The following is a modified version of a fictional conversation between a leprechaunist and a non-believer taken from the Non Prophets site.
I believe that the box has a leprechaun in it.
I don’t believe that. Why do you?
I heard him talking.
I don’t believe that either. In fact, I know of no evidence that leprechauns exist.
Well, either there is a leprechaun in the box or there isn’t, right?
So it’s 50-50. And since I heard him talk, I’m sure that it contains a leprechaun.
Either the box contain a leprechaun or it does not, but that does not mean the odds are 50-50.
Of course it does.
Actually, no. But do you have some evidence?
One moment. … He just told me that if you don’t believe he’s in there, he will chain you to a tree after you’re dead and poke you with needles forever.
After I die? How is that possible?
The leprechaun has already given you an eternal soul.
An eternal soul? But there is still no evidence that this leprechaun that can give people eternal souls exists, much less that he can give me an eternal soul! I still don’t hear anything coming from the box.
Well, you’re not listening hard enough.
Alright, I’ll listen again for a second. … I still don’t hear anything.
Give it time. You’ve got to sincerely want to hear.
If he’s in there, I’d like to know it, so I’ll keep listening…
Did you hear that?
You’re either lying or you’re so close-minded that he’s not letting you hear him.
Not letting me hear him? Leprechauns can choose who can hear them?
Of course! He could open the lid, show himself to me, and you’d never see it. You’d think the box was closed the whole time. Leprechauns are magic.
Well, do you have any evidence for this? I mean, I’ve never seen a leprechaun, I have no reason to think they exists, and every time you tell me how to prove it, the test fails.
No, you fail. It worked for me.
Well, there are other people here who have also tried this, and it also failed for them.
Yes, but these people over here heard it. And there are many more people who say they heard it than those who say they did not.
Well, I’ve spoken with some of them, and they all have a different notion about what is in the box. Some of them say it is a leprechaun, some say it’s a fairy, and others say it’s a goblin. Their descriptions of the leprechaun are all different, and they all have conflicting messages about what the leprechaun said.
So you do believe in the leprechaun!
No. I’m suggesting that the alleged message and appearance of the alleged leprechaun is oddly different for each person.
Ah, yes. There is also a troll in the box with the leprechaun. He sometimes pretends to be the leprechaun, or a fairy, or a goblin in order to fool those other people, but notice they all still heard something.
Yes, so they say, but others didn’t.
Well, sometimes that troll blocks the sounds so people can’t hear him.
So, how do you know that, when you hear the leprechaun, you aren’t actually hearing the troll?
Don’t be absurd! The leprechaun is my friend. He makes sure that I only hear him.
Yeah, but how can you be sure? If you think that there is also a troll in the box who pretends to be the leprechaun, how can you know. Maybe there is only the troll, and he’s just messing with your head?
Now you’re just being thick. Look, there’s a box, right?
Why would there be a box here unless there was something in it? There must be something in it, right?
No, the box could be empty.
No there couldn’t, or the box would have no reason to exist! Boxes are for holding things! We all know that.
So you’re claiming that the box could not possibly be empty?
And you don’t see that as a flawed premise.
No, and it’s confirmed by the fact that I heard the leprechaun.
Well, how exactly did you hear him?
He talks to me telepathically.
So you didn’t mean listen with my ears. You meant listen with my mind?
But hearts don’t listen!
Your metaphoric heart.
But that guy says he heard it with his ears.
He’s wrong. He’s hearing the troll.
But I don’t even hear the troll!
He’s blocking you out.
How do you know all of this?
The leprechaun told me.
So you’ve made unsubstantiated appeals to magic, telepathy, trolls, leprechauns and non-empty boxes, but you’ve offered no evidence. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe you.
And don’t forget the needles piercing your flesh after you die!
Look, there is no evidence that there will be any “me” to experience anything after I’m dead.
What if you’re wrong? Isn’t that a lot to risk? The leprechaun says he’s got a pot of gold for you if you believe. Isn’t that worth believing?
Look, even if I could make myself believe, which I can’t, why would I want to do that. Why would I want to waste my time believing with no evidence when I could be spending my time exploring what, if anything, is actually inside the box? If I discover the magic leprechaun to be in the box, I could then possibly ask him for advice on how to live my life.
Oh, he’s already given me instructions for you. I’ve written them down. Here.
Hmmm… This says to put money in the box?
You don’t think pots of gold grow on trees do you?
I thought he was magic.
He is. But the money is so that we can tell other people what the leprechaun wants.
Well, why doesn’t he tell them himself?
He could, and he will, but only to those who are open to it. Some like you are fooled by the troll.
Why doesn’t he get rid of the troll?
It’s a mystery, but we’re sure he will eventually.
Anyway, if all if this is not true, then I’ll have wasted a lot of time, money and energy on something false, only to avoid a threat that wasn’t real.
Yeah, but what if you’re wrong?
Look, I’m done talking to you. I do not believe there is a leprechaun in the box.
How can you be sure?
I’m not! But I don’t believe there is.
How can you say there’s no leprechaun in the box.
I didn’t. I said I don’t believe there is a leprechaun in the box.
It’s the same thing.
No it isn’t. However, now that I’ve considered and rejected your claim, I’m willing to say that I actually do believe that there is no leprechaun in that box.
You’re making an irrational claim. Do you think you know everything?
No, I am not claiming that I am absolutely certain. But I actually believe, with some degree of certainty, that there isn’t a leprechaun in the box, because if there were, I’d expect there to be evidence to support it, yet all the investigation keep coming up empty. I’ll return with some tools We’re going to open that box.
You can’t open the box.
You just can’t. It’s impossible until after you die.
After I die? But how can I open a box after I die?
The leprechaun has given you eternal life.
So you’ve said. but this all seems a bit circular to me. I have to believe in a leprechaun that can give eternal life, and can only in the eternal life that the leprechaun gave me, open the box to know whether or not this leprechaun who gives eternal life exists.
What is wrong? Don’t you have faith?
You are evil and are doing what the troll wants.
I’m evil because I don’t believe something for which there is no evidence?
The box is the evidence that there is a leprechaun.
No, the box is only evidence that there is a box.
It is clearly a leprechaun box, so there is a leprechaun inside it.
Now I’m annoyed. Here. (He grabs the box and shakes it vigorously.) Listen. No leprechaun-like rattle.
What are you doing? Put that box down! You can’t test the leprechaun!
The leprechaun wants you to believe without evidence. He jumped every time you shook the box so it felt like there was nothing in the box.
You’re telling me that the leprechaun is being careful not to leave any evidence of his existence, yet wants us to believe in his existence?
Exactly. He wants you to believe without the need for evidence other than the box. That’s why we call it faith.
That’s just ridiculous.
You don’t have much faith, do you?
No, and I intend to remain faithless until I have some evidence.
You’ll be sorry!
I’ll be busy living life rather than staring at a box and waiting around for my death.