What do you make of the argument that we must assume that everything has a natural cause and explanation i.e Hume’s empiricism.  We do not know everything, therefore I can not tell you what is naturally possible.  This therefore means that supernatural forces are most likely non-existant.  Occam’s razor and Poppers falsifiability also support this.  That is, we make a leap of faith to assume even the natural word exists therefore we should not further complicate things when we do not have to by saying supernatral things also exist unless there is a da poinys [Editor’s note: I do not know what word is being used here] that can only be explained by supernatural things things that are always impossible. Let us say if I saw a dead and decaying or cremated corpse come back to life.  In addition, supernatural forces are not falsifiable. There is no test I can do to show that they exist. Therefore one should assume they don’t as the burden of proof is on the believer.


There is no reason that I know of to assume that only natural processes occur.  Empiricism is a philosophy and nothing more.  It is in the ver nature of empiricism that it cannot disprove the existence of the supernatural.  One thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that one cannot use empiricism to prove that there is no supernatural.  Not observing something is not proof that it does not exist.  That would be rather obvious circular reasoning.  Here is what a human being ought to do, in my opinion.  A human being ought to ask him or herself what is the nature of reality?  How is it that anything at all exists?  Can everything that ever has happened be explained by purely natural processes, or is it more reasonable to believe that there is a supernatural ultimate cause behind creation and behind human history?  I believe that, by far, it is much more reasonable to conclude that there is a supernatural presence to explain the existence of the universe of life, and of human history.

About Ockham, he did propose a question-answering method, known as Ockham’s Razor which says, in essence this:  When an explanation for an observable thing is sought, the explanation which requires the least assumptions is to be preferred.  I agree with this general approach.  Because of this, ultimately, scientists began to not impose supernatural explanations of things such as the motions of planets and the existence of living things.  That was a good development in my opinion. However, Ockham’s Razor cannot disprove the existence of the supernatural.  In fact, Ockham’s Razor, literally, cannot be used to prove anything at all!  It is merely a principle.  Let me add this, one person who definitely believed in the supernatural is Ockham.  He was a priest and a very influential theologian.  Therefore we can say one thing for sure, the person who invented Ockham’s Razor did not believe it disproved the existence of a supernatural presence.

Karl Popper was a really great philosopher of science, but his philosophy had nothing whatsoever to do with whether the supernatural exists or not.  His is a principle for deciding what is the most appropriate scientific explanation of observable things and how scientists reach conclusions as to the best explanation of natural laws.  He proposed that theories cannot be proved true, but that the best theory is one which can, in principle, be falsified, but has not yet been falsified.  Again, this only applies to natural events, and does nothing whatsoever to help us decide whether God exists or not.  Neither Popper nor Ockham were talking about a supposed leap of faith.  I cannot see how this has anything to do with what either of them said.

How might the proposal that God exists “complicate” things?  I do not see this.  What would it complicate?  Certainly not science, as science only deals with natural things.

I will agree that supernatural things are not falsifiable, but falsifiability only applies as a useful principle when talking about natural laws and natural processes.  Love cannot be falsified.  Beauty cannot be falsified.  Metaphysical things are not falsifiable.  Falsifiability is not relevant to questions about God.  I agree that you cannot “prove” the existence of God.  All anyone can do is this: We can ask what is the most reasonable conclusion about reality–that the supernatural is real or that it is not real?  I am convinced that it is real for many, many reasons.  What about you?

Who says that the burden of proof is on the believer?  On what principle is the burden of proof on the believer?  More than 90% of all people who have ever lived, and more than 80% of all those who are well-educated have believed in the supernatural, so who says that the burden of proof is on the believer?  I definitely do not agree!!!   There are things about which burden-of-proof arguments are probably valid.  For example, on the question of the resurrection of Jesus, the burden of proof is on the believer in my opinion.  Hume said that, and I agree. We know that people generally do not resurrect, so the burden of proof for this question is on the believer.  But this is definitely not the case about the existence of God.  What is the basis for the burden being on the believer?  I know of no reason.

John Oakes

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