This is a very common argument in creationist circles. Hence, a perfect example for my demonstration.
First let’s examine the official burden of proof argument…
1) A skeptic, by definition, is one who challenges a claim – not a person who presents one.
2) A believer of anything, i.e. religion, space, time, bananas…ect. asserts a claim is indeed a valid one, and thus owns the responsibility to provide some kind of conclusive evidence for their belief to pass from subjective knowledge to objective knowledge to establish a Commonality between the two perspectives (subjective vs. objective).
Therefore, the burden of proof lies with the ‘believer.’
Between the two parties, there are generally two different schools of thought on how life began:
1) Atheists/Agnostics/Skeptics may postulate evolution and scientific fact/theory.
However, you will not catch many people in this category claiming to have THE ‘truth’ – due to the fact science does not have all the answers. The most fundamental property of this group is that they position their understanding in credible evidence. There is little or no faith involved due to the fact that assertions on this side can be placed in objective reality either by physical evidence and/or logical conclusion.
2) Believers claim creation.
It is important to note that a believer’s ideas of creation belong to an extremely diverse group of people. There are over 10,000 + different religions alone (not accounting for sub-sects). Considering these numbers significantly lowers the possibility of believing in the ‘right’ religion – due to the fact that the majority, if not all people belonging to these differing variations of religions claim to have the one and ONLY ‘truth.’
Evidence – the only evidence for religion is alleged testimony of people who are typically unable to currently testify and/or teachings/prophecies/allegories passed down through history.
This evidence is:
a. Subject to alteration due to translation(s).
b. Subject to political influence(s).
c. Subject to interpretation(s).
d. Subject to questionable source(s).
Religion also must own up to the following Relative Factors:
a. Cultural Relativism
b. Moral Relativism
c. Linguistic Relativism
At this point in my demonstration comes the use of (one of my favorite tools) Occam’s Razor.
After taking all these factors of probability into consideration, Occam’s razor delivers the final death blow to religion when it is pitted against scientific analysis, logical/mathematical proof, and physical evidence. Religion does not hold even when these factors are not taken into account.
It would be just as easy to say that of all the billions of people throughout history, none have been able to prove the existence of any deity.
This is known in philosophy as an Appeal to the Masses:
“APPEAL TO THE MASSES: One is committing this fallacy when he tries to justify a belief or action by the support base behind that action. Saying that Christianity is the right religion because it has a billion followers is an appeal to the masses. As with other logical fallacies, there is no logic behind this, just ignorance.
“There are more and more people converting to Creationism everyday. Even astrophysicists and biologists are seeing the light. This is God’s work!”
Creationists often engage in an appeal to the masses in tandem with the appeal to authority, as you can see here. In this case, they use the appeal to an anonymous authority with the appeal to the masses. If all the physicists in the world suddenly said that they Earth pulled down at 1,000m/s2 without any proof, they’d still be wrong. If all the Creationists in the world jumped off a kilometer-high bridge, would you? If you said, “Yes,” please proceed to the nearest bridge.”
Again, such arguments are dust in the realms of logic…