In the late nineties, after we moved to Alaska, I deconverted from Christianity. I’ve mentioned before how difficult it was, how gut-wrenching the whole process became, and how I had to basically re-evaluate everything I thought I knew.
One of those things was the idea of “burden of proof.”
When you wade into the fairly treacherous waters of controversy over religion, something you frequently hear from the still-religious is a demand that you “prove there isn’t a god.” They think saying this makes them look like geniuses (it doesn’t) and that it paints the atheist into a corner (it doesn’t).
If this is all elementary to you, please bear with me. I simply was not taught any of this when I was young and didn’t understand it at all until I was in my late forties.
Just a short time after my deconversion, some guys hijacked some planes and brought down the World Trade Center and changed the world.
As a result of 9/11, George W Bush did something that was simply astonishing to me (and I was still very conservative at the time, and in fact, voted for W in 2000). He demanded that Saddam Hussein prove he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.
This thing, this condition, that W put on Hussein was the beginning of my disillusionment with first, Bush, and second, conservatism in general.
I knew that it was impossible for Saddam Hussein to do what Bush was demanding. No matter what he did, it wouldn’t matter. And that’s when I knew that Bush was going to war no matter what. He wanted to invade Iraq and the whole WMD thing was a smokescreen.
Lots of atheists claim that you cannot prove a negative. You cannot prove that there is no god. Hussein could not possibly prove that he didn’t have any WMDs stashed anywhere. That’s true. But they go on to assert that no negative statement can be proven.
This is not entirely true, however.
Let’s assume that I have this box. I walk past you, carrying the box.
You say to me, “Is my book in that box?”
I answer, “No, it isn’t.”
You don’t believe me. You think I’m trying to make off with your book. So you demand that I prove that your book is not in the box.
Can I do that?
Of course I can. I can just open the box and show you that it’s empty. And in doing so, I have proven a negative assertion is true.
However, the reason I can do that is because the box is small enough to search easily. My house is small enough to search relatively easily. My property could be searched easily enough and my negative assertion that I do not have a stash of stolen bank notes buried anywhere shown to be true.
But how do you search Iraq?
What happens is exactly what did happen: no matter how much they searched and found nothing, the White House just insisted that Hussein was moving the WMDs, or that they were hidden someplace.
And how do you search the universe?
So generally, the idea that you can’t prove a negative is true, unless it’s easy to prove the lack of something. Here’s another example. If your uncle lost a leg in Vietnam, it’s pretty easy to prove that he’s missing a leg.
Go to court, though, and you’ll discover that the burden of proof in court falls on the party making the positive claim. In criminal court, that is generally the state. The state says that the defendant did do something, and the defendant doesn’t have to do anything at all. The state has the burden of proof.
That’s because it’s far, far easier to prove that the defendant did it than it for the defendant to prove he didn’t. The state has to only prove one thing. The defendant would have to prove a zillion things – a whole pile of moments in which he was doing something other than breaking into that bank.
Have you ever wondered why this is the case for a regular courtroom (innocent until proven guilty) but it’s not the case for the IRS? It’s pretty much the reverse.
You have to prove, if audited, that you did, in fact, spend X dollars on Z, and therefore deserve that deduction. The IRS simply asserts the negative – that you didn’t – and that’s what stands until and unless you can prove you did.
See what the difference is?
In the criminal courtroom, the state is making the positive assertion: you did rob that bank. So the state has to prove it.
With the IRS, you are making the positive assertion: you deserve that deduction. So you have to prove it.
And that leads me here. Nicole is demanding here that I prove that her children don’t know stuff.
And she then claims that if I cannot do that, somehow the alternative is for me to “admit” (there’s that word again – she loves it) that I “pull info out of (my) ass.”
What she’s all pissed off about is the blog posting I did about books.
In fact, if you look on the right of this page, at the top, you’ll see a little search box. Enter the word “Education” and you’ll get everything on this blog categorized that way.
I have shown over and over again why I believe that the Naugler children are not being educated.
But here’s another example. On BLH, Nicole and her little humpers were discussing handwriting and specifically, cursive handwriting.
Nicole had to ask her children if they wrote in cursive.
Let that sink in a minute.
It’s not important whether they can or not. It’s not important whether anyone can or not.
What’s interesting is that she didn’t know.
She didn’t know.
She didn’t know how her children learned to read, she said elsewhere. She doesn’t know if they write in cursive. This means that she doesn’t read their writing enough to know.
She’s not teaching them.
And we’re back to that pesky burden of proof thing. She claims that her children are “educated.”
It just takes a few minutes of interacting with my children to see how bright and well rounded they are.
Well, Nicole has posted several videos where she “interviewed” her kids and I didn’t see anything of the sort in those videos. I saw her talking to kids. Just regular kids.
You cannot tell if somebody is “bright” by “interacting” with them for a few minutes. Of course, you can tell if that person happens to be profoundly challenged in some way, but you can’t tell much more than that.
You will get a better assessment in a 10 minute conversation than any test could provide.
Well, no, you won’t. You can’t. If you could, schools would have tossed all the testing decades ago and quit spending money on it.
She’s their mother and she doesn’t know if they can write and/or read cursive writing or not. She doesn’t know how they learned to read, which leads me to wonder if she knows if they can read.
She and Joe are not teaching them.
The burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim.