Proving a negative?
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28-07-2016, 10:47 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(28-07-2016 10:01 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I can prove to you that there's no crocodile exists under my bed currently. All I would have to do is take a picture of my bed and show that no crocodile exists underneath there, or have you come over and check for yourself.

Perfectly reasonable. But I'm guessing you too would be unable to prove that leprechauns do not exist. But if you reckon you can, then go ahead.

And don't forget the theists' claim upon the atheists to prove that gods don't exist.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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28-07-2016, 11:23 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(28-07-2016 09:49 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(28-07-2016 09:14 AM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  Your question is inverting the problem. You have the burden of proof if you claim leprechauns exist. Until you do there's no reason to believe they exist.

I think you may have misunderstood the thrust of my question. I've never claimed leprechauns exist.

GoingUp said "it doesn't matter if the claims says that something exists, or something doesn't exist. Both carry the burden of proof". I was asking him/her to prove that something doesn't exist. And despite admitting that he/she carried the burden of proof either way, he/she declined that burden.

I was talking about your question, not your statement.
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28-07-2016, 11:54 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(28-07-2016 09:05 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(26-07-2016 08:14 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Sure.

Evidence of Absence

This avoids answering my question to you: Can you prove to me that leprechauns don't exist? (Your cited response is as poor as the theists who quote biblical chapter and verse as "proof" of their claims.)

Yes, I can.
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28-07-2016, 12:10 PM
RE: Proving a negative?
(28-07-2016 10:47 AM)SYZ Wrote:  Perfectly reasonable. But I'm guessing you too would be unable to prove that leprechauns do not exist. But if you reckon you can, then go ahead.

I'd point to the variety of evidence that leads me to conclude that leprechauns do not exist, that they are fictional characters, a part of Irish fairy tales and stories, that they're imaginary, to "prove" that they have no historical existence.

Quote:And don't forget the theists' claim upon the atheists to prove that gods don't exist.

If an atheists wants to claim that God does not exist, rather than merely suggest that they lack a belief in God, and they want to try and get me to agree with them, then yes they have a burden of proof. Just like a theists would if they wanted to convince you that their God exists.

"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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29-07-2016, 03:58 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
I do not believe that making the statement "there is no such thing as a god" is a positive statement. You are saying or using an IS NOT statement which is negative and if it IS than that is a positive.

You do not need to prove a negative. Whether a negative can be proven either way is irrelevant. You are doing nothing more than making a statement that is the opposite of the positive claim of IS.

So, if I say, there is no lock ness monster. I do not need proof of that or evidence. A reason why I take that stance is required but not evidence against it because it is nothing more than a dismissal of the positive claim of IS a lock ness monster.

There is no such thing as a god. I am doing nothing more than dismissing the positive claim of there IS a god. Whether or not my Dismissal of whatever positive claim my negative stance is logical or or not depends entirely on the evidence backing up the positive claim.

There is no such thing as a god is a perfectly logical dismissal. There is no such thing as evolution is NOT a logical dismissal of a positive claim because of the evidence backing it up.


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29-07-2016, 04:43 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(28-07-2016 11:54 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(28-07-2016 09:05 AM)SYZ Wrote:  This avoids answering my question to you: Can you prove to me that leprechauns don't exist?

Yes, I can.

Now that we've confirmed that point, can you please provide that proof so we can assess its validity, and further discuss it.

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29-07-2016, 05:17 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(28-07-2016 12:10 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(28-07-2016 10:47 AM)SYZ Wrote:  Perfectly reasonable. But I'm guessing you too would be unable to prove that leprechauns do not exist. But if you reckon you can, then go ahead.

I'd point to the variety of evidence that leads me to conclude that leprechauns do not exist, that they are fictional characters, a part of Irish fairy tales and stories, that they're imaginary, to "prove" that they have no historical existence.
Can you please cite that "evidence" that leprechauns don't exist?

Quote:And don't forget the theists' claim upon the atheists to prove that gods don't exist.
No. As the proponent of the notion that supernatural entities exist (such as gods) it's your task to provide evidence supporting your claim. Informal logic says it's not the task of the naysayer to disprove anything at all.

Quote:If an atheists wants to claim that God does not exist, rather than merely suggest that they lack a belief in God, and they want to try and get me to agree with them, then yes they have a burden of proof.
And yet again, no. You seem not to understand where the burden of proof lies. It lies solely with you. And this very point has already been discussed a thousand times on these forums (!!!) and thus far not one single theist has been able to point to one single piece of empirical evidence supporting their belief in supernatural entities. I'm not sure whether you're being deliberately obtuse here, or whether you really don't understand simple logic? It's really nonsensical to keep saying that atheists have to prove that gods don't exist.

Quote:Just like theists would if they wanted to convince you that their God exists.
Uh... no theist has ever provided empirical evidence that their particular god exists. Can you Tom? Or do you simply have faith in your holy book... remembering too that "faith" = belief without evidence.

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29-07-2016, 10:31 AM (This post was last modified: 29-07-2016 01:47 PM by GoingUp.)
RE: Proving a negative?
(29-07-2016 04:43 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(28-07-2016 11:54 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  Yes, I can.

Now that we've confirmed that point, can you please provide that proof so we can assess its validity, and further discuss it.

Sure, and we will use the Evidence of Absence position to demonstrate it.

Firstly, we will define it:

Evidence of absence is evidence of any kind that suggests something is missing or that it does not exist. For example:

When Alice bakes pies, she places them on her window-sill.
There are no pies on her window-sill.
Therefore, Alice has not baked any pies.


Since it necessarily follows from the first premise that Alice will place the pie on her window-sill every time she bakes one, upon observing that there is in fact no pie on the window-sill, we can deduce that Alice did not bake a pie. This argument is called modus tollens in propositional logic, and is written in sequent notation in this manner:

P ⇒ Q, ¬Q ⊢ ¬P

Per the traditional aphorism, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", positive evidence of this kind is distinct from a lack of evidence or ignorance of that which should have been found already, had it existed.

In this regard Irving Copi writes:

In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.

— Copi, Introduction to Logic (1953), p. 95


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence

So using this, how do we prove that something does not exist? That question is simply answered the same way as the question of "How do we prove that something does exist?"

The answer to both questions is "Observation."

We can observe when something exists and confirm its existence, and we can observe when something does not exist, and confirm it's non existence.

Observation in this respect encompasses more than just an "eyes-on" visual depiction of existence or non existence. It employs all the same senses we use to detect existence.

Then, we apply with reason the logic of probability with respect to possibilities.

1. Is it possible that a man is lurking in your broom closet right now? Yes, because we know that men exist and we know they sometimes trespass on our property. So this is reasonably possible.

2. Is it possible that a 15 foot high giraffe is currently in your broom closet? Yes, because we know giraffe's exist, but it is improbable that it is inside the broom closet because of its size.

3. It is possible that 500 ton Flying Spaghetti Monster who is 60 feet wide is in your 3 foot wide and 8 foot high broom closet right now? No, because there is no evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster ever existed, and this particular one could not fit in the broom closet.


In the examples above we see possibilities and probabilities in action. In example 3, you do not even need to open the door to the broom closet because you already know that the possibility of such a large creature existing in your broom closet is zero. It defies all known laws of physics, and it is completely unreasonable.

In this situation, we could open the door to the broom closet just for shits and giggles, and observe by all available means that there is no excessively large Flying Spaghetti Monster inside. That is evidence of absence on its own, let alone it working with reason and logic.

Therefore, we have proven that this Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist in the broom closet.

Now let's expand the broom closet to the entire universe.

Have we ever seen a Flying Spaghetti Monster? No, not one of us has ever seen a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Is it possible that a Flying Spaghetti Monster exists? That's the big questions that everybody gets hung up on. But let's answer that question with the definition of the word "possible."

Possible:

: able to be done
: able to happen or exist
: able or suited to be or to become something specified


The key word above is "able," or "capable." Let's define that also:

Capable

: able to do something : having the qualities or abilities that are needed to do something

: having power and ability; efficient; competent


Using these definitions, we can ascertain that in order for something to be possible, we must first demonstrate that the proposed possibility is capable of being an actual possibility.

This is not unlike finding evidence to support a given position on anything else. Therefore, do we have any evidence whatsoever that can be used to demonstrate that the proposed possibility is capable of being an actual possibility?

In regards to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, we have absolutely no evidence for it's proposed possibility, therefore the assertion that its existence is even possible is not in evidence because there is no evidence to demonstrate capability.

The condition of non existence cannot be compared to a condition of existence, as the former is not an object, while the latter is in fact an object.

Hence, the evidence of the absence of positive proof applies here as being positive proof that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist as it does not possess the conditions of existence, nor the conditions of possible existence, since we can demonstrate that the capability of it's proposed possible existence does not even exist itself, since there is no evidence to support said capability. So therefore, even the proposed possibility of its existence has been refuted.



Same for God, Leprechauns, and Donald Trump.

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29-07-2016, 10:51 AM
RE: Proving a negative?
(20-07-2016 01:19 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I was having an online discussion with a theist who insisted that the claim that a god doesn't exist is actually a positive claim to which I replied that atheists have no belief in a god which is neutral or the default position to which he replied that the default position is a claim itself, and a positive claim at that.

I did a little looking around at differing views on this and came across a philosophy forum which discussed this very thing.

http://philosophy.stackexchange.com/ques...n-of-proof

After reading through the Stackexchange discussion I'm still of the mind that it is NOT a positive claim. Interesting, intelligent discussion over on Stackexchange though.

The claim is that there are gods, just as the claim would be there are pink sparkly unicorns. There is no evidence for either. The claims are dismissed. There is no point in bothering with the idea, or considering it further. Dismissing a claim as unsupported, is not a positive claim. No theist can come up with a coherent definition of what they even mean when they use the word pronounced "gawd". Until they do, the notion is dismissed.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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30-07-2016, 03:43 AM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2016 10:39 AM by SYZ.)
RE: Proving a negative?
(29-07-2016 10:31 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(29-07-2016 04:43 AM)SYZ Wrote:  Now that we've confirmed that point, can you please provide that proof so we can assess its validity, and further discuss it.

Sure, and we will use the Evidence of Absence position to demonstrate it. [...]

I thank you for your copy pasta [sic], but I'm asking theist(s) to prove—using their own logistical and philosophical abilities—to prove empirically that their god, or any gods, exist in the real world. I'm not prepared to accept a Wiki definition posted by a third party. I'm asking you to prove it.

Quote:So using this, how do we prove that something does not exist? That question is simply answered the same way as the question of "How do we prove that something does exist?"
No. If I claim I can fly, I have to prove it to you by jumping off the roof. I don't (and can't) expect you to disprove it. Simple logic.

Quote:The answer to both questions is "Observation."
Again, no. You can "observe" me jumping off the roof and flying, but it's impossible to "observe" me not jumping off the roof to support your purported claim that I cannot fly.

Quote:We can observe when something exists and confirm its existence, and we can observe when something does not exist, and confirm it's non existence.
Okay. Can you please confirm that that Bertrand Russell's "flying teapot" does not exist? The floor is yours.

Bertrand Russell illustrated that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically 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 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 in various other contexts.

Quote:Observation in this respect encompasses more than just an "eyes-on" visual depiction of existence or non existence. It employs all the same senses we use to detect existence.
Granted. But... can you detect your god using audioception, gustaoception, olfacoception, or tactioception—four of the five human senses?

Quote:1. Is it possible that a man is lurking in your broom closet right now? Yes, because we know that men exist and we know they sometimes trespass on our property. So this is reasonably possible.
Agreed. But using the precept Ockham's Razor, it's highly improbable this is the case.

Quote:2. Is it possible that a 15 foot high giraffe is currently in your broom closet? Yes, because we know giraffe's exist, but it is improbable that it is inside the broom closet because of its size.
This contradicts your point [1.] above.

Quote:3. It is possible that 500 ton Flying Spaghetti Monster who is 60 feet wide is in your 3 foot wide and 8 foot high broom closet right now? No, because there is no evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster ever existed, and this particular one could not fit in the broom closet.
Just as there is no evidence that any gods exist or have existed. Incidentally, our FSM is able—using its unlimited powers, just as your god does—to compress its body to enable it to fit into broom closets... and shoe boxes and thimbles too.

Quote:It defies all known laws of physics, and it is completely unreasonable.
So you agree that your god, or gods, are not dissimilar to our FSM?

Quote:Have we ever seen a Flying Spaghetti Monster? No, not one of us has ever seen a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Is it possible that a Flying Spaghetti Monster exists?
Yes. Just as likely as your god existing.

Quote:In regards to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, we have absolutely no evidence for it's proposed possibility, therefore the assertion that its existence is even possible is not in evidence because there is no evidence to demonstrate capability.
Precisely as per your god.

Quote:The condition of non existence cannot be compared to a condition of existence, as the former is not an object, while the latter is in fact an object.
No. Magnetism exists or does not exist, and it's not an "object"—it's an electro-mechanical force. I'm guessing you're a bit confused with this.

Quote:Hence, the evidence of the absence of positive proof applies here as being positive proof that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist as it does not possess the conditions of existence, nor the conditions of possible existence, since we can demonstrate that the capability of it's proposed possible existence does not even exist itself, since there is no evidence to support said capability.
Sorry, but this word salad is ultimately meaningless. It needs a dressing of logic LOL.

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