The Demand of Proof

TheJason

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Since this applies to stuff outside of religion, I want to ask this in this section. Do things really always need proof to be believed? Do they sometimes?

Note, @MarkFL is demanding proof for the existence of the Christian God, among others - and @harpazo thinks proof isn't needed.
 

MarkFL

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St. Augustine
For the claim of theism, that is an extraordinary claim, and so it requires, not proof but at least compelling evidence. If you tell me you saw a dog yesterday, I will take you at your word because dogs are known to exist and to exist in great numbers. If you tell me you saw a fire breathing dragon yesterday, then I will not take you at your word, and would need compelling evidence.

There is no compelling evidence for the supernatural, and so any claims regarding the supernatural have a burden of proof. So far, this burden has not been met. Faith is not a rational reason to believe in anything. Faith can allow you to believe anything you want. If you care about whether what you believe is actually true, then skepticism and the requiring of evidence for extraordinary claims is the path to take.
 

TheJason

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For the claim of theism, that is an extraordinary claim, and so it requires, not proof but at least compelling evidence. If you tell me you saw a dog yesterday, I will take you at your word because dogs are known to exist and to exist in great numbers. If you tell me you saw a fire breathing dragon yesterday, then I will not take you at your word, and would need compelling evidence.

There is no compelling evidence for the supernatural, and so any claims regarding the supernatural have a burden of proof. So far, this burden has not been met. Faith is not a rational reason to believe in anything. Faith can allow you to believe anything you want. If you care about whether what you believe is actually true, then skepticism and the requiring of evidence for extraordinary claims is the path to take.
What about stuff outside religion, is there always a need for proof?
 

MarkFL

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What about stuff outside religion, is there always a need for proof?
For me, if there is no good reason to believe some claim, then I must reject that claim.

Suppose you and I are standing on the edge of the Sahara desert. You tell me that the number of grains of sand is greater than ten. I will accept that claim because I can easily cout out ten grains and see there are more than that in the desert. Next you tell me the number of grains is a prime number. I will reject that claim unless you can provide good evidence, otherwise I have no good reason to accept that claim. But, that doesn't mean I must therefore claim the number of composite...I don't have enough information to make or accept any claim about the number of grains. However, this is different than the supernatural, because with the sand, in theory at least, your claim can either be confirmed or denied, it is falsifiable.

If we liken this to theism, then we wouldn't even know if sand exists at all, and a claim about the existence of sand, much less the number of grains in a hypothetical desert, would be unfalsifiable.
 
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