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Russell's teapot

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'Russell's teapot, sometimes called the Celestial Teapot, was an idea first started by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970). Russell showed effectively that sceptics don't have to disprove unfalsifiable claims of religions. He introduced this idea in his unpublished essay Is there a God?.

Russell's teapot

"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, "Is there a god?")

When Christians or believers in other religions come up with unprovable and unlikely ideas:

  1. We don't need to disprove their Mythology.
  2. They need to try and prove their beliefs, and remember Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Similar entities

Various people have proposed various other entities for illustrating this point.

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