Jump to content

Witchcraft Burden Shifting


Yrth
 Share

Recommended Posts

I had a short exchange with some family members at breakfast this morning. The topic came up, and I said that dramas that draw on classic witchcraft texts and such should not make anyone uneasy because witchcraft is not real. To my surprise, I was then told that I was simply making a statement and haven't proven anything, that witchcraft *might* be real. I laughed it off as a joke and said that while they were technically correct, "you can't prove it's not real" is the weakest comeback known to man and that at any rate, the burden was not on me. Then they said that it was! I shook my head and disagreed-- then a baby across the room did something cute and everyone moved on.

 

But really? The burden is on me to prove that witchcraft might not be real? Only in the most ridiculous way is this true. Yes, there is a remote possibility that it is "real" -- the same probability that an invisible blue unicorn has nested on my shoulders for 26 years. This possibility is so small and ridiculous that it's reasonable to conclude that witchcraft is not real -- the burden here is very small, infinitesimal even.

 

./aggravated

 

Am I missing something? Is this aggravation unwarranted? My pet peeve is when people excuse their outlandish thoughts with the idea that "it's possible" and that "you can't prove it isn't true." It's infuriating! :fumes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

It's so aggravating. It's the basis of all woo arguments. They think that they may claim undiscovered purple unicorns exist and if you can't prove them wrong, then they're right by default. Very frustrating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one making the extraordinary claim carries the burden of proof. You balking at magic are making an "ordinary" claim. So your family is wrong here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There could have been a misunderstanding of terms used. You said witchcraft is not "real". Here the question is what do you mean by it not being "real"? If by "real" your relatives meant it is "real" in the sense that people practice it, then it is "real" because people do practice it. If by not being "real" you meant that the practice of witchcraft causes nothing supernatural, then that's another thing entirely. In the same way, I could not say that Christianity is not "real" because there is a Christian religion which is followed by many people. On the other hand, if I said that the underlying premises of Christianity are not true (i.e., the resurrection) then that is something else entirely.

 

As for burden of proof, anyone who claims a fact has the burden of proving that fact. This is very technical, but if you said, "Witchcraft is not real," then you were claiming that as a fact and therefore you had the burden of establishing the fact you claimed. In the same way, if I say, "There is no god," then I am claiming that as a fact and I have the burden of proving that fact. However, if I say I have never seen convincing evidence that there is a god and until I see such evidence I do not believe there is a god, then the burden is on the person claiming there is a god to provide the evidence to me.

 

Again, what I say about burden of proof is fairly technical because what most people mean when they say witchcraft is not real or there is no god is that they have seen no convincing evidence and are inviting the believer to provide such evidence.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next time you see them tell them you think they cast a spell on you which did something bad in your life and it is up to them to prove otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

There could have been a misunderstanding of terms used. You said witchcraft is not "real". Here the question is what do you mean by it not being "real"?

 

To my surprise, I was then told that I was simply making a statement and haven't proven anything, that witchcraft *might* be real.

 

I don't see any confusion here. It is clearly obvious that some people claim to be "witches" and practice something they imagine to be "witchcraft." I think the intent understood by everyone in the conversation was about whether there was anything to fear from the supposed powers or magic claimed about witchcraft. Conversations such as this one aren't formal debates and some common assumptions are made in a casual discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possibility does not constitute reality, if it did then my dogs can fly.

 

Christians that use the "well you can prove its not" response in an argument must also accept the existence of visiting extra terrestrials, big foot, Yeti, every other God imaginable in human existence and so on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There could have been a misunderstanding of terms used. You said witchcraft is not "real". Here the question is what do you mean by it not being "real"? If by "real" your relatives meant it is "real" in the sense that people practice it, then it is "real" because people do practice it. If by not being "real" you meant that the practice of witchcraft causes nothing supernatural, then that's another thing entirely. In the same way, I could not say that Christianity is not "real" because there is a Christian religion which is followed by many people. On the other hand, if I said that the underlying premises of Christianity are not true (i.e., the resurrection) then that is something else entirely.

 

As for burden of proof, anyone who claims a fact has the burden of proving that fact. This is very technical, but if you said, "Witchcraft is not real," then you were claiming that as a fact and therefore you had the burden of establishing the fact you claimed. In the same way, if I say, "There is no god," then I am claiming that as a fact and I have the burden of proving that fact. However, if I say I have never seen convincing evidence that there is a god and until I see such evidence I do not believe there is a god, then the burden is on the person claiming there is a god to provide the evidence to me.

 

Again, what I say about burden of proof is fairly technical because what most people mean when they say witchcraft is not real or there is no god is that they have seen no convincing evidence and are inviting the believer to provide such evidence.

 

Witchcraft: Sending a request for change to a supernatural being.

Xian prayer: Sending a request for change to a supernatural being.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Witchcraft and magick are all psychological anyway. The ritual can provide the focus and momentum to get started on or re-energize, say, a job search, but in and of itself it does nothing, it's just theatre. Just like prayer and exorcism. It's all head-games, just with the magicky ones, you're going in eyes-open and deliberately playing with your own head rather than an external force (preacher, dogma, scripture) messing around with your head. It can really be empowering.

 

That said, "classic" witchcraft -- I'm assuming this is the "bubble bubble toil and trouble" type of witchcraft -- never actually existed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you know what's worse? Not only getting the argument that you have to "prove" them false, but also that if you DO prove them false, you have to suggest an alternative. My wife told me if I was going to prove "religion" false, then I had to tell her what DID create the universe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Christians didn't have shitty arguments, they'd have no arguments at all. It's hilarious they're trying to do that to a guy who's getting formal training in how to debate and spot fallacious arguments, but hardly outside the long-established bounds of Christian apologetics. Next they'll declare victory if you refuse to debate under such dishonestly-drawn circumstances.

 

The worst part is that Christians don't apply these tactics universally--but only as it benefits themselves. We know this because of this simple fact: if they got arrested on suspicion of committing a crime, they'd understand immediately that the authorities must prove their guilt rather than they themselves having to prove their innocence OR go find the real criminal to present to the authorities. Hold fast and don't give in to the temptation to argue on those terms. You're probably the very first exposure they've ever had to why these apologetics tactics are unethical and antithetical to genuine truth.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

.....

I've heard this type of stuff for years, it never goes away! Back in the day when I was a foam-spitting fundy, and a minister and briefly a bishop, I was actually accused of witch craft by another bishop because of the sin of -----ready for this?------brewing coffee (which I ground from the whole bean after roasting) and planting my own herbs for cooking. I shit thee not! According to the 'good brother' brewing anything was of the devil and good people just don't grow their own herbs to make their own meds or cook with. My status as bishop was terminated not for the witch craft thing but because I would not toe party line and preach to people to obey every friggin law of the land cuz god gave it to us!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you know what's worse? Not only getting the argument that you have to "prove" them false, but also that if you DO prove them false, you have to suggest an alternative. My wife told me if I was going to prove "religion" false, then I had to tell her what DID create the universe.

argument from ignorance is a term that I became quite familiar with as I deconverted. Suspect A and Suspect B are on trial. If Suspect A is aquitted, that doesnt mean suspect B is guilty. This argument neglects Suspect Q who is guilty. You have to test each idea individually. Just because you are performing the test on 2 theories doesnt mean that either of the two is correct.

 

 

Am I missing something? Is this aggravation unwarranted? My pet peeve is when people excuse their outlandish thoughts with the idea that "it's possible" and that "you can't prove it isn't true." It's infuriating! :fumes:

 

I would have loved to be at the table with because even though you can't prove it, you can prove what it is not. Example, have them give an example of witchcraft and then you provide an alternative. This proves that 2 things can come about as a result of different phenomenon. This shows that the results of witchcraft are NOT exclusive to witchcraft. They can give you something else and then you can provide another alternative. You can do this with just about anything and the more you do it, the better you get at it. Its pretty fun and you don't have to try very hard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Here's a good example of witchcraft not working. With all the chanting and head rubbing he did to not kill the skeptic, he could have successfully killed him in seconds by using the knife to stab the man rather than ceremonial use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.