Joshua Feuerstein, excitable youtube preacher, is now offering a $100,000 prize to anyone who can prove god doesn’t exist. I feel like asking him how he has proven that Thor doesn’t exist, so I can just swap in the name Jesus and walk away rich, except I don’t believe that there is such a thing as “proof” in science, so it would be something of a betrayal of my principles. Also, I doubt that he’s honest: does he actually have $100,000 to give away? Does he have funds in escrow? How is this affair managed and judged? It looks to me like he just took a sharpie and scribbled a claim on a piece of cardboard and held it up in front of a cell phone camera, which doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence that this is a legitimate offer.
Look to James Randi’s million dollar challenge for a better example of how to do this: actually have the money set aside. Have criteria and rules, and independent judges. Ask for confirmable, repeatable evidence for a phenomenon, rather than asking to prove a nebulous negative. But Feuerstein can’t do that, because he’s the one making a positive claim in the absence of evidence, so if anyone ought to bear the onus of providing evidence, it’s him.
Seth Andrews does a fine job smacking him down.