Argument from Nonexperience
To claim that something does not exist because one has not experienced evidence to support its existence is not a valid claim. Even without evidence, to claim that something exists is more acceptable than to claim the opposite, given that, of course, common sense (a reason to exist) is not forgotten. The atheist’s claim is indefensible with regards to the theist’s position because the atheist’s position relies on the nonexistence of the theist’s evidence, while the theist relies on the possibility that evidence exists.
The theist’s position relies on the existence and experience of evidence related to a god. The atheist relies on the nonexistence of that evidence, and in this case the occasional falsification of the theist’s evidence as it is presented. The theist can gather more evidence. He may dig for artifacts, use ancient maps to plot Biblical events or call upon eyewitness experience. The atheist can perform the same tests, but without any real help for his cause. No piece of evidence can prove the atheist’s negative position. The theist can continue a variety of tests to hopefully validate his theory, while the atheist must watch and hope that the other’s tests might turn out negative and continue to do so, because the atheist has no such tests testing for a zero result means nothing because one must obtain a result at some point and that result cannot be the absence of a result. A god may not exist in that place in the universe, but it is possible for god to exist elsewhere. Therefore, test results of zero give the atheist the answer “a god does not exist in this position at this point in time,” not his desired answer “a god does not exist.”
The atheist relies on the of the theist’s evidence.
At any point in time, the theist could possibly discover evidence that proves the existence of a god, and thus there is always the possibility that a god could exist. Because evidence cannot prove false the existence of a god, the atheist has no such comfort. He relies instead on the nonexistence of evidence or the nonexistence of experience to validate his claim. His claim is always in the shadow of doubt because, in the same way, that the theist’s position could possibly be proven true at any time, the atheist’s position could be proven false at the same time by the same information. There is a solution for the atheist though. If he can, he is allowed to transcend time and space to gather all evidence that did prove, does prove, or will prove the theist’s position. He must next invalidate all the evidence gathered.
Assuming the evidence is in a finite amount, and that he successfully invalidates all of it, he may then claim his argument to be not incorrect. He cannot yet claim his argument to be absolute truth because there may exist other, equally valid theories. He may evaluate those other theories but will give merely statistics of likelihood, not a definitive positive or negative as to the validity of the other theories. Of course for the atheist, it is impossible to transcend time and body. No human can gather this extent of information, thus making the atheist’s efforts to prove his argument futile.
I find the atheist to be, at best, making his argument from denial of the improbable “improbable” is defined by his individual acceptable standard of evidence. Certainly, some things are improbable, but this is not one of them.
The atheist’s position is not intellectually defensible as anything more than a personal choice of belief and to choose to not believe in a god is his prerogative. The atheist’s argument is from his nonexperience while the theist’s position offers the possibility of experience as evidence. I find the atheist making his claim not from a denial of the implausible, but rather from the denial of the undesired. After all, if God exists then so does a moral standard to which we are all subject.