When making an
existential claim (a claim that a thing exists), the burden of proof is on the
one making the claim. If I were to tell you that an invisible green leprechaun
lives under my Chicago Cups cap, you’d be right in asking me to prove my claim.
If I didn’t or couldn’t (or if I hemmed and hawed and changed the subject or
engaged in other forms of sophistry to evade your demand for proof), you’d be
perfectly right in doubting my claim or in dismissing it altogether. However,
you could never prove that this invisible green leprechaun doesn’t exist. You’d
have to know a lot more than we currently know in order to prove that I am not
telling the truth, that my claim is falsehood. (In this specific case, you could
logically disprove my claim in that a thing cannot be both green and invisible
— in one sense of the term invisible — but this is as far as you could
In my days as a fervent atheist I would read books on atheism that normally
would contain the leprechaun argument. I think there is a major problem with
this comparison as an argument. In the history of philosophy no one has ever
come up with the need for the existence of a leprechaun to explain the world
around them. Nothing that their senses detected required the need for such
creature to exist.
If the universe and matter had always existed than the an infinite amount of
time would of had to pass to get to the present time. Obviously an infinite
amount of time has not passed so the universe started at a point of time.
Materialist would then have to hold that out of nothing the universe came
into being. Generally they will respond that the theist can’t explain why God
has always existed and thus sidestep it and don’t explain how the universe
Just at this level they they make an act of faith that this is
what happened. So atheists also have faith in something that they can’t
scientifically prove or they have faith that one day scientists can show how
this occurred. So this is how the leprechaun argument can be turned around by
asking them, since they now have the burden of proof, to explain Ex Nihilo Nihil
(nothing comes from nothing).
There is a web site called http://www.nihilo.com/ it stays black and
never does anything.