The Instigator
Mr.Infidel
Pro (for)
Tied
19 Points
The Contender
izbo10
Con (against)
Tied
19 Points

It is possible to disprove a negative

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,722 times Debate No: 18876
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (35)
Votes (10)

 

Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you, izbo10, for agreeing to this debate.

Resolution

It is possible to disprove a negative

The opponents of the debate, and what positions they will argue.

I am affirmative, meaning that it will be my burden to prove that it is possible to prove a negative.

The scope of the debate.

To test if proving a negative is false is possible.

The length of the debate, in number of rounds.

There will be 4 rounds. First round is acceptance only.

The maximum length of each statement.

8000 Characters

The time limit between statements.

72 hours (3 days).

The starting date of the debate.

As soon as possible.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is only on me.

____________________________

Voters, please read this debate before voting, do not vote based on your biased opinion.

By a negative statement, I am referring to any statement that contains negative words (not, can't, don't etc). An example of a negative statement is "God does NOT exist" or "There is NO Invisible Pink Unocorn."

Good luck.

:-)
izbo10

Con

Accepted, on the understanding this debate is to absolute certainty.
Debate Round No. 1
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you, izbo10 for accepting this debate. I look forward to a challenge from you. I wish you the best of luck.

For purpose of this debate, the Burden of Proof rests entirely upon me. All what izbo10 needs to do is refute my case. All I need to do is prove that it is possible to prove a negative statement is false.

1) The Law of non-contradiction can falsify a negative

To say something does not exist can be proved with a contradictory statement. A contradiction is 2 or more proposals that are logically incompatible [1].

1) Any being with contradictory properties cannot exist.
2) Being X has contradictory properties.
3) Therefore, being X cannot exist.

To prove this point, let us use the example of the Invisible Pink Unicorn. It is impossible for the Invisible Pink Unicorn to exist, because it is impossible to be both invisible and pink at the same time. Furthermore, it is impossible to be invisible and be a unicorn. Hence, we can plug in the Invisible Pink Unicorn for premise 2, and the syllogism will work.

I do not need complete knowledge of the universe to be able to prove to you that the IPU does not exist. We know that the Invisible Pink Unicorn does not exist because she has contradictory properties.

Secondly, let us take an example of a square circle. A square is, by definition, a shape with 4 equal sides and four equal right angles. [2] However, a circle is, by definition, a shape without any sides or angles. Hence, a cirlce looks like this:



It is impossible to be both a square and a circle at the same time. Hence, we can say, "There are no square circles." +

| CONCLUSION |

With the evidence I have given above, I have proved beyond reasonable doubt and with absolute certainty that it is possible to prove a negative statement is false. Example, "There are no square circles", and "There are no Invisible Pink Unicorns."
______________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...(geometry)
izbo10

Con

My opponent asserts that he is absolutely certain that a Invisible pink unicorn does not exist. He makes some blatant assumptions that he cannot be really certain of. Firstly, my opponent has to assume that the laws of logic that we perceive, such as the law of non-contradiction is an actual law, not just perceived. He has no proof of this. He could try inductive reasoning. Yet, that would fail as my opponent has no way of knowing induction is true. While I may agree that the law of non-contradiction shows something likely does not exist, it does not absolutely prove anything.

Both his examples can be shown to have possible falsehoods about them. He thinks a invisible pink unicorn does not exist because it is contradictory, yet what if there was a unicorn that simultaneously lives in 2 universes. One of which she is pink, the other of which she is invisible. The same could be said of a circle square. What if in one universe the object was a square yet in another universe it exists as a circle.

I ask my opponent some simple questions:

Prove that the law of non-contradiction really exists.

Prove that induction really exists.

Prove that a unicorn could not exist simultaneously in 2 universes with 2 different features.

Prove that a circle could not be a square in parallel universes.
Debate Round No. 2
Mr.Infidel

Pro

My opponent asked me to do a few things:
  1. Prove that the law of non-contradiction really exists;
  2. Prove that induction really exists;
  3. Prove that a unicorn could not exist simultaneously in 2 universes with 2 different features; and
  4. Prove that a circle could not be a square in parallel universe.
In the words of contradiction, "Are you freaking kidding me?"

The Law of Non-Contradiction


An example would be to say person X hanged himself, then to say person X did not hang himself. Both of these are two propositions that cannot be logically compatible. Therefore, the Law of Non-contradiction stands.

Induction Really Exists.

I'm assuming you are referring to inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositionsthat are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances. In this sense it is often contrasted with deductive reasoning. [3]

Examples:
  1. 90% of humans are right handed.
  2. John Doe is human.
  3. Therefore, there is a high probability that John Doe is right handed.
Syllogism is perfectly logical. This shows the probability of John Doe being literate in a certain hand.

Parallel Universes

In the words of debater17, "Parallel universes? Tell me you're joking, please, please."

Okay, this proves my opponent has no understanding of my arguments! I believe I am arguing that in this Universe, on planet EARTH, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a CIRCLE AND A SQUARE. To prove this point, here is a comparisson of a square and a circle on top of each other:



wow izbo, they are obviously two different shapes with completely different properties. Same thing is true for invisible and pink.

Morover, my opponent seems to have been contradicting himself. In his debates, "Objective morality does not exist", izbo has been requesting that PRO has the Burden of Proof see http://www.debate.org... clearly shows my opponents incompitence.

Scientific Evidence

Finally, we get to the scientific evidence of the resolution. I wanted to add this to my opening arguments, but ran out of time. Let me give you the statement "Nothing can go faster than light." This was believed and accepted when Albert Einstein first proposed this hypothesis; however, now we have found a particle traveling faster than light speed. [4] Hence, if we also were to say, "There are no planets that do not have blue skies" this can be disproven by finding a planet without a blue sky (i.e., Mars).

Hence, I have (yet again) fulfilled my resolution to the debate. Please vote pro.

___________________________________________________

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...;

izbo10

Con

My opponent wants to laugh off my questions. He fails to see these questions are actually based on a real philosophical position. Every argument my opponent has made are based on an unfounded unprovable assumption he makes. He makes a blatant assumption that the world he observes with his 5 senses sending information to his brain is the real world. There is no reason to believe this.

He says he is talking about this universe, the one that we live in, but how does he know the universe we perceive is the universe we live in. Everything he argues is based on this assumption. Yet, my opponent would have no way of actually knowing this, any attempt to prove this would merely be begging the question. He would inevitably have to assume his sense were telling him the truth to present a truth about his senses telling him the truth, this would not work. He cannot know the law of non-contradiction without using his senses, he cannot know the rules of induction(which he got wrong) without this. My opponent cannot prove that he can actually know anything to absolute certainty hence he cannot prove anything beyond possibly that a mind exists that is creating this universe. This is the heart of Solipsism (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

I ask you without absolute certainty of any of this knowledge, how can he say that he can absolutely prove that a negative doesn't exist, when the universe we actually reside in could be anything.
Debate Round No. 3
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Note to the readers: The resolution should say, "It is possible to prove a negative." Hence, it should be possible to prove that there is no _______.

Morover, my opponent has failed to respond to respond to my last contention about the scientific way to disproving a negative. We can disprove a Universal negative by finding something that contradicts the negative (i.e., nothing can go faster than the speed of light; which was disproved). [Hence, if we go by the original resolution, "It is possible to disprove a negative, then I win the debate].

Lastly, my opponent fails to respond to my challenges. Before we can discuss the parallel universes, we must determine whether or not they even exist (that, by itself, is another debate).

Consequently, I would like voters to ask yourself this question:
  1. Have I proved that it is possible to disprove a negative like the title of the debate says? if so, please vote PRO.
  2. Have I proved that it is possible to prove a universal negative (what we were trying to prove, but because of the mistype the resolution said something it should not say.)? If so, please vote pro.
  3. Has my opponent proved that my contentions are false? If so, vote con.
I want to thank izbo10 for this debate and thank you (the reader) for spending time reading this debate.

Thank you.
izbo10

Con

I don't think my opponent has grasped the rebuttal to his argument. Let me put it in argument form form including his argument and the premise he has been hiding. The premise he has hidden is the one I attack here:

Mr. Infidels argument:

If realism is right then you can use logic and science to gain knowledge to disprove a negative.

His argument relies on realism being correct.

My argument is:

If solipsism is correct then we are not justified in any beliefs besides the mind, so we can't use science and logic being they are not justified beliefs, therefore we wouldn't have the knowledge to prove a negative.

My opponent trudged along in this debate completely ignoring solipsism as a potential worldview and continuing to use this syllogism:

Realism is correct
and since if realism is correct we can use logic and science to gain knowledge
we can use that logic to show contradictions
therefore we can disprove a negative.

He failed the entire debate to see I was challenging his presupposition that realism is correct. Therefore unless you come in bias against solipsism, he has failed to demonstrate that the first premise he relies on is right. So my opponent has failed to meet his burden of proof.

My opponents burden is absolute certainty as here is a transcript of the discussion that lead to this debate from facebook( I changed his name to protect his identity):

mr.infidel

Affirmative. I think it is possible (though tough) to prove that a negative statement is false.

I,ll challenge you.

Erik Dickerson
October 19
Erik Dickerson

I would agree with you on that

mr.infidel
October 19
mr.infidel

Challenge has been sent

Good luck.

Erik Dickerson
October 19
Erik Dickerson

I can't guarantee I accept, being I probably agree with your side

is this debate to a standard of beyond reasonable doubt or to absolute certainity, that is key

mr.infidel
October 19
mr. infidel

Absolute certain. In other words, all i need to do is show that it is possible to prove a negative ststament is false

Therefore being my opponent has left solipsism as a possibly justified position, so he cannot disprove a negative to absolute certainty.
Debate Round No. 4
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
Yes it is, I exist, and so do you... or do we?
Posted by Debater17 5 years ago
Debater17
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you guys are focusing on "is it possible to prove something"? Which the answer is yes.
Posted by Debater17 5 years ago
Debater17
em, may I ask what do you mean by conclusion?
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
I was just having fun with this, mr. infidel came on facebook and challenged me to a debate, he couldnt understand that I agreed with him. Knowing I am far better at philosophy then he is, I decided to accept an see if I could run with Presuppositional apologetics. The difference between me and the theists who use presuppositional apologetics is I know the conclusion to the argument, where as they some how think these arguments prove god.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
I was just having fun with this, mr. infidel came on facebook and challenged me to a debate, he couldnt understand that I agreed with him. Knowing I am far better at philosophy then he is, I decided to accept an see if I could run with Presuppositional apologetics. The difference between me and the theists who use presuppositional apologetics is I know the conclusion to the argument, where as they some how think these arguments prove god.
Posted by davidhancock 5 years ago
davidhancock
or bring down the realism hammer
Posted by davidhancock 5 years ago
davidhancock
one clean way to beat solipsism contend why he even ran it as he has no idea that it kills it case as well. as he is trying to disprove but as nothing outside of thought exists he isnt contending your resolution because his args dont exist either boom game over
Posted by Debater17 5 years ago
Debater17
I personally do not believe in solipsism, but there are no empirical way to disprove that. But really, it IS very possible to disprove a negative.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
seraine, another situation where your idiocy shows through, not surprising, I believe it is reasonable to believe these things based on reasobable certainty, but his burden was absolute certainty.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
"He makes a blatant assumption that the world he observes with his 5 senses sending information to his brain is the real world. There is no reason to believe this."

Coming from Mr "I believe in objective morality"
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by davidhancock 5 years ago
davidhancock
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: my fav part of this debate was the end of it yes i have run solipsism but its such a weak arguement..... i hate to vote either way but cons arg was dropped btw never run this again please
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Cons argument was abusive in that it can be used against any argument which defeats the purpose of debating. However Pro buried himself by using God and the IPU as examples in round 1 showing that the debate centered on concepts beyond our senses, therefore Cons argument is valid. Both sides dropped arguments but Pro had the BoP, and Cons argument attacked the premise of Pros arguments so victory goes to Con.
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct, CON trolled the comments and attempted to rewrite the resolution half way through the debate. S and G goes to Pro because his case was better presented. Arguments clearly go to Pro who quite aptly demonstrated his case, you can't just say 'solipsism' thats not a rebuttal. Sources to Pro.
Vote Placed by Yorble 5 years ago
Yorble
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con decided to undermine people in comments, used unreliable Wikipedia, and overall lacked solid arguments.
Vote Placed by tjordan 5 years ago
tjordan
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The debate is clear that pro must PROVE something. Con argues with solipsism (you can't prove anything except that the mind exists) and pro never really responds. Con wins.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro should have said that if we don't know whether logic works, then we have no reason to think Con's argument works. And if we don't know whether the real world exists, then we've no reason to believe that Con didn't forfeit this debate. Neither side directly addressed the other side's argument, so we judges have to decide which argument was better. Pro made a compelling case. Con's response was generic obscurantism. Victor is Pro.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Solipsism is kind of a wtf argument, but Pro flat out dropped it, so it stands. This auto wins con the round because now Pro is unable to prove anything, including the resolution.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con asks "how do we know if what we are sensing is real?" and goes along those lines. It was a stretch at best and would be difficult to argue for. Pro completely missed that argument. Pro also assumes the BOP explicitly, which was a bad move. He says that the entire burden is on him to prove that it is possible to prove a negative statement is false. By attacking this point, Con was able to sufficiently negate the resolution. Pro took on too much of a burden and ignored Con's case.
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Solipsism is a really stupid argument. Pro didnt actually respond to any of Con's arguments though. If Pro had made any effort to refute Con's exceptionally lame arguments I would have voted Pro.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
Mr.Infidelizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: con only had Wikipedia ( which isn't good ) where as infindel had Wikipedia and other things. their arguments were equally good though.