The Burden of Proof

§1 The Burden of Proof

The Burden of Proof refers to the idea that the burden of proving an unfalsifiable claim lies solely on the party making the positive affirmative claim e.g. “A God exists”, or more famously, “There is a giant purple dragon flying around the head of a hermit hidden away somewhere in the Andies mountains whom has not seen human contact since the death of his now late mother, right now”; all in all, the common denominator of these claims is that they make no descriptions allowing for them to be falsified. As such, we must assure these claims to be false until proven otherwise.

§1.2 Why Assume?

Humans are, all in all hardwired to assume; [^1][^2] as such, when we address a subject with anything but pure apathy, we make natural presuppositional assumptions, regardless of any proof that we have. Due to these assumptions, it is better to first and foremost assume something to be false, than to function on a principle of our less controlled assumptions.

§1.3 Why Are Our Uncontrolled Assumptions Bad?

Within debate, we function on two bases of reason: empiricism, and logic. We hold these principles very highly, so when our natural assumptions hold no basis in either of these esential bases of rational debate, they are regarded as harmful. In addition, any presupposi than to falsehood is a presupposition to fallacy, or to something unnatural to the human mind. [^1][^2][^3]

§1.3.1 The Russell’s Teapot Argument

An argument initially posed by Philosopher Betrand Russell, the Russel’s teapot essentially states that instead of shifting a burden of disproof to the negative party to falsify an argument, the burden of proof instead lies on the party making the positive affirmative claim. Russell contextualized this argument most famously to religion, comparing claims that there was a God to another supposedly ridiculous claim, stating.

If I were to suggest that between Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revoLving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided that I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

The validity of Russell’s claim is comparable to that of fiction. If we hold fiction to be false until proven otherwise with any certainty, it would be foolish to hold any other baseless claim to be anything but false as well. Such a principle holds true even after supposed proofs for an argument have been presented, provided that such proofs have themselves been proven false.[^4][^5]

§1.4 Why Is This Important?

A basis of logic is essential in establishing a grounds for proper debate. The principles of false pre-assumption, and the burden of proof help to ensure that all arguments can remain logical within a debate; and as such, that they can remain proper arguments.

Note: The pre-assumption of a statement as false does not necissitate an assumption that the statement is wholly and undeniably false, but rather that it is better to be seen as false than to be seen,unnaturally, as unproven.

§1.5 Citations

[^1]: Nicholson 1998

[^2]: Arbia, Carbonnier 2014

[^3]: See The Russel’s Teapot Argument §1.3.1

[^4 ]: Russell 1952

[^5]: Russell 1958