Most atheists are also empiricists, who insist on empirical, observational proof of the existence of God. While it is true that this demand cannot be met, it is an unreasonable demand, since this is not the sort of evidence that is applicable to God, nor could it ever be shown that any particular natural event, no matter how unusual, was a miraculous intervention by empirical means.
It was recently pointed out to me, by an atheist empiricist, one Justin Dietz, that empiricists cannot coherently make use of the concept “the burden of proof,” since it is, as this gentleman points out, a “abstract idea,” not subject to observation or empirical proof:
“The concept of ‘proving’ where the burden of proof lies is not even a coherent idea. The burden of proof is an abstract idea, it does not actually exist [sic]. It is no more possible to be able to ‘prove’ anything about the “burden of proof” than it is to “prove” what a certain word means. In fact, that’s the exact problem. If I try to assert that the burden of proof, as a concept, has certain properties, you can just as easily assert that it does not. Since there is no actual entity of ‘the burden of proof’ whose properties we can observe and verify, there is no way to resolve this for certain.”
Thank you for this important observation, Justin. I will reference you the next time an empiricist speaks to me of the burden of proof. At the very least I will insist on how he refutes you and shows that we can talk meaningfully about it (at least if he wants to make use of it).