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Category: Logic

Can you prove a negative?

I often hear my fellow atheists say things like ‘You can’t prove a negative!’ in a debate. This is often in response to either a theist trying to shift the burden of proof, or a misunderstanding of epistemic justification (aka burden of rationality or burden of proof on a belief position). I often respond to…


So what is this ‘Normative’ thing all about anyway?

Language is descriptive. It is defined through use. People might describe their use of words in slightly different ways, be that through regional differences, common usages, or indeed there might be contextually correct usages of words. So what is this Normative thing all about then? When we speak about ‘Normative’ usage of words we largely…


The Faith of Science

Introduction The sun will rise tomorrow.  This seems to be an uncontroversial statement.  The sun came up today, and the sun came up yesterday, and the day before that.  Just as it has for millions of days before that.  Gravity held today, just as it has held since the formation of the universe.  This is,…


Pitfalls of ‘New Atheism’

I’m an atheist. *Gasp* ‘Hold the phone!’ Hard to believe that an atheist runs an atheist site right? I’ve even been the keyboard warrior type of atheist, although that was many years ago. I spent lots of time debating theists desperately hoping that either they could provide me with some evidence of a deity, or…


Beliefs, Language, and Logic

Introduction Logic is an important part of rationality. After all, acting rationally is acting in accordance with reason and according to the rules of logic, among other things. Which means that understanding the rules of logic are important if one wants to claim rationality for oneself.  There is more to logic than simply the rules…


Is That Really a Fallacy?

On a recent podcast, I made a comment that most things that could be considered a fallacy could also not be fallacious. There are some that argue these things are always fallacious. This post hopes to explore a number of common fallacies and see if they are always fallacies, and also when folks might erroneously…


More on Beliefs and Justifications

Introduction One of our authors, Davidian, here at Answers in Reason recently published an excellent article discussing the burden of proof on beliefs.  The response to this article by many atheists and sceptics on Twitter was interesting to say the least.  It received an awful lot of pushback, with many arguing that Davidian did not…


Definitional Problems with Lacking Belief

It is commonplace to hear these terms Agnostic/Gnostic as a modifier to atheism these days rather than Agnostic being that withholding judgment position. Please note, atheism and agnosticism are polysemous, and language is defined through common use. What I hope to do is draw your attention to the difference between the colloquial definitions and the normative ones….


Bad Atheist Arguments – Vol: 03 – Philosophy and Fallacies

The 3rd in the Bad Atheist Arguments series is now here. Having covered the ‘Bible and Evidence‘ in volume 1, and ‘Beliefs and Propositional Logic‘ in volume 2, I felt it time to address philosophy, fallacies, and general errors in our reasoning. Whilst there are a number of common theistic fallacies, we atheists forget sometimes…


Bad Atheist Arguments – Vol: 02 – Beliefs and Logic

Following on from volume 1: Bible and Evidence, I felt it prudent to follow this up with errors many fellow atheists make around beliefs. I too have made some of these statements in the past, and as I looked into things more I realised that some of these statements just don’t make sense or if…