The Burden Of Proof

A lot of discussions lately have been filled with claims, opinions, and beliefs that are difficult for many people to believe. And the popular thing to ask for: proof, evidence. But the reason for demanding proof isn’t always clear… Looking at present threads, as well as similar ones of the past, I get the impression that it usually one of two reasons: a) as a way to make someone admit they can’t back it up, or b) to understand why the person making claims or asserting opinions believes as he (or she) does.

The former, to somehow discredit it in ones own eyes and, if possible, in the eyes of others… to my way of thinking, that seems like a way of trying to validate ones own beliefs through making other beliefs, opinions, or claims seem insane or poorly thought out. In the context of a spiritual community though, this kind of approach brings a very simple question to the forefront, even when it comes to exceptionally grandiose, unpopular, or difficult to believe claims: Why?

Usually, I get the feeling that it’s with the intent to validate or feel secure in one’s own beliefs. And when someone does as much as one can to offer evidence in support of what they’ve said, why keep berating the inadequacy of what’s been provided? It obviously seems good enough to them, so what is the intention!? If it is indeed so inadequate, surely the thing reflects such shortcomings all on its own. It’s my contention that the motivation to understand is rarely, if ever present; and furthermore, that the discrediting of beliefs other than one’s own is both a way to feel more secure and a method that misses the point of places like the Force Academy.

Why does it matter if you can prove it? Why are you demanding proof? Your reasons mean something, and if you’re dealing with a discussion where someone is trying to communicate and you’re not, you’re not bringing much of anything to the table.

(Written May 16th, 2012)

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