World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hitchens's razor

Article Id: WHEBN0037519566
Reproduction Date:

Title: Hitchens's razor  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Arguments against the existence of God, History of atheism, Atheistic existentialism, Atheism, Jewish atheism
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Hitchens's razor

Hitchens's razor is an epistemological razor which asserts that the onus (burden of proof) in a debate lies with whoever makes the (greater) claim; if this burden is not then met, the claim is unfounded and its opponents do not need to argue against it. It is named, echoing Occam's razor, for the journalist and writer Christopher Hitchens, who, in 2003, formulated it thus:[1][2] "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

Hitchens's razor is actually a translation of the Latin proverb "Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur",[3] which has been widely used at least since the early 19th century,[4] but Hitchens's English rendering of the phrase has made it more widely known in the 21st century. It is used, for example, to counter presuppositional apologetics. This quotation appears by itself in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, a book by Hitchens in 2007.[5]

Writer Richard Dawkins, also an atheist, formulated a different version of the same law, at a TED conference in February 2002:[6] "The onus is on you to say why, the onus is not on the rest of us to say why not."

Dawkins used his version to argue against agnosticism, which he described as "poor" in comparison to atheism,[7] because it refuses to judge on claims that are, even though not wholly falsifiable, very unlikely to be true.

See also

References

  1. ^ Christopher Hitchens, "Mommie Dearest" – slate.com. October 20, 2003.
  2. ^ Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) p.150. Twelve Books, New York.
  3. ^ Jon R. Stone, The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations (2005), p. 101.
  4. ^ e.g. The Classical Journal, Vol. 40 (1829), p. 312.
  5. ^ https://en.wikiquote.org/articles/Christopher_Hitchens
  6. ^ Richard Dawkins, Militant Atheism – ted.com. February, 2002.
  7. ^ Richard Dawkins, "The Poverty of Agnosticism" in: The God Delusion (2006). Bantam Books, London.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.