قوری راسل، که آن را «قوری چای آسمانی» نیز خواندهاند، تمثیلی است که ابتدا توسط فیلسوف معاصر برتراند راسل (۱۸۷۲–۱۹۷۰ میلادی) بیان شد، که توضیح میدهد که بار اثبات فلسفی به دوش شخصی است که ادعای ابطالناپذیر میکند، نه که بار ردکردن ادعا به دوش دیگران منتقل شود.
راسل بخصوص تمثیل خود را در زمینه دین اعمال کرد. او نوشت: اگر قرار بود که او، بدون ارائه اثبات، مدعی شود که یک قوری چایِ بیش از حد کوچک که نمی توان آن را توسط تلسکوپها دید، در جایی در فضای میان زمین و مریخ، به دور خورشید میگردد، نمیتوانست از کسی انتظار داشته باشد تا او را صرفا چون مدعایش نمیتواند رد شود باور کند.
قوری چای راسل همچنان در مباحثات در مورد وجود خدا مورد توسل قرار میگیرد، و در حوزهها و رسانههای گوناگون مؤثر واقع شدهاست.
راسل، در مقالهای تحت عنوان «آیا خدایی هست؟»، ―که به سفارش مجله ایلوستریتد در ۱۹۵۲ میلادی نوشت و هرگز منتشر نشد― چنین نوشت:
در ۱۹۵۸ میلادی، راسل دربارهٔ تمثیل توضیحات بیشتری میدهد:
تمثیل «قوری چایباوری» راسل، در مقابله با مذهب، کماکان مبنای بسیاری از مناظرات بین مؤمنان و دگراندیشان است. ریچارد داوکینز از این قیاس، در کتاب معروف خود، یعنی کشیش شیطان، استفاده کردهاست.
داوکینز، به خاطر استفاده از قیاس قوری چایباوری، مورد انتقاد برخی از مذهبیان-از جمله آلیستر مک گرات در کتاب " توهم داوکینز"-قرار گرفت.
Russell's teapot is an analogy, formulated by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others.
Russell specifically applied his analogy in the context of religion. He wrote that if he were to assert, without offering proof, that a teapot, too small to be seen by telescopes, orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because his assertion could not be proven wrong.
Russell's teapot is still invoked in discussions concerning the existence of God, and has had influence in various fields and media.
In an article titled "Is There a God?" commissioned, but never published, by Illustrated magazine in 1952, Russell wrote:
In 1958, Russell elaborated on the analogy:
Chemist Peter Atkins said that the point of Russell's teapot is that there is no burden on anyone to disprove assertions. Occam's razor suggests that the simpler theory with fewer assertions (e.g., a universe with no supernatural beings) should be the starting point in the discussion rather than the more complex theory. However, philosopher Paul Chamberlain says it is logically erroneous to assert that positive truth claims bear a burden of proof while negative truth claims do not. He says that all truth claims bear a burden of proof, and that like Mother Goose and the tooth fairy, the teapot bears the greater burden not because of its negativity, but because of its triviality, arguing that "When we substitute normal, serious characters such as Plato, Nero, Winston Churchill, or George Washington in place of these fictional characters, it becomes clear that anyone denying the existence of these figures has a burden of proof equal to, or in some cases greater than, the person claiming they do exist."
In his books A Devil's Chaplain (2003) and The God Delusion (2006), geneticist Richard Dawkins used the teapot as an analogy of an argument against what he termed "agnostic conciliation", a policy of intellectual appeasement that allows for philosophical domains that concern exclusively religious matters. Science has no way of establishing the existence or non-existence of a god. Therefore, according to the agnostic conciliator, because it is a matter of individual taste, belief and disbelief in a supreme being are deserving of equal respect and attention. Dawkins presents the teapot as a reductio ad absurdum of this position: if agnosticism demands giving equal respect to the belief and disbelief in a supreme being, then it must also give equal respect to belief in an orbiting teapot, since the existence of an orbiting teapot is just as plausible scientifically as the existence of a supreme being.
Philosopher Brian Garvey argues that the teapot analogy fails with regard to religion because, with the teapot, the believer and non-believer are simply disagreeing about one item in the universe and may hold in common all other beliefs about the universe, which is not true of an atheist and a theist. Garvey argues that it is not a matter of the theist propounding existence of a thing and the atheist simply denying it – each is asserting an alternative explanation of why the cosmos exists and is the way it is: "the atheist is not just denying an existence that the theist affirms – the atheist is in addition committed to the view that the universe is not the way it is because of God. It is either the way it is because of something other than God, or there is no reason it is the way it is."
Philosopher Peter van Inwagen argues that while Russell's teapot is a fine piece of rhetoric, its logical argument form is less than clear, and attempting to make it clear reveals that the Teapot Argument is very far from cogent. Another philosopher, Alvin Plantinga states that a falsehood lies at the heart of Russell's argument. Russell's argument assumes that there is no evidence against the teapot, but Plantinga disagrees:
Philosopher Gary Gutting rejects Russell's teapot for similar reasons, arguing that Russell's argument accords theism far less support than it actually has. Gutting points out that numerous sensible, competent people appeal to personal experience and arguments in support of God's existence. Thus, to simply reject the existence of God, out of hand, seems unjustified, according to Gutting.
The literary critic James Wood, without believing in God, says that belief in God "is a good deal more reasonable than belief in a teapot" because God is a "grand and big idea" which "is not analogically disproved by reference to celestial teapots or vacuum cleaners, which lack the necessary bigness and grandeur" and "because God cannot be reified, cannot be turned into a mere thing".
One counter-argument, advanced by philosopher Eric Reitan, is that belief in God is different from belief in a teapot because teapots are physical and therefore in principle verifiable, and that given what we know about the physical world we have no good reason to think that belief in Russell's teapot is justified and at least some reason to think it not.
Other thinkers have posited non-disprovable analogies, such as J. B. Bury in his 1913 book, History of Freedom of Thought:
Astronomer Carl Sagan in his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World offered a similar non-disprovable analogy called the Dragon in the Garage as an example of skeptical thinking. If Sagan claimed there was a dragon in his garage, you would wish to verify it for yourself but if Sagan's dragon was impossible to detect:
Influence in religious parodies
The concept of Russell's teapot has influenced more explicitly religion-parodying concepts such as the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 1960s musician and psychedelic poet Daevid Allen of the band Gong employed the image of a flying teapot in his Planet Gong Universe and the Flying Teapot album trilogy, and refers to Russell's teapot in his book Gong Dreaming 2: The Histories & Mysteries of Gong from 1969-1975.