Monday, December 27, 2010

The default position and the burden of proof

A variety of claims are circulating the internet (and no doubt elsewhere) regarding the title of this post. Michael Shermer claims that skepticism (as an approach to claims) is the default position, so we'll take him at his word and skeptically evaluate his claim. Other atheists, such as George Smith, claim that lack of belief in gods is more akin to a factory default setting for the human brain:
"If the religionist is bothered by the moral implications of calling the uninformed child an atheist, the fault lies with these moral implications, not with the definition of atheism. Recognizing this child as an atheist is a major step in removing the moral stigma attached to atheism, because it forces the theist to either abandon his stereotypes of atheism or to extend them where they are patently absurd." (George Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God)
In future posts, I will take a few chops at these claims to see what's underneath.


shiningwhiffle said...

As a coherentist, I don't even accept the idea of a default position. The idea of a default position suggests you should have to scrub your brain to something like ritual purity before seriously engaging in critical thought.

Post a Comment