Good arguments against the existence of God and the supernatural are worth sharing twice. So here's what I shared a few years ago in "No dragon in the garage. Also, no God in heaven."
This morning I came across this excellent rebuttal to those who ask atheists like me to prove that God doesn't exist in the course of re-reading Paul Singh's book, "The Great Illusion."
As I repeatedly point out on this blog, the burden of proof is on those who claim that God does exist. This should be obvious, but sometimes obviousness needs to be conveyed via an analogy to those who refuse to see the obvious.
Since there's no evidence of a dragon in anybody's garage, fantasized garage-dwelling dragons have no effect on the world or any people other than those who believe they exist. They are a non-entity for everybody else who understands how crazy it is to believe that dragons can inhabit garages.
Likewise, since there's no evidence of God or the supernatural, a belief that these entities exist leads to absolutely no difference to the world or to anyone who doesn't believe in these fantasies. Meaning, a world without a belief in God looks exactly the same as a world with a belief in God.
Again, the only difference a false belief makes is in those whose mind holds the belief.
Sure, some people feel a need to point out the falsity of beliefs, just as fact checkers feel a need to point out the many lies of Donald Trump. But otherwise, a belief in something that doesn't exist has no effect on the world, since that thing doesn't exist except as a mental concept.
(Trump lies do exist, so they have an effect on the world.)
Here's how Singh explains this Carl Sagan analogy.
Carl Sagan's tale of "A fire breathing Dragon lives in my garage" is a perfect example of how those who make scientifically unfalsifiable claims try to shift the burden of proof to others by special pleading at every step of the way.
Someone tells you there is a dragon in his garage. So you take a look in the garage and you don't see any dragon. He tells you the dragon is invisible.
So you decide to spread some flour on the garage floor to detect the dragon's foot prints, but there are none. And so it goes. Your friend will always have an excuse as to why there is no evidence that there is a dragon in his garage.
You tell your friend that there is no evidence that there is a dragon in his garage. But he tells you that you can't prove there isn't. And he is right, you can't prove there isn't a dragon in the garage.
But that is precisely the point of Sagan's tale. The burden of proof is not on you to prove anything. The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claims about the dragon. It is his responsibility to provide evidence for the dragon.
And he can't provide any because there isn't any. And you can't prove his claim wrong because his claim is unfalsifiable. And it is unfalsifiable because it makes no predictions about what you will perceive when you look in the garage.
Such unfalsifiable claims are nonsense.
This is how all superstition, pseudo-science, and religion works. Believers in such things make extraordinary claims that cannot be falsified. And when they are forced to admit that they don't have any evidence to support their claims, they respond by saying that you cannot prove that they are wrong.
But, again, the burden of proof is on the person making the extraordinary claim about miracles or UFOs or whatever to provide evidence for their claim. The burden of proof is not on the other person to prove them wrong -- something that is absolutely impossible to do given that their claim is unfalsifiable.
The take home lesson is that we should never believe a claim to be true simply because no one can prove it to be false. Theologians are experts at this kind of nonsense.
Are delusional people making things up? Evidence shows that the human brain is universally delusional in many ways and therefore people who promote superstitions are not particularly more delusional than the rest of us.
It is just that examples of religious delusions are rather classic examples of how the brain creates illusions and delusions. The use of logic and scientific skepticism is a skill that can be used to overcome the limitations of our own brains.
This skill is like any other skill such as learning to play the piano. It involves training in metacognition as well as basic education in all basic sciences.