I have heard it claimed recently by some theists that “Atheism is not the default position” and it puzzles me somewhat. When atheists talk about the default position what we are referring to is the scientific concept of the null hypothesis. A claim is made—in this case that a god exists— and the null hypothesis is to say that the claim is false. From Wikipedia: “The null hypothesis typically corresponds to a general or default position. For example, the null hypothesis might be that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena or that a potential treatment has no effect.” The null hypothesis is a negative statement, not a positive claim.
I have also seen many atheists try to ‘prove’ that god(s) do not exist. You cannot prove a null hypothesis. From Wikipedia: “It is important to understand that the null hypothesis can never be proven. A set of data can only reject a null hypothesis or fail to reject it.” The issue is widely misunderstood on both sides of the debate though, so it isn’t only atheists who are pushing the envelope too far. It has been claimed by theists that to be an atheist means you have to know everything. Again, this is false as atheism is the null hypothesis, and as atheists our position can merely be the data we have so far is not enough to reject the null hypothesis. Much to my dismay, one of favourite scientists Carl Sagan also seemed to misunderstand this. He once said: "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid."
So let it be known, atheism is not a claim to omniscience, nor can it ever be proved. Atheism is rejecting the existence of gods, not a claim to knowledge of their non-existence. People on all sides of this debate would do well to learn this, as it would make the debate much more enjoyable.