Proving a negative?
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22-07-2016, 09:51 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 08:54 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(21-07-2016 10:10 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  [...]
I believe Santa does not exist. I hold a positive claim in this regard.

Nope. That's a negative claim.

Again; a positive claim is an assertion that something does exist. A negative claim is an assertion that something does not exist.

I would like more clarification in regards to the negative claim thing.

To claim something is false, or not true, is that a negative claim?

How but claiming that a character is purely fictional, or imaginary is that a negative claim?

IS claiming that moon landing didn't happen a negative claim. Is someone making this claim off the hook in having to support it?

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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22-07-2016, 11:46 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 09:51 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(22-07-2016 08:54 AM)SYZ Wrote:  Nope. That's a negative claim.

Again; a positive claim is an assertion that something does exist. A negative claim is an assertion that something does not exist.

I would like more clarification in regards to the negative claim thing.

To claim something is false, or not true, is that a negative claim?

How but claiming that a character is purely fictional, or imaginary is that a negative claim?

IS claiming that moon landing didn't happen a negative claim. Is someone making this claim off the hook in having to support it?

The claim that something does not exist is a negative claim. It is a negation. When someone claims that the moon landing didn't happen, then that person is implicitly claiming that all those involved with the moon landing are lying, are committing a fraud or are delusional. This is the positive claim that needs to be validated.

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22-07-2016, 12:06 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
Wikipedia puts it nicely; a negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmative claim. It's still subject to burden of proof.
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22-07-2016, 12:28 PM (This post was last modified: 22-07-2016 12:31 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 11:46 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  The claim that something does not exist is a negative claim. It is a negation. When someone claims that the moon landing didn't happen, then that person is implicitly claiming that all those involved with the moon landing are lying, are committing a fraud or are delusional. This is the positive claim that needs to be validated.

Can claiming "something does not exist", ever be positive claim? As you suggest "something not happening is"?

If I claim that Italy does not exist, would that be a positive claim?

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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22-07-2016, 12:31 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
Whenever someone says "you can't prove a negative", I ask them to prove it.

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22-07-2016, 12:47 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 12:28 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(22-07-2016 11:46 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  The claim that something does not exist is a negative claim. It is a negation. When someone claims that the moon landing didn't happen, then that person is implicitly claiming that all those involved with the moon landing are lying, are committing a fraud or are delusional. This is the positive claim that needs to be validated.

Can claiming "something does not exist", ever be positive claim? As you suggest "something not happening is"?

If I claim that Italy does not exist, would that be a positive claim?

No it would be a negation. Now if you want me to accept your negative claim but do not provide any reason, then you would be asking me to accept your claim on faith which means you would be acting irrationally. I think that the commitment to reason is the root of the burden of proof. If I came to you and said I want you to accept my negative claim that gods do not exist and I offer you no rational reason to accept it, I'm in essence asking you to have faith in which case I would be contradicting my own commitment to reason. If however you came to me and asked me to accept the claim that a god exists, and I said no it doesn't, I'm under no obligation to prove it to you unless I am asking you to accept my negative claim. I would be happy to prove my negative claim if I saw a glimmer of rationality in that person but not if I didn't. In that case I would be throwing pearls before swine. It's all about honesty and integrity.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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22-07-2016, 01:50 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 12:47 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(22-07-2016 12:28 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Can claiming "something does not exist", ever be positive claim? As you suggest "something not happening is"?

If I claim that Italy does not exist, would that be a positive claim?

No it would be a negation. Now if you want me to accept your negative claim but do not provide any reason, then you would be asking me to accept your claim on faith which means you would be acting irrationally. I think that the commitment to reason is the root of the burden of proof. If I came to you and said I want you to accept my negative claim that gods do not exist and I offer you no rational reason to accept it, I'm in essence asking you to have faith in which case I would be contradicting my own commitment to reason. If however you came to me and asked me to accept the claim that a god exists, and I said no it doesn't, I'm under no obligation to prove it to you unless I am asking you to accept my negative claim. I would be happy to prove my negative claim if I saw a glimmer of rationality in that person but not if I didn't. In that case I would be throwing pearls before swine. It's all about honesty and integrity.

So in essence as an earlier poster suggested, both negative and positive claims have a burden of proof, once we try to convince another party of these claims?

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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22-07-2016, 02:00 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 11:46 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  The claim that something does not exist is a negative claim.

It has been my experience that it is not uncommon for people to use "positive" as an intensifier of "claim" rather than a qualifier. "X does not exist" would be a positive claim in the sense that it is actually a claim and carries a burden of proof.

I'm not saying that that usage is correct, only that it exists.

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22-07-2016, 02:17 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 02:00 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(22-07-2016 11:46 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  The claim that something does not exist is a negative claim.

It has been my experience that it is not uncommon for people to use "positive" as an intensifier of "claim" rather than a qualifier. "X does not exist" would be a positive claim in the sense that it is actually a claim and carries a burden of proof.

I'm not saying that that usage is correct, only that it exists.

Yeah I see what you are saying and agree. I don't have a problem meeting that burden so it doesn't really bother me that people use it that way. I'm happy to comply, unless as I said, the person is just totally irrational. Then, it would just be a wasted effort. And my proof would not be in the form of giving evidence of non-existence but in the form of proving the positive claim that a god exists to be false. If something doesn't exist, there's no evidence for its non-existence other than the fact that it doesn't exist. I would have to step outside of existence to look for evidence of non-existence. That would be impossible. But the claim that a god exists, that I can refute, at least the god that most people are talking about, a creator god. I may not convince anyone but I can provide the proof.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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22-07-2016, 02:30 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
(22-07-2016 01:50 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(22-07-2016 12:47 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  No it would be a negation. Now if you want me to accept your negative claim but do not provide any reason, then you would be asking me to accept your claim on faith which means you would be acting irrationally. I think that the commitment to reason is the root of the burden of proof. If I came to you and said I want you to accept my negative claim that gods do not exist and I offer you no rational reason to accept it, I'm in essence asking you to have faith in which case I would be contradicting my own commitment to reason. If however you came to me and asked me to accept the claim that a god exists, and I said no it doesn't, I'm under no obligation to prove it to you unless I am asking you to accept my negative claim. I would be happy to prove my negative claim if I saw a glimmer of rationality in that person but not if I didn't. In that case I would be throwing pearls before swine. It's all about honesty and integrity.

So in essence as an earlier poster suggested, both negative and positive claims have a burden of proof, once we try to convince another party of these claims?

That's right, but only if one is committed to reason as one's only means of knowledge and I would use the word "obligation" rather than burden. It's because of my commitment to reason that I take on the obligation to offer validation of my claims. Remember not all claims require proof. Validation is a concept wider than proof. Some negative claims, such as there are no 900 story buildings in New York City, can be validated by simply pointing to the skyline of New York City. No deductive argument is needed. But to make a claim and offer no validation, when one purports to be rational and one wishes his claims to be accepted, would be a contradiction.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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