It is hard to believe, I must admit, but in French jurisprudence there is at least one case, in the 19th century (when brothels were legal and an official list of prostitutes was kept by the Mayor of every town, to verify the obligatory medical check-up), of a woman insisting that she had committed no infraction by refusing a check-up because she was not a prostitute.  “Prove it !”, they said.

The anecdote, I hope, is enough to silence once and for all the stupid challenge put to atheists to prove that God does not exist.  I thought I had definitively demolished this absurdity in my Reflection “Harry (Potter) and the Burden of Proof” (in my book “From Illusions to Illumination”, pp. 67-68), where Hermione is expected by Mr Lovegood to prove that the Resurrection Stone does not exist.  But some believers, themselves seriously in need of a medical, mental check-up, continue to ignore that the monkey is on their back, not ours.


P.S.   I could have, and no doubt should have, quoted in my book and this blog-post, the Latin juridical principle that has been called “the bedrock of our criminal-justice system” : “Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat”.  (“Proof is the responsibility of the one who makes a claim, not the person who denies it.”)