Saturday, June 11, 2016

Response to EveKeneinan

Today, we're going to be discussing this little bit of wonderful glossolalia.
This is going to be fun.
A funny thing happens with the concept of the "burden of proof." People keep claiming over and over that the burden of proof lies with the person who makes the positive claim.
I'm not sure what's so funny about this, but it's correct.
They claim this repeatedly;

It isn't a claim.  You're conflating that word with another here to try to make your point seem more valid than it actually is.  That's several fallacies all at once, but most importantly it's the fallacy by conflation.  Here's a nice wikipedia page on the very subject.   Also, as you'll see soon enough, the author presumes that her god existing is the null hypothesis, which it is not.  Until evidence arises for whichever god(s) she's believing in (presumably the Jesus one), the null hypothesis remains that there is no god. There's equally much evidence to support any god, and many mythical characters who aren't gods, like Beowulf or Odysseus.  However, until we find evidence independent of someone's story, the null hypothesis is that they were not real.
so by their own principle, the burden of proof should lie with them to prove their claim that the burden of proof lies with the person who makes the claim.
 Sure, we just did.  The null hypothesis is that all gods are equally probable, including the absence of a god.  It is from this point we present our evidence.  Christians like to claim a global flood, but stratified rock is a clear example of evidence against that god.  Greco-Roman Pantheists will claim that from Chaos (the deity) appeared Gaea (the literal, living god who is earth), but the fact that the Earth doesn't appear to be a god is evidence against this.

Again, as Eve failed to discuss the null hypothesis, it's understandable why she might not understand the significance of burden of proof, or how to prove who has it.  Even if the null hypothesis were that a god exists, there is currently no evidence to support that assertion, but plenty against.  With regard to Christianity, for example, we have a distinct lack of reports of the sun being gone for three days.  We do, however, have texts from that time period, none of which anywhere in the world mentioned this particular phenomenon.  Most things in the bible do not have evidence to support them, therefore the null hypothesis would become invalid and the previous null hypothesis (there are no gods) would return.

And yes, they consistently refuse [to] do this. Why is that?
I'm not refusing here, exactly as others have tried to explain this to you, but keep ignoring that.  Also, about that evidence you were discussing, isn't this a positive claim?
My guess i that they don't really mean...lies with the one who makes the claim
This part is more of that positive claim she's making.  Which, oddly enough, applying her logic earlier, she hasn't proven why she (or anyone else) has such burden.
I've yet to see anything beyond mere (and repeated) assertion.
Well, that's some top-tier pot-kettle right there, folks.
But an ad-naseum fallacy is not an argument. Something doesn't become true after being repeated many times. 
Oh really?

What was it she said up there again?  Repeating a thing over and over doesn't make it true? Repeatedly saying that someone is wrong because they disagree with you is not an argument.  I'm glad we agree there.  Arguing that you don't like the way logic works, over and over, doesn't actually prove that logic doesn't work.  You see, when you claim someone's got a fallacy, you've got to try to explain why, even by your own logic.  The picture you posted in the first tweet doesn't do that, and now I'm explaining why.  In fact, it's pretty self-referential, your picture, because it just keeps repeating your assertions without breaking them down logically. Argumentum Ad Naseum, as it were.
Also, most people who use "burden of proof" talk seem to be hypocrites engaged in special pleading...
You're the one ignoring the null hypothesis, and then repeatedly telling everyone else they're wrong.  I agree, that is kinda hypocritical, and a clear use of the special pleading fallacy...
...asking for special exemption from having to give arguments for their own position...

Maybe she'll explain why it's an error of reification, maybe not.  Just for fun, let's see what 'God' means.  According to Merriam-Webster,
1: a being having superhuman powers and control over a particular part of life or the world <in some belief systems, natural forces like the wind and the sea (are) gods>
Synonyms: divinity, deity 
2: (cap) the being worshipped as the creator and ruler of the universe <let us give thanks to God>
Synonyms: Allah, Almighty, Author, Creator, Divinity, Eternal, Everlasting, Father, God, Godhead, Jehova, Lord, Maker, Providence, Supreme Being, Yahweh
So, again, asserting that your god doesn't fall into the category of all gods is not a category error, because anything which can be described within those confines is a god.
...while demanding their opponents do so.
See also: Eve's entire feed, more or less.
The rational response to special pleading is, of course, "No."
That's kinda been our entire point. Thanks for at least saving me the trouble of making that point!
Note on Theism/Atheism: ...There is an entire anthology of essays...
Unless one of those essays references something other than the bible (again, I'm presuming you're attempting to defend YHWH, though you've not said so directly), it's not evidence.  If you don't understand why, perhaps see my Secular Sunday School responses, both here (the past couple entries) or on my youtube channel, here and here.

I think I'll leave it there for today.  She had a TL:DR on her thing that was half as long as her original post. Here's a better way.

TL;DR: If you want to prove who has the burden of proof, start by defining the null hypothesis.


  1. There is no non-question-begging way to establish what you are incorrectly calling "the null hypothesis." (The actual null hypothesis is technical term in statistics. See here:

    Your claim that the claim that burden of proof lies on the one who makes the positive claim is not a claim is false on its face.

    All you really do here is assert your own position as "the null hypothesis," which is a particular kind of special pleading. Elsewhere I have called it "extra-special pleading" because it doubles down by stating "you should accept my special pleading in this case because I am specially pleading that you do so."

    Finally, I will note that an ad nauseam fallacy occurs only when one repeats a false thing in the mistaken belief it will become true (somehow) or more likely or better evidenced with repetition. It is not an ad nauseam fallacy to repeat a true thing over and over in the face of someone apparently too dense to get the point. In this case, as long as you and others continue to assert that I committed a straw man fallacy in a piece of writing in which no argument was made, I will simply repeat the obvious fact that where no argument is made, no fallacy of argument can occur.

    That's all for now. I might write a whole blog post in response. But in regards to your whole special pleading tactic here, my reply is still "No."

    1. Addendum: "when you claim someone's got a fallacy, you've got to try to explain why ... The picture you posted in the first tweet doesn't do that ..."

      It certainly does! The answer to "why it is false that I am committing a straw man fallacy" is "because I am not making an argument, and since a fallacy is an error in argument, it is logically impossible for me to make an error in argument when I am not making an argument."

  2. I thought I'd chime in here to perhaps bring another perspective to this discussion.

    Eve is the single most intellectually dishonest apologist hack I have ever seen in my life, and I've seen Sye Ten Bruggencate speak.

    I've had the immense displeasure of engaging Eve on this very same topic before, and it went about as well as it has for you.

    Eve's original assertion was that the word "atheism" had been redefined by atheists. More completely:

    "Another good example [of redefining words] is Antony Flew's redefinition of 'atheism' from 'the positive belief that God does not exist' to 'a lack of belief in the existence of God.' Suddenly, magically, the number of atheists in the world multiplied twentyfold, since agnostics were, suddenly, now 'atheists' (despite the fact the term 'agnostic' was coined to be opposed to both 'theist' and 'atheist') and of course, the position of atheism (which had generally been conceded by this point to have failed to make its case), was given new life by only having to defend a seemingly much weaker claim, and to alleviate the newly-redefined athiest from any burden of proof (although that is not actually the case of course.)" [emphasis mine]

    I replied with the usual burden of proof argument, which she challenged me to "prove."

    To this I attempted to muster as complete a response as I could manage, and described how, while the burden of proof does not "exist" in the strict sense of the word, the existence of logically possible, yet mutually exclusive propositions necessitated that we refrain from affirming any of them until we have sufficient positive reason to do so.

    Her response to this was the following.

    "In future, when I am told that I hold something called the "burden of proof," I will refer people to your claim that no such thing exists. If no such thing exists, then I cannot hold it, nor can it obligate me in any way, since nonbeing have no power." [emphasis mine]

    So, as you can see here, Eve's modus operandi is to demand everything from you while demanding nothing from herself. Instead, she relies on the hope that, through her incessant and irrational demands for "proof",she can sufficiently confuse you that you do not notice her fundamental hypocrisy.

    Here is the link to the original comment chain on YouTube:

    I sincerely hope this helps in preventing you from wasting any more of your time with such pseudo-intellectual frauds like Eve in the future.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. In light of this context, her original response is all the more laughable:

      "My guess is that they don't really mean this principle, but only want it to apply to their opponents, so that they can try to win the argument more easily."