A word or two on that dreaded #burdenofproof

So that we’re all on the same page, let’s start with Wikipedia’s definition:

“The necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges.”
–Legal definition, Wikipedia

I posted a video on the ‘Tube a while ago as my then-assignment for A-News. It was entitled “near-death experiences=BULLSHIT.” Here it is:

A quick glimpse of the comments’ section will reveal at least two things:

  1. a lot of people didn’t like it
  2. a lot of people have no fucking idea how the burden of proof works.

In countless comments, I heard things like, “If you don’t think my cousin/grandma/whatever went to Heaven and returned, how do you explain what happened?” To which I generally responded some form of the following, “I don’t know, but it’s not my job to prove your claim; it’s yours.”

Pretty straight forward, right? A person makes a claim, I expect him to provide evidence. Not exactly overturning General Relativity here, are we?

So, then, can someone please explain to me what the fuck has been going down among my fellow atheists where any number of claims have been made about any number of things and when prompted for evidence, common responses run the likes of, “There’s plenty of evidence, you just need to look for it,” “I don’t have to prove anything to you,” “You’re just being hyperskeptical,” or, “This issue has been resolved. You’re just being willfully ignorant”?

Since when did the burden of proof stop applying to everything and everyone? Since when was it only reserved for the supernatural? Since when did some atheists come to believe that they and their claims were exempt?

Since when?

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