You Can’t Disprove God

I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do.
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours.
~Stephen F Roberts

“Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of skeptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.” Bertrand Russell

While it’s true that I can’t disprove God, that’s not a rational argument for his existence.

You can’t disprove Apollo, Mars, Thor or Vishnu either…. Do you believe in them? Is the fact that they can’t be disproved any (and I mean any) evidence for their existence? If it is, why don’t you believe in them? If not, why should you and your god be an exception?

One can not disprove Russell’s teapot, Sagan’s  invisible dragon which he kept in his garage, nor my claim that I am the king of Siam (for which I have a lengthy explanation which I will burden you with now), is that reason to believe in any of these? Indeed the list of things which can not be disproved is infinitely long.

The burden is not on those who would disprove it, but those seeking to prove (or at least suggest) the claim. All claims require evidence, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I’ve seen (and this is not a joke) about as much evidence for the existence of vampires as God.

People have claimed for so long that there is a god or gods, that they forget that it’s just that–a claim. And like all claims, it requires evidence (and killing the unbelievers, popular in most religions at one time or another, may cement the position as unassailable, but it isn’t proof–in fact it suggests that even the basic evidence is so scant you have to threaten people into believing). And extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; if you’re going to make a deistic claim for a supreme being (or take it a step further and say that you know who this being is, that he’s taken a personal interest in your life, and tells you who you can have sex with, what words you can say on television, what to wear on your head, or how you should treat women), you’ll need evidence (at least if you intend on imposing these beliefs on others).

The strongest evidence for Christianity appears to be a 2,000 year old book which has been translated, re-translated, mistranslated, cut and pasted, containing numerous internal contradictions and inconsistencies, and is based on archaic moral principals which are utterly shocking to the modern conscience despite being regularly employed as recently as a few generations ago. And while your faith in this book may be absolute, it’s no stronger, not by an ounce, than the belief of those who follow the Koran, Book of Mormon, Bagivad Gitia, or any one of the thousand religious texts written over the millennia but since forgotten.

It is those who believe in god who must prove the claim, and they must indeed set the proper bar (an old favorite of theists is to set the bar to deism, that is that there is a higher power, attempt to clear it with a prime mover argument, and then claim a theistic victory for their God. But even if prime mover arguments were valid, they’re no better evidence for Yahweh than Apollo). If they can’t or choose not to prove it (because it would destroy their faith to do so; faith can only exist where evidence is absent… which is what makes it so dangerous) that’s another topic. But that science can not disprove any one or more gods is not evidence, of any kind, for any deity we’ve thought to invent.

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Cool post!

Shaun Philip Hutchings

I reckon there is a teapot shaped satellite circling some planet somewhere, be hilarious if they did find one going around Mars.

Warren Kincaid

We are not the bar for ultimate truth. We’re not even close.

Bruce Underhill

I like Russell’s tea pot for this one.

Olivia Mark

The One Less God Logic.

Is a total fail. It never made sense to me as a theist and it still doesn’t as an atheist. Other gods are demon spirits. Satan is the god of this world and that’s biblical. Allah and voo doo gods cannot be blown off as nonsense.. they are false gods/demons.

I’ve tried to explain this for two years to atheists and it seems everything has to be an argument for the win which prohibits being receptive to feedback.

As a recovered Pentecostal that really does understand YECs far more than I understand atheists, I have something to bring to the table. I see many misconceptions atheists have but when corrected, they get narc injury and go into narc rage.

Olivia Mark

Without reading your article, I can address two concerns.

You can’t disprove god/I don’t have to.

This comes across as contradiction and its very annoying. You have a valid point but if you haven’t established rapport with them first… In some arenas of health care we gave up reality orientation decades ago.. we go to their world and find a place to connect. It is something theists need to learn.. but this takes time to fully embrace and let sink in. In the fight clubs,, that’s not going to happen. Atheists want to see results and when they don’t get it, they pull their hair out.

The theist is making an assertion and you are disputing them. IMO, that’s a complete fail.

I’ve tried to teach theists to say the atheists can’t guarantee there is no god.

You can’t guarantee me there is no god/ I know we can’t.

The guy who cracked me… Miguel Phosteur.. the greatest debating atheist ever, imo, he said that to me over two years ago and I cherish his words still

Olivia Mark

I’m tearing thru your page… As you can see.. I just DO NOT see eye to eye with debating atheist.

It just seems like you guys don’t know what youre arguing against. And most atheists DO NOT want to hear what I have to bring to the table.

I had the most fun on the NOthing /something article cuz that’s my fav topic. Nothing rocks

N Lamar Soutter

crap… The thing I don’t like about talking with you is you mentioned all these things I’ve never heard of – and they sound really interesting – so now I have to look them up. I’m just starting on Mark Steyn….and frankly, I’m in the middle of rebuilding the internal structure of the Codex… (You may notice these articles published with titles the exact opposite of the content… Structural issue)