To The Editor,
Bob Meade claimed I said things I actually didn't say in my letter on the decline of religion. Conservative letter writers to The Sun do this all the time which makes one wonder if they actually read or understand the letters. The letter contained three sets of statistics on religion. One was that church attendance has significantly dropped. Only 14 percent of those born after 1956 attend church services. I never said not going to church meant not believing in God. Mr. Mead said I did. Regarding the "nones," the Pew survey puts it this way: "Religious "nones" — a shorthand we use to refer to people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is "nothing in particular" — now make up roughly 23 percent of the U.S. adult population. This is a stark increase from 2007, the last time a similar Pew Research study was conducted, when 16 percent of Americans were "nones."
The other statistic I mentioned was that only 45 percent of people 18-30 are sure there is a God. That would mean 55 percent are agnostic at the outset. This is a major generational shift. In fact, under 18 it gets worse. In one survey, only one in 10 high school seniors said religion was important in their lives.
In debates regarding science or religion, it is the responsibility of the person who makes a positive claim of something's existence to provide the evidence. The burden of evidence is always with the positive claimant. I don't have to believe anything if there is no evidence for it. Doubt is a logical default position for any claim whether it be scientific or religious until evidence arises that suggests otherwise. This is critical thinking. Asking someone to prove a negative only proves one has no cogent response. Can Mr. Meade prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't the one true God? Of course he can't. Demanding the proof of a negative is a logical fallacy that is the last defense of one with no answer.
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