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Jesse
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You can't be guilty of pirating what is in the public domain =)
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Evolution concerns not the survival of the fittest, but the survival of the sufficiently fit. As for awareness, the answer really depends on how you would answer this question: is it possible to create something with the processing power of the human mind without producing consciousness? If you answer yes, then you are a dualist of some kind, and I have no idea of how dualists approach the evolution of awareness. If you answer no, then any evolutionary increase in brain complexity would result in greater awareness as a natural consequence.
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Greta, I agree. I was just showing that "you cannot prove a negative" is not technically true and not what people truly mean. (They do mean what you say they mean.) They should express their thoughts differently, if only to avoid misleading people and to not give the more sophisticated theists the opportunity to dispute your wording and score points with the audience. People who move the goal posts are generally easy to deal with. You may not change their mind, but you can easily score points with the audience by showing them how unreasonable your opponent is. If they have no evidence for their position and they keep moving the goal posts to make it harder to disprove them, all you need to do is point out that you are not under an obligation to disprove the existence of god or fairies or what-have-you, only discredit their position, and that they are making it more and more difficult for themselves to substantiate what they are saying, and thus making their ever-increasing unreasonableness apparent.
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I want to add something to what Dave and Greta wrote. We should distinguish technical and pragmatic reasoning. To understand what I mean, consider the Christian and Deist notions of god and assume they cannot be ruled out by square-circle arguments. Pragmatically, we can rule out both, if only to get-on with our lives. Technically, we can rule out only one of them. We can argue against the Christian god like so: if X, then Y; not-Y; therefore, not-X. We can't do that with the Deist god. With technical reasoning, we can rule out only one, but we can rule out both from a pragmatic standpoint, if only to get-on with our lives. With that in mind, this could be the big difference between Strong and Weak Atheists. Whenever I (a Weak Atheist) challenge a Strong Atheist, they almost always come to agree with my position. Then, I was always left dumbfounded when they turned-around and embraced Strong Atheism again. Perhaps they are not contradicting themselves, but happen to embrace pragmatic reasoning to a greater extent than I do. (Unfortunately, they seem to embrace pragmatic reasoning to such an extent that they often confuse it with technical reasoning. By using both without distinction, they appear unreasonable to many people, and the credibility of Weak Atheism is damaged, if only because it is guilty by association.) I also want to add something to what Todd said. All agnostics admit to not knowing the origin of the universe and they all allow for the possibility of a conscious creator. There are two kinds of agnostics though. One kind takes their knowledge of the universe and make inferences from it, which has the result of ruling out many of the god-hypotheses and other mystical notions like free-will, for example. The other kind is non-committal and wishy-washy. Those are the agnostics that Todd had in mind. I am an agnostic of the first kind and I find the second kind of agnostic just as annoying as Todd does. They try to claim the lustre of reasonableness for themselves even though they do not deserve it. One more thing, about what Stellar said. For each positive claim that is proved, at least one negative claim is proved too. To prove, "this particular cubic inch of space has pure tea in it" (a positive claim) is to also prove "this particular cubic inch of space does not have oil in it" (a negative claim). To say negatives can't be proved is to say that nothing can be proved at all. Obviously, you don't mean that. You mean something quite different, so you should articulate that different thing. Notice that whenever you feel compelled to tell someone that negatives can't be proved, you are always responding to someone who makes a positive claim whose truth or falsity is indistinguishable. Tell them that its truth or falsity is indistinguishable and, on that basis, they have no grounds to affirm its truth and are justified in not accepting that positive claim as true.
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Hank, it seems to me that you are being too sensitive. To make a joke about a position or argument that does not make sense is not the same as having or showing a strong or unreasoning desire for revenge. In other words, it is not vindictive.
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I like the idea of spreading memes to teach people about Atheism, but I do not like that particular meme. I am an Agnostic Atheist who is not certain or certain-enough. I do not assume (or, I try my best not to assume) anything about the origin of the universe or even the coherency of the concept of the universe having an origin. In a nutshell, my position is: I have not been persuaded to believe, so I don't believe. The meme you have chosen clarifies your position but misleads people about other forms of Atheism.
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