When someone says “prove it” in an argument, be careful. They might be asking for actual evidence or they could just be setting you up for an elaborately rigged game of “let’s see if you can force me to change my beliefs while I have fun holding you to a standard of evidence that I don’t require of other things I already accept as true.”
Everyone claims to care about evidence, but how often do we take the time to analyze our assumptions about what should and shouldn’t count as evidence? The next time you feel inclined to respond to someone’s challenge to “prove it,” at least take a brief moment to ask them what kind of proof they would deem acceptable. Then consider having a preliminary discussion on that topic before wasting your time.
Some conversations are about people’s need to know what you know.
Some conversations are about your need to know what other people know.
Then there are those conversations that are about people’s need to control you, manipulate you, and make you sweat.
Here’s a small tip that will help you conserve energy and have more constructive conversations:
Before you share the evidence for what you believe, make sure you look for evidence that evidence is what the conversation is really about.