# Thread: You say there is an invisible elf in your backyard. Here's how I prove you wrong.

1. ## You say there is an invisible elf in your backyard. Here's how I prove you wrong.

Every time I see this sig file, I think of new ways to do it.

Then I think, maybe everybody should be in on the fun.

For starters, we use fine powdered flour. After we put a layer down over the entire yard, we set it up to sprinke it from the sky as well. When there are no footprints, we know the elf is standing still.

So we sprinkle the powder. When none lands on an invisible elf, we know there isn't one.

See? Easy.

Now before you start changing the elf into a magical somehow able to defeat the laws of physics elf, that isn't what you said. You said "invisible", not magical beyond physics.

There are other ways to do it as well.

2. Box in the backyard, then fill it with a layer of water so that the ground is submerged.

Then sweep the backyard with a long length of barbed wire.

If the wire is caught on anything you cannot see you know there is something there. If it jumps the wire to avoid getting caught on it you should find the water being disturbed.

Determining it's actually an elf would be another, much more complicated matter completely.

I prefer the method you mentioned in the OP though.

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Invisible elf, yes. But unless you are constantly raining powder or flour on the yard, you cannot guarantee that said elf does not come and go. Or simply transfer to the front yard to avoid getting floured.
Since the elf is invisible, you cannot feasibly guess his movements in order to jump out in front of him with a bag of flour.

So although you may demonstrate that the elf is not likely to be present in the yard at that moment, you cannot say with certainty that the elf did not see you coming and head out of town for a hiatus until you finished your shenanigans.

The elf is more wily than you gave him credit for- and no magic was needed.

ETA: this applies to Spoons as well. The point of the question is to "Prove the nonexistence of the invisible elf."

4. Well, I can tell you where they can't be, and can tell you where they can be, but I can't tell you where there are. Sorry for being Tweedledeeish.

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Originally Posted by BigDon
Well, I can tell you where they can't be, and can tell you where they can be, but I can't tell you where there are. Sorry for being Tweedledeeish.
'Tis better than being Tweedledum.

6. Originally Posted by Robinson
Every time I see this sig file, I think of new ways to do it.

Then I think, maybe everybody should be in on the fun.

For starters, we use fine powdered flour. After we put a layer down over the entire yard, we set it up to sprinke it from the sky as well. When there are no footprints, we know the elf is standing still.

So we sprinkle the powder. When none lands on an invisible elf, we know there isn't one.

See? Easy.
Won't work. Dust will float right through the elf, just as it would the air. Prove me wrong.

Now before you start changing the elf into a magical somehow able to defeat the laws of physics elf, that isn't what you said. You said "invisible", not magical beyond physics.
I didn't say that the elf's abilities were constrained to just invisibility.

7. Anyway, you have the problem turned around.

It isn't about proving there is an invisible elf in my backyard. You're being asked to prove that there isn't one.

8. This game was more fun before you embraced the CT strategies of vagueness and introducing new items to suit the argument.

(I know, that's the point of it.)

But if matter goes straight through your elf, it is invisible, completely undetectable and therefore has zero interaction with our world then what does it's existence matter.

Were it just invisible, but otherwise normal (err, yes, I realise I just referred to an elf as normal) then either Robinson's or my method would show if it weren't there.

9. Exactly.

10. I knew as soon as a method was proposed to show there is no invisible elf, the conditions would change.

But it doesn't matter. I proved there is no invisible elf in the back yard.

Saying it moved out of the yard also means there is no elf in the back yard.

It's fun proving things that don't exist don't exist.

11. Blue ribbon for you Robinson!

12. Originally Posted by Van Rijn
Anyway, you have the problem turned around.

It isn't about proving there is an invisible elf in my backyard. You're being asked to prove that there isn't one.
No, if somebody says , "I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?", I explain how I would prove that person is wrong. That there is no invisible elf. If there is no iElf (invisible elf), then the person is wrong.

This isn't rocket science here!!!

13. The elf hasn't been there for a long time. It simply told Van Rijn he was still there to mess with him. I know this because I have a direct line to the supernatural. Prove me wrong. :-P

14. ...and we haven't seen Van Rijn's backyard, either...

15. Be careful what you ask for ...

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Neverfly=chopped liver...

17. Originally Posted by sarongsong
...and we haven't seen Van Rijn's backyard, either...
No, but the invisible elf has and he told me about all the skeletons buried back there. ha!

18. This is going to go downhill fast ...

19. Originally Posted by Robinson
This is going to go downhill fast ...
How'd you know his background was on a hill unless you'd seen it?

20. Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
How'd you know his background was on a hill unless you'd seen it?
Invisible topographical map. Naturally.

21. Actually Ara Pacis told me.

22. Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
No, but the invisible elf...told me...
Ah! A "witness!"---"Can you describe the defendent and did you hear a male or female voice, or could you tell?"

23. It was probably a high-talker, a la Seinfeld.

Besides, if it's a quantum elf you can't measure it's sex without changing it.

24. Originally Posted by sarongsong
...and we haven't seen Van Rijn's backyard, either...
Apparently, you don't remember this.

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Moving along...

ETA: Since looking at the picture, I can see a lot of Ivy in Van Rijn's backyard in which said elf can take refuge from falling flour.

26. Ah, another mythological creature.

27. Originally Posted by Van Rijn
There was a little voice going, "Are you sure---are you sure?", as I was typing that...Wow! definitely looks like elfin habitat to me---Robinson's got his work cut out for him!

28. Originally Posted by Robinson
I knew as soon as a method was proposed to show there is no invisible elf, the conditions would change.
If you managed to show there was an invisible elf in my backyard, you would support my claim.

If your method did not detect an invisible elf, you could not prove that it was an effective method for detecting invisible elves.

29. Originally Posted by Spoons
Invisible topographical map. Naturally.
Funny you should mention it. That was my next point. The elf, being invisible, experiences a different gravitational gradient at said location, that makes his existence in Van Rijn's backyard a slippery slope. Now you know why he left.

30. Originally Posted by sarongsong
Ah! A "witness!"---"Can you describe the defendent and did you hear a male or female voice, or could you tell?"
It looked elvenish and used sign language. The invisible elf-herder had to translate for me.

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