Total Posts:17|Showing Posts:1-17

# "You can't prove a negative"

 Posts: 3,648 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PMPosted: 2 years agoIsn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.
 Posts: 1,505 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/29/2014 11:19:48 PMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.There doesn't seem to be any difference between proving a negative and a positive. You can only prove a positive to the extent that you can disprove its negation. I think most of the time what people mean by this is that you can't absolutely prove that fairies and unicorns don't exist, because you can claim in their defence that they're invisible etc., but it is equally true that you can't absolutely prove that computers and cars exist either if you add in equally ridiculous conditions, like saying we could be in the Matrix or dreaming or whatever.
 Posts: 3,648 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/29/2014 11:21:45 PMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 11:19:48 PM, Wocambs wrote:At 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.There doesn't seem to be any difference between proving a negative and a positive. You can only prove a positive to the extent that you can disprove its negation. I think most of the time what people mean by this is that you can't absolutely prove that fairies and unicorns don't exist, because you can claim in their defence that they're invisible etc., but it is equally true that you can't absolutely prove that computers and cars exist either if you add in equally ridiculous conditions, like saying we could be in the Matrix or dreaming or whatever.Or that idealism is true, lol.
 Posts: 1,505 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/29/2014 11:28:03 PMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 11:21:45 PM, Envisage wrote:At 11/29/2014 11:19:48 PM, Wocambs wrote:At 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.There doesn't seem to be any difference between proving a negative and a positive. You can only prove a positive to the extent that you can disprove its negation. I think most of the time what people mean by this is that you can't absolutely prove that fairies and unicorns don't exist, because you can claim in their defence that they're invisible etc., but it is equally true that you can't absolutely prove that computers and cars exist either if you add in equally ridiculous conditions, like saying we could be in the Matrix or dreaming or whatever.Or that idealism is true, lol.Well, in a way, but idealism can be shown to be certainly false, because it isn't exactly an empirical hypothesis. It isn't a possible reality. Unobservable unicorns and the Matrix, however, are possibilities, just ones that we have no reason to believe in.
 Posts: 3,749 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/30/2014 5:39:39 AMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.You wouldn't go about proving the statement because you can't, it isn't true.It's just one of those inane things people say when they have no argument and instead they are playing "Whose got the BoP"."It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
 Posts: 2,893 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/30/2014 8:53:29 AMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.In order to prove the negation of something, you must first of all confirm it.
 Posts: 4,886 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/30/2014 9:14:21 AMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/30/2014 5:39:39 AM, Sidewalker wrote:At 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.You wouldn't go about proving the statement because you can't, it isn't true.It's just one of those inane things people say when they have no argument and instead they are playing "Whose got the BoP".There's no game to play. If you're claiming that something exists then you have the BoP to prove it. The problem with the statement "you can't prove a negative" is that it requires more information to be properly understood which the person making it usually takes for granted. For one it generally refers to existence claims, not negative statements like the OP used. Second, it assumes that the negative in question is logically coherent. Third, it assumes that the negative is not defined in such a way that it is dependent on a condition that can be disproven, like a specific location.This is what most people are talking about. When properly understood, it is a meaningful non-contradictory statement.
 Posts: 13,069 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 11/30/2014 4:05:14 PMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah."You can't prove a negative" does not imply that "You can't prove that something is not the case". It only implies that you can't disprove the existence of something (like an elf) empirically."In case anyone hasn't noticed it, the West is in extremis. The undertaker is checking his watch at the foot of its bed, and there's a sinister kettle of croaking, money-feathered vultures on the roof."
 Posts: 4,517 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 12/1/2014 10:53:50 AMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.It depends on your wording of the proposition. The statement "No negative statement is provable" is negative.But can't you always convert a negative statement into a positive, logically equivalent one?No men are immortal can be converted to "all men are mortal" and vice versa.This "you can't prove a negative statement" is just a bad atheist argument for atheists who don't want to have any onus."Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard "primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
 Posts: 7,353 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 12/2/2014 6:38:26 AMPosted: 2 years agoAt 11/29/2014 10:59:29 PM, Envisage wrote:Isn't this a negative statement in itself?How would you go about proving this statement then, hah.Step 1) Rewrite it as: "Only positive statements can be proven."Step 2) Proceed to prove itOf course, step 2 is asking for an absolute exclusion principle to be created out of no grounds at all. In fact, you could simple argue the case of De Morgan duality. The logical operators in the statement I have rewritten are essentially identical to the original statement. Therefore, whichever way you want to look at it, contradiction is inherent in attempting to state that one cannot prove a negative.However, when you say that one cannot prove a negative, I assume you define by absolutes. If negative is being defined as an absolute statement that falsifies a specific other statement, then to apply the statement consistently means that 'you cannot prove a negative,' is effectively identical to 'you cannot prove a positive.' The only difference between negative and positive is P vs ~P. Both statement's are logically similar. When someone claim's that they cannot prove a negative, they might as well say that they cannot prove a positive.Now back to the other side of the argument, what can and cannot be proven is not intrinsically relevant to what is and isn't actually true. To not be able to prove a statement does not mean that the statement cannot be considered correct. If I can't prove a statement, I can still argue that it is reasonable to consider the statement true, just like I can argue that it is reasonable to believe that a negative statement is false.Essentially though, there isn't much thoughtful material you can use for discussion with this apparent contradiction. It contains only a single operator, is not stated very well, and is... for lack of better terminology, simple..Btw, I haven't seen anyone for ages, (have been absent) is the philosophy crowd better or worse than 6 months ago?Smithereens vs Kenballer "Idealism infers Solipsism" http://www.debate.org... "Your signature should not have the name of other players in the game, nor should it have the words VTL, Vote, or Unvote." ~Yraelz, 2017
 Posts: 7,643 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 12/3/2014 12:40:34 AMPosted: 2 years agoThis "you can't prove a negative statement" is just a bad atheist argument for atheists who don't want to have any onus.Usually because the onus is tossed back on them.R: God exists.A: Prove it.R: You can't prove otherwise.A: !?!??In this instance, the Atheist has be saddled with a burden of proof despite the fact the claim is indeed there is no proof of the original claim. Its not a bad argument, its a bad rebuttal from theists. If what they claim is real, existence silences argument.Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex. http://www.debate.org...
 Posts: 44 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 12/3/2014 1:17:23 AMPosted: 2 years agoAt 12/3/2014 12:40:34 AM, FaustianJustice wrote:This "you can't prove a negative statement" is just a bad atheist argument for atheists who don't want to have any onus.Usually because the onus is tossed back on them.:R: God exists.A: Prove it.R: You can't prove otherwise.A: !?!??In this instance, the Atheist has be saddled with a burden of proof despite the fact the claim is indeed there is no proof of the original claim. Its not a bad argument, its a bad rebuttal from theists. If what they claim is real, existence silences argument.I don't know about that. I'd say that, generally, theists and atheists both commit this fallacy.A: God doesn't exist.R. Prove it.A. You can't prove a negative. Besides, there is no evidence for God.R. ?!?!?!?Generally, it's more intellectually honest to just suspend judgement entirely, and consider oneself a skeptic."I don't know if God exists, and evidence that exists for either side is either (A) insufficient or (B) equally compelling, hence, I'll simply suspend judgement."