Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Burden of Proof

By: Matthew Chatterton

The burden of proof is the responsibility to provide evidence for a claim. It rests on the person or persons making the claim.

In keeping with the theme of my blog, I'm talking about the existence of god. The existence of God has been claimed in thousands of different ways and each god claim has had the same amount of evidence. None of them have met the burden of faith.


Faith is not useful when it comes to meeting one's burden of proof. As a matter of fact, faith is exactly not meeting the burden of proof and still believing. This is passed off as virtuous as a way of replacing legitimacy.

It is often argued that the burden of proof does not need to be met due to faith, or that the burden is met by way of faith. This is utter nonsense, even just as the indemonstrability negates aforementioned accomplishment.

This leaves the faithful believer's shoulders weighing heavy. Try this burden, try it without a leg to stand on. You would be flattened.

The Shift:

As soon an honest person realizes they can't meet their burden of proof, they abandon their no longer held belief. However, many are not honest and will instead try to trick people by shifting the burden of proof onto the person waiting for proof before acceptance. This is appropriately considered a logical fallacy.

Essentially, what the person committing to fallacy does is say, "I am right by default, and you must prove me wrong." Theists using this illogic must portray all atheists as gnostic, meaning the atheist believes positively that there are no gods, in order to accomplish the appearance of not being accountable. In other words, this fallacy also requires another fallacy, the strawman, in order to be successful. This level of dishonesty disgusts me.

And we know it's dishonest because the theist will prove his/herself rational enough when they dismiss other claims that are defended with the exact same logic. For example, can you prove there isn't an invisible pink unicorn standing right behind you? No, but even the theist will admit that this doesn't justify belief.

More fallacies:

I have often encountered a barrage of fallacies that follow my pointing out the above logical flaws. These fallacies are usually, special pleading, a solipsistic cop-out, and an ad hominem fallacy.

For special pleading, they'll assert that God is exempt from the rule with little explanation. This is ad hoc, meaning that it is logical inconsistent and, therefore, logically impermissable.

The solipsistic cop-out here is asserting that logic, somehow, does not apply to God because he is "above logic" or "he can violate logic because he invented it." This is also ad hoc and can immediately be dismissed.

The ad hominem fallacy is simply an irrelevant attack on a person's character. It is usually used solely to cop-out.


When an inability to meet one's burden of proof is mixed with dishonesty, all you'll get are further assertions that can't be backed. In other words, the desperate grasping of straws only further justifies the rejection of their claims.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Do We Need Religion To Be Moral?

By: Matthew Chatterton

What are you, stupid?

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Monday, March 4, 2013

What is Morality?

By: Matthew Chatterton

I have mentioned in countless posts that morality is composed of sympathy, empathy, and reciprocal altruism; that it is reasoned and argued for the purpose of figuring out how best to maximize happiness and minimize suffering.

I've put off writing this for a long time because there was one component missing. That is no longer the case.


It’s the very fact that we can make determinations of what causes the most happiness and least suffering that renders morality a subject for social science.

It would be considered a social science because, so far as we can tell, it isn't necessarily a natural occurrence. Regardless of whether natural or societal, we do know that murdering an innocent parent of young children would have catastrophic consequences, rather than merely having to believe that to be the case for no apparent reason. We are able to gauge the suffering that something will cause, and happiness as well.

We, through exercising our common sense of morality, have abolished slavery, freed women of much of their oppression, and awarded gays many of the rights they deserve. We have done so because we have determined that the aforementioned leads to far more happiness than it does suffering which would be none.

I suppose it would work to the advantage of homophobes wanting to kill gay people if everyone held to the notion that morality cannot be determined, only asserted based on popular faith. Think of it as innocent until proven guilty except that guilt cannot be tested.


Since the primary goal of morality is to maximize and minimize happiness and suffering respectively, it can be safely concluded that revenge and retribution are not valid forms of justice.

Justice, meaning that things are as they should be, cannot accommodate measures that do not reverse damage. Killing a rapist, or sending them to Hell, does not un-rape the victim. Hitler going to Hell does not un-murder six million Jews. All that will have taken place is the original injustice plus more violence, which also has the negative affect of endorsing violence as a problem-solving method. I think history has proven how detrimental that is.

Instead, justice calls for rehabilitation and restitution since the two can reverse damage, improving upon the state of the world. In other words, happiness is best derived from the fruits of a person's actions when that person is reformed.

Prisons should only exist to limit the environment a person can affect until reformation.


The one part I was missing was the justification for using my definition of morality. As already stated, my definition serves the purpose of getting the best possible ratio of happiness to suffering. But why my definition?

No other definition has any purpose for us. If morality is righteousness to God, of what meaning does it have for humanity? It's just a slave code of obedience responsible for countless atrocities. It's highly detrimental to humankind.

Simply put, if your definition of morality leads to suffering, it's not good, it's bad. And isn't that the point of it all?


This post is a simple introduction to my views on morality, but I hope it serves both as a guide and as argumentation the next time a theist ask you where your "moral barometer" is.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Atheist Quiz of the Week #4

By: Matthew Chatterton

I hold the edification of the atheist community as paramount to combating religion. After all, "know thy enemy." Use this quiz to measure the depth of your knowledge.

Atheist Quiz of the Week #1
Atheist Quiz of the Week #2
Atheist Quiz of the Week #3
Atheist Quiz of the Week #4

1) Which denomination of Christianity forbids blood transfusions?

2) Which of the following is the most prevalent Christian denomination in the US?

3) Who is the head of the Papacy?

4) In Islam, why was Satan banished to Hell?

5) Which of the following religions does not include a Hell?

6) What religious organization infiltrated the US Internal Revenue Service?

7) What year did the Mormon church start allowing in black people?

8) Who of the following uses slave labor in a diamond mine in Africa?

9) From which work of fiction does the Catholic Bible derive its depiction of Hell?

10) Who is the current leader of the church of Scientology?

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Atheist Quotes of the Week #8

By: Matthew Chatterton

This week, I've decided to give you great atheist quotes in the form of easy to download and easy to share pics. Enjoy! :)

10) Friedrich Nietzsche


9) Elizabeth Cady Stanton


8) Thomas Paine


7) Bertrand Russell


6) Robert Burns


5) Gloria Steinem


4) Charles Darwin


3) Penn Jillette


2) Prof. Simon Blackburn


1) Christopher Hitchens



If you want more, you can find them below. :)

Atheist Quotes of the Week #1
Atheist Quotes of the Week #2
Atheist Quotes of the Week #3
Atheist Quotes of the Week #4
Atheist Quotes of the Week #5
Atheist Quotes of the Week #6
Atheist Quotes of the Week #7
Atheist Quotes of the Week #8

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