Stupid Things Atheists Say: You Can’t Prove a Negative

In this episode of Stupid Things Atheists Say, I take a look at “you can’t prove a negative”, which is the misapplication to the question of God of the true (but irrelevant) point that one cannot prove the universal non-existence of a (possible) local phenomenon.

16 thoughts on “Stupid Things Atheists Say: You Can’t Prove a Negative

  1. Specifically, when someone says “well you can’t prove that there isn’t a God”, it’s in response to someone asking you for evidence of a claim that there is a God. It’s a dodge from our burden of proof for our claim that there is a God. Basically, we need to stop dodging and trying to flip the burden of proof back on the unbeliever. It’s dishonest. I don’t think it honors the “God who is there”… whether the unbeliever believes or not… to dodge and be honest. Just my 2 cents. – barabbas


    1. I’ve seen this happen, it’s a tiny minority of invocation “lack of belief”. Lack of belief was itself proposed by a philosophy professor by the name of Antony Flew in the 1970s in an academic paper.

      Most atheists can trivially easy find arguments for the existence of God if they exerted themselves even slightly, and a great many of the lack of beliefsters have encountered many such arguments.


      1. Brother, you need to let the other person define his own position rather than try to tell him what he does or does not believe. Always the better option in conversations. But I know what you’re talking about. Generally, the “I don’t believe in God actually is the majority definition for atheists, not what you propose that they “believe God does not exist” as a positive claim. It may be easier for you to flip the burden of proof with that definition, but once again, you arent being honest or respectful to the other person.


        1. Letting someone define his own position only applies to honest people who have actually thought out their position. The people I’m talking about are liars who have a position but pretend that they don’t because they (wrongly) think it gives them a rhetorical advantage. When a man clearly lies to you (because he is obviously contradicting himself), you’re under no obligation to believe him.

          (By “they’re liars” I mean “I lack a belief that they’re honest”. So the burden of proof is on them to prove that they’re honest.)


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