[Antireligionist] My blogs that address Religion: Archaeology, Anthropology, Philosophy and History

“The A Priori Argument Fallacy (also, Rationalization; Dogmatism, Proof Texting.): A corrupt argument from logos, starting with a given, pre-set belief, dogma, doctrine, scripture verse, “fact” or conclusion and then searching for any reasonable or reasonable-sounding argument to rationalize, defend or justify it. Certain ideologues and religious fundamentalists are proud to use this fallacy as their primary method of “reasoning” and some are even honest enough to say so.”  http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl1311/fallacies.htm

Religion vs. Science, Don’t Confuse Beliefs


By Steven D. Hales

It is widely believed that you can’t prove a negative. Some people even think that it is a law of logic—you can’t prove that Santa Claus, unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, God, pink elephants, WMD in Iraq and Bigfoot don’t exist. This widespread belief is flatly, 100% wrong. In this little essay, I show precisely how one can prove a negative, to the same extent that one can prove anything at all. Ref

Thinking Tools is a regular feature that introduces tips and pointers on thinking clearly and rigorously. A principle of folk logic is that one can’t prove a negative. Dr. Nelson L. Price, a Georgia minister, writes on his website that ‘one of the laws of logic is that you can’t prove a negative.’ Julian Noble, a physicist at the University of Virginia, agrees, writing in his ‘Electric Blanket of Doom’ talk that ‘we can’t prove a negative proposition.’ University of California at Berkeley Professor of Epidemiology Patricia Buffler asserts that ‘The reality is that we can never prove the negative, we can never prove the lack of effect, we can never prove that something is safe.’ A quick search on Google or Lexis-Nexis will give a mountain of similar examples. But there is one big, fat problem with all this. Among professional logicians, guess how many think that you can’t prove a negative? That’s right: zero. Yes, Virginia, you can prove a negative, and it’s easy, too. For one thing, a real, actual law of logic is a negative, namely the law of non-contradiction. This law states that that a proposition cannot be both true and not true. Nothing is both true and false. Furthermore, you can prove this law. It can be formally derived from the empty set using provably valid rules of inference. (I’ll spare you the boring details). One of the laws of logic is a provable
negative. Wait… this means we’ve just proven that it is not the case that one of the laws of logic is that you can’t prove a negative. So we’ve proven yet another negative! In fact, ‘you can’t prove a negative’ is a negative, so if you could prove it true, it wouldn’t be true! Uh-oh. Not only that, but any claim can be expressed as a negative, thanks to the rule of double negation. This rule states that any proposition P is logically equivalent to not-not-P. So pick anything you think you can prove. Think you can prove your own existence? At least to your own satisfaction? Then, using the exact same reasoning, plus the little step of double negation, • 110 Think summer 2005 • 111 you can prove that you aren’t nonexistent. Congratulations, you’ve just proven a negative. The beautiful part is that you can do this trick with absolutely any proposition whatsoever. Prove P is true and you can prove that P is not false. Some people seem to think that you can’t prove a specific sort of negative claim, namely that a thing does not exist. So it is impossible to prove that Santa Claus, unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, God, pink elephants, WMD in Iraq, and Bigfoot don’t exist. Of course, this rather depends on what one has in mind by ‘prove.’ Can you construct a valid deductive argument with all true premises that yields the conclusion that there are no unicorns? Sure. Here’s one, using the valid inference procedure of modus tollens: 1. If unicorns had existed, then there is evidence
in the fossil record. 2. There is no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record. 3. Therefore, unicorns never existed. Someone might object that that was a bit too fast, after all, I didn’t prove that the two premises were true. I just asserted that they were true. Well, that’s right. However, it would be a
grievous mistake to insist that someone prove all the premises of any argument they might give. Here’s why. The only way to prove, say, that there is no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record, is by giving an argument to that conclusion. Of course one would then have to prove the premises of that argument by giving further arguments, and then prove the premises of those further arguments, ad infinitum. Which premises we should take on credit and which need payment up front is a matter of long and involved debate among epistemologists. But one thing is certain: if proving things requires that an infinite number of premises get proved first, we’re not going to prove much of anything at all, positive or negative. Maybe people mean that no inductive argument will conclusively, indubitably prove a negative proposition beyond all shadow of a doubt. For example, suppose someone argues Hales Thinking tools • 110 Think summer 2005 • 111 that we’ve scoured the world for Bigfoot, found no credible evidence of Bigfoot’s existence, and therefore there is no Bigfoot. A classic inductive argument. A Sasquatch defender can always rejoin that Bigfoot is reclusive, and might just be hiding in that next stand of trees. You can’t prove he’s not! (until the search of that tree stand comes up empty too). The problem here isn’t that inductive arguments won’t give us certainty about negative claims (like the nonexistence of Bigfoot), but that inductive arguments won’t give us certainty about anything at all, positive or negative. All observed swans are white, therefore all swans are white looked like a pretty good inductive argument until black swans were discovered in Australia. The very nature of an inductive argument is to make a conclusion probable, but not certain, given the truth of the premises. That just what an inductive argument is. We’d better not dismiss induction because we’re not getting certainty out
of it, though. Why do you think that the sun will rise tomorrow? Not because of observation (you can’t observe the future!), but because that’s what it has always done in the past. Why do you think that if you turn on the kitchen tap that water will come out instead of chocolate? Why do you think you’ll find your house where you last left it? Why do you think lunch will be nourishing instead of deadly? Again, because that’s the way things have always been in the past. In other words, we use inferences — induction — from past experiences in every aspect of our lives. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, the chicken who expects to be fed when he sees the farmer approaching, since that is what had always happened in the past, is in for a big surprise when instead of receiving dinner, he becomes dinner. But if the chicken had rejected inductive reasoning altogether, then every appearance of the farmer would be a surprise. So why is it that people insist that you can’t prove a negative? I think it is the result of two things. (1) an acknowledgement that induction is not bulletproof, airtight, and infallible, and (2) a desperate desire to keep believing whatever one believes, even if all the evidence is against it. That’s why people keep • 112 believing in alien abductions, even when flying saucers always turn out to be weather balloons, stealth jets, comets, or too much alcohol. You can’t prove a negative! You can’t prove that there are no alien abductions! Meaning: your argument against aliens is inductive, therefore not incontrovertible, and since I want to believe in aliens, I’m going to dismiss the argument no matter how overwhelming the evidence against aliens, and no matter how vanishingly small the chance of extraterrestrial abduction. If we’re going to dismiss inductive arguments because they produce conclusions that are probable but not definite, then we are in deep doo-doo. Despite its fallibility, induction is vital in every aspect of our lives, from the mundane to the most sophisticated science. Without induction we know basically nothing about the world apart from our own immediate perceptions. So we’d better keep induction, warts and all, and use it to form negative beliefs as well as positive ones. You can prove a negative — at least as much as you can prove anything at all. – Steven Hales is professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg
University, Pennsylvania.


You Can Prove a Negative

Can’t prove a negative? Sure you can!
Stephen Law Ph.D.

One reason that some people suppose science and reason are incapable of establishing beyond reasonable doubt that certain supernatural claims—for example, that fairies or angels or spirit beings exist—are false, is that they assume you can’t prove a negative. Indeed this is widely supposed to be some sort of “law of logic.” For example, Georgia minister Dr. Nelson L. Price asserts on his website that “one of the laws of logic is that you can’t prove a negative.” If Price is correct and this is indeed a law of logic, then of course it immediately follows that we can’t prove that there are no fairies, angels, or spirit beings, or, indeed, that there is no god. We will have established that the nonexistence of God is indeed beyond the ability of reason and/or science to establish! The fact is, however, that this supposed “law of logic” is no such thing. As Steven D. Hales points in his paper “You Can Prove a Negative,” “You can’t prove a negative” is a principle of folk logic, not actual logic. Notice, for a start, that “You cannot prove a negative” is itself a negative. So, if it were true, it would itself be unprovable. Notice that any claim can be transformed into a negative by a little rephrasing—most obviously, by negating the claim and then negating it again. “I exist” is logically equivalent to “I do not not exist,” which is a negative. Yet here is a negative it seems I might perhaps be able to prove (in the style of Descartes—I think, therefore I do not not exist!) Of course, those who say “You can’t prove a negative” will insist that I have misunderstood their point. As Hales notes, when people say, “You can’t prove a negative,” what they really mean is that you cannot prove that something does not exist. If this point were correct, it would apply not just to supernatural beings lying beyond the cosmic veil but also to things that might be supposed to exist on this side of the veil, such as unicorns, Martians, rabbits with twenty heads, and so on. We would not be able to prove the nonexistence of any of these things either. But is the point correct? Is it true that we can never prove that something does not exist? Again, it depends. If John claims there’s a unicorn in the tool shed, I can quickly establish he is mistaken by going and taking a look. We could similarly establish there’s no Loch Ness monster by draining the loch. But what of the claim that unicorns once existed? We can’t travel back in time and directly observe all of the past as we can every corner of the tool shed or Loch Ness. Does it follow that we can’t prove unicorns never existed? It depends in part on what you mean by “prove.” The word has a variety of meanings. By saying something is “proved,” I might mean that it is established beyond all possible doubt. Or I might mean it has been established beyond reasonable doubt (this is the kind of proof required in a court of law). Can we establish beyond reasonable doubt that unicorns have never inhabited the earth? True, the history of our planet has been and gone, so we can no longer directly inspect it. But surely, if unicorns did roam the earth, we would expect to find some evidence of their presence, such as fossils of unicorns or at least of closely related animals from which unicorns might plausibly have evolved. There is none. We also have plenty of evidence that unicorns are a fictional creation, in which case, it’s surely reasonable for us to conclude that there never were any unicorns. Indeed, I’d suggest we can prove this beyond reasonable doubt. In response, it might be said “But you can’t prove conclusively, beyond all possible doubt, that unicorns never roamed the earth.” This is undeniably true. However, this point is not peculiar to negatives. It can be made about any claim about the unobserved, and thus any scientific theory at all, including scientific theories about what does exist. We can prove beyond reasonable doubt that dinosaurs existed, but not beyond all possible doubt. Despite the mountain of evidence that dinosaurs roamed the earth, it’s still possible that, say, all those dinosaur fossils are fakes placed there by alien pranksters long ago. Let’s sum up. If “you can’t prove a negative” means you can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that certain things don’t exist, then the claim is just false. We prove the nonexistence of things on a regular basis. If, on the other hand, “you can’t prove a negative” means you cannot prove beyond all possible doubt that something does not exist, well, that may, arguably, be true. But so what? That point is irrelevant so far as defending beliefs in supernatural entities against the charge that science and/or reason have established beyond reasonable doubt that they don’t exist. Ref Let’s now turn to a variant of “it’s beyond science/reason to decide.” One reason why some suppose science and reason are incapable of establishing beyond reasonable doubt that certain supernatural claims—for example, that fairies or angels or spirit beings exist—are false, is that they assume you can’t prove a negative. Indeed this is widely supposed to be some sort of “law of logic.” For example, Georgia minister Dr. Nelson L. Price asserts on his website that “one of the laws of logic is that you can’t prove a negative.” If Price is correct and this is indeed a law of logic, then of course it immediately follows that we can’t prove that there are no fairies, angels, or spirit beings, or, indeed, that there is no god. We will have established that the nonexistence of God is indeed beyond the ability of reason and/or science to establish! The fact is, however, that this supposed “law of logic” is no such thing. As Steven D. Hales points in his paper “You Can Prove a Negative,” “You can’t prove a negative” is a principle of folk logic, not actual logic. Notice, for a start, that “You cannot prove a negative” is itself a negative. So, if it were true, it would itself be unprovable. Notice that any claim can be transformed into a negative by a little rephrasing—most obviously, by negating the claim and then negating it again. “I exist” is logically equivalent to “I do not not exist,” which is a negative. Yet here is a negative it seems I might perhaps be able to prove (in the style of Descartes—I think, therefore I do not not exist!) Of course, those who say “You can’t prove a negative” will insist that I have misunderstood their point. As Hales notes, when people say, “You can’t prove a negative,” what they really mean is that you cannot prove that something does not exist. If this point were correct, it would apply not just to supernatural beings lying beyond the cosmic veil but also to things that might be supposed to exist on this side of the veil, such as unicorns, Martians, rabbits with twenty heads, and so on. We would not be able to prove the nonexistence of any of these things either. But is the point correct? Is it true that we can never prove that something does not exist? Again, it depends. If John claims there’s a unicorn in the tool shed, I can quickly establish he is mistaken by going and taking a look. We could similarly establish there’s no Loch Ness monster by draining the loch. But what of the claim that unicorns once existed? We can’t travel back in time and directly observe all of the past as we can every corner of the tool shed or Loch Ness. Does it follow that we can’t prove unicorns never existed? It depends in part on what you mean by “prove.” The word has a variety of meanings. By saying something is “proved,” I might mean that it is established beyond all possible doubt. Or I might mean it has been established beyond reasonable doubt (this is the kind of proof required in a court of law). Can we establish beyond reasonable doubt that unicorns have never inhabited the earth? True, the history of our planet has been and gone, so we can no longer directly inspect it. But surely, if unicorns did roam the earth, we would expect to find some evidence of their presence, such as fossils of unicorns or at least of closely related animals from which unicorns might plausibly have evolved. There is none. We also have plenty of evidence that unicorns are a fictional creation, in which case, it’s surely reasonable for us to conclude that there never were any unicorns. Indeed, I’d suggest we can prove this beyond reasonable doubt. In response, it might be said “But you can’t prove conclusively, beyond all possible doubt, that unicorns never roamed the earth.” This is undeniably true. However, this point is not peculiar to negatives. It can be made about any claim about the unobserved, and thus any scientific theory at all, including scientific theories about what does exist. We can prove beyond reasonable doubt that dinosaurs existed, but not beyond all possible doubt. Despite the mountain of evidence that dinosaurs roamed the earth, it’s still possible that, say, all those dinosaur fossils are fakes placed there by alien pranksters long ago. Let’s sum up. If “you can’t prove a negative” means you can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that certain things don’t exist, then the claim is just false.We prove the nonexistence of things on a regular basis. If, on the other hand, “you can’t prove a negative” means you cannot prove beyond all possible doubt that something does not exist, well, that may, arguably, be true. But so what? That point is irrelevant so far as defending beliefs in supernatural entities against the charge that science and/or reason have established beyond reasonable doubt that they don’t exist. Ref


Proving a Negative

Richard Carrier

I know the myth of “you can’t prove a negative” circulates throughout the nontheist community, and it is good to dispel myths whenever we can. As it happens, there really isn’t such a thing as a “purely” negative statement, because every negative entails a positive, and vice versa. Thus, “there are no crows in this box” entails “this box contains something other than crows” (in the sense that even “no things” is something, e.g. a vacuum). “Something” is here a set restricted only by excluding crows, such that for every set S there is a set Not-S, and vice versa, so every negative entails a positive and vice versa. And to test the negative proposition one merely has to look in the box: since crows being in the box (p) entails that we would see crows when we look in the box (q), if we find q false, we know that p is false. Thus, we have proved a negative. Of course, we could be mistaken about what we saw, or about what a crow is, or things could have changed after we looked, but within the limits of our knowing anything at all, and given a full understanding of what a proposition means and thus entails, we can easily prove a negative in such a case. This is not “proof” in the same sense as a mathematical proof, which establishes that something is inherent in the meaning of something else (and that therefore the conclusion is necessarily true), but it is proof in the scientific sense and in the sense used in law courts and in everyday life. So the example holds because when p entails q, it means that q is included in the very meaning of p. Whenever you assert p, you are also asserting q (and perhaps also r and s and t). In other words, q is nothing more than an element of p. Thus, all else being as we expect, “there are big green Martians in my bathtub” means if you look in your bathtub you will see big green Martians, so not seeing them means the negative of “there are big green Martians in my bathtub.” Negative statements often make claims that are hard to prove because they make predictions about things we are in practice unable to observe in a finite time. For instance, “there are no big green Martians” means “there are no big green Martians in this or any universe,” and unlike your bathtub, it is not possible to look in every corner of every universe, thus we cannot completely test this proposition–we can just look around within the limits of our ability and our desire to expend time and resources on looking, and prove that, where we have looked so far, and within the limits of our knowing anything at all, there are no big green Martians. In such a case we have proved a negative, just not the negative of the sweeping proposition in question.

The Method of the Best Bet

Logicians note that it is easier to prove that there are such beings than to prove there aren’t simply because we only need to find one of them to accomplish our proof, and thus will not have to look everywhere–unless we are so unlucky that where the one Martian is just happens to be the last place we look. But in the final analysis, it is not being “negative” that makes a proposition difficult to prove, but the breadth of the assertion. For instance, “there is gravity on every planet in every universe” could be disproven by searching just one planet and finding no gravity, but if we kept finding gravity we could never decisively prove it true, any more than if we kept failing to find Martians in the universe would we be able to decisively prove that “there are no Martians in the universe.” Thus, what people call the “you can’t prove a negative” axiom is actually nothing more than the eternal problem of induction: since we can’t test a proposition in every place and at every time, we can never be absolutely certain that the proposition remains true in all times and places. We can only infer it. In computers this sort of proof (of the positive or negative variety) results in an infinite loop (or quasi-infinite loop), and clever programmers can give software the tools to recognize such routines before executing them. Then, instead of executing them, they have them execute a simpler subroutine that equates to a “best guess.” Not surprisingly, we all do the same thing: since we have neither the ability nor the desire to devote a dangerous proportion of our time and resources to testing every proposition of this kind, we adopt a simpler rule: given insufficient evidence, then no belief. This is the same thing as “given sufficient evidence, then belief,” since insufficient evidence is the same thing as sufficient evidence for denial. This amounts to a “best guess” solution, where we recognize that a statement may be true, but have insufficient grounds to believe it. Or, in the case of propositions for which we have abundant but incomplete proof, we recognize that it may be false, but have insufficient grounds to disbelieve it. This is the basic principle behind all hypothetical thought, from the theories of science, to the “sun will come up tomorrow” variety of common sense. Given the set of all propositions of the first kind (where there is a lack of evidence despite some reasonable measure of checking), nearly all of them are false, so it is a safe bet to assume they are all false until proven otherwise. Conversely, given the set of all propositions of the second kind (where there is continuous evidence after some reasonable measure of checking), nearly all of them are true, so it is a safe bet to assume they are true until proven otherwise.

Unprovable Statements

Consider the negative case. When it comes time to decide what to believe, if we did not assume such “unprovables” were false, we would either have to choose which unprovables to believe by some totally arbitrary means, which amounts to a ridiculous “belief by whim” method, or else we have to assume that all such statements are true. Of course, we only have to believe true those unprovables that do not contradict other proven statements or that do not contradict each other, but even in the latter case we have no grounds for choosing which of two contradictory unprovables we will believe, and this is the same “belief by whim” dilemma. But even with these provisions, this policy would result in a great number of absurd beliefs (like “there are big green Martians in the universe”). Thus, when finally deciding what to believe, it is clear that the best policy is to assume that all unprovables are false, until such time as they are proved. In other words, it is reasonable to disbelieve a proposition when there is no evidence. Even if it is less certainly false than propositions which are actually contradicted by evidence (although even that does not amount to a complete certainty), it is still reasonable to regard them as false so long as we’ve done some checking, and don’t ignore new evidence that we come across. A similar line of reasoning establishes the opposite in all positive cases. If we did not assume all such unprovables were true, we would either have to choose which unprovables to disbelieve by some totally arbitrary means, which again amounts to a ridiculous “belief by whim” method, or else we have to assume that all such statements are false. Of course, it would be plainly absurd to believe that all the statements for which we have some evidence are false. Although “absolute skeptics” actually claim to assume this, they put in place of truth a concept of assent which amounts to the same solution as I have discussed above: betting on the truth of a statement that we have many reasons to believe but can never be certain of. Thus, when finally deciding what to believe, it is clear that the best policy is to assume that all unprovables for which we have good evidence are true, until such time as they are disproved. In other words, it is reasonable to believe a proposition when there is good evidence. Even if it is less certainly true than propositions which are actually irrefutable, such as mathematical truths or “I am thinking, therefore I am,” it is still reasonable to regard them as true so long as we’ve done some checking, and don’t ignore new evidence that we come across. In all cases, we can perhaps move the bar up and down–changing the amount of “checking” that counts as reasonable and sufficient before resolving to believe–but this affects all our beliefs, as the bar cannot be set differently for different things without again engaging in “belief by whim” methods, and we will all find that there is such a thing as having the bar too low or too high, as one can find through the same reasoning as I have engaged in here.

The Unbelievability of Christian Theism

Christian Theism in its most basic sense entails observations that would necessarily be made by everyone everywhere and at all times, and thus it is as easily disproven as the alien in the bathtub. For instance, God is theoretically omnipresent, and granted us the ability to know him (to feel his loving presence, etc.), yet I have absolutely no sensation of any God or anything that would be entailed by a God, even though by definition he is within me and around me wherever I go. Likewise, God is theoretically the epitome of compassion, and also all-knowing and all-powerful and beyond all injury, yet I know that what demonstrates someone as compassionate is the alleviation of all suffering known to them and safely within their power to alleviate. All suffering in the world must be known and safely within the power of God to alleviate, yet it is still there, and since the Christian ‘theory’ entails the opposite observation, Christianity is false. Likewise, God theoretically designed the universe for a moral purpose, but the universe lacks moral features–animals thrive by survival of the fittest, not survival of the kindest, and the laws of physics are no respecter of persons, they treat the good man and the bad man equally. Moreover, the universe behaves like a mindless machine, and exhibits no intelligent action of its own accord, and there are no messages or features of a linguistic nature anywhere in its extra-human composition or behavior, such as we would expect if a thinking person had designed it and wanted to communicate with us. Christians attempt to preserve their proposed theory by moving it into the set of unprovables that lack all evidence. They do this arbitrarily, and for no other reason than to save the proposed theory, by creating impassable barriers to observation, just as requiring us to look in every corner of every universe creates an impassable barrier for one who is asked to decisively disprove the statement “there are big green Martians.” For instance, the advanced theory holds that God alleviates suffering in heaven, which we conveniently cannot observe, and he has reasons for waiting and allowing suffering to persist on Earth, reasons which are also suitably unobservable to us, because God chooses not to explain them, just as he chooses, again for an unstated reason that is entirely inscrutable, to remain utterly invisible to all my senses, external and internal, despite being always around and inside me and otherwise capable of speaking to me plainly. The problem is not, as some theists think, that we can find no explanations to “rationalize” a god in this world of hurt. I can imagine numerous gods who would be morally justified and even admirable, and others who would be neither evil nor good, and still others who are evil, but none of these would be the Christian god. The fact is that Christianity is the proposal of a theory, and like all theories, it entails predictions–but these predictions are not being born out. So Christians invent excuses to save the theory–excuses which have absolutely no basis in any evidence or inference, except the sole fact that they rescue the theory. This is Ptolemy’s epicycles all over again: the motions of the planets and sun refused to fit the theory that they all revolve around the Earth, so Ptolemy invented numerous complex patterns of motion that had no particular reason to happen other than the fact that they rescue the theory of geocentricity. It is simply far wiser to conclude that instead of this monstrously complex and bizarre architecture of groundless saving suppositions, it makes far more sense, and uses far fewer suppositions, to simply admit that the universe doesn’t revolve around the Earth after all. As for all the other theories–all the other possible gods–there is no more evidence for them than for this incredibly complex deity with a dozen strange and mysterious reasons that only too conveniently explain why we never observe him or his actions in any clear way. Of course, even these groundless “solutions” to the Christian ‘theory’ do not really save the theory, because, to maintain it, at some point you must abandon belief in God’s omnipotence–since at every turn, God is forced to do something (to remain hidden and to wait before alleviating suffering, etc.) by some unknown feature of reality, and this entails that some feature of reality is more powerful than God. And this feature cannot merely be God’s moral nature, since if that were his only limitation, there would then be no barrier to his speaking to me or acting immediately to alleviate suffering or designing the universe to have overtly moral or linguistic features, since any truly moral nature would compel, not prevent, such behavior. Thus, the Christian hypothesis is either incoherent or unprovable, and in the one case it is necessarily false, while in the other it lacks justification, so we have no reason to believe it, any more than we have a reason to believe that there is a big green Martian on some planet in some corner of some universe. This is what it means to “prove a negative.” Ref


You can prove a negative

Well, no it isn’t philosophically impossible… read on: It is commonly thought that one cannot prove a negative, but of course I can. If I say “there are no weasels in my right pocket”, all I need to do is enumerate the objects in my right pocket and find a dearth of weasels among them to prove that negative claim. So why do people think one can’tprove a negative?

Negative claims are of the form

?∃(x)(Fx)

Or, in English, “NOT Thereis an x such that x Fs”… oh, OK, it asserts that no x is F.

Now to prove this claim, you need something that logicians call “the Universe of Discourse”, or “the Domain”. That is, the totality of the world or worlds that the claim ranges across. In the pocket example, that is my right pocket. If the domain or universe is small enough, and all the objects in it accessible in a reasonable time, we certainly do think that we can make proof claims. Consider the extinction of the Yellow River dolphin. Pretty well all areas in which that animal can exist are under constant observation by a very large population that has the means to report its existence. So we can safely say that it no longer exists. So why is it a common claim? This has to do with the development of the medieval logics, and ambiguity (errors in logic are nearly always due to ambiguity in some way or another). The medievals had what they called “the Square of Opposition”. It went like this: Propositions of the form E are negative claims. But if the universe is not defined, as it wasn’t (the medievals thought that logical possibility ranged across all the universe and possible universes unrestrictedly), one cannot find out if something is false until one encounters an existing contradiction to the claim (an x that is F). Because they had an unrestricted domain, they could never prove that negative if none were ever encountered. I suspect, though, that it is easier to prove that Obama is not a Muslim or a terrorist than to prove that no gods are green, for example. The domain is smaller, and more manageable. Ref


Myth: One can’t prove a negative.

Proving Negatives and Dealing With Absence of Evidence and Evidence of Absence

Factmyth.com

Factmyth.com

The saying “you can’t prove a negative” isn’t accurate. Proving negatives is a foundational aspect of logic (ex. the law of contradiction).[1][2][3]

An Example of Proving a Negative in the Sense that People Mean it When they Say the Phrase

Putting aside negatives we can prove with certainty for a second, consider the following: To “prove” a something we simply have to provide sufficient evidence that a proposition (statement or claim) is true. In other words, we have to show that it is very likely the case, we don’t have to show it is true with absolute certainty. Thus, to prove a negative, we only have to show that it is very likely the case. To do this, there must not be compelling evidence that it is the case and there must instead be compelling evidence that it is not the case. We DO NOT have to observe empirically that which cannot be observed (for example, we don’t have to see a Unicorn not existing to know it doesn’t exist, we just have to show compelling evidence of its non-existence). Thus, proving a negative in this sense can be accomplished by providing evidence of absence (not argument from ignorance, but scientific evidence of absence gathered from scientific research). For example, a strong argument that proves that it is very likely Unicorns don’t exist involves showing that there is no evidence of Unicorns existing (no fossils, no eye witness accounts, no hoofprints, nothing). If we did a serious scientific inquiry, searching for Unicorn fossils, and turned up nothing, it would be a type of evidence for the non-existence of Unicorns. If no one could show scientific data pointing toward unicorns to combat this, then at a point it would become a good theory and we could put forth a scientific theory, based on empirical data, that says “Unicorns don’t exist.” At that point, the burden of proof would be on those who believe in Unicorns to prove that Unicorns do in fact exist (the burden would be on them to prove the theory of non-existent Unicorns false by providing a better theory). This is just one of many ways to prove a negative, below we list others including using the law of contradiction and using double negatives. TIP: Science can’t actually prove anything with 100% certainty. Essentially “all we know for sure is that we know nothing for sure.” This is because all testing of the outside world involves inductive reasoning(comparing specific observations to other specific observations). Meanwhile, logically certain truths are generally pure analytic a priori (they are generally tautologically redundant and necessarily true facts like “since A is A” therefore “A is not B.”) Does this prove God does or doesn’t exist? Proving the existence of God (or the non-existence) is loosely related to this line of reasoning, but it is sort of outside of the sphere of what we are talking about here. If one claims, “all that is is, but God exists outside of that” then the argument for God becomes ontological, theological, metaphysic, and faith-based. Faith-based metaphysical arguments don’t require scientific empirical evidence… unless they try to posit something that can be debunked by empirical science (in that case, arguments for faith instead of reason tend to be logically “weak,” in that they lack supporting evidence). An Introduction to Proving Negatives With Necessary Logical Truths and the Inductive Evidence of Absence. To clarify the above, in terms of proving negatives with certainty and uncertainty, we can prove some negatives with certainty (like necessary logical truths such as “A is not B” and double negatives like “I don’t not not exist”), but generally “proving negatives” means providing compelling evidence that shows it is very likely that something isn’t the case (it means “proving” probable truths, not certain ones). This type of “inductive” reasoning can produce scientific truths using evidence of absence (it can show that it is likely that something isn’t the case via scientific observation and measurement that shows a lack of evidence), but the reality is there isn’t much we can actually prove true or false for certain (negative or positive) using evidence or a lack-there-of. For example, all empirical data points to me sitting at my desk writing this, but maybe “I’m in a virtual simulation and my senses are tricking me?” Yet, despite any confusion we may have in terms of certainty, “everything is ultimately either true or it isn’t despite our inability to know for sure.” Below we explain all the above and more in detail, including the ways in which proving negatives is and isn’t possible. First, here are some examples related to proving negatives:

  • The Law of Contradiction itself is a negative: “Nothing can be A and not A.” Ex. Ted can’t be in Room A and not in Room A (and therefore, if Ted is in Room A, then Ted is not in Room B; or if Ted is in Room A, then Ted is not not in Room A). This is a rule used in deductive reasoning and is a necessarily true logical rule.
  • The Modus Tollens also proves a negatives: “If P, then Q. Not Q. Therefore, not P.” Ex. “If the cake is made with sugar, then the cake is sweet. The cake is not sweet. Therefore, the cake is not made with sugar.” This is also a logical rule that relates to deductive reasoning.[4]
  • Proving a negative with certainty using double negatives: Any true positive statement can be made negative and proved that way. Ex. I do not not exist; or Every A is A, nothing can be A and not A, everything is either A or not A, therefore A is not not A. These prove a negative with certainty, but are somewhat redundant (rephrasing “A is A” as “A is not not A” is tautological).
  • Proving a negative with probability using induction: We can show something is highly certain using evidence of absence, but we can’t know for sure (that said, the same is true for proving positives with evidence; this is the nature of induction). Ex. Santa cannot be real and not real at the same time. There is no evidence to suggest Santa is real. Therefore it is highly likely Santa is not real. Simply put, induction doesn’t prove negatives with certainty; but it can produce highly certain scientific and logical conclusions.

TIP: Learn about how induction and deduction work. The certain proofs are deductive, the likely proofs are inductive. The Absence of Evidence and the Evidence of Absence – What Do People Mean When they Say “You Can’t Prove a Negative”? In general, and putting aside those who misunderstand the concept, when people use the phrase “you can’t prove a negative” they mean: we can’t prove negatives with certainty based on the absence of evidence alone (the absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence). For example, having no proof of Bigfoot doesn’t prove that he isn’t real with certainty. Likewise, it is hard to provide proof that a giant flying invisible pink unicorn name Terry-corn isn’t… because it isn’t and thus our best evidence is the absolute lack of evidence. We can only “prove” that which there is no evidence for with a high degrees of probability (by considering the lack of evidence and some rules of logic). With that in mind, and as noted above, we can’t actually prove positives very well either. Most proofs (positive or negative) rely on inductive evidence, and induction necessarily always produces probable conclusions. In other words, if we had Santa on tape admitting he was Santa it would still only be very strong evidence (it wouldn’t prove he Santa was real with certainty; our senses could be tricking us, the video could be fake, we might be in the Matrix, etc). Absence of evidence and the evidence of absence: Absence of evidence is an ambiguous term. If it is absence from ignorance, in that no one has ever carefully studied the matter, then it means next to nothing. If it is absence despite careful empirical study done in-line with the scientific method, then the absence of evidence itself can be considered a type of scientific evidence. If we inspect the room over and over and there is never any mice in the room, we can conclude with a high degree of certainty from the absence of mice that the room is not infested with mice. Here absence of evidence (or “the evidence of absence despite our looking for it” more specifically) is a type of evidence. If we keep checking and don’t see evidence of Santa, we can be highly confident that there is no Santa. See “Evidence of absence.” The Bottom Line on Proving Negatives, The bottom line here is:

  1. We can actually prove some negatives with certainty (using deduction), and generally speaking this type of proof is a foundational aspect of logic.
  2. “The Absence of Evidence is not the Evidence of Absence”… although it is often a really, really, strong hint (the same works for correlation and causation). In other words, a lack of evidence is a sort of evidence, but it doesn’t prove anything with certainty.
  3. As far as induction goes, “really strong hints” with “lots of logical truths backing them up”… are types of “proofs” (putting aside the definition of mathematic proof and treating proof as ” sufficient evidence or a sufficient argument for the truth of a proposition.”)[5]

For one last example before moving on: If we know Ted must be in Room A or Room B, and we have always seen Ted in Room A, and Ted never has gone into Room B and doesn’t have a key to Room B, and no person in the history of humankind has ever provided evidence of Ted being in Room B, we can be very confident in a logical inductive argument that concludes with a very high degree of certainty that Ted is in Room A. In these ways, “we can prove a negative… just not with certainty in some cases” (although, again, we can’t prove much with certainty outside of “tautological and analytic statements a priori” anyway). TIP: For more reading, see: “You Can Prove a Negative ” Steven D. Hales Think Vol. 10, Summer 2005 pp. 109-112. r

Is the popular “you can’t prove it doesn’t exist” a good argument?

James Randi Lecture @ Caltech – Cant Prove a Negative.

Skepticism is very useful, here is a good discussion on the ways in which

we should understand the truth behind the “you can’t prove a negative” idea.

What Does Proving a Negative Mean?

With the above introduction covered, let’s start at the beginning again and cover some details.So first, “what does proving a negative mean?”It means proving something isn’t true. For example, “proving Santa Claus doesn’t exist.”If Santa did exist, you could find evidence and prove it, but because [spoiler] he doesn’t, you can’t find evidence to prove it. There is an “absence of evidence.”

How to Prove a Negative

Now that we know the task and have the basics down, let’s discuss how to prove a negative and the ways in which we can and can’t prove negatives.To do that, let’s answer an important related question, “what is the law of contradiction / non-contradiction?”The law of contradiction / non-contradiction states that a proposition (statement) cannot be both true and not true (that nothing can be both true and false).…in other words, one of the fundamental laws of logic (the laws of thought featured below) is a provable negative proposition (and is thus an example of proving a negative).The rule of contradiction is saying that a statement CANNOT be both true and not true (unlike the positive rule of identity that says “whatever is, is.”)To help that sink in, here are the laws of thought.

  1. The Law of Identity: Whatever is, is; or, in a more precise form, Every A is A. Ex. Whatever is true about Santa is true about Santa.
  2. The Law of Contradiction: Nothing can both be and not be; Nothing can be A and not A. Ex. Santa cannot be real and not real at the same time.
  3. The Law of Excluded Middle:  Everything must either be or not be; Everything is either A or not A. Ex. Santa must be real or not real.

In other words, Santa is either real or not real, there is no in-between. So the following logic works:

  1. If Santa was real there would likely be some evidence of Santa (not certain).
  2. There is no evidence of Santa (we should assume this as certain for the example).
  3. Therefore we can reasonably infer that Santa is not real (a likely truth inferred using induction).

Now, to be fair, that is an inductive argument (a very strong and cogent one, but an inductive argument none-the-less). What that means is that we didn’t produce a certainty, we produced a probability.In other words, we can “prove a negative” (we do it all the time), but we can’t prove something with certainty without direct proof…… with that in mind, almost all arguments are inductive and therefore probable.If we find a person hovering over a dead body with the murder weapon and they say “I did it” we still don’t know for sure that they did it.If we find zero proof of Santa ever, we still don’t know for sure he doesn’t exist.However, in both cases we can be very certain of our conclusions, and we can prove our conclusions using logic.If to prove something is to prove absolute certainty, then only tautological forms of deduction are valid and induction (and all other reasoning methods are useless). <— This creates a very strange and existential world where we can’t trust our senses and theories are meaningless.If we on the other hand can consider overwhelming evidence that draws a highly certain conclusion as proof until better evidence comes along, then we can prove negatives. <— This is how science works.With all that said, details aside, the blanket statement “we can’t prove a negative” is wrong either way.In mathematics and logic, when we replace empirical evidence for numbers and symbols, we can prove negatives all day.Of course, even in the way it is meant, that lack of evidence doesn’t imply lack of existence, even that isn’t exactly right. No one ever in the history of mankind having evidence of Santa is itself… pretty strong evidence. MYTH One can’t prove a negative. Ref


 
“A negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmative claim that asserts the non-existence or exclusion of something. Saying “You cannot prove a negative” is a pseudologic because there are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics including Arrow’s impossibility theorem. There can be multiple claims within a debate. Nevertheless, whoever makes a claim carries the burden of proof regardless of positive or negative content in the claim. A negative claim may or may not exist as a counterpoint to a previous claim. A proof of impossibility or an evidence of absence argument are typical methods to fulfill the burden of proof for a negative claim.” Matt Dillahunty gives the example of a large jar full of gumballs to illustrate the burden of proof. The number of whole gumballs in the jar is either even or odd, but the degree of personal acceptance or rejection of claims about that characteristic may vary. We can choose to consider two claims about the situation, given as: The number of gumballs is even. Or the number of gumballs is odd.Either claim could be explored separately; however, both claims tautologically take bearing on the same question. Odd in this case means “not even” and could be described as a negative claim. Before we have any information about the number of gumballs, we have no means of checking either of the two claims. When we have no evidence to resolve the proposition, we may suspend judgment. From a cognitive sense, when no personal preference toward opposing claims exists, one may be either skeptical of both claims or ambivalent of both claims. If there is a dispute, the burden of proof falls onto the challenger of the status quo from the perspective of any given social narrative. If there is no agreeable and adequate proof of evidence to support a claim, the claim is considered an argument from ignorance. However, Dillahunty is criticised for stopping there, without citing what may be said in a conversation. In a discussion, the burden of proof falls onto the claimer alone and the one that interrogates is supposed to simply express his personal opinion or disagreement on what’s been said if he wants to add remarks. At any point in the conversation, when the interrogator negates what has been said, the interrogator becomes a negator as he steps out of subjectivity paving the way for objectivity and upgrade of the discussion to a debate. In a debate, both the “for” side (the positive position) and the “against” side (the negative position) will share burden of proof to support any assertion they make. If the interrogator does not want any burden of proof, he must not negate anything said by the other side and must simply express personal takes on the issue (no debate).” Ref

Science is the thing people do when they require evidence.

Whereas faith is the thing people do when they do not require evidence.

There is NO supernatural, thus, there is no god nor ghosts; just as there are no goblins. Nor Unicorns or Dragons for that matter and don’t get me started on Santa or the Easter bunny as of course all this nonsense is completely unjustified to believe as real. I would imagine not too many atheists epistemologists would feel a need to start believing claims of gods after establishing high standards of epistemic rationality. Whereas, I would imagine many theistic epistemologists (if they are intellectually honest: slaves to reason not faith) would feel a need to stop believing claims of gods after establishing high standards of epistemic rationality.

Empiricism atheism: empiricism is an epistemological theory which argues that that all knowledge must be acquired a posteriori and that nothing can be known a priori. Another way of putting it is that empiricism denies the existence of purely intellectual knowledge and argues that only sense-knowledge can exist. Empiricism is a common philosophical belief among many atheists. They believe that empirical science is the only true path to understanding. If you cannot see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, etc., it cannot be known. Empiricism atheists say that if you cannot prove something empirically, such as the existence of God, you are irrational for believing it. 1 2

Epistemological atheism: highlights a branch of philosophy that deals with determining what is and what is not true, and why we believe or disbelieve what we or others do. On one hand, this is begging the question of having the ability to measure “truth” – as though there is an “external” something that one measures against. Epistemology is the analysis of the nature of knowledge, how we know, what we can and cannot know, and how we can know that there are things we know we cannot know. In Greek episteme, meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and logos, meaning “discourse, study, ratio, calculation, reason. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. In other words, it is the academic term associated with study of how we conclude that certain things are true. Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. From this atheist orientation, there is no, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any “external” something so there can be no god-concept. Many debates between atheist and theists revolve around fundamental issues which people don’t recognize or never get around to discussing. Many of these are epistemological in nature: in disagreeing about whether it’s reasonable to believe in the existence of a god something, to believe in miracles, to accept revelation and scriptures as authoritative, and so forth, atheists and theists are ultimately disagreeing about basic epistemological principles. Without understanding this and understanding the various epistemological positions, people will just end up talking past each other. it’s common for Epistemological atheism to differ in what they consider to be appropriate criteria for truth and, therefore, the proper criteria for a reasonable disbelief. Atheists demand proof and evidence for other worldviews, yet there is no proof and evidence that atheism is true. Also, despite the abundant evidence for Christianity and the lack of proof and evidence for atheism, atheist reject the truth of Christianity*Epistemology (knowledge of things) questions to explode or establish and confirm knowledge. Epistemology “Truth” questions/assertion: Lawyer searches for warrant or justification for the claim. Epistemology, (understanding what you know or can know; as in you do have and thing in this reality to know anything about this term you call god, and no way of knowing if there is anything non-naturalism beyond this universe and no way to state any about it if there where). -How do know your claim? -How reliable or valid must aspects be for your claim? -How does the source of your claim make it different than other similar claims? I may respond, “how do you know that, what is your sources and how reliable they are” (asking to find the truth or as usual expose the lack of a good Epistemology) Atheists refuse to go where the evidence clearly leads. In addition, when atheist make claims related to naturalism, make personal claims or make accusations against theists, they often employ lax evidential standards instead of employing rigorous evidential standards. For the most part, atheists have presumed that the most reasonable conclusions are the ones that have the best evidential support.  And they have argued that the evidence in favor of a god something’s existence is too weak, or the arguments in favor of concluding there is no a god something are more compelling.  Traditionally the arguments for a god something’s existence have fallen into several families: ontologicalteleological, and cosmological arguments, miracles, and prudential justifications.  For detailed discussion of those arguments and the major challenges to them that have motivated the atheist conclusion, the reader is encouraged to consult the other relevant sections of the encyclopedia. Arguments for the non-existence of a god something are deductive or inductive.  Deductive arguments for the non-existence of a god something are either single or multiple property disproofs that allege that there are logical or conceptual problems with one or several properties that are essential to any being worthy of the title “GOD.”  Inductive arguments typically present empirical evidence that is employed to argue that a god something’s existence is improbable or unreasonable.  Briefly stated, the main arguments are: a god something’s non-existence is analogous to the non-existence of Santa Claus.  The existence of widespread human and non-human suffering is incompatible with an all powerful, all knowing, all good being.  Discoveries about the origins and nature of the universe, and about the evolution of life on Earth make the a god something hypothesis an unlikely explanation.  Widespread non-belief and the lack of compelling evidence show that a god something who seeks belief in humans does not exist.  Broad considerations from science that support naturalism, or the view that all and only physical entities and causes exist, have also led many to the atheism conclusion. 1 2 3 4

Ethical atheism: heavily involved and utilizes ethical thought and standards to navigate atheism or the humanism that is likely to follow such an ethical awareness. Ethical atheism strives to utilize the strong force of ethics and ethical challenge to address the many issues that not only arise in combating the fanatical promotion of harmful myths but ethical ways to positively navigate all of life’s real struggles or options to behave in interactions with others. God claims all totally lack a standard of meeting any warrant or justification in their burden of proof, thus the claim as offered debunks itself as any kind of viable claim. Would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false, and once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that certain beliefs are epistemically unfounded which compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence, realizing that belief. To me, belief in gods is intellectually flawed and dishonest compared to the evidence of the natural world being not only explainable on every level as only natural, but also there is not a shred of anything supernatural and every claim tested ever has time and again debunked such nonsense. If anything supernatural or paranormal was provable, the believers would have taken James Randi’s famous million-dollar challenge, or they would have gone and got their Nobel Prize in proving the supernatural or open up a 100% faith-based prayer and miracles hospital. Where the cure for anything and everything is guaranteed because “prayer and miracles works” and the only education was being a religious or spiritual leader. Prove it or it is not really worthy for true belief and if there was actual scientific proof it would silence us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics forever. However, nothing of the sort has ever happened. List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal or supernatural woo-woo go back to at least 1922 with Scientific American. But it did not stop there instead there has been many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal or supernatural with some reaching over a million dollars yet as of February 2016, not one prizes have been claimed. Therefore, belief in supernatural or paranormal are not realistic nor are they reasonable. And what’s even crazier is it’s nonsense and they act like it is us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics that have to disprove something they have never proved. I do think critical thinkers and thinkers who are intellectually honest should follow something close to “The Ethics of Belief” or they are likely not honest thinkers. “The Ethics of Belief” was published in 1877 by philosopher William Kingdon Clifford outlined the famous principle “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.” Arguing that it was immoral to believe things for which one lacks evidence, in direct opposition to religious thinkers for whom “blind faith” (i.e. belief in things in spite of the lack of evidence for them) was seen as a virtue. To me, it comes down to the question, would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false? And once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence. The act of believing, just because one wants to believe, when everything contradicts the belief is intellectually unethical or deluded. Beliefs are directly connected to behavior, behavior is directly involved in ethics, and ethics requires involvement in social thinking which requires us to mature or discipline our beliefs. Ethics of Belief: sufficient evidence to support belief. An honest thinker would want to know what is sufficient evidence for the reliability and validity to support belief. According to the legal decision in 1950, evidence is sufficient when it satisfies an unprejudiced mind. Sufficient evidence can be said to reference the evidence of such value as to support the belief. The word sufficient does not mean conclusive. Conclusive evidence is evidence that serves to establish a fact or the proven truth of something. To me, the test for belief analysis in relation to the offered evidence attempting to affirm the belief, would be is it sufficient evidence such as, could any rational addresser of the belief in question to find the essential elements of the issue sufficiency evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt. it is reasonable to require a greater level of evidence proportional to the importance of the belief or the external effects of the belief. – IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF LUCILLE CRUSON STATE LAND BOARD V. LONG, ADM’R, ET AL. OREGON SUPREME COURT. ARGUED JUNE 13, 1950 REVERSED AUGUST 29, 1950 *538538 APPEAL FROM CIRCUIT COURT, LINN COUNTY, VICTOR OLLIVER, JUDGE. Someone asked why would a critical thinker follow another old book from 1877? Well the age of evidence or thinking is relevant if it is reasonable. Saying it’s age is old is not a refutation of its arguments. Moreover, it could be said that for ethical atheism applied logically “to me” in general ethics must be equally applied or the concept of ethics has no ethical meaning to begin with. Ethical atheism could be seen as thinking that if the idea of god implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation against of human rights, dignity, and liberty. Therefore ethical atheism holds a necessarily requirement to disbelief in order to end such unethical thinking and to end a god only morality enslavement of mankind. Ethical atheism holds all to ethical standards therefor if god did exist, it would be necessary to abolish him so we could be freely utilize human rights, dignity, reason and justice. Ethical atheism promotes atheism because it is both the logical and the ethical position to take in a world where religious people fly planes into skyscrapers, blow themselves up on crowded busses, and do all sorts of horrible things in the name of an imaginary sky monster. As an atheist ethicist, I am not just an Atheist (disbelieving claims of gods), an Antitheist (seeing theism as harmful) and an Antireligionist (seeing religion as untrue and/or harmful). Also as an atheist ethicist I value and require reason and evidence to support beliefs or propositions as well as am against all pseudohistory, pseudoscience, and pseudomorality. Why are gods even concerned with belief, as if they truly wanted it so bad they would be real and being more than just mental projections of which they are now they would show themselves and we all would believe. Therefore we can rightly conclude with no evidence of them at all, that belief in god(s) is the thing people do when playing at reality is valued more than understanding the actual natural only nature of reality. 1 2 3 4 5 6

Evidential atheism: thinks that whether or not belief in a divine being is epistemically acceptable will be determined by the evidence. I intend to treat “evidence” in a broad sense including a priori arguments, arguments to the best explanation, inductive and empirical reasons, as well as deductive and conceptual premises. (Also note that one could be an evidentialist theist.) The evidentialist theist and the evidentialist atheist may have a number of general epistemological principles concerning evidence, arguments, implication in common, but then disagree about what the evidence is, how it should be understood, and what it implies. They may disagree, for instance, about whether the values of the physical constants and laws in nature constitute evidence for intentional fine tuning, but agree that whether God exists is a matter that can be explored empirically. 1

 

Grasping the status of truth (ontology of truth)

I hold in general Truth is a value judgment we place on what we think is evidence.
One who is a follow-thinker usually asks simple questions. Whereas, one who is a free-thinker not only usually ask hard questions, they question simple answers.
 
*Simple question like do you have enough faith? (Which is epistemologically meaningless as lots of faith doesn’t work as lots of evidence)
 
*Question simple answers like I don’t understand so god did it or it is evidence of god. (Which is epistemologically prudent as questioning simple and likely inaccurate answers demonstrates increased thinking standards are working well)
To me, there are three main approaches to truth (ontology of truth) from the very subjective (Pragmatic theory of truth), subjective (Coherence theory of truth), or to the objective (Correspondence theory of truth).
 
*Pragmatic theory of truth: very subjective
 
“our ideas are true is they work to solve problems, are useful”
 
A common feature is a reliance on the pragmatic maxim as a means of clarifying the meanings of difficult concepts such as truth; and an emphasis on the fact that belief, certainty, knowledge, or truth is the result of an inquiry. The pragmatic maxim is a normative recommendation or a regulative principle in the normative science of logic, its function is to guide the conduct of thought toward the achievement of its purpose, advising on an optimal way of “attaining clearness of apprehension”. Ref Ref
 *Coherence theory of truth: subjective
 
“our ideas are true if they are internally consistent not contradictory”
 
A common thinking is to regard truth as coherence within some specified set of sentences, propositions or beliefs. There is no single set of such “logical universes”, but rather an assortment of perspectives that are commonly discussed under this title. A positive tenet is the idea that truth is a property of whole systems of propositions and can be ascribed to individual propositions only derivatively according to their coherence with the whole. While modern coherence theorists hold that there are many possible systems to which the determination of truth may be based upon coherence, others, particularly those with strong religious beliefs hold that the such truth only applies to a single absolute system. In general, then, truth requires a proper fit of elements within the whole system. Very often, though, coherence is taken to imply something more than simple formal coherence. Ref 
 
*Correspondence theory of truth: objective
 
“our ideas are true if they accurately correspond to reality and its facts”
 
A common thinking states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world. There is a sense in which that which is truth depends on the world it can be demonstrated in, similar to the scientific methods presupposition of methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is not a “doctrine” but an essential aspect of the methodology of science, the study of the natural universe. If one believes that natural laws and theories based on them will not suffice to solve the problems attacked by scientists – that supernatural and thus nonscientific principles must be invoked from time to time – then one cannot have the confidence in scientific methodology that is prerequisite to doing science. The spectacular successes over four centuries of science based on methodological naturalism cannot be denied. Correspondence theories claim that true beliefs and true statements correspond to the actual state of affairs. Bertrand Russell theorized that a statement, to be true, must have a structural isomorphism with the state of affairs in the world that makes it true.The truth predicate of interest in a typical correspondence theory of truth tells of a relation between representations and objective states of affairs, and is therefore expressed, for the most part, by a dyadic predicate. In general terms, one says that a representation is true of an objective situation, more briefly, that a sign is true of an object. The nature of the correspondence may vary from theory to theory in this family. The correspondence can be fairly arbitrary or it can take on the character of an analogy, an icon, or a morphism, whereby a representation is rendered true of its object by the existence of corresponding elements and a similar structure. Historically, most advocates of correspondence theories have been ontological realists; that is, they believe that there is a world external to the minds of all humans. Ref Ref Ref
Actually, I think the difference between them is not either or but which one is applicable to the amount or qualities of valid and reliable reason and or evidence. One theory the pragmatic theory of truth where you don’t have much or almost no evidence but it seems the most reasonable to assume something like “I am typing on a Facebook post and I am not in a matrix simulation, then I increase the perceived truth if what is being communicated is what most likely is true because the expression of what it could be is at least coherent to what is said and how it’s said not holding an internal inconsistency, which is the coherence theory of truth. And most trusted of all and the main one science is pretty much using most often is the correspondence theory of truth.
 
ps. In my opinion, people don’t realize their presuppositions, truth is one of the big ones, as already we likely believed a certain persuasion of viewing the thing truth can be (ontology thinking) about the ontology status of truth (often not fully realized or actualized either. whew we often have confusion around or about truth is because we often just jump to the epistemology of truth, but how can we establish truth characteristics (epistemology thinking)
 
“Ontology and epistemology are both important elements of the philosophy of knowledge. If they often overlap, they have a clear distinction: epistemology is about the way we know things when the ontology is about what things are. Ontology is the study of what there is. Epistemology is the study of what you know and how you know it. The two are intimately related. Any statement of ontology (e.g. “Bees are a kind of insect”) is intended to be a statement of “truth”, and epistemology is trying to figure out what it means to be “true”. But the notion of “truth” is inherently grounded in our idea that there’s some kind of world out there for which the distinction between “truth” and “not-truth” is relevant.” Ref
 
What I am saying is one cannot say “truth is…” (epistemology thinking) until they have the (ontology thinking) of the “thingness” of truth (ontology: the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations). The part “truth is…” wishes to explain (epistemology thinking) nature of a “thing” or its “thingness” (ontology thinking). So, the “is” part (epistemology thinking) means the attached characteristics of the “thing” called truth (ontology) when the epistemological question is offered without acknowledging or establishing the thing being call truth (ontology thinking).
 
So, ontology is about what is this thing true or what truth is and epistemology then is about methods of figuring out those truths. Ref

Authoritarian Truth Seekers and Anti-Authoritarian Truth Seekers?

I understand that there are truth seekers and non-truth seekers (because of disinterest, dogma “false sense of truth” and/or delusion).

But I also realize there are two types of truth seekers: Authoritarian Truth Seekers and Anti-Authoritarian Truth Seekers.

Authoritarian Truth Seekers: to me use an Authoritarian Personality to understand, analyze, confirm truth, and limit what is thought of as truth.

Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude that is characterized by belief in absolute obedience or submissive to authority and possibly even one’s own authority, as well as the administration of that belief through the oppression of one’s subordinates. It is an ideology which entails accepting authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of intellectual or human relations that includes authoritative, strict, or oppressive personality in truth acquisition and adherence to values or beliefs that are perceived as endorsed by followed leadership, authority of holy books, authority of gods, authority of beliefs held by someone who is favored or idolized, and authority of one’s own beliefs.

Anti-Authoritarian Truth Seekers: to me use an Anti-Authoritarian Personality to understand, analyze and confirm truth.

Anti-Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude that is characterized by a cognitive application of freethought known as “freethinking” and is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas. Anti-Authoritarian personality is an opposition to authoritarianism, favoring instead full equality and open thinking in the conduct of intellectual or human relations, including democratic, flexible, or accessible personality in truth acquisition and adherence to values or beliefs perceived as endorsed by critical thinking and right reason which entails opposing authority as the means of conformation in truth attainment.

To me Anti-Authoritarian Truth Seekers are the only real seekers of truth.

To value faith as a means to know reality or the truth or something, is a mental weakness of wanting one’s beliefs about reality to matter more than the actual reality. Faith in relation of truth is at best just wishful emotions over rational understanding. 12

I posted my Authoritarian Truth Seekers vs. Anti-Authoritarian Truth Seekers on facebook and this is a sample of what transpired:
Challenger #1, I think this blog post presents a false dichotomy: either one seeks truth through Authoritarian or Anti-authoritarian means. I think most of us have sought truth through the authority of our teachers and text books as kids in school; as we’ve grown older we tend to rely less on those authorities, but in some cases we still seek via Authoritarian means. For me, truth seeking is a Bayesian process of weighing hypothesis against reality. However, there are many subjects which may impact ones Bayesian reasoning for which one does not have the time/energy to investigate so we rely on the knowledge of “experts” who have spent time and energy investigating those matters.

Damien Marie AtHope, Thanks for your thoughts, you address interesting ideas but the issue you are addressing sounds a bit different than I was trying to say is doing an appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, so to limit one’s thinking to an appeal to authority is thinking strategy as a logical fallacy.

Challenger #2, it’s only a fallacy of the authority to which one is appealing is Not an authority in the field in question. For instance, if one’s argument is that, “Well even Richard Dawkins says the Big Bang proves the universe had a finite beginning,” (I’m making up the quote), that would be an appeal to authority fallacy because Dawkins is not an astrophysicist. However, if one quoted Krauss on this issue, it would not be fallacious. in a field for which I have no training, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to rely on experts and the consensus among experts.

Damien Marie AtHope, But even if I as an anti-authoritarianist were to accept an appeal to the scholarly articles on any scientific studies are valid only on the evidence and have nothing to do with the scientists or researchers. Just as if one wants to overturn any previous believed scientific theory it’s the evidence not in any way the person presenting it.

Challenger #1, Hmmm, I never got the impression that this post was about the logical fallacy known as: appeal to authority. However, when regarding the appeal to authority as a fallacy: if the the authority in question has made statements of an opinionated matter then I have to agree with Damien. However, if the appeal is to something the authority claimed based on the evidence and the current body of knowledge then I don’t think that would be considered a fallacy.

New respondent, Very succinct explanation of what divides believers from non-believers.

An argument from authority (Latinargumentum ad verecundiam), also called an appeal to authority, is a common type of argument which can be fallacious, such as when an authority is cited on a topic outside their area of expertise or when the authority cited is not a true expert.[1]

Carl Sagan wrote of arguments from authority:

One of the great commandments of science is, “Mistrust arguments from authority.” … Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else.[2]

Truths and Facts Scientifically?
 
“There is a great deal of interest of us in examining claims of ‘truths’ and ‘facts’. In such examination, there is a noticeable stress on scientifically proven facts which can be taken as fundamentally true. This is possibly because mathematics is the language of Science and we make mistake thinking mathematical proofs to be reflecting the essence of scientifically proven facts. Does science necessarily prove anything? The way mathematics proves a proposition? It is surprising that such a basic debate cannot be laid to rest and a conclusion arrived at even after 1934 book by Karl Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Alan Moghissi, Matthew Amin and Connor McNulty of Institute for Regulatory Science, Alexandria, Va wrote to the editor of Science (the magazine) disagreeing with Peter Gleick and 250 members of the (US) National Academy of Sciences writing to the editor of Science: All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything.” Ref
Appeal to Authority Fallacy

Historically, opinion on the appeal to authority has been divided – it has been held to be a valid argument about as often as it has been considered an outright fallacy. John Locke, in his 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, was the first to identify argumentum ad verecundiam as a specific category of argument. Although he did not call this type of argument a fallacy, he did note that it can be misused by taking advantage of the “respect” and “submission” of the reader or listener to persuade them to accept the conclusion. Over time, logic textbooks started to adopt and change Locke’s original terminology to refer more specifically to fallacious uses of the argument from authority. By the mid-twentieth century, it was common for logic textbooks to refer to the “Fallacy of appealing to authority,” even while noting that “this method of argument is not always strictly fallacious.” In the Western rationalistic tradition and in early modern philosophy, appealing to authority was generally considered a logical fallacy. More recently, logic textbooks have shifted to a less blanket approach to these arguments, now often referring to the fallacy as the “Argument from Unqualified Authority” or the “Argument from Unreliable Authority”. However, these are still not the only recognized forms of appeal to authority. For example, a 2012 guidebook on philosophical logic describes appeals to authority not merely as arguments from unqualified or unreliable authority, but as arguments from authority in general. In addition to appeals lacking evidence of the authority’s reliability, the book states that arguments from authority are fallacious if there is a lack of “good evidence” that the authorities appealed to possess “adequate justification for their views.” And there are other recognized fallacious arguments from authority. Among them, the “Fallacies” entry by Bradley Dowden in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that “appealing to authority as a reason to believe something is fallacious […] when authorities disagree on this subject (except for the occasional lone wolf)” The “Fallacies” entry by Hans Hansen in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy similarly states that “when there is controversy, and authorities are divided, it is an error to base one’s view on the authority of just some of them.” However, Hansen’s entry in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy does not appear to share Dowden’s exception regarding “lone wolf” dissenting authorities.

Appeal to non-authorities

Fallacious arguments from authority can also be the result of citing a non-authority as an authority. These arguments assume that a person without status or authority is inherently reliable. The appeal to poverty for example is the fallacy of thinking a conclusion is more likely to be correct because the one who holds or is presenting it is poor. When an argument holds that a conclusion is likely to be true precisely because the one who holds or is presenting it lacks authority, it is a fallacious appeal to the common man. A common example of the fallacy is appealing to an authority in one subject to pontificate on another – for example citing Albert Einstein as an authority on religion when his expertise was in physics. The attributed authority might not even welcome that authority, as with the “More Doctors Smoke Camels” ad campaign. However, it is also a fallacious ad hominem argument to argue that a person presenting statements lacks authority and thus their arguments do not need to be considered. As appeals to a perceived lack of authority, these types of argument are fallacious for much the same reasons as an appeal to authority.

Notable examples

Inaccurate chromosome number

In 1923, leading American zoologist Theophilus Painter declared, based on poor data and conflicting observations he had made, that humans had 24 pairs of chromosomes. From the 1920s to the 1950s, this continued to be held based on Painter’s authority, despite subsequent counts totaling the correct number of 23. Even textbooks with photos showing 23 pairs incorrectly declared the number to be 24 based on the authority of the then-consensus of 24 pairs. This seemingly established number created confirmation bias among researchers, and “most cytologists, expecting to detect Painter’s number, virtually always did so”. Painter’s “influence was so great that many scientists preferred to believe his count over the actual evidence”, to the point that “textbooks from the time carried photographs showing twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, and yet the caption would say there were twenty-four”. Scientists who obtained the accurate number modified or discarded their data to agree with Painter’s count.

Psychological basis

An integral part of the appeal to authority is the cognitive bias known as the Asch effect. In repeated and modified instances of the Asch conformity experiments, it was found that high-status individuals create a stronger likelihood of a subject agreeing with an obviously false conclusion, despite the subject normally being able to clearly see that the answer was incorrect. Further, humans have been shown to feel strong emotional pressure to conform to authorities and majority positions. A repeat of the experiments by another group of researchers found that “Participants reported considerable distress under the group pressure”, with 59% conforming at least once and agreeing with the clearly incorrect answer, whereas the incorrect answer was much more rarely given when no such pressures were present. Scholars have noted that the academic environment produces a nearly ideal situation for these processes to take hold, and they can affect entire academic disciplines, giving rise to groupthink. One paper about the philosophy of mathematics for example notes that, within mathematics,

If…a person accepts our discipline, and goes through two or three years of graduate study in mathematics, he absorbs our way of thinking, and is no longer the critical outsider he once was…If the student is unable to absorb our way of thinking, we flunk him out, of course. If he gets through our obstacle course and then decides that our arguments are unclear or incorrect, we dismiss him as a crank, crackpot, or misfit. Ref

Challenged or Challenging? (questions of ontology)

All thinkers should know that ontological (thingness) definition require answers and that need to answers in can we confirm or conclude what a god even is could be to as well as if god exists, what is a god, and how or where/how did you acquire such definitions; impossible or possible for a god to exist. “From a confirmed or concluded” you have or do not have well definite if a god to the reality of a god. When anyone talks of challenges they are generally in some way even if only a unstated presupposition will include or involve three things: 1. the ontology (the thingness of things), 2. the epistemology ( how you know what you think you believe or know) and 3. the axiology (what and why of value/worth/good)? The ontology is of core importance to require it by asking for ontological definition or definition. This would make a good first act of fighting without having to fight, by always try starting by making them define the details of any claims but it can be done just as easily for attacks as well. Ontology attacks: slow down and unpack any claims, “you said you know god is real.” What do you mean by the qualities, attribution, or thingness of the things involved in the term god or what do you know about the term god and is an estimate for the faith reality you agree to believe in. Ontology defense: slow down and unpack any attacks, “you said I can’t be moral or good without god.” What do you mean by the qualities, attribution, or thingness of the things involved in the term god or morality? Simply, ontology is a universal investigation pinpoint. Ontology is likely what is being addressed or is involved when the reality confirmed by science, and the scientific method is generally employs several philosophy tools realized or not and they are mainly rationalism, empiricism and skepticism/fallibilism and/or falsificationism.

Ontology, Epistemology, & Axiology argument/challenge protocol: http://damienmarieathope.com/2016/10/13/ontology-epistemology-axiology-argumentchallenge-protocol/

To me, belief ontologies address the conceptual schemas involved, at the intersection of three elements: a belief is a thinking system with a susceptibility to flaws, use ontological challenging or ontological disproofs which are logical arguments against by attacker/challenger access to the flaw, and attacker capability to exploit the flaw. Ontological disproofs, are sophisticated ontological arguments, ontological challenges or ontological disproofs accusations that demand equally sophisticated responses, to which, many people are unprepared. Belief or argument forms should be valid, to prove them sound or unsound, strong/weak, or well-defined/undefined, as weak premises must be shown to be false. By use ontological challenging, you are shining a light on its ways claimed or points proposed, outlined or arranged which equals a thing or its qualities to define it that makes the depth and fullness to a being or thing, like just what is provisional about the thing in question or offer, are the characteristics of adequate development structure and infrastructure of the ontology involved in claims or propositions as truth, fact, or knowledge? One ontological criticism focuses on the semantics that are given for quantifiers qualities used or involved as the notation of the language representations of the contents of belief talk, proposing that the qualities offered are fully alike (unequivocal) when the items or properties identified to you are likely one of the three partly unlike (equivocal). To me, ontologies are like an adequate way or web of elements involved in the thingness of things or ideas. Point by slow methodological point, is the most effective way to use ontological challenging.  Ontologically challenge needs to be done, in order to develop in the other person, an ontological insecurity about what the person, place, thing, or idea are construction of and just what is being claimed, portrayed or proposed as truth, fact, or knowledge? A belief or set of beliefs, likely have a relationship between ideas of the thing expose the cracks and fissure in the conceptualizations divided up or overlap but often while a belief or set of beliefs are offered with assurance, they instead ontologically inadequate or almost completely ontologically empty. By exposing ontological volnurniblities or weakness in a belief or set of beliefs can rise person’s sense of ontological Insecurity as the thinker realized they may not know that that know. In my way of thinking as ontological insecurity refers or relates to in an existential sense a person’s sense of “belief” deflation, discrediting, or disproving. Such an ontologically insecure thinker, maybe so ontologically desperate, to stop/lower believing/accepting the level of “reality or existence” of the things or ideas they were just referring to. In contrast, the ontologically secure thinker, maybe so ontologically stable in relation to ontological commitment of their fragments involved to feel a high level. Ontological arguments or Ontological commitment need to demonstrate or require demonstration of the disciplined or disordered structures but, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion

Ontological commitment structures:

*similarity vs logic: this is the difference between matchings (predicating about the similarity of ontology terms), and mappings (logical axioms, typically expressing logical equivalence or inclusion among ontology terms)

*atomic vs complex: whether the alignments we considered are one-to-one, or can involve more terms in a query-like formulation (e.g., LAV/GAV mapping)

*homogeneous vs heterogeneous: do the alignments predicate on terms of the same type (e.g., classes are related only to classes, individuals to individuals, etc.) or we allow heterogeneity in the relationship?

*type of alignment: the semantics associated to an alignment, assumption, equivalence, discontinues, part-of or any user-specified relationship. Ref

Many arguments fall under the category of the ontological, and they tend to involve arguments about the state of being or existing. More specifically, ontological arguments tend to start with an a priori theory about the organization of the universe. If that organizational structure is true, the argument will provide reasons why God must exist. Ontological disproofs are logical arguments against of the existence of a thing based on what it would be if it existed. These arguments are very important because they do not simply purport to prove that god(s) does not exist (like, say, the Easter Bunny or Martians), but that God cannot exist (like a square circle or a married bachelor). The basic form of these arguments is something like this:

If God exists, he must be like ‘X’.  [Here ‘X’ = some attribute(s) of God, e.g., he must be good, loving, omnipotent, etc.].

‘X’ is actually impossible.

Therefore, god(s) cannot exist.

The traditional definition of an ontological argument contrasted the ontological argument (literally any argument “concerned with being”) with the cosmological and physio-theoretical arguments. According to the Kantian view, ontological arguments are those founded on a priori reasoning. Graham Oppy, who holds the view that he “see[s] no urgent reason” to depart from the traditional definition, defined ontological arguments as those that begin with “nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises” and conclude that God exists. Oppy admitted, however, that not all of the “traditional characteristics” of an ontological argument (analyticity, necessity, and a priority) are found in all ontological arguments and, in his 2007 work Ontological Arguments and Belief in God, suggested that a better definition of an ontological argument would employ only considerations “entirely internal to the theistic worldview”. Oppy subclassified ontological arguments into definitional, conceptual (or hyperintensional), modal, Meinongian, experiential, mereological, higher-order, or Hegelian categories, based on the qualities of their premises. He defined these qualities as follows: definitional arguments invoke definitions; conceptual arguments invoke “the possession of certain kinds of ideas or concepts”; modal arguments consider possibilities; Meinongian arguments assert “a distinction between different categories of existence”; experiential arguments employ the idea that God exists solely to those who have had experience of him; and Hegelian arguments are from Hegel. He later categorized mereological as arguments that “draw on… the theory of the whole-part relation”. William Lane Craig criticized Oppy’s study as too vague for useful classification. Craig argued that an argument can be classified as ontological if it attempts to deduce the existence of God, along with other necessary truths, from his definition. He suggested that proponents of ontological arguments would claim that, if one fully understood the concept of God, one must accept his existence. William L. Rowe defined ontological arguments as those that start from the definition of God and, using only a priori principles, conclude with God’s existence. Ref

In information science, an upper, top-level, or foundation ontology is an ontology which consists of very general terms (such as “object”, “property”, “relation”) that are common across all domains. An important function of an upper ontology is to support broad semantic interoperability among a large number of domain-specific ontologies by providing a common starting point for the formulation of definitions. Terms in the domain ontology are ranked “under” the terms in the upper ontology, and the former stand to the latter in subclass relations. A number of upper ontologies proposed, each with its own proponents. Each upper ontology can be considered as a computational implementation of natural philosophy, which itself is a more empirical method for investigating the topics within the philosophical discipline of physical ontology. Arguments for the infeasibility of an upper ontology: Historically, many attempts in many societies have been made to impose or define a single set of concepts as more primal, basic, foundational, authoritative, true or rational than all others. A common objection to such attempts points out that humans lack the sort of transcendent perspective – or God’s eye view – that would be required to achieve this goal. Humans are bound by language or culture, and so lack the sort of objective perspective from which to observe the whole terrain of concepts and derive any one standard. Another objection is the problem of formulating definitions. Top level ontologies are designed to maximize support for interoperability across a large number of terms. Such ontologies must therefore consist of terms expressing very general concepts, but such concepts are so basic to our understanding that there is no way in which they can be defined, since the very process of definition implies that a less basic (and less well understood) concept is defined in terms of concepts that are more basic and so (ideally) more well understood. Very general concepts can often only be elucidated, for example by means of examples, or paraphrase.

There is no self-evident way of dividing the world up into concepts, and certainly no non-controversial one

There is no neutral ground that can serve as a means of translating between specialized (or “lower” or “application-specific”) ontologies

Human language itself is already an arbitrary approximation of just one among many possible conceptual maps. To draw any necessary correlation between English words and any number of intellectual concepts we might like to represent in our ontologies is just asking for trouble. (WordNet, for instance, is successful and useful precisely because it does not pretend to be a general-purpose upper ontology; rather, it is a tool for semantic / syntactic / linguistic disambiguation, which is richly embedded in the particulars and peculiarities of the English language.) Any hierarchical or topological representation of concepts must begin from some ontological, epistemological, linguistic, cultural, and ultimately pragmatic perspective. Such pragmatism does not allow for the exclusion of politics between persons or groups, indeed it requires they be considered as perhaps more basic primitives than any that are represented. Those who doubt the feasibility of general purpose ontologies are more inclined to ask “what specific purpose do we have in mind for this conceptual map of entities and what practical difference will this ontology make?” This pragmatic philosophical position surrenders all hope of devising the encoded ontology version of “everything that is the case.” Finally, there are objections similar to those against artificial intelligence. Technically, the complex concept acquisition and the social / linguistic interactions of human beings suggests any axiomatic foundation of “most basic” concepts must be cognitive, biological or otherwise difficult to characterize since we don’t have axioms for such systems. Ethically, any general-purpose ontology could quickly become an actual tyranny by recruiting adherents into a political program designed to propagate it and its funding means, and possibly defend it by violence. Historically, inconsistent and irrational belief systems have proven capable of commanding obedience to the detriment or harm of persons both inside and outside a society that accepts them. How much more harmful would a consistent rational one be, were it to contain even one or two basic assumptions incompatible with human life? Many of those who doubt the possibility of developing wide agreement on a common upper ontology fall into one of two traps:

they assert that there is no possibility of universal agreement on any conceptual scheme; but they argue that a practical common ontology does not need to have universal agreement, it only needs a large enough user community (as is the case for human languages) to make it profitable for developers to use it as a means to general interoperability, and for third-party developer to develop utilities to make it easier to use; and

they point out that developers of data schemes find different representations congenial for their local purposes; but they do not demonstrate that these different representation are in fact logically inconsistent.

In fact, different representations of assertions about the real world (though not philosophical models), if they accurately reflect the world, must be logically consistent, even if they focus on different aspects of the same physical object or phenomenon. If any two assertions about the real world are logically inconsistent, one or both must be wrong, and that is a topic for experimental investigation, not for ontological representation. In practice, representations of the real world are created as and known to be approximations to the basic reality, and their use is circumscribed by the limits of error of measurements in any given practical application. Ontologies are entirely capable of representing approximations, and are also capable of representing situations in which different approximations have different utility. Objections based on the different ways people perceive things attack a simplistic, impoverished view of ontology. The objection that there are logically incompatible models of the world are true, but in an upper ontology those different models can be represented as different theories, and the adherents of those theories can use them in preference to other theories, while preserving the logical consistency of the necessary assumptions of the upper ontology. The necessary assumptions provide the logical vocabulary with which to specify the meanings of all of the incompatible models. It has never been demonstrated that incompatible models cannot be properly specified with a common, more basic set of concepts, while there are examples of incompatible theories that can be logically specified with only a few basic concepts. Many of the objections to upper ontology refer to the problems of life-critical decisions or non-axiomatized problem areas such as law or medicine or politics that are difficult even for humans to understand. Some of these objections do not apply to physical objects or standard abstractions that are defined into existence by human beings and closely controlled by them for mutual good, such as standards for electrical power system connections or the signals used in traffic lights. No single general metaphysics is required to agree that some such standards are desirable. For instance, while time and space can be represented many ways, some of these are already used in interoperable artifacts like maps or schedules. Objections to the feasibility of a common upper ontology also do not take into account the possibility of forging agreement on an ontology that contains all of the primitive ontology elements that can be combined to create any number of more specialized concept representations. Adopting this tactic permits effort to be focused on agreement only on a limited number of ontology elements. By agreeing on the meanings of that inventory of basic concepts, it becomes possible to create and then accurately and automatically interpret an infinite number of concept representations as combinations of the basic ontology elements. Any domain ontology or database that uses the elements of such an upper ontology to specify the meanings of its terms will be automatically and accurately interoperable with other ontologies that use the upper ontology, even though they may each separately define a large number of domain elements not defined in other ontologies. In such a case, proper interpretation will require that the logical descriptions of domain-specific elements be transmitted along with any data that is communicated; the data will then be automatically interpretable because the domain element descriptions, based on the upper ontology, will be properly interpretable by any system that can properly use the upper ontology. In effect elements in different domain ontologies can be *translated* into each other using the common upper ontology. An upper ontology based on such a set of primitive elements can include alternative views, provided that they are logically compatible. Logically incompatible models can be represented as alternative theories, or represented in a specialized extension to the upper ontology. The proper use of alternative theories is a piece of knowledge that can itself be represented in an ontology. Users that develop new domain ontologies and find that there are semantic primitives needed for their domain but missing from the existing common upper ontology can add those new primitives by the accepted procedure, expanding the common upper ontology as necessary. Most proponents[who?] of an upper ontology argue that several good ones may be created with perhaps different emphasis. Very few are actually arguing to discover just one within natural language or even an academic field. Most are simply standardizing some existing communication. Another view advanced is that there is almost total overlap of the different ways that upper ontologies have been formalized, in the sense that different ontologies focus on a different aspect of the same entities, but the different views are complementary and not contradictory to each other; as a result, an internally consistent ontology that contains all the views, with means of translating the different views into the other, is feasible. Such an ontology has not thus far been constructed, however, because it would require a large project to develop so as to include all of the alternative views in the separately developed upper ontologies, along with their translations. The main barrier to construction of such an ontology is not the technical issues, but the reluctance of funding agencies to provide the funds for a large enough consortium of developers and users. Several common arguments against upper ontology can be examined more clearly by separating issues of concept definition (ontology), language (lexicons), and facts (knowledge). For instance, people have different terms and phrases for the same concept. However, that does not necessarily mean that those people are referring to different concepts. They may simply be using different language or idiom. Formal ontologies typically use linguistic labels to refer to concepts, but the terms that label ontology elements mean no more and no less than what their axioms say they mean. Labels are similar to variable names in software, evocative rather than definitive. The proponents of a common upper ontology point out that the meanings of the elements (classes, relations, rules) in an ontology depend only on their logical form, and not on the labels, which are usually chosen merely to make the ontologies more easily usable by their human developers. In fact, the labels for elements in an ontology need not be words – they could be, for example, images of instances of a particular type, or videos of an action that is represented by a particular type. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that words are *not* what are represented in an ontology, but entities in the real world, or abstract entities (concepts) in the minds of people. Words are not equivalent to ontology elements, but words *label* ontology elements. There can be many words that label a single concept, even in a single language (synonymy), and there can be many concepts labeled by a single word (ambiguity). Creating the mappings between human language and the elements of an ontology is the province of Natural Language Understanding. But the ontology itself stands independently as a logical and computational structure. For this reason, finding agreement on the structure of an ontology is actually easier than developing a controlled vocabulary, because all different interpretations of a word can be included, each *mapped* to the same word in the different terminologies. A second argument is that people believe different things, and therefore can’t have the same ontology. However, people can assign different truth values to a particular assertion while accepting the validity of certain underlying claims, facts, or way of expressing an argument with which they disagree. (Using, for instance, the issue/position/argument form.) This objection to upper ontologies ignores the fact that a single ontology can represent different belief systems, representing them as different belief systems, without taking a position on the validity of either. Even arguments about the existence of a thing require a certain sharing of a concept, even though its existence in the real world may be disputed. Separating belief from naming and definition also helps to clarify this issue, and show how concepts can be held in common, even in the face of differing belief. For instance, wiki as a medium may permit such confusion but disciplined users can apply dispute resolution methods to sort out their conflicts. It is also argued that most people share a common set of “semantic primitives”, fundamental concepts, to which they refer when they are trying to explain unfamiliar terms to other people. An ontology that includes representations of those semantic primitives could in such a case be used to create logical descriptions of any term that a person may wish to define logically. That ontology would be one form of upper ontology, serving as a logical “interlingua” that can translate ideas in one terminology to its logical equivalent in another terminology. Advocates[who?] argue that most disagreement about the viability of an upper ontology can be traced to the conflation of ontology, language and knowledge, or too-specialized areas of knowledge: many people, or agents or groups will have areas of their respective internal ontologies that do not overlap. If they can cooperate and share a conceptual map at all, this may be so very useful that it outweighs any disadvantages that accrue from sharing. To the degree it becomes harder to share concepts the deeper one probes, the more valuable such sharing tends to get. If the problem is as basic as opponents of upper ontologies claim, then, it also applies to a group of humans trying to cooperate, who might need machine assistance to communicate easily. If nothing else, such ontologies are implied by machine translation, used when people cannot practically communicate. Whether “upper” or not, these seem likely to proliferate. Ref

Error Crushing Force of the Dialectic Questions and the Hammer of Truth

Error Crushing Force of the Dialectic Questions and the Hammer of Truth

*(Ontology) What are you talking about, please slow down and give me each specific detail individually?

*(Epistemology) How do you know that and why do you think it is justified or warranted?

*(Axiology) What is its value if any and why do you value that or why would anyone?

If you don’t already know, Dialectic is the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.

What I am trying to say in this message of Dialectic Questions in order to find truth by giving people three questions that can be put towards almost anything and it help remove error and thus improved accuracy.

Ontology, Epistemology, & Axiology argument/challenge protocol

Grasping the status of truth (ontology of truth)

The Ontology of Humanistic Economics in Society?

Challenged or Challenging?

Openness to Critique?

Strong vs Weak Thinkers?

A strong thinker can deeply analyze their own positions removing all that are unworthy and updating to the most currently accurate. Whereas a weak thinker can only offer deep attacks to the positions of others that differ in thinking.

Just think, are your beliefs further supporting rhetoric or accuracy to the facts and are you ready to change if you have it the other way around?

Believer vs Thinker?

When you can, with all honesty, say that you put a similar voracity to one’s own ideas as they demand for others then they are a thinker not just a believer. And when you can quickly and eagerly relinquish any and all ideas, even the most cherished if they were not true; yes a willingness to discuss or discard if required, even if you like them is being a thinker and not just a unthinking believer.

We Love Generalizations (even if wrong)

We don’t like slow clear accurate thinking, no, we are bias irrational compulsive disordered hasty generalizations thinking beings.

We build our “belief” of the accuracy of our hasty generalizations one assertion at a time. In other words we add undue increasing assurance because we keep saying it over and over again, not because it’s actually accurate to the facts. We may cherry pick a few facts to support this error in thinking but that is intellectual dishonestly, as if it can be destroyed by the truth it should be. – Damien Marie AtHope

Here is my blog on rhetoric and stereotypes: Rhetoric & Stereotypes: Rethinking How We Think.

And, here is some information on hasty generalizations (also known as: argument from small numbers, statistics of small numbers, insufficient statistics, unrepresentative sample [form of], argument by generalization, faulty generalization, hasty conclusion [form of], inductive generalization, insufficient sample, lonely fact fallacy, over generality, over generalization)

Description: Drawing a conclusion based on a small sample size, rather than looking at statistics that are much more in line with the typical or average situation.

Logical Form:

Sample S is taken from population P.
Sample S is a very small part of population P.
Conclusion C is drawn from sample S.

Example #1:

My father smoked four packs of cigarettes a day since age fourteen and lived until age sixty-nine. Therefore, smoking really can’t be that bad for you.

Explanation: It is extremely unreasonable (and dangerous) to draw a universal conclusion about the health risks of smoking by the case study of one man.

Example #2:

Four out of five dentists recommend Happy Glossy Smiley toothpaste brand. Therefore, it must be great.

Explanation: It turns out that only five dentists were actually asked. When a random sampling of 1000 dentists were polled, only 20% actually recommended the brand. The four out of five result was not necessarily a biased sample or a dishonest survey, it just happened to be a statistical anomaly common among small samples.

Exception: When statistics of a larger population are not available, and a decision must be made or opinion formed if the small sample size is all you have to work with, then it is better than nothing. For example, if you are strolling in the desert with a friend, and he goes to pet a cute snake, gets bitten, then dies instantly, it would not be fallacious to assume the snake is poisonous.

Tip: Don’t base decisions on small sample sizes when much more reliable data exists.

Variation: The hasty conclusion is leaping to a conclusion without carefully considering the alternatives — a tad different than drawing a conclusion from too small of a sample. Ref

Addressing The Ethics of Belief

Yes, We All Have Beliefs; But What Does That Mean?

 I am a rationalist not a skeptic

To me a “Rationalist”, knowing it or not will be more prone to axiology, strong atheism and or ignosticism. And “Skeptic”, knowing it or not will be more prone to nihilism, weak atheism and or agnosticism. Don’t get me wrong, “I Am a Rationalist and Support Reasonable Skepticism” http://damienmarieathope.com/2016/03/02/support-reasonable-skepticism/

A wise person can even learn from things some people think are stupid.

A stupid person cannot even learn from someone who is wise.

Bigfoots, Unicorns, and Gods?

Bigfoots, Unicorns, and Gods the rational conclusion using axiology

So how do we form rational conclusions? More importantly how do we differentiate between the levels involved to establish a conclusions rational viability.

It takes axiology or the value judgment the worthiness or lack thereof in relation to the available reason and evidence.

So let’s start with the axiological viability of Bigfoots

There is no available evidence for Bigfoots.

But is their proposition outside of reason?

Always start in reality from the evidence we do know, such as a primate/nonhuman hominid close to that of both humans and other nonhuman primates is not entirely outside all possibility of reason even though lacking all evidence. Therefore, belief is not warrant and the axiological worthiness of possibility is low enough to motivate disbelief.

The axiological viability of Unicorns (ie. a horse with a single horn on its head)

There is no evidence for Unicorns.

But is their proposition outside of reason?

As always start in reality from the evidence we do know, such as by looking at the evolution of the horse not once was there a horn on any of the several stages of animals to the horse we know today. So it is relatively outside of possibility though as it is still only claiming non fantastic attributes it is only somewhat ridiculous. Therefore, belief is not in any way warranted and the axiological worthiness is so low to highly support disbelief.

Now the axiological validity of Gods

There is no evidence for Gods.

But is their proposition outside of reason?

As always start in reality from the evidence we do know, such as never in the history of scientific research or investigation has any supernatural claims shown to be true. So it is completely outside of possibility and is utterly ridiculous. Therefore, belief should be rejected as there are no warrants at all and it is axiologically unworthy to such a preponderance to demand disbelief.

 

Theological Noncognitivist & Ignosticism

Theological noncognitivism is the argument that religious language – specifically, words such as “god” – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered as synonymous with ignosticism. 1
 
I see Theological noncognitivism as a kind of duel attack a semantic/logical and a reasoned psychological that the mind must be able to conceptualize.
 
I see Ignosticism as using the Theological noncognitivism arguments of “mind understanding issues” (rationalism challenging) and an evidentialist/verificationist arguments of “lacking evidence issues” (empiricism challenging).
 
Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of god and other theological concepts; including (but not limited to) concepts of faith, spirituality, heaven, hell, afterlife, damnation, salvation, sin and the soul. Moreover, Ignosticism is the view that any religious term or theological concept presented must be accompanied by a coherent definition. Without a clear definition such terms cannot be meaningfully discussed. Such terms or concepts must also be falsifiable. Lacking this, an ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the existence or nature of the terms presented (and all matters of debate) is meaningless. For example, if the term “god” does not refer to anything reasonably defined then there is no conceivable method to test against the existence of god. Therefore, the term “god” has no literal significance and need not be debated or discussed. Ignosticism and theological noncognitivism are similar although whereas the ignostic says “every theological position assumes too much about the concept of god”, the theological noncognitivist claims to have no concept whatever to label as “a concept of god”, but the relationship of ignosticism to other nontheistic views is less clear. 1

Consider the proposition of the existence of a “pink unicorn”. When asserting the proposition, one can use attributes to at least describe the concept such a cohesive idea is transferred in language. With no knowledge of “pink unicorn”, it can be described minimally with the attributes “pink”, “horse”, and “horn”. Only then can the proposition be accepted or rejected. The acceptance or rejection of the proposition is distinct from the concept. 1

“Damien, I had a difficult time believing in God or any type because it seems unlikely that one supreme being could control everything yet allow hate, war, misery, suffering, and pain to hurt everyone on earth.” – Messanger

My response, well to hold the thinking that it is unlikely that one supreme being could control everything yet allow hate, war, misery, suffering, and pain to hurt everyone on earth. is actually an axiological atheism argument or moral argument against god(s).


No god Claims have Justification, Challenge?

“Damien, (responding to me saying no god claims have justification) there are problems thinking everything you believe needs a justification.” – Challenger

My response, so, are you saying something can be claimed as real but have no warrant to justify why one should agree or even entertain it?

“The idea that Induction is reliable can be claimed and seems like an important assumption, but arguments for it are fallacious. There are similar issues with thinking an external world exists.” – Challenger

My response, ok, and how do we discern any of it, if nothing has a need for justification? Because to me, I see you’re saying something is fallacious as asserting a justification stance and thus, is similar to what I think, which is valid, that there is a rationalistic need for justification. You are telling me I am wrong and that needs a justification, just as me showing your thinking wrong took a justification. If not then tell me how I am wrong utilizing no justification at all. So, try to prove me wrong because even if you do you will have provided a justification so then further proving my assertion of the need for justification.

“You are missing part of the conversation. Can you prove every belief needs a justification? Let’s say every belief needs a justification. Then you have to argue for every premise of every argument. That requires infinite arguments. What exactly is your argument that all beliefs require a justification?  I am not challenging the importance of justification. I am challenging the idea that every belief has to have a justification. The example above is induction. Hume showed why arguments for induction will be fallacious. I did not just make the claim. Go ahead and prove induction is reliable if you can. It would revolutionize philosophy. In response to >>sure you can believe all kinds of things with no justification at all but we can’t claim them as true not wish others to actually agree unless something is somehow and or in some way justified. I already said every challenged claim in a debate has to be argued for. Every claim has a burden of proof anyway. Most beliefs that do not require justification are things basically everyone already agrees with. But if you debate someone who rejects the existence of an external world or the reliability of induction, you can’t prove that they have to agree as far as I can tell. In response to >>When is something true that has no justification? Lots of things are true and we don’t know they are true. To claim to know something is true is another issue. But maybe we know induction is reliable. Maybe we know there is an external world. If so, it’s not clear how we know those things. I already mentioned induction above and you never talked about it.” – Challenger

My response, “Sure, there can be many things that may be true but actually receiving rational agreement that they are intact true needs justification.”

“Right, I think we might have talked past one another a bit. I don’t expect agreement without a good argument.” – Challenger

My response, so you, like me want a justification?

Of course, it is a very important thing to me in general.” – Challenger


Agnosticism No Thanks, I am Ignostic

Is it correct to hold a belief that theists, such as Christians actually have a concept of something nonexistent labeled “GOD”, just like we all have a concept of something nonexistent labeled “unicorns”? Do they really have any reality tangible concept to label “the god concept” because without it are not beliefs about “the god concept” reality intangible? A concept of something nonexistent labeled “GOD”, is not tangible and is incapable of being perceived as something in or of reality. It is an unknowable reality intangible unfounded speculation, not a known concept. Such as, can we not form a somewhat reality tangible concept to label “the unicorn concept,” for we can conceive of a horse and a singular horn in order to intelligibly have a unicorn concept. Can we not generate a mental picture of a concept that fits the label unicorn, but one cannot really close their eyes and conjure up any concept of anything labeled “GOD” even though no one has any more reason to believe in unicorns then gods. I do reject that the god label has any meaning in reality and that any effort given to a god concept is still nothing but lies made up claiming to know or give believed qualities and it is that which I am rejecting as an atheist. But when asked if I believe an offered deity such as Allah to me I am a ignostic atheist (I reject the god label as expressing anything real and also reject the belief of any god concept connecting to anything real). I don’t believe that the label “God” refers to anything imaginable. That doesn’t mean I don’t also reject the claim offered thus am Atheist as well. You are saying I must choose and I am saying I don’t think I have to. If you ask is god an intelligible thing no. Do I believe the claims given to it? No. Thus, to me, I can be both, hold in myself the stance it (all god claims) is meaningless (lack any coherent offering linking reality to the term labeled gods) therefore, reason would seem to require an honest thinker to profess “Ignostic Thinking” (whether or not they know what the term labeled “Ignostic” even is) and reject their claim of a god so am an atheist. Further more religionists personally in most of my personal experience whether it is Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc., none really or truly understand much of what they like to talk about as if it’s fact magic that is not yet once even proven in a small way thus them asking other to some how take serious their big magic claims is not even require much consideration at all as its self debunking with no valid and reliable ontology to find or offer thus such claims as gods something offered with evidence of nothing are not really believable in a real way and are instead believed in a psychological way and it is this psychological battle that we must address as the so called believers are just self-lying and in a real way also do not really believe in a god at all as no one can, as there is no way to actually believe in an undefinable in reality, unknown from reality, and nonpositional to reality as the opposite is required to know something, therefore this only believe that they believe that the label “God” refers to something imaginable but god is like a square circle statable in words even understandable as separate pieces but impossible by design when added together. So we much over come the psychological certain belief that is not a normal reality belief, it is instead a psychological blind acceptance of the pseudo-reality thinking that is needed to formulate or accept a god (big magic claim or actually often a set of magic nonreality/pseudo-reality claim/claims) as if it was even more real than the actual reality (“faith-ism” or fideism).


“Damien, as a philosophical position, agnosticism is the only honest position……. but it fails when presented with physical evidence.. and so it is the middle way…” – Challenger
 
My response, what is a god to doubt? I don’t start my disbelief on the dilutions of god claims I assess are these claims warranted they are not so nothing to doubt so agnosticism starts with a presupposition of the term god to say they are unsure about thus to me making a thinking error as there is no presupposition god term to reality. I stand with ignosticism, roughly that the term god is given to much leeway as a valid offering of a possible real thing when no god claim if limited to only reality coherent attributes all add nonsense like supernatural things one of which at its simplest a being or at least a thinking thing with no physical mind but can think, an invisible thing and of courses an immaterial thing such as the no physical body in any way. And there we see the problem with accepting any god claim as even reality coherent as it is not. All claims must be coherent with or correspond to reality and just like many theological nonsense terms such as the soul. I don’t know what people are talking about when they say the term “soul” (it’s a made-up concept which connects to nothing that is reality coherent) as there is no part of the body exhibits as such magic thinking idea, soul, thus a debunked claim and does not need doubt. Similarly, I don’t know what people are talking about when they say the term “god” (it’s a made-up concept which connects to nothing that is reality coherent) as there is no part of the body exhibits as such magic thinking idea, god, thus a debunked claim and does not need doubt.
 
Kurtz, New Skepticism, 220: “Ignosticism or igtheism, finds the belief in a metaphysical, transcendent being basically incoherent and unintelligible.”
 
“Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts; including (but not limited to) concepts of faith, spirituality, heaven, hell, afterlife, damnation, salvation, sin and the soul. Ignosticism is the view that any religious term or theological concept presented must be accompanied by a coherent definition. Without a clear definition such terms cannot be meaningfully discussed. Such terms or concepts must also be falsifiable. Lacking this, an ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the existence or nature of the terms presented (and all matters of debate) is meaningless. For example, if the term “God” does not refer to anything reasonably defined then there is no conceivable method to test against the existence of god. Therefore, the term “God” has no literal significance and need not be debated or discussed.” Ref

Theological noncognitivism atheism:  theological noncognitivism atheists – holds that the statement “god exists” does not express a proposition, but is nonsensical or cognitively meaningless. A theological noncognitivist atheist claims “god” does not refer to anything that exists, “god” does not refer to anything that does not exist, “god” does not refer to something that may or may not exist, and “god” has no literal significance, just as “Fod” has no literal significance. The term God was chosen for this example, obviously any theological term [such as “Yahweh” and “Allah”] that is not falsifiable is subject to scrutiny. Many people who label themselves “theological noncognitivists” claim that all alleged definitions for the term “God” are circular, for instance, “God is that which caused everything but God”, defines “God” in terms of “God”. They also claim that in Anselm’s definition “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived”, that the pronoun “which” refers back to “God” rendering it circular as well. Others who label themselves “theological noncognitivists” argue in different ways, depending on what one considers the “theory of meaning” to be. Michael Martin, writing from a verificationist perspective, concludes that religious language is meaningless because it is not verifiable. 1

Ignostic atheism: ignosticism is similar to agnosticism, but where agnosticism is the claim that you can’t know something (god), ignosticism is the claim that, if the definition of something (god) is incoherent, then it can’t be meaningfully discussed, and if the definition of something (god) is unfalsifiable, then it has no meaning. Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts. Ignosticism could possibly be one of the best argument against god concepts ever as it sees all efforts surrounding existence of a God concept semantically twisting the definition of God to mean that which is incomprehensible. If God is incoherent then the experiences believers attribute to God are by extension unintelligible and therefore meaningless. In which case you void any and all purported experiences of God because you couldn’t comprehend them. Ignostic atheism holds two interrelated views about to reject all God concepts. They are as follows: 1) The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed. 2) If the definition provided is unfalsifiable, the Ignostic atheist takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of a God concept is rendered meaningless thus must stay refuted. As with any topic, and especially in the realm of the supernatural and woo, the subject of any debate should be coherently defined. If one offers a clear definition of an entity, then in order to take a position whether it exists or not the definition of the entity must be one in which its existence can be falsified (there is a rational and logical method by which we can test the existence of the subject as it has been defined). Few theists ever offer a clear definition of God. The few who do offer a definition almost never offer one in which the existence of that God could be tested. The rare falsifiable definition offered regarding God’s existence is easily falsified. And so as with any subject (such as the existence of almost all supernatural entities) debate about the existence of God is, for the far majority of such conversations, pointless. 1 2 3

Noncognitivism atheism: is the position that religious language — and specifically religious terms like “god” — are not (cognitively) meaningful. Noncognitivism atheism argues that religious language is not meaningful because its empirical claims cannot be verified, even in theory. Likewise they further think   there are no positive attributes that can be ascribed to entities like “god,” and entities without attributes are meaningless.This means that noncognitivism denies the essential meaningfulness of religious language, religious arguments, and religious apologetics. If they aren’t meaningful, then they can’t be either true or false and believing them to be true is pointless. 1

Evidential atheism: thinks that whether or not belief in a divine being is epistemically acceptable will be determined by the evidence. I intend to treat “evidence” in a broad sense including a priori arguments, arguments to the best explanation, inductive and empirical reasons, as well as deductive and conceptual premises. (Also note that one could be an evidentialist theist.) The evidentialist theist and the evidentialist atheist may have a number of general epistemological principles concerning evidence, arguments, implication in common, but then disagree about what the evidence is, how it should be understood, and what it implies. They may disagree, for instance, about whether the values of the physical constants and laws in nature constitute evidence for intentional fine tuning, but agree that whether God exists is a matter that can be explored empirically. 1

Non-evidential atheism: goes beyond a limitation in common atheism which likely is using evidentialist theory of knowledge which is any theory of knowledge that says that having evidence for a thing is necessary for knowing that thing. A non-evidentialist theory of knowledge denies this most commonly offering instead two additional non-evidentialist theories of knowledge: the causal theory, and reliabilism. Even if a belief lacks a credible rational it is not automatically irrational it may simply be utilizing a less supported or even wishful idealism stance that may even be somewhat flawed and yet still not irrational which is to be without the faculty of reason or deprived of reason. According to the Causal Theory of Knowledge, the difference between a true belief that isn’t knowledge and a true belief that is amounts to the following: if a true belief that P is knowledge, then it is causally connected to the fact that P. The simplest sort of causal connection would be direct: one where the fact that P is the cause of a subject’s belief that P. Causal connections can also be indirect: perhaps the fact that P causes the fact that Q which causes the subject to believe that P. It allow that you can know P if P is “logically related” to a fact that is causally connected to your believing P. According to the Reliabilism theory of Knowledge, which holds that the difference between mere true belief on the one hand and knowledge on the other is that the latter is formed via a reliable process:  Reliabilism S knows that P if and only if S’s true belief that P was caused by a reliable process. What is a “reliable process”? Well, think of an analogy. A reliable car is one that generally works when you want it to. What “work” do we want our belief-forming processes to do? We want them to form true beliefs. So a reliable belief-forming process is one that generally leads to true beliefs. Reliabilism says that knowledge is true belief that was formed by a process that can generally be relied on to form true beliefs. As long as perception, memory, testimony, and reasoning are reliable in this sense, they can give us knowledge. If the processes of reasoning that lead us to form inductive generalizations (like “All men are mortal”) are reliable, then according to RT, they can lead us to knowledge. 1

Experiential atheism: The second type of argument commonly advanced against the doctrine of divine omniscience attributed to a god something, which is the problem of experiential knowledge. This is that there appear to be certain kinds of knowledge that can only be acquired by having certain kinds of experiences. The Problem of Experiential Knowledge: (1) There are some items of knowledge that can only be acquired through experience. (2) Some of the experiences through which items of knowledge that can only be acquired through experience are acquired are such that they cannot be had by a god something. (3) If some of the experiences through which items of knowledge that can only be acquired through experience are acquired are such that they cannot be had by a god something, then there are some items of knowledge that cannot be acquired by a god. Therefore: (4) There are some items of knowledge that cannot be acquired by a god something. (5) If there are some items of knowledge that cannot be acquired by a god something then it is not the case that a god something is omniscient. Therefore: (6) It is not the case that a god something is omniscient. 1

The Disproof Atheism Society: EMPIRICAL, CONCEPTUAL, and DISPROOFS of gOD

The Disproof Atheism Society

Disproof atheism is disbelief in the existence of God based on a comprehensive critique of proofs of God’s existence and a growing web of empirical and conceptual disproofs of God’s existence. This growing web of disproofs:

  1. addresses a variety of concepts of God held by major religions and leading theologians,
  2. demonstrates that each of these concepts of God not only contradicts empirical facts and scientific theories but is self-contradictory, and
  3. provides an ever more formidable cumulative case against the existence of God.

  The Disproof Atheism Society, founded in 1994:

— is an independent, Boston-based, worldwide network of people interested in logic, science, and analytic philosophy who

support the development of disproof atheism.

— holds monthly talks, discussions, and other events (with a safe zone  policy), usually at Boston University and often with

a featured speaker.

— hosted in 2010 the first-ever Disproof Atheism Conference, an all-day  academic conference focused on conceptual

disproofs of God.

— provides resources and references on disproof atheism.

For additional information on the The Disproof Atheism Society, please contact  info@disproofatheism.org.

“The more we consider the theological God, 

the more impossible and contradictory will he appear.”

         — Paul Thiry d’Holbach, The System of Nature, vol. 2 (1770)


EMPIRICAL DISPROOFS OF GOD

1. COSMOLOGICAL DISPROOFS

2. TELEOLOGICAL DISPROOFS

3. EVIDENTIAL EVIL DISPROOFS

4. NONBELIEF DISPROOFS  

  

============================

1. COSMOLOGICAL DISPROOFS

Disproof from the contingency of the universe 

Nicholas Everitt,

“The Argument from Imperfection: A New Proof of the Nonexistence of God,”
Philo 9, no. 2 (2006): 113-30
www.pdcnet.org/collection/show?id=philo_2006_0009_0002_0113_0130&file_type=pdf

Disproof from relativistic cosmology

Quentin Smith,
“Atheism, Theism, and Big Bang Cosmology,”
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (1991): 48-65
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbabillity of God (2006), pp. 41-60
www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/cosmology.html

Quentin Smith,
“A Defense of the Cosmological Argument for God’s Nonexistence,”
W.L.Craig &Q.Smith(eds.),Theism, Atheism,& BigBang Cosmology (1993), pp.232-55
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 61-81
www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263838.001.0001/acprof-9780198263838-chapter-9

Disproofs from quantum cosmology

Quentin Smith,
“Stephen Hawking’s Cosmology and Theism,”
Analysis 54 (1994): 236-43
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 86-93
www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/hawking.html

Quentin Smith,
“Why Stephen Hawking’s Cosmology Precludes a Creator,”
Philo 1, no. 1 (1998): 75-93
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 94-106
www.pdcnet.org/philo/content/philo_1998_0001_0001_0075_0093

Victor J. Stenger,
“A Scenario for a Natural Origin of our Universe,”
a slightly shorter version of Philo 9, no. 2 (2006): 93-102
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0710/0710.3137.pdf

Lawrence M. Krauss,
A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something rather than Nothing (2012)
www.scribd.com/doc/123879510

Disproofs from the laws of physics

Victor J. Stenger,
“The Laws of the Void,”
Has Science Found God? (2003), pp. 187-218

Victor J. Stenger,
The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From? (2006)
www.scribd.com/doc/90584308

Victor J. Stenger,
“Cosmic Evidence,”
God: The Failed Hypothesis (2007), pp. 113-36

2. TELEOLOGICAL DISPROOFS

Anthropic disproofs

Nicholas Everitt,

“Arguments from Scale,”
The Nonexistence of God (2004), pp. 213-26
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 111-24

Victor J. Stenger,
“The Anthropic Coincidences: A Natural Explanation,”
The Skeptical Intelligencer 3, no. 3 (1999): 2-17
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 125-49
www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/stenger_intel.html

Michael Ikeda and Bill Jefferys,
“The Anthropic Principle Does Not Support Supernaturalism,”
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 150-66
http://quasar.as.utexas.edu/anthropic.html

Design disproofs

Wesley C. Salmon,
“Religion and Science: A New Look at Hume’s Dialogues,”
Philosophical Studies 33 (1978): 143-76,
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 167-93
www.jstor.org/stable/4319203

Michael Martin,

“Atheistic Teleological Arguments,”
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990), pp. 317-33
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp.198-214

Richard Dawkins,
“The Improbability of God,”
Free Inquiry 18, no. 3 (1998): 6-9
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God, pp. 223-29
https://richarddawkins.net/2014/06/the-improbability-of-god

Bruce and Francis Martin,
“Neither Intelligent nor Designed,”
Skeptical Inquirer 27, no. 6 (2003): 45-49
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 215-22
www.csicop.org/si/show/neither_intelligent_nor_designed
Raymond D. Bradley,
“God, Design, and Evolution: A Teleological Argument for Atheism” (2003)
www.sfu.ca/content/dam/sfu/philosophy/docs/bradley/design_by_god.pdf

Jerry A. Coyne,
“Does Evolution Improve Theology?” (2010)
http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/does-evolution-improve-theology

Abby Hafer,
“Animals that Shouldn’t Exist, According to Intelligent Design” (2012)
http://uubedford.org/spirituality/sermons/900-qanimals-that-shouldnt-exist-according-to-intelligent-designq.html

Disembodied mind disproofs

Steven J. Conifer,
“Mind-Brain Dependence as Twofold Support for Atheism” (2001)

www.infidels.org/library/modern/steven_conifer/mbd.html

Jeffrey Jay Lowder,
“The Evidential Argument from Physical Minds” (2012)
www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2012/06/the-evidential-argument-from-physical-minds.apm

3. EVIDENTIAL EVIL DISPROOFS

Evidential natural evil disproofs

Eric Russert Kraemer,
“Darwin’s Doubts and the Problems of Animal Pain,”
Between the Species 3 (August 2003)
http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1058&context=bts

Quentin Smith,
“An Atheological Argument from Evil Natural Laws,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 29 (1991): 159-74
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 235-49
www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/evil_laws.html

Robert Francescotti,
“The Problem of Animal Pain and Suffering,”
J.McBrayer & D.Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil (2013), pp. 113-27
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118608005.ch8/summary

William L. Rowe,

“The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,”
American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (1979): 335-41
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 250-61
http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~ekremer/resources/William%20Rowe.pdf

William L. Rowe,

“Evil and Theodicy,”
Philosophical Topics 16 (2) (1988):119-32
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 262-74
www.pdcnet.org/collection/show?id=philtopics_1988_0016_0002_0119_0132&file_type=pdf

William L. Rowe,

“The Evidential Argument from Evil: A Second Look,”
D. Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil (1996), pp. 262-85
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 275-301

William L. Rowe,

“Reply to Plantinga,”
Nous 32 (1998): 545-52
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 302-10
www.jstor.org/stable/2671875

Robert Bass,
“Many Inscrutable Evils,”
Ars Disputandi 11 (2011): 118-32
www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15665399.2011.10820061

Robert Bass,
“Inscrutable Evils: Still Numerous, Still Relevant,”
International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 75 (2014): 379-84
www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21692327.2015.1008024#abstract

Andrea M. Weisberger,
“The Pollution Solution: A Critique of Dore’s Response to the Argument from Evil,”
Sophia 36 (1997): 53-74
http://infidels.org/library/modern/andrea_weisberger/pollution.html

Andrea M. Weisberger,
“The Non-Concessionary Solutions: Natural Evil” and “The Final Solution,”
Suffering Belief (1999), pp. 101-24, 209-32

Nathan Nobis,
“The Real Problem of Infant and Animal Suffering,”
Philo 5, no. 2 (2002): 216-25
www.morehouse.edu/facstaff/nnobis/papers/newchigreply.htm

G. S. Paul,
“Theodicy’s Problem: A Statistical Look at the Holocaust of the Children and the Implications of Natural Evil for the Free Will and Best of All Possible Worlds Hypotheses,”
Philosophy & Theology 19 (2007): 125–49
http://gregspaul.webs.com/Philosophy&Theology.pdf

Paul Draper,
“God and Evil: A Philosophical Inquiry” (2011)
http://philreligion.nd.edu/assets/44795

David Kyle Johnson,
“Natural Evil and the Simulation Hypothesis,”
Philo 14, no. 2 (2011): 161-75
www.simulation-argument.com/johnson.pdf

David Kyle Johnson,
“The Failure of Plantinga’s Solution to the Logical Problem of Natural Evil,”
Philo 15, no. 2 (2012): 145-57
http://staff.kings.edu/davidjohnson/The%20Failure%20of%20Plantinga’s%20solution%20to%20the%20Logical%20Problem%20of%20Natural%20Evi%20v1.6.1%20(Corrections%20applied).pdf

Moti Mizrahi,
“The Problem of Natural Inequality: A New Problem of Evil,”
Philosophia 42 (2014): 127-36
http://philpapers.org/archive/MIZTPO

Robert Bass,
“Modal Evil and Divine Necessity” (2015)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Z66YKTauRBQnp4dl80OExMSUk/view?pli=1

Evidential moral evil disproofs

Andrea M. Weisberger,
“Depravity, Divine Responsibility and Moral Evil: A Critique of a New Free Will Defence,”
Religious Studies 31 (1995): 375-90
http://infidels.org/library/modern/andrea_weisberger/depravity.html

Andrea M. Weisberger,
“Moral Evil and Soulmaking,”
Suffering Belief (1999), pp. 125-62, 163-207

Joel Thomas Tierno,

“On the Alleged Connection between Moral Evil and Human Freedom,”
Sophia 40, no. 2 (2001): 1-6
www.springerlink.com/content/q543806847753h25

Joel Thomas Tierno,

“On the Alleged Connection between Moral Evil and Human Freedom: Response to Nagasawa and Trakakis,”
Sophia 43, no. 1 (2004): 115-26
www.springerlink.com/content/x3n28876w67830h3

Joel Thomas Tierno,

“On the Alleged Connection between Moral Evil and Human Freedom: A Response to Trakakis’ Second Critique,”
Sophia 45, no. 2 (2006): 131-38
www.springerlink.com/content/350868xj87811134

Joel Thomas Tierno,

“On the Alleged Connection between Moral Evil and Human Freedom: A Response to Trakakis’ Third Critique,”
Sophia 47, no. 2 (2008): 223-30
www.springerlink.com/content/qu5802310q060q40

Evidential epistemic evil disproofs

Robert J. Howell,
“The Theist’s Defeater: The Problem of Epistemic Evil”
www.rjhjr.com/philosophy/files/The%20Theist’s%20Defeater1.pdf

Joel Thomas Tierno,

Epistemic Evil: A Third Problem of Evil (2007)

4. NONBELIEF DISPROOFS

Disproofs from widespread nonbelief

Theodore M. Drange,
“The Argument from Nonbelief,”
Religious Studies 29 (1993): 417-32
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 341-56
http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Drange-The-Argument-from-Non-Belief.pdf

Theodore M. Drange,
Nonbelief and Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God (1998)

Theodore M. Drange,
“McHugh’s Expectations Dashed,”
Philo 5 (2002): 242-48
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 357-61
www.pdcnet.org/collection/show?id=philo_2002_0005_0002_0242_0248&file_type=pdf

Victor Cosculluela,
“Bolstering the Argument from Nonbelief,”
Religious Studies 32 (1996): 507-12
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 362-68
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1581164

Stephen Maitzen,
“Divine Hiddenness and the Demographics of Theism,”
Religious Studies 42 (2006): 177-91
http://philosophy.acadiau.ca/tl_files/sites/philosophy/resources/documents/Maitzen_Hiddenness.pdf

Theodore M. Drange,
“The Arguments from Confusion and Biblical Defects,”
M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 369-79
www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/confusion.html

Disproofs from reasonable nonbelief

J. L. Schellenberg,

Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason (1993)

J. L. Schellenberg,
“An Argument for Atheism from the Reasonableness of Nonbelief,”
M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 390-404

J. L. Schellenberg,

“Response to Howard-Snyder,”
Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (1996): 455-62
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp.405-12
www.jstor.org/pss/40231958

J. L. Schellenberg,

“Divine Hiddenness Justifies Atheism,”
M.L.Peterson & R.J.VanArragon (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion (2004), pp. 30-41
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp.413-26

Philip Kuchar,
“God, Atheism and Incompatibility: The Argument from Nonbelief” (2001)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/philip_kuchar/anb.html

Robert P. Lovering,
“Divine Hiddenness and Inculpable Ignorance,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 56 (2004): 89-107
www.academia.edu/8152109/Divine_Hiddenness_and_Inculpable_Ignorance

J. L. Schellenberg,

“The Hiddennes Argument Revisited (I),”
Religious Studies 41 (2005): 201-25
http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Schellenberg-The-hiddenness-argument-revisited-I.pdf

J. L Schellenberg,
“The Hiddenness Argument Revisited (II),”
Religious Studies 41 (2005): 287-303
www.jstor.org/stable/20008599

J. L. Schellenberg,

“What Divine Hiddenness Reveals, or How Weak Theistic Evidence is Strong Atheistic Proof” (2008)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/john_schellenberg/hidden.html

J. L. Schellenberg,

“The Sounds of Silence Stilled: A Reply to Jordan on Hiddenness” (2008)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/john_schellenberg/silence-stilled.html

J. L. Schellenberg,

“The Hiddenness Problem and the Problem of Evil,”
Faith and Philosophy 27 (2010): 45-60
http://philpapers.org/archive/SCHTHP-5.pdf

J. L. Schellenberg,

“Divine Hiddenness,”
P.Draper &C.Talliaferro (eds.), A Companion toPhilosophy ofReligion(2010), pp.509-18
http://philpapers.org/archive/SCHDH.1.pdf


1. SINGLE ATTRIBUTE DISPROOFS

2. MULTIPLE ATTRIBUTES DISPROOFS

3. LOGICAL EVIL DISPROOFS

4. DOCTRINAL DISPROOFS

================================
1. SINGLE ATTRIBUTE DISPROOFS

Creator and designer disproofs

Quentin Smith,
“Causation and the Logical Impossibility of a Divine Cause,”
Philosophical Topics 24 (1996): 169-91
www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/causation.html

Gilbert Fulmer,
“The Concept of the Supernatural,”
Analysis 37 (1976/77): 113-16
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 326-29
www.jstor.org/stable/3327510

Gilbert Fulmer,
“A Fatal Logical Flaw in Anthropic Principle Design Arguments,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 49 (2001): 101-110
www.jstor.org/pss/40018863

Richard D. Kortum,
“The Very Idea of Design: What God Couldn’t Do,”
Religious Studies 40 (2004): 81-96
www.jstor.org/pss/20008511

Omnibenevolence disproofs

Theodore Guleserian,
“Can Moral Perfection Be an Essential Attribute,”
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46 (1985): 219-41
www.jstor.org/pss/2107354

Earl Conee,
“The Nature and the Impossibility of Moral Perfection,”
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 815-25
www.jstor.org/pss/2108412

J. Gregory Keller,
“On Perfect Goodness,”
Sophia 49 (2010): 29-36
https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/1805/3207/On_Perfect_Goodness.pdf

Omnipotence disproofs

J. L. Cowan,
“The Paradox of Omnipotence,”
Analysis 25 (1965/supplement): 102-108
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 330-36
www.jstor.org/stable/3326724

J. L. Cowan,
“The Paradox of Omnipotence Revisited,”
Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (1974): 435-45
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 337-48
www.jstor.org/stable/40230457

Douglas Walton,
“The Omnipotence Paradox,”
Canadian Journal of Philosophy 4 (1975), pp. 705-15
www.jstor.org/pss/40230546

Douglas Walton,
“Some Theorems of Fitch on Omnipotence,”
Sophia 15, no. 1 (1976): 20-27
Reprinted in L. Urban & D. Walton (eds.), The Power of God: Readings on Omnipotence and Evil (1978), pp. 182-91
www.springerlink.com/content/3637585t0p637335

Loren Meierding,
“The Impossibility of Necessary Omnitemporal Omnipotence,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (1980): 21-26
www.jstor.org/pss/40012525

Tzachi Zamir,
“The Omnipotence Paradox as a Problem of Infinite Regress,”
Sophia 38, no. 1 (1999): 1-14
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02806407

Sarah Adams,
“A New Paradox of Omnipotence.”
Philosophia 43 (2015): 759-85
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11406-015-9601-y

Omniscience disproofs

Limit of the known disproof

Roland Puccetti,
“Is Omniscience Possible?”
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1963): 92-93
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 379-80
www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048406312341561

Indexicals disproof

Patrick Grim,
“Against Omniscience: The Case from Essential Indexicals,”
Nous 19 (1985): 151-80
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 350-52
www.jstor.org/stable/2214928

Patrick Grim,
“The Being That Knew Too Much,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 47 (2000): 141-54 (esp. 141-44)
Reprinted in M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 408-21 (esp. 409-12)
www.pgrim.org/pgrim/Being.pdf (esp. pp. 2-6)

Patrick Grim,
“Problems with Omniscience,”
in J. P. Moreland et al. (eds.), Debating Christian Theism (2013)
www.pgrim.org/articles/omniscience9.pdf

Disproofs from expressive incompleteness and internal incompleteness

Patrick Grim,
“Logic and Limits of Knowledge and Truth,”
Nous 22 (1988): 341-67 (expressive esp. 347-51, 354-56; internal esp. 351-56)
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 381-407 (expressive esp. 387-90, 393-95; internal esp. 390-95)
www.jstor.org/stable/2215708

Set of all truths disproof

Patrick Grim,
“Logic and Limits of Knowledge & Truth,”
Nous 22 (1988): 341-67 (esp. 356-59)
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 381-407 (esp. 395-98)
www.jstor.org/stable/2215708

Patrick Grim,
“The Being that Knew Too Much,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 47 (2000): 141-54 (esp. 147-52)
Reprinted in M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 408-21 (esp. 414-19)
www.pgrim.org/pgrim/Being.pdf (esp. pp. 10-19)

Patrick Grim,
“Problems with Omniscience,”
in J. P. Moreland et al. (eds.), Debating Christian Theism (2013)
www.pgrim.org/articles/omniscience9.pdf

Undefinability of truth disproof

Colin Howson,
“The Liar,”
Objecting to God (2011), pp. 200-205

Disproofs from propositional vs experiential knowledge

John Lachs,
“Professor Prior on Omniscience,”
Philosophy 38 (1963): 361-64
www.jstor.org/stable/3748601

Ryan Stringer,
“Omniscience and Learning” (2010)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/ryan_stringer/learning.html

Rob Lovering,

“Does God Know What It’s Like Not to Know?”
Religious Studies 49 (2013): 85-99
www.academia.edu/8152325/Does_God_Know_What_Its_Like_Not_to_Know

Collections of single attribute disproofs

Patrick Grim,
“Impossibility Arguments,”
in M. Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (2007), Chapter 12
https://worldtracker.org/media/library/Sociology/Philosophy%20-%20The%20Cambridge%20Companion%20Series/The%20Cambridge%20Companion%20to%20Atheism.pdf

Nicholas Everitt,

“The Divine Attributes,”
Philosophy Compass 5, no. 1 (2010): 78-90
www.academia.edu/28931352/The_Divine_Attributes

2. MULTIPLE ATTRIBUTES DISPROOFS

Omniscience vs omnipotence disproof

David Blumenfeld,
“On the Compossibility of the Divine Attributes,”
Philosophical Studies 34 (1978): 91-103
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 220-31
www.jstor.org/stable/4319234

Yujin Nagasawa,
“Divine Omniscience and Experience: A Reply to Alter,”
Ars Disputandi (2003)
https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/bitstream/10440/1068/1/Nagasawa_Divine2003.pdf

Omniscience vs omnibenevolence disproofs

Michael Martin,

“A Disproof of the God of the Common Man,”
Question 7 (1974): 115-24
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 232-41

Douglas P. Lackey,
“Divine Omniscience and Human Privacy,”
Philosophy Research Archives 10 (1984): 383-92
http://secure.pdcnet.org/pra/content/pra_1984_10_0_0383_0392

Omnipotence vs omnibenevolence disproofs

Joel Thomas Tierno,

“Omnibenevolence, Omnipotence, and God’s Ability to Do Evil,”
Sophia 36, no. 2 (1997): 1-11
www.springerlink.com/content/8007123045j77136

Wes Morriston,
“Omnipotence and Necessary Moral Perfection: Are They Compatible?”
Religious Studies 37 (2001): 143-60
http://spot.colorado.edu/~morristo/omnipotence-and-necesary-moral-perfection.pdf

Wes Morriston,
“Are Omnipotence and Necessary Moral Perfection Compatible? Reply to Mawson,”
Religious Studies 39 (2003): 441-49
http://spot.colorado.edu/~morristo/wes2mawson.pdf

Creator vs omnibenevolence disproof

Dagfinn Sjaastad Karlsen,
“Is God Our Benefactor? An Argument from Suffering,”
Journal of Philosophy of Life 3, no. 3 (2013): 145-67
www.philosophyoflife.org/jpl201309.pdf

Omniscience vs immutability disproof

Norman Kretzmann,
“Omniscience and Immutability,”
Journal of Philosophy 63 (1966): 409-21
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 198-209
www.ditext.com/kretzmann/omni.html

Agency vs omniscience disproof

Tomis Kapitan,
“Omniscience and Agency,”
Religious Studies 27 (1991): 105-120
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 282-99
www.academia.edu/13052945/Agency_and_Omniscience_-_1991

Tomis Kapitan,
“The Incompatibility of Omniscience and Intentional Action: A Reply to David P. Hunt,”
Religious Studies 30 (1994): 55-66
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 300-12
www.academia.edu/13057219/The_Incompatibility_of_Omniscience_and_Intentional_Action_-_1994

Agency vs omni attributes disproof

Matt McCormick,
“The Paradox of Divine Agency,”
in M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 313-22
www.csus.edu/indiv/m/mccormickm/DivineAgency.htm

Agency vs disembodiedness disproofs

Adel Daher,
“The Coherence of God-Talk,”
Religious Studies 12 (1976): 445-65
www.jstor.org/pss/20005372

Kai Nielsen,
“God, Disembodied Existence and Incoherence,”
Sophia 26, no. 3 (1987): 27–52
www.springerlink.com/content/m31x0773t8402247

Consciousness vs disembodiedness disproof

Greg Janzen,
“Consciousness and the Nonexistence of God,”
Journal of Philosophical Research 38 (2013): 1-25
www.academia.edu/23539866/Consciousness_and_the_Nonexistence_of_God

Consciousness vs omnipresence disproof

Matt McCormick,
“Why God Cannot Think: Kant, Omnipresence, and Consciousness,”
Philo 3, no. 1 (2000): 5-19
Reprinted in M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 213-22
http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/McCormick-Why-God-Cannot-Think.pdf

Collections of multiple attributes disproofs

Michael Martin,

“Divine Attributes and Incoherence,”
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990), pp. 286-316

Michael Martin,

“Omniscience and Incoherence,”
in G.Holmstrom-Hintikka(ed.), Medieval Philosophy and ModernTimes (2000), pp.17-34
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-011-4227-4_2

Michael Martin,

“Theism and Incoherence,”
P.Draper &C.Talliaferro(eds.), A Companion to Philosophy ofReligion(2010), pp.267-73
http://michaelsudduth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/A-Companion-to-Philosophy-of-Religion.pdf

Theodore M. Drange,
“Incompatible-Properties Arguments: A Survey,”
Philo 1, no. 2 (1998): 49-60
Reprinted in M. Martin & R. Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 185-97
www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/incompatible.html

Moti Mizrahi,
“New Puzzles about Divine Attributes,”
European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5, no. 2 (2013)
http://philpapers.org/archive/MIZNPA

3. LOGICAL EVIL DISPROOFS

J. L. Mackie,
“Evil and Omnipotence,”
Mind 64 (1955): 200-12
www.ditext.com/mackie/evil.html

H. J. McCloskey,

“The Problem of Evil,”
Journal of Bible and Religion 30 (1962): 187-97
www.jstor.org/stable/1460031

H. J. McCloskey,

“Evil and the Problem of Evil,”
Sophia 5, no. 1 (1966): 14-19
www.springerlink.com/content/f956ul603448107u

H. J. McCloskey,

God and Evil (1974)
Mark Walker,
“The Anthropic Argument against the Existence of God,”
Sophia 48 (2009): 351-78
http://philos.nmsu.edu/faculty-and-staff/mark-walkers-home-page

Horia Plugaru,
“The Argument from the Existence of Nondeities” (2013)
http://infidels.org/library/modern/horia_plugaru/aend.html

Richard R. La Croix,
“Unjustified Evil and God’s Choice,”
Sophia 13, no. 1 (1974): 20-8
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 116-24
http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/la-Croix-Unjustified-Evil-and-Gods-Choice.pdf

Hugh LaFollette,
“Plantinga on the Free Will Defense,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 22 (1980): 123-32
www.hughlafollette.com/papers/Plantinga_on_the_Free_Will_Defense.pdf

J. L. Mackie,
“The Problem of Evil,”
The Miracle of Theism (1982), pp. 150-76
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 73-96
www.questia.com/library/2987311/the-miracle-of-theism-arguments-for-and-against-the

Heimir Geirsson and Michael Losonsky,
“Plantinga and the Problem of Evil,”
The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 8 (2006): 109-13
www.public.iastate.edu/~geirsson/pdf/Plantinga%20and%20the%20Problem%20of%20Evil,%20World%20Congress.pdf

Gabriel Horner,
“Impaled by the Two Horns of Logic: Omnipotence and Free Will,”
Quodlibet 2, no. 4 (2000)
www.quodlibet.net/articles/horner-logic.shtml

Quentin Smith,
“A Sound Logical Argument from Evil,”
Ethical and Religious Thought in Analytic Philosophy of Language (1997), pp. 148-56
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 106-15
www.apologeticsinthechurch.com/uploads/7/4/5/6/7456646/smith-a-sound-logical-argument-from-evil.pdf

Andrea M. Weisberger,
“The Logical Formulation,”
Suffering Belief (1999), pp. 29-44

Jordan Howard Sobel,
“The Logical Problem of Evil,”
Logic and Theism (2004), pp. 436-95
http://ebooks.cambridge.org/ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511497988

Raymond D. Bradley,

“The Free Will Defense Refuted and God’s Existence Disproved” (2007)
http://infidels.org/library/modern/raymond_bradley/fwd-refuted.html

Dagfinn Sjaastad Karlsen,
“Is God Our Benefactor? An Argument from Suffering,”
Journal of Philosphy of Life 3, no. 3 (2013): 145-67
www.philosophyoflife.org/jpl201309.pdf

J. L. Schellenberg,

“A New Logical Problem of Evil,”
J.McBrayer & D.Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil (2013), pp. 34-48
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118608005.ch3/summary

Anders Kraal,
“Has Plantinga ‘buried’ Mackie’s Logical Argument from Evil?”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 75, no. 3 (2014): 189-96
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11153-014-9448-3

Sean Meslar,
“Transworld Depravity and Divine Omniscience,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77, no. 3 (2015): 205-18
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11153-014-9499-5

4. DOCTRINAL DISPROOFS

Disproofs from free will 

Nelson Pike,
“Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action,”
The Philosophical Review 74 (1965): 27-46
http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Pike-Divine-Omniscience-and-Voluntary-Action.pdf

Nelson Pike,
“A Latter-Day Look at the Foreknowledge Problem,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 33, no. 3 (1993): 129-64
www.jstor.org/stable/40026162

Jason Wyckoff,
“On the Incompatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom,”
Sophia 49 (2010): 333-41
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11841-010-0168-6

J. L. Schellenberg,

“The Atheist’s Free Will Offence,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 56, no. 1 (2004): 1-15
http://ifac.univ-nantes.fr/IMG/pdf/Schellenberg-The_Free_will_offense.pdf

J. L. Schellenberg,

“God, Free Will, and Time: The Free Will Offense Part II,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73, no. 3 (2013): 165-74
http://philpapers.org/archive/SCHGFW.pdf

Disproofs from heaven and hell

Michael Martin,

“Problems with Heaven” (1997)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/heaven.html

Michael Martin,

“More on Heaven” (2004)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/more.html

William Ferraiola,
“The Heaven Problem,”
Southwest Philosophy Review 16, no. 1 (2000): 75-81
www.academia.edu/174711/The_Heaven_Problem

Yujin Nagasawa, Graham Oppy, and Nick Trakakis,
“Salvation in Heaven?”
Philosophical Papers 33 (2004): 97-119
www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/05568640409485137

Jeff Jordan,
“The Problem of Divine Exclusivity,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 33 (1993): 89-101
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01314333

Richard Schoenig,
“The Argument from Unfairness,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 45 (1999): 115-28
www.jstor.org/pss/40036028

Theodore Sider,
“Hell and Vagueness,”
Faith and Philosophy 19 (2002): 58-68
http://tedsider.org/papers/hell.pdf

Gina M. Sully,
“Ominbenevolence and Eternal Damnation,”
Sophia 44, no. 2 (2005): 7-22
www.springerlink.com/content/94427w7562133353

S. Kershnar,
“The Injustice of Hell,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 58 (2005): 103-23
www.jstor.org/stable/40018391

Disproofs from prayer

David Basinger,
“Why Petition an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Wholly Good God?”
Religious Studies 19 (1983): 25-41
www.jstor.org/pss/20005916

David Basinger,
“Petitionary Prayer: A Response to Murray and Meyers,”
Religious Studies 31 (1995): 475-84
www.jstor.org/pss/20019775

Richard Schoenig,
“The Logical Status of Prayer,”
The Southern Journal of Philosophy 35 (1997): 105-18
www.academia.edu/7232846/The_Logical_Status_of_Prayer

Michael Veber,
“Why Even a Believer Should Not Believe That God Answers Prayers,”
Sophia 46, no. 2 (2007): 177-87
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11841-007-0021-8

Disproofs from miracles

George D. Chryssides,
“Miracles and Agents,”
Religious Studies 11 (1975): 319-27
www.jstor.org/pss/20005257

James A. Keller,
“A Moral Argument Against Miracles,”
Faith and Philosophy 12 (1995): 54-78
www.pdcnet.org/collection/show?id=faithphil_1995_0012_0001_0054_0078&file_type=pdf

Christine Overall,
“Miracles as Evidence Against the Existence of God,”
The Southern Journal of Philosophy 23 (1985): 347-53
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 147-53
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2041-6962.1985.tb00404.x/abstract

Christine Overall,
“Miracles and God: A Reply to Robert A. H. Larmer,”
Dialogue 36 (1997): 741-52
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 154-66
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7168280

Christine Overall,
“Miracles and Larmer,”
Dialogue 42 (2003): 123-35
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7141800

Christine Overall,
“Miracles, Evidence, Evil, and God: A Twenty-Year Debate,”
Dialogue 45 (2006): 355-66
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=5452644

Disproofs from revelation

Richard R. La Croix,
“The Paradox of Eden,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 15 (1984): 171
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 127-28
www.springerlink.com/content/r757128201214921

Niclas Berggren,
“The Errancy of Fundamentalism Disproves the God of the Bible” (1996)
www.infidels.org/library/modern/niclas_berggren/funda.html

Raymond D. Bradley,

“A Moral Argument for Atheism,”
The New Zealand Rationalist & Humanist (spring 2000): 2-12
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 129-46
www.infidels.org/library/modern/raymond_bradley/moral.html

John Park,
“The Moral Epistemological Argument for Atheism,”
European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (2015): 121-42
www.philosophy-of-religion.eu/contents19.html


1. DEFINITIONAL DISPROOFS

2. FINITE ATTRIBUTES DISPROOFS

3. “BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING” DISPROOFS

4. META DISPROOFS

  

============================

1. DEFINITIONAL DISPROOFS

J. N. Findlay,
“Can God’s Existence Be Disproved?”
Mind 57 (1948): 176-83
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 19-26
www.ditext.com/findlay/god.html

J. N. Findlay,
“God’s Nonexistence: A Reply to Mr. Rainer and Mr. Hughes,”
Mind 58 (1949): 352-54
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 27-30
www.ditext.com/findlay/god.html

John L. Pollock,
“Proving the Nonexistence of God,”
Inquiry 9 (1966): 193-96
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 31-34
www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00201746608601469

Douglas Walton,
“Can an Ancient Argument of Carneades on Cardinal Virtues and Divine Attributes Be Used to Disprove the Existence of God?”
Philo 2, no. 2 (1999): 5-13
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 35-44
www.pdcnet.org/scholarpdf/show?id=philo_1999_0002_0002_0005_0013&pdfname=philo_1999_0002_0002_0005_0013.pdf&file_type=pdf

James Rachels,
“God and Moral Autonomy,”
in Can Ethics Provide Answers? (1997), pp. 109-23
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2003), pp. 45-58
www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_rachels/autonomy.html

Scott F. Aikin,
“The Problem of Worship,”
Think 25 (2010): 101-113
www.academia.edu/7062247/The_Problem_of_Worship

Scott F. Aiken and Robert B. Talisse,
“The Problem of Worship” and “Defenses of Worship,”
Reasonable Atheism: A Moral Case for Respectful Disbelief (2011), pp. 147-62

Stephen Maitzen,
“Anselmian Atheism,”
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2005): 225-39
http://philosophy.acadiau.ca/tl_files/sites/philosophy/resources/documents/Maitzen_Anselmian_Atheism.pdf

Einar Duenger Bohn,
“Anselmian Theism and Indefinitely Extensible Perfection,”
Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2012): 671-83
www.einarduengerbohn.com/edb/Research_files/Anselmian%20Theism%20and%20Indefinitely%20Extensible%20Perfection.pdf

2. FINITE ATTRIBUTES DISPROOFS

H. J. McCloskey,

“Would Any Being Merit Worship?”
Southern Journal of Philosophy 2 (1964): 157-64
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2041-6962.1964.tb01479.x/abstract

Michael Martin,

“A Disproof of the God of the Common Man,”
Question 7 (1974): 115-24
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 232-41

P. J. McGrath,
“Evil and the Existence of a Finite God,”
Analysis 46 (1986): 63-64
http://analysis.oxfordjournals.org/content/46/1/63.extract

P. J. McGrath,
“Children of a Lesser God? A Reply to Burke and Crisp,”
Analysis 47 (1987): 236-38
www.jstor.org/pss/3328799

Michael Martin,

“The Finite God Theodicy,”
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990), pp. 436-40

Peter Hutcheson,
“Omniscience and the Problem of Evil,”
Sophia 31 (1992): 53-8
http://philpapers.org/archive/HUTOAT.pdf

Andrea M. Weisberger,
“The Worshipworthiness of a Finite God,”
Suffering Belief (1999), pp. 92-95

3. “BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING” DISPROOFS
(i.e., disproofs from skeptical theism)

Willam L. Rowe,

“Skeptical Theism: A Response to Bergmann,”
Nous 35 (2001): 297-303

Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 311-18
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/0029-4624.00298/abstract

Jeff Jordan,
“Does Skeptical Theism Lead to Moral Skepticism?”
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2006): 403-17
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00567.x/abstract

Mark Piper,
“Why Theists Cannot Accept Skeptical Theism,”
Sophia 47 (2008): 129-48
www.springerlink.com/content/86868p023830831h

Stephen Maitzen,
“Skeptical Theism and Moral Obligation,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (2009): 93-103
http://philosophy.acadiau.ca/tl_files/sites/philosophy/resources/documents/Maitzen_STMO.pdf

Rob Lovering,

“On What God Would Do,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 66 (2009): 87-104
www.academia.edu/8152113/On_What_God_Would_Do

Scott Sehon,
“The Problem of Evil: Skeptical Theism Leads to Moral Paralysis,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 67 (2010): 67-80
www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/s/ssehon/pdf/sehon-skeptical-theism.pdf

Erik Wielenberg,
“Sceptical Theism and Divine Lies,”
Religious Studies 46 (2010): 509-23
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=7914575&jid=RES&volumeId=46&issueId=04&aid=7914573&fromPage=cupadmin&pdftype=6316268&repository=authInst

Trent Dougherty,
“Reconsidering the Parent Analogy: Unfinished Business for Skeptical Theists,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72 (2012): 17-25
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11153-012-9359-0

Stephen Maitzen,
“The Moral Skepticism Objection to Skeptical Theism,”
J.McBrayer & D.Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil (2013), pp. 444-57
http://philosophy.acadiau.ca/tl_files/sites/philosophy/resources/documents/Maitzen_MSO.pdf

David Kyle Johnson,
“A Refutation of Skeptical Theism,”
Sophia 52 (2013): 425-45
http://staff.kings.edu/davidjohnson/A%20Refutation%20of%20Skeptical%20Theism%20v2.1%20(Final).pdf

Stephen Law,
“Sceptical Theism and a Lying God: Wielenberg’s Argument Defended and Developed,”
Religious Studies 51 (2015): 91-109
http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2014/03/defence-and-development-of-erik.html

Erik Wielenberg,
“The Parent-Child Analogy and the Limits of Skeptical Theism,”
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (2015): 301-14
www.academia.edu/19893522/The_parent-child_analogy_and_the_limits_of_skeptical_theism

4. META DISPROOFS

Michael Martin,

“The Justification of Negative Atheism as a Justification of Positive Atheism,”
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990), pp. 281-84

Michael Martin,

“An Indirect Inductive Argument from Evil,”
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990), pp. 341-49 and 361
Reprinted in M.Martin & R.Monnier (eds.), The Improbability of God (2006), pp. 319-27

Rob Lovering,

“The Problem of the Theistic Evidentialist Philosophers,”
Philo 13, no. 2 (2010): 185-200
www.secure.pdcnet.org/philo/content/philo_2010_0013_0002_0185_0200
Nicholas Everitt,
“Conclusion,”
The Non-existence of God (2004), pp. 301-06
Michael Martin,
“The Argument from Unanswered Disproofs,”
The Open Society 83, no. 1 (2010): 11-12
www.reason.org.nz/journal/Journal_Autumn_2010.pdf (pp. 11-12)