The Burden of Proof
So probably one of the most annoying things I've heard is the claim: “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist…” That claim is supposed to make you think… Yet there are plenty of other things we cannot prove don’t exist such as genies, fairies, and cosmic teapots orbiting the sun. But the main point that must be made is that in the scientific community the burden of proof lies on the person making the claim. That is the whole point of the peer review forum. Evolution was proposed at the end of 1859 in On the Origin of Species but was not widely accepted until it passed the test of peer review. It was not the job of skeptics to disprove that evolution was occurring, but it was Darwin’s duty, as the person who proposed the theory, to prove that it was. As the great Bertrand Russell once said regarding this very topic:
“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”
~~Bertrand Russell, 1952
In case you chose not to read the woefully long paragraph, here is the basic premise: If I said there was a teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars you would not be able to disprove my claim but does that mean you believe it? Of course you don’t for the simple reason that there is no evidence to support my assertion that there is in fact a teapot orbiting the Sun. It is the same way with God. I have heard quite a few people make the claim that I cannot prove God doesn’t exist and thus I have no reason not to believe. But if we went by that logic you would also have to believe in Odin or Thor, the Cosmic Ice Cow (Adhumla) or that the universe is atop the back of a giant turtle. (Might I add that if you go by that logic then you cease to be a monotheist considering that any other systems of belief can be justified using the same illogical premise)
So as we can clearly see that line of reasoning is a dead end considering that if you apply it you can justify belief in just about anything. So if you set out trying to convert someone, for your own sake don’t use that argument because anyone who has even a minuscule understanding of the burden of proof will call you out faster than you can say “Yahweh is real”.