Many theists, when faced with the lack of tangible evidence for a god, claim that this does not prove that there is no god, because “lack of evidence is not evidence of a lack”. Even if this argument were true, the attempt at a proof still has an outcome contrary to what a theist would wish.

In fact, lack of evidence can be evidence of a lack. Suppose I claim, falsely, that elephants roam your neighborhood at night. You could retort that nobody has seen elephant footprints or droppings, the shrubbery has not been disturbed, and nobody has heard or smelled or seen any elephants–all of which are the genuine expected evidence of the presence of elephants. The lack of realistically expected evidence is indeed evidence of a lack.

However, even if the lack of evidence for an elephant or a god did not prove the lack of an elephant or a god, it proves something else: that elephants or gods have no bearing on our experience, and should not be taken into account. If the supposed existence of an elephant or a god (or an elephant god) does not materially affect our world in a way that provides evidence, it is of no consequence in our world. That statement is worth repeating 100 times.

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