One of the most common lines of 'argument' employed by Religionists is a logical fallacy called Disproving the Negative. What is ironic is that Religionists actually HATE this 'argument' when employed in the service of anything but their chosen imaginary sky being - mainly because it illustrates how incredibly silly the whole artifice is. The problem with this line of 'argument' is that it isn't an argument at all. It takes place in the fact and evidence and common sense free realm of Faith. A realm where invisible and unknowable faeries with magical powers who deliberately conceal their presence to make it look like everything is a natural occurrence to everyone who isn't predisposed to believing in them is treated as a perfectly logical and reasonable conclusion.
The only way I have found to deal with this argument is to use it in exactly the same way they do. This is how you can prove the existence of the his Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Invisible Pink Unicorns and my personal favorite, those mischevious little bastards known as Leprechauns.
The following exchange is a slightly modified IM conversation that I had last week. The only changes I have made is substituting God with Leprechauns and making the pronouns work. Otherwise, the exchange is exactly the same.
Atheist: "Leprechauns aren't real."
Religionist: "prove that Leprechauns aren't real."
Atheist: "You know I can't. It's impossible to disprove a negative."
Religionist: "see. since you can't disprove the existence of Leprechauns, they must exist."
Atheist: "No, that's stupid, you're committing a logical fallacy. You're the one making the extraordinary claim. The burden of proof is on you."
Religionist: "what is extraordinary about my claim? billions of people believe in Leprechauns. billions claim to have seen Leprechauns or their works. they sing songs about Leprechauns. there are stories about them. sometimes people draw pictures. there is nothing extraordinary about it."
Atheist: "You're talking about invisible beings with magical powers and no proof of their existence. You're making an extraordinary freaking claim. So show me some proof of a Leprechaun."
Religionist: "i can't."
Atheist: "Why not?"
Religionist: "because you don't believe in them. because you don't want to see them."
Atheist: "What? Believe me, I would fucking LOVE to see a Leprechaun."
Religionist: "no you wouldn't. you have too much tied up in your rejection of Leprechauns. you can't see them or evidence for them because you don't believe in them."
Atheist: "Can you see Leprechauns?"
Religionist: "yes. i see them everywhere."
Atheist: "Wait, so you actually see Leprechauns right now?"
Religionist: "well, no. i see evidence for them everywhere."
Atheist: "Then prove it to me. Show me a picture. Show me some magic. Show me a stool sample."
Religionist: "i can't."
Atheist: "Why not?"
Religionist: because Leprechauns remain hidden from everyone who doesn't believe in them. they conceal evidence of themselves from unbelievers."
Atheist: "So let me understand, Leprechauns created the Universe and deliberately concealed any and all evidence of what they did so that we wouldn't be sure that they did anything at all? Why would they do that?"
Religionist: "who are we to question Leprechauns?"
Atheist: "And when things happen in the world, they don't happen simply because of physical properties and principles of the interactions of time, space and matter, they happen because Leprechauns cause them to happen and then Leprechauns hide the evidence of what they did?"
Religionist: only to you, the evidence is clear to me.
Atheist: "What evidence?!? You haven't shown me ONE shred of proof that Leprechauns exist. You can't see Leprechauns. Can't detect them. Can't interact with them. And all of the things Leprechauns supposedly do are actually explained by perfecly rational, perfectly detectable, perfectly ordinary phenomena that you claim, the Leprechauns only utilize to confuse us and conceal their presence."
Religionist: "see! rhey're real! Leprechauns are real!"
Atheist: "What? Why? How can you possibly arrive at that conclusion?"
Religionist: "because you can't prove they don't exist."
Atheist: "But that statement is illogical! It is nonsense!"
Religionist: "whoever said that Leprechauns are bound by human logic."
Atheist: <Kif> .......... </Kif>
Update: I almost forgot the video evidence.
Updated Update: And yes, I did originally ask him to provide a stool sample from God - If we can demand one from Bigfoot enthusiasists, we can demand one from them.