what is meant by “God”.

  • C Peterson

    You need to distinguish between how people talk casually, and how they talk formally. Most atheists will say “there is no god” in a casual context, or where they’re going for something a bit snarky. In that sense, it’s not really unreasonable to state as “fact” something that is simply “beyond reasonable doubt”. But you will not find many atheists who, in a more formal debate, would not leave open the possibility of a god, admitting that they simply place the likelihood of one as very, very tiny.

  • The Other Weirdo

     Or, put another way, “If I don’t believe in your God, I’m not required to believe in your God’s miracles, since they can’t happen without him.” You claim your God worked miracles; you’ve failed to provide evidence for your God. Therefore your claims of God’s miracles can be dismissed out of hand.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KIDZFDXNIVYSUSZBZDUJIQD3II Exploerer

    The truth is always a good comeback.

  • Edmond

    I’d agree, it’s certainly a jump for any atheist to conclude positively that there are no gods.  However, I would say that, considering thousands of years of no evidence for any religious claims, a scriptural book that is internally inconsistent and realistically impossible, and the failure of direct testing, it’s only a TINY jump.

    It’s also a positive truth claim that there are no unicorns or leprechauns, but nobody demands evidence to back THAT claim up.  We all accept it, because an examination of the subject (and any available evidence) points strongly toward these concepts being myth.  No one goes around saying that they must remain agnostic about these creatures, simply because they can’t prove that they don’t exist.  Like the old saying “close enough for government work”, it’s close enough to say that these things just DON’T exist, and the same can be said about gods.  Most atheists would be open to changing their minds if there was SOME kind of evidence, anyway.

    But it is NOT a “tiny” jump to conclude that ANYONE has ever actually grown back a limb, or a fingertip, or had any diseases cured by supernatural intervention.  It’s a HUGE jump to accept these claims.  These are claims that should have MOUNTAINS of evidence.  They aren’t speculative, or philosophical, or hypothetical.  There are people who say that these things happened absolutely, and yet they are unable or unwilling to provide the slightest proof of the event.

    You are picking at a niggling little point of semantics, in order to excuse a VASTLY falsifiable claim about the reversal of the biological process as we know it.

  • Blacksheep

    I think you’re right. I was trying to create some distinction for “Guest.”

  • ImRike

    I think from now on, if a christian asks me about my proof of god’s nonexixtence, I will just let hir prove to me that Zeus/Shiva/FSM/… don’t exist;  same, same!

  • MegaZeusThor

    I guess we could start by asking you: What do you believe and *why* do you believe it? What attributes does the god you believe in have? What are examples of what it could do? (Does it interact with people or reality?)

    I don’t believe in gods, so I only talk about the ones that you might believe in. Once you’ve defined 1 or more deities, remember to explain why we should believe in it as well.

  • Agnostic

    I have thoughts but yet I do not see them.I only can feel the reality of my thoughts. So what i cannot see may or may not exist. Since i cannot see myself in another universe does that mean that no other universes? I have seen smurfs on TV and know that they were created to make money and so I know they exist in films and toys.

  • phantomreader42

    “Guest” is physically incapable of comprehending any distinction.  It tore out its own brain and offered it up as a burned sacrifice to its ego, which it calls “jesus”.

  • phantomreader42

    “Guest” does not know or care what atheism is.  It only knows that it has been programmed to hate it without an instant’s thought. 

  • phantomreader42

    So, for the record, you admit that your god is every bit as real as smurfs, and no more. 

  • phantomreader42

     It doesn’t.  “Agnostic” is not interested in answering questions, nor capable of doing so.  All it can do is spew nonsense and false equivalency. 

  • phantomreader42

    First, prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that ALL of the following gods which your cult denies do not exist.  Then, and ONLY then, will you have earned even a cursory effort to address your idiotic lies:

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster
    Po Yan Dari

  • phantomreader42

     Events that occur in your hallucinations do not count as things you have “seen”.  But, of course, you can’t help but treat figments of your own diseased imagination as absolute truth, while demanding arbitrary amounts of evidence from anyone else, because you are a hypocritical, delusional, lying sack of shit. 

  • phantomreader42

    It sometimes amuses me to throw them an alphabetical list of twenty-six  different gods (some derived from RPGs, cartoons, novels and video games) and watch them flee from it in abject terror, screeching at the top of their lungs how eager they are to jerk off while watching their imaginary friend burn me alive.  How they melt down when they’re forced to confront the fact that their god is no more real than an animated talking pony or a Final Fantasy boss! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    “miracles” can be a very deceptive term. If someone wins the lottery, I don’t deny that it happened, or that it’s impossible to win the lottery. I simply state that there’s no proof of divine intervention. The odds of winning the lottery are very slim, but despite that, it happens all the time. There is always someone who wins it. Simply, this is to say that with a lot of proclaimed “miracles”, no higher power is required for its explanation. Science and math can explain these things without any reference to the supernatural. So the evidence to a claim about miracles not happening, is the explanation of how that “miracle” isn’t really a miracle.

  • Piet Puk

    Claiming, however, that miracles can’t happen because there is no God now demands evidence,

    Again, citation please.

  • RobertoTheChi

    Oh great…it’s you again. Has anyone ever told you that you’re like the Herpes virus? You just never go away.

  • mobathome

    Don’t feed the troll.

  • Sindigo

    “I have seen smurfs on TV and know that they were created to make money”

    Do you know how many copies of the Bible sold last year?