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Discussion 4 to Ask the Patriarch 86
Do I own a red bicycle?

by JT

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I'm going to make a claim which may or may not be true.

"I own a red bicycle."

There are two possibilities.

  1. The red bicycle that I own exists.
  2. The red bicycle that I own does not exist.

Only one of those is possible.

Now I am going to ask you:

"Does that specific red bicycle that I own exist?"[1]
Give me an answer - "yes" or "no" - based on your current knowledge.

If you answer "I don't know," which in your current state of knowledge is the only possible valid answer, then you will stand accused, by your own logic, of evasiveness.

Of course either God exists or God does not exist. (Leaving out the possibility that a deity may be in a quantum state - a Schrödinger's god which will collapse into existence or non-existence when its box is opened.)

But those two possibilities do not mandate that we automatically have to know the answer.

And once again, you are trying to shift the burden of proof. When you try to change my mind, you have to support your case. (I'm not trying to change your mind on your atheism - I don't care what you believe.)

The quote you give from Fotopoulos, which you think takes the burden of proof away from you, applies only, at best, to a discussion between atheists and theists. If you want to change an agnostic's mind, prove your case.

You are still just spinning your wheels on this whole issue.


  1. As I do not know for certain the answer to this myself - I have not even looked at my bike for about five years (I suspect it is black or blue, but am not sure) and in addition may still "legally" own one or more of the half-dozen bikes I previously possessed - this question is more relevant than it might appear on the surface.