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GOWTHAM REDDY

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“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens. Do you agree?

As human beings, when we first hear this quote we instantly agree to it and make a correlation with science. But when we actually listen to this quote and ponder about it, we figure we cannot entirely agree with this quote or disagree with it completely. This quote brings about various knowledge issues and in some cases you agree and some cases you cannot. The knowledge issues that come up are – science, history, human science, religion, belief, and faith.

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  • Dec 26 2012: The debate, in my opinion, is not about the statement itself, as much as is about the ending question: "Do you agree?", which I find incomplete. That is, do I agree with the statement alone, or do I agree with Christopher Hitchens? The difference, as I see it, is between absolute and relative, between universal and specific applicability. Hitchens used it in this form in his book in 2007. However, in 2003 he wrote: "Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."(http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2003/10/mommie_dearest.html) In this case, he considers the statement we discuss here as being one of the "elementary rules of logic"; now, can you ponder if you agree or not with logic?

    Also, this statement exists as a Latin proverb, "Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur." (What is asserted gratuitously may be denied gratuitously.), preceding Hitchens with a couple of thousand years. Therefore, what are we discussing here: the statement alone or Hitchens' views?

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