Size pointed me to this page at Conservapaedia (following PZ Myers, anytime I mention conservapaedia on this blog, I shall always refer to it by the ‘wrong’ spelling) which alleges basically that atheists have been trying to redefine atheism as the lack of a position on the existence of one or more gods. Says the page at conservapaedia:
In the article, ”Is Atheism Presumptuous”?, atheist Jeffery Jay Lowder, states […] that anyone who claims, “God does not exist,” must shoulder a burden of proof just as much as anyone who claims, “God exists.”In short, the attempt to redefine atheism is merely an attempt to make no assertions so no facts need be offered. The attempt to redefine atheism, however, is not in accordance with the standard definitions of atheism that encyclopedias of philosophy employ which is that atheism is a denial of the existence of God or gods.
I shall say nothing here about the dangers of faith, or why I think the very nature of faith goes against curiosity, knowledge, and truth. I’ll only say that faith is, by ‘standard definition’, as it were, the belief in something without evidence, and atheism is the absence of faith in god. What that means is this: I refuse to believe in god until you show me evidence supporting its (I see no reason to give a non-existent entity a penis, and a male pronoun to go with it) existence.
Like PZ Myers argues, absence of evidence isn’t proof of absence, but it is indeed evidence of absence. The fact that even after millennia of trying, human beings haven’t been able to come up with evidence for the supernatural means that there probably isn’t anything supernatural going on. Again, this isn’t proof that there isn’t anything supernatural going on, but it is evidence.
Atheists do, therefore, make an assertion. I assert that I don’t believe in god, that I see no reason to believe in god and that this is because there is no evidence for the existence of a (or two or many or a few trillion) god(s). And, as Douglas Adams said, I am quite happy marvelling at the beauty of the garden without expecting fairies under the soil.
Which brings me to this: it’s stupid to brand a widely varied set of people with one tag, and allege that they are conspiring to ‘redefine’ something. But then, we’re talking about conservapaedia; this is probably the least stupid thing they’ve done in a while.