I thank Otis Page for a substantive challenge (“The burden of proof is on you, atheists,” Nov. 10) to my commentary about atheism (“Meet your friendly neighborhood atheists,” Oct. 19), and am happy to return the favor. The “witness of millions of people” is not, as Mr. Page asserts, very good evidence for god at all, upon a moment’s reflection. Millions of people have dreams that they are flying unaided, but that is very poor evidence that they actually flew. Good evidence would be a god appearing as a being and talking and acting like a god, something that the Christian god doesn’t do anymore, for some unknowable reason. Otherwise, no one can tell if it’s just your imagination or not.
I will also refer Mr. Page to my original commentary, in which I showed why the burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim. I only say that the theists’ claim that a god exists has not been met, so there are no good reasons to believe in any god. I do not claim to have proof that there is no god. If Mr. Page doesn’t agree with this burden of proof, then I challenge him to prove that there isn’t a teapot flying around the moon, a point about the burden of proof first made by Bertrand Russell.
Just as much as I appreciate Mr. Page’s challenges, I also encourage everyone to submit their own religious beliefs to similar substantive challenges.