Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
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08-03-2013, 12:47 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(07-03-2013 06:42 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 05:49 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Prayer studies are fatally flawed and no one should believe they are evidence God does not exist or that God does not answer prayers. We did a thread on this.

Prayer by its self might be flawed, and I gave a few reasoned examples of why prayer may not work in the first place.

Considering that prayer does work. IE Pray to god for healing of another. Then you'd see a statistical difference in well being, between groups.

As always you guys have to move the goalposts. Asserting that the prayers have to be genuine, and the recipients believers themselves, accepting of healing or that for many of them god has "called them home".

If you put limits on prayer, then you by definition put limits on god. God becomes able but not willing, or willing but not able.

If god called them home then no prayer will work. However if a person is treated and survives by that treatment then you'd also have to say that you are going against the will of god.
In that thread my criticism of the studies were that you could not secure God's cooperation and I never moved the goal posts. Personally, I don't believe God is inclined to answer many or any prayers and prayer studies would validate my position but since I know they are junk science and not worth crap...I can't use em.
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08-03-2013, 12:54 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(07-03-2013 04:55 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  How is it out of your grasp? You can have a test for STDs and prove you don't have one. You can have a urine test for the absence of drugs in your system, etc. - the whole "you can't prove a negative" is meant practically to give relief to the accused in trials and has been completely misappropriated by your freethinkers' culture to say something that is well... silly, IMHO.
Try taking one of those tests and look at the results. They will list all the normal stuff in your blood and indicate how much of it is there and whether that is in the normal range. In other words, they are proving what's in your blood, not what isn't.

As for screening for various toxins or drugs, they will list the specific stuff they are screening for and indicate whether they found it. If they found it, they have a positive claim: X amount of specific substance A was found in the blood. If they don't find it, they never claim that it is NOT there, they merely claim that they have not found it.

Which, by the way, is what most atheists do regarding god; we claim we have not found evidence for god and therefore do not accept that he is likely to exist.


Not finding something you're looking for is not proof of non-existence; it's only proof that you didn't find it.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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08-03-2013, 01:35 AM (This post was last modified: 08-03-2013 01:51 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(07-03-2013 04:38 PM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  I feel its a valuable trait to know when you are wrong, and concede. And, although very unlikely, if God were proven to exist, most here who had claimed otherwise, would admit they were wrong.

Now, I just saw Heywood Jebusblome claim that he would concede if God were proven not to exist. I'm just wondering if its even possible to prove something doesn't exist. Even if the method is out of our grasp, how COULD it be done?

Two things come to mind. First is Russell's teapot. Second, of course you can prove a negative and it's relatively trivial to do so via modus tollens and double negation.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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08-03-2013, 01:53 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(07-03-2013 04:38 PM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  I feel its a valuable trait to know when you are wrong, and concede. And, although very unlikely, if God were proven to exist, most here who had claimed otherwise, would admit they were wrong.

Now, I just saw Heywood Jebusblome claim that he would concede if God were proven not to exist. I'm just wondering if its even possible to prove something doesn't exist. Even if the method is out of our grasp, how COULD it be done?
Legal "proof" beyond a reasonable doubt for the non-existence of God certainly is possible. Logical proof which excludes the possibility of any kind of God doesn't seem possible. Logical proof that the Christian God as defined in the Bible exists. That God cannot exist because of the contradictions in His Definition. Something can't be omnipotent, yet constrained in what it can or cannot do. Something cannot be Absolutely Good and also Absolutely Evil. Love is incompatible with genocide, fratricide, honor killings, human sacrifice, etc.

"Heresy makes for progress" - Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner
[1 Corinthians 13:11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. - The Bible King James Version. See? Even the Bible says "Put me down!" Big Grin
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08-03-2013, 01:53 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(08-03-2013 01:35 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 04:38 PM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  I feel its a valuable trait to know when you are wrong, and concede. And, although very unlikely, if God were proven to exist, most here who had claimed otherwise, would admit they were wrong.

Now, I just saw Heywood Jebusblome claim that he would concede if God were proven not to exist. I'm just wondering if its even possible to prove something doesn't exist. Even if the method is out of our grasp, how COULD it be done?

Two things come to mind. First is Russell's teapot. Second, of course you can prove a negative and it's relatively trivial to do so via modus tollens and double negation.
Regarding modus tollens:


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08-03-2013, 01:58 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(07-03-2013 04:48 PM)frankiej Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 04:38 PM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  I feel its a valuable trait to know when you are wrong, and concede. And, although very unlikely, if God were proven to exist, most here who had claimed otherwise, would admit they were wrong.

Now, I just saw Heywood Jebusblome claim that he would concede if God were proven not to exist. I'm just wondering if its even possible to prove something doesn't exist. Even if the method is out of our grasp, how COULD it be done?
I can prove that my visible third nostril doesn't exist.
I can't, however, prove that my invisible sixth testicle doesn't exist. Tongue
You are so lucky! I only have two visible (well, tangible anyway) testicles and only 3 invisible and intangible spiritual ones! Smile

"Heresy makes for progress" - Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner
[1 Corinthians 13:11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. - The Bible King James Version. See? Even the Bible says "Put me down!" Big Grin
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08-03-2013, 02:14 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(08-03-2013 01:58 AM)ufo42 Wrote:  
(07-03-2013 04:48 PM)frankiej Wrote:  I can prove that my visible third nostril doesn't exist.
I can't, however, prove that my invisible sixth testicle doesn't exist. Tongue
You are so lucky! I only have two visible (well, tangible anyway) testicles and only 3 invisible and intangible spiritual ones! Smile

If my testicles are functional, my testosterone levels would be within 2 standard deviations of the mean.
My testosterone levels are below 2 standard deviations of the mean.
Ergo, my testicles are not functional.

Androgel for the motherfucking win. Tongue

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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08-03-2013, 02:32 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
If nothing existed, not even nothing would exist.. By logical consequence, is it not nothing to which is proven to not exist?
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08-03-2013, 05:11 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
(07-03-2013 04:38 PM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  I feel its a valuable trait to know when you are wrong, and concede. And, although very unlikely, if God were proven to exist, most here who had claimed otherwise, would admit they were wrong.

Now, I just saw Heywood Jebusblome claim that he would concede if God were proven not to exist. I'm just wondering if its even possible to prove something doesn't exist. Even if the method is out of our grasp, how COULD it be done?
No, because science doesn't work in absolutes. You have to understand rationality to understand what we deem as "fact".

http://scepticalprophet.wordpress.com/20...tionalism/


Tl;dr, something is rational if it is mathematically likely. Scientists work with confidence levels denoted by the sigma symbol. When you get to 99.99994 confidence, you're dealing with 5 sigma confidence. That means the result is a 1 in 3.5 million chance of being a statistical fluke (which basically means you're going to get the same result almost every single time). This is rationally considered a "fact".

Everything is possible in science. It's possible some outside force will disrupt the laws of physics around us but the chances of it happening are minuscule. They're so low it's not worth considering unless something else indicates it is about to happen (which would thus increase the chance).

The easy example I like to use is the tree in the backyard. I can claim to have a tree in my backyard without needing to prove it. You're likely to believe it because it's statistically plausible for me to have a tree. If I claim to have a unicorn in my backyard, then you're going to want proof because it's mathematically very, very, very unlikely that I do have one.

Science, logic and how they destroy religious arguments @ http://scepticalprophet.wordpress.com/

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
- Isaac Asimov.
Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
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08-03-2013, 08:06 AM
RE: Has anything ever been proven NOT to exist?
Quote:Which, by the way, is what most atheists do regarding god; we claim we have not found evidence for god and therefore do not accept that he is likely to exist.
Define likely, please. This sounds like a belief claim to me. Since you state that we cannot prove a negative, only that we haven't found something, why wouldn't all Atheists be Agnostics?
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