Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
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24-07-2012, 01:56 PM
Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
So I have been thinking about gnostic atheism a little bit. Now, the arguments I am about to present are probably flawed and wrong, but sure I would like to tell you anyway Drinking Beverage

1. Okay, lets say for example that somebody believes there is a lump of metal under a certain area. You then get a metal detector, assuming of course that is working normally, and you scan over the area that the person believes there is lump of metal beneath. The metal detector shows no result. Now, there is no evidence to suggest that there is a lump of metal there, but yet you know there isn't because of this lack of evidence.

2. Another example, you want to know whether or not your phone is in your kitchen. You know that is was turned on when you last had it, which was only 10 minutes ago, the battery was full, it wasn't on silent, and it has full reception. In order to see if your phone is in your phone is in your kitchen, you call it using another phone. No sound occurs. You would then conclude that your phone is definately not in the kitchen. Why? Well there is a lack of evidence to suggest it is in there, because you just called it and nothing happened, therefore you know it isn't in there because of this.

Now this is where God comes in, if the previous examples are correct, and a lack of evidence means that the object doesn't exist, then God can't exist. There is no evidence to suggest that he does exist, therefore he doesn't.

I'm expecting somebody to debunk my claims, but it was nice to try anyway Shy
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24-07-2012, 02:05 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
The long-standing favoured logical position is that you can't prove a negative.

In your examples, the metal detector not registering is not the lack of evidence. It is evidence... that the metal detector failed to register the existence of metal. There are all sorts of possibilities including (but not limited to) the metal being too deep for that particular brand of detector to detect. But regardless... it remains positive evidence, not the lack of evidence.

With the phone, it is evidence that your phone isn't ringing in the kitchen, but in the 10mins since you last saw it, it might have rung, caused an annoyance to whomever heard it... who consequently changed it to silent mode. There is positive evidence that a phone isn't ringing in the kitchen, but that does not mean that it isn't there. It also isn't the *lack* of evidence of it being there.

The shorter response is:-

Lack of proof != proof of lack

There could be all sorts of things for which you lack any proof. It certainly doesn't mean that they must therefore not exist.
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24-07-2012, 02:29 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
(24-07-2012 02:05 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  The long-standing favoured logical position is that you can't prove a negative.
Actually, you can prove a negative. For example:

A human is not a fish.
The earth does not revolve around the sun.
Our earth is not 6.000 years old.

What you can't prove is a universal negative, such as

There are no Gods.
There is no life other than the life on earth in the universe.
Aliens/Bigfoot/Nessy/etc do not exist.

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24-07-2012, 02:30 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
Lack of evidence for the existence of something is an indication that it probably doesn't exist.
Indication isn't proof. Other possibilities to consider:
- the methods of investigation were inappropriate,
- investigation is incomplete,
- the instruments are faulty or inadequate,
- the search are is too small or in the wrong location
- that evidence has been mislaid, overlooked, misinterpreted, discounted or suppressed.
- the investigation is conducted on incorrect/ inapplicable lines(s) of inquiry: a wrong hypothesis is being tested; the object of search is misdefined (you're barking up the whole wrong tree)

Indication of non-existence becomes stronger, the more methods of investigation and more lines of inquiry have been tried, without turning up any positive evidence, and the longer such investigation has gone on. It grows stronger yet, if the investigators are competent, sincere and inclined toward a positive finding.
Strong indication begins to verge on proof when a thorough investigation keeps turning up negative evidence, and as positive evidence piles up for proposition(s) that contradict the object of search.
Absolute proof is elusive in matters that defy direct observation and measurement, but circumstantial and inferential evidence can accrue to convince beyond reasonable doubt. That still leaves unreasonable doubt.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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24-07-2012, 02:51 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
(24-07-2012 02:29 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(24-07-2012 02:05 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  The long-standing favoured logical position is that you can't prove a negative.
Actually, you can prove a negative. For example:

2 things...

1) I didn't say that I held that view, I just said that it is a long-standing favoured logical position.
2) Stating that something is (or is not) something else, that isn't reaching a proof; that's just making a statement.

(24-07-2012 02:29 PM)Vosur Wrote:  There are no gods.
There is no life other than the life on earth in the universe.
Aliens/Bigfoot/Nessy/etc do not exist.

Fixed that for you. Smile
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24-07-2012, 03:00 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
(24-07-2012 02:51 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  1) I didn't say that I held that view, I just said that it is a long-standing favoured logical position.
I didn't say that you hold this view either, did I?

(24-07-2012 02:51 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  2) Stating that something is (or is not) something else, that isn't reaching a proof; that's just making a statement.
I'm not sure if I understand this statement. We do have plenty of proof proving that the earth isn't 6.000 years old, it's not just a statement.

By the way, it seems like I confused something in that post, what I wanted to write was "The sun doesn't revolve around the earth.". Tongue

(24-07-2012 02:51 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  Fixed that for you. Smile
It's a habit of mine to capitalize the 'g'. Undecided

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24-07-2012, 03:04 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
(24-07-2012 02:29 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(24-07-2012 02:05 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  The long-standing favoured logical position is that you can't prove a negative.
Actually, you can prove a negative. For example:

A human is not a fish.
The earth does not revolve around the sun.
Our earth is not 6.000 years old.

What you can't prove is a universal negative, such as

There are no Gods.
There is no life other than the life on earth in the universe.
Aliens/Bigfoot/Nessy/etc do not exist.
Its not proving though, its disqualifying because we have evidence to suggest ANOTHER POSITIVE.

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24-07-2012, 03:17 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
(24-07-2012 03:04 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
(24-07-2012 02:29 PM)Vosur Wrote:  Actually, you can prove a negative. For example:

A human is not a fish.
The earth does not revolve around the sun.
Our earth is not 6.000 years old.

What you can't prove is a universal negative, such as

There are no Gods.
There is no life other than the life on earth in the universe.
Aliens/Bigfoot/Nessy/etc do not exist.
Its not proving though, its disqualifying because we have evidence to suggest ANOTHER POSITIVE.

I disagree. If we have proven that the earth is in fact 4.54 billion years old, then it has also proven that the earth is not 6000 years old. The earth can't be 4.54 billion years old and 6000 at the same time, it's impossible. Therefore, if the earth has been proven to be 4.54 billion years old, then it has been proven that it is not 6000 years old.
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24-07-2012, 03:22 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
(24-07-2012 03:17 PM)Magoo Wrote:  
(24-07-2012 03:04 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  Its not proving though, its disqualifying because we have evidence to suggest ANOTHER POSITIVE.

I disagree. If we have proven that the earth is in fact 4.54 billion years old, then it has also proven that the earth is not 6000 years old. The earth can't be 4.54 billion years old and 6000 at the same time, it's impossible. Therefore, if the earth has been proven to be 4.54 billion years old, then it has been proven that it is not 6000 years old.

I get what you're saying, but you are misunderstanding.

By proving wrong, I assumed you gather evidence to prove. Since by definition, you can't gather evidence that the earth is NOT six thousand, you would gather evidence in SUPPORT OF POSITIVE CLAIM. The evidence is gathered to prove that the earth is in the billions( positive) which disqualifies the hypothesis of the six thousand years old. You weren't gathering evidence to disprove six thousand, but you were gathering evidence to support the billions theory.

By finding evidence that supports a positive claim, you disqualified another positive claim.

You can't gather evidence that the earth is not six thousand years old without it supporting another Positive claim.

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24-07-2012, 03:30 PM
RE: Lack of evidence=proof it doesn't exist?
@A2

But if it impossible to gather evidense that the earth is not 6000 years old, and you can't gather evidense that it is (because there is none), how will you know whether it is or not? I think my argument above explained that.

(the quote system on mobile is broken)
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