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Showing posts from October, 2008

The burden of proof

This is another topic high on my irksome list and a concept that many believers have a hard time grasping. My friend tells me she has a cousin who has psychic powers. I say there is no such thing as psychic powers. She says, "prove there isn't!" Well it doesn't work that way. The onus of producing evidence lies with the person making the claim. Simple.

My favorite rebuttal and staple argument in the skeptical community is the unicorn. I tell my friend that I have an invisible pink unicorn living in my backyard. She says "I don't believe you." So I say, "prove there isn't an invisible pink unicorn living in my backyard, as a matter of fact, prove there is no such thing as invisible pink unicorns." She can't. You can't prove a negative. It's up to me to provide evidence for my claim. I heard a good example from James Randi of not being able to prove a negative. Now my friend tells me that reindeer can fly. She knows it's true …