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Can you prove a negative?

Benshapiro
Posts: 3,928
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8/10/2016 3:10:59 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

That's a conclusion reached through inductive reasoning. It's not logically necessary that the sun is not cold. The sun could possibly be cold. It's within the realm of metaphysical possibility that the sun is cold.

On the other hand, something like "there are no square triangles" is necessarily true.
Sitar
Posts: 8
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8/10/2016 3:18:06 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 3:10:59 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

That's a conclusion reached through inductive reasoning. It's not logically necessary that the sun is not cold. The sun could possibly be cold. It's within the realm of metaphysical possibility that the sun is cold.

On the other hand, something like "there are no square triangles" is necessarily true.

You have the right to your opinion. Using fancy words does not make you right. The fact remains that you can prove a negative.
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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8/10/2016 12:48:10 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 3:18:06 AM, Sitar wrote:
At 8/10/2016 3:10:59 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

That's a conclusion reached through inductive reasoning. It's not logically necessary that the sun is not cold. The sun could possibly be cold. It's within the realm of metaphysical possibility that the sun is cold.

On the other hand, something like "there are no square triangles" is necessarily true.

You have the right to your opinion. Using fancy words does not make you right. The fact remains that you can prove a negative.

Hold a piece of dry ice in your hand . Feel it burn.
The sky is blue.
I always lie .
Lance Armstrong won the tour de France .
But you can't prove a negative . Hey sitar, please don't put yourself through this .
I've been there, I've seen plenty of people start on this site with this exact same thing.
I picture you have just read this somewhere . You can't prove a negative. And when you read it you automatically think.
No F ing way , I can prove a negative. So you start thinking , it gets in your head .
It really is pointless. I was addicted for close to 2 months.
At 1 stage I was thinking . The comment . I have a 8 inch male member. And you can pull down your pants and it's 4 inches. But it still is 8 inches. Crap like this.
I couldn't work.
What stopped me was everyone , well smart people shooting down every comment I made.
Don't do it man. Google schrodingers cat.
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,861
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8/10/2016 1:46:31 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.
Hit the link then continue to the paper. Written by an ivy league graduate and philosophy prof.

http://departments.bloomu.edu...
Chaosism
Posts: 2,649
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8/10/2016 2:17:18 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

I think that certain universal negative statements cannot be proven. For example, no unicorns ever existed. The paper that Skip provided gives an example regarding this in the form of a logical syllogism:

P1) If unicorns had existed, then there is evidence in the fossil record.
P2) There is no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record
C) Therefore, unicorns never existed.

He then goes on to justify the acceptance of the asserted truth of the premises with an appeal to Ad Infinitum, which I wholly disagree with. In the case that a premise is not axiomatic and in which reasonable doubt can be presented, then the demand for support of the premise is warranted. Towards this example, two points of reasonable doubt towards P1 are: (a) not all species that existed are represented in the fossil record and (b) the existence of unicorns is not limited to Earth. Therefore, P1 can be disregarded, rendering the argument unsound.

So, the proposition, "no unicorns ever existed", would require an absolutely complete knowledge of time and space in order to prove it to be true. To expand a little, I would say that universal synthetic statements cannot generally be proven, but universal analytic statements might be.

http://plato.stanford.edu...
keithprosser
Posts: 1,899
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8/10/2016 2:21:57 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
It would be interesting to discover how 'You can't prove a negative' ever got started, because it's so obviously not true. If ever there was something that the failed science of memetics would have been useful for it would be to uncover how 'YCPAN' became in many people's minds a law of deductive logic up there alongside the pons assinorum and the law of the excluded middle.

Presumably it's because YCPAB is pithy and sounds a bit technical and plausible but a moment's thought reveals it's actually nonsense and has been known to be nonsense since - well, forever.

The closest I can get is 'you can't prove a negative by an exhaustive search', meaning you can't - for example - prove there are no such things as unicorns by an exhaustive search because there is always somewhere you haven't looked, but that is really because an exhausive search is impossible, not about proving a negative is impossible.

Will YCPAN ever be forgotten? It seems entrenched in our culture so I expect to see it around for a long time yet - but it really is an oddity.
mrsatan
Posts: 417
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8/10/2016 3:00:43 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

As far as I know, when people say "You can't prove a negative", they're not referring to any statement with a negation in it (at least not typically). Usually, they're referring to negative being, or non-existence.
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
wuliheron
Posts: 105
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8/10/2016 3:36:03 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
When everything I say is but a joke,
None can make more fun of me than myself!
Authenticity is the real issue,
When knowledge and awareness define one another,
When every negative can also be interpreted as a positive!
Everything melting the Ugly Duckling becomes the Swan!
Everything melting displaying Relativistic Horizon Effects!
Is it a particle or a wave, hither, tither, or yonder!
When the only thing I know is that I know nothing,
Incapable of ever straying far from the path lost and alone.
Sitar
Posts: 8
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8/10/2016 10:00:04 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 3:00:43 PM, mrsatan wrote:
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

As far as I know, when people say "You can't prove a negative", they're not referring to any statement with a negation in it (at least not typically). Usually, they're referring to negative being, or non-existence.

Thank you, I understand now.
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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8/10/2016 11:46:41 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 12:48:10 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/10/2016 3:18:06 AM, Sitar wrote:
At 8/10/2016 3:10:59 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

That's a conclusion reached through inductive reasoning. It's not logically necessary that the sun is not cold. The sun could possibly be cold. It's within the realm of metaphysical possibility that the sun is cold.

On the other hand, something like "there are no square triangles" is necessarily true.

You have the right to your opinion. Using fancy words does not make you right. The fact remains that you can prove a negative.


Hold a piece of dry ice in your hand . Feel it burn.
The sky is blue.
I always lie .
Lance Armstrong won the tour de France .
But you can't prove a negative . Hey sitar, please don't put yourself through this .
I've been there, I've seen plenty of people start on this site with this exact same thing.
I picture you have just read this somewhere . You can't prove a negative. And when you read it you automatically think.
No F ing way , I can prove a negative. So you start thinking , it gets in your head .
It really is pointless. I was addicted for close to 2 months.
At 1 stage I was thinking . The comment . I have a 8 inch male member. And you can pull down your pants and it's 4 inches. But it still is 8 inches. Crap like this.
I couldn't work.
What stopped me was everyone , well smart people shooting down every comment I made.
Don't do it man. Google schrodingers cat.

what?

You can prove a negative. "prove" as well as anything can be proven.

Statements are either positive or negative, and neither has any bearing on the Burden of proof for the one making the assertion.

It gets extremely difficult to prove a universal negative. As in no where in this reality is the statement about X true.

And like ben said there are some universal negatives that are proven true. Like the statement "there are no square circles". I'm saying in the whole of the universe you won't find a square-circle anywhere. And that's true.

An assertion is a statement that someone is saying is true.

When asked to explain why or challenged the person making the statement then argues with premises that conclude in their statement being true or likely true.

It doesn't matter if that statement is "God does not exist" or "all crows are black" or "there are no pink unicorns on Jupiter".

If those statements are true, then there is an argument to accept it as true. If there is no argument to accept an assertion as true then the statement is "meaningless" or "bare". Take your pick.

It's all that simple.
Emgaol
Posts: 134
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8/20/2016 12:28:31 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold.

I hope Sitar is still interested in this discussion.
On - You can't prove a negative or, You can't prove non-existence.

For many years now, I've attempted to discuss this statement with those who assert it.
I've asked them for the evidence and reasoning they have to make such a claim. As yet I have had no satisfactory answer.

Both statements are universal absolutes, ie, there are no negative statement that can be proven to be true and, if something does not exist then it cannot be proven to not exist.

To those who assert these statements, I ask:
Can you prove that it is impossible to prove a negative?
Can you prove that it is impossible to prove the non-existence of something?

To the counter argument; Can you prove that it is possible to prove a negative? The answer is Yes.
To the counter argument; Can you prove that it is possible to prove the non-existence of something? The answer is Yes.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:34:20 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Existence and non-existence come under the same principle. Non-existence may seem more tenuous but existence also involves a certain amount of induction and generalization. I see whatever colored shape in front of me and assume that it's an existing instance of whatever object, and not a mirage or some other object than the one I'm taking it for. I cannot get access to a totality of information in order to know that my opinion about existence is absolutely true, any more than I can access enough information to absolutely prove non-existence.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:34:40 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.

Oh, why is that?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:37:00 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
The thing about inverting any positive statement is simply a fact about grammar. I can take any proposition of the english language and affix to the front of it, "It is not the case that..."
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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8/20/2016 3:39:55 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:34:40 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.

Oh, why is that?
I wrote that in this forum 100 times over .
For a week . I went thru 2 months of thinking about this , and every thing I give .
Powww .
And it's true . It's not proving a negative.
Just look it up.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:42:09 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:39:55 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:34:40 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.

Oh, why is that?
I wrote that in this forum 100 times over .
For a week . I went thru 2 months of thinking about this , and every thing I give .
Powww .
And it's true . It's not proving a negative.
Just look it up.

Would you care to respond to the argument I provided above? Or to point me to where you have already addressed it? Btw, are you going to argue that it's less possible to prove a negative than it is to prove a positive? Or are you going to undermine the idea of any proof whatsoever?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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8/20/2016 3:46:57 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:42:09 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:39:55 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:34:40 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.

Oh, why is that?
I wrote that in this forum 100 times over .
For a week . I went thru 2 months of thinking about this , and every thing I give .
Powww .
And it's true . It's not proving a negative.
Just look it up.

Would you care to respond to the argument I provided above? Or to point me to where you have already addressed it? Btw, are you going to argue that it's less possible to prove a negative than it is to prove a positive? Or are you going to undermine the idea of any proof whatsoever?

I am going to undermine your work . As you can not prove a negative.
Your heads and tails thing are dependent on each other.
The statement .
( I always lie ) IS better then that.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:48:58 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:46:57 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:42:09 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:39:55 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:34:40 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.

Oh, why is that?
I wrote that in this forum 100 times over .
For a week . I went thru 2 months of thinking about this , and every thing I give .
Powww .
And it's true . It's not proving a negative.
Just look it up.

Would you care to respond to the argument I provided above? Or to point me to where you have already addressed it? Btw, are you going to argue that it's less possible to prove a negative than it is to prove a positive? Or are you going to undermine the idea of any proof whatsoever?

I am going to undermine your work . As you can not prove a negative.
Your heads and tails thing are dependent on each other.
The statement .
( I always lie ) IS better then that.

Can you prove a positive statement?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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8/20/2016 3:52:34 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:48:58 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:46:57 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:42:09 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:39:55 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:34:40 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:33:44 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:30:50 PM, sdavio wrote:
Every positive statement can just be inverted into a negative, so you can prove a negative just as much as it's possible to prove a positive proposition. For example, "the coin landed on heads" is just the inverse of "the coin landed on tails" so, given the fact that the coin landed at all, to prove the negative of one is equally possible as to prove the positive of the other.

Not correct.

Oh, why is that?
I wrote that in this forum 100 times over .
For a week . I went thru 2 months of thinking about this , and every thing I give .
Powww .
And it's true . It's not proving a negative.
Just look it up.

Would you care to respond to the argument I provided above? Or to point me to where you have already addressed it? Btw, are you going to argue that it's less possible to prove a negative than it is to prove a positive? Or are you going to undermine the idea of any proof whatsoever?

I am going to undermine your work . As you can not prove a negative.
Your heads and tails thing are dependent on each other.
The statement .
( I always lie ) IS better then that.

Can you prove a positive statement?

I'm not 1 to ask.
I always lie .
Can't really be taken in.
It's a statement . That means nothing.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 3:58:54 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:52:34 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
I'm not 1 to ask.
I always lie .
Can't really be taken in.
It's a statement . That means nothing.

So why even say "you can't prove a negative" when you really mean to destroy the whole concept of proof altogether? Specifying the "negative" thing implies that there's something specifically about negative statements that makes them less amenable to proof.

Do you think the statement that "the moon is 3 inches tall" is equally as likely to be true as the statement that "human beings exist"?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Deb-8-A-Bull
Posts: 2,181
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8/20/2016 4:07:56 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 3:58:54 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:52:34 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
I'm not 1 to ask.
I always lie .
Can't really be taken in.
It's a statement . That means nothing.

So why even say "you can't prove a negative" when you really mean to destroy the whole concept of proof altogether? Specifying the "negative" thing implies that there's something specifically about negative statements that makes them less amenable to proof.

Do you think the statement that "the moon is 3 inches tall" is equally as likely to be true as the statement that "human beings exist"?

That's a false statement altogether.
It looks like it's 3 inches tall . Is the sentence.

I have a 6 inch , ( man part ) .
Is the statement I come up with.
Whilst sitting in a ice bath.
You can't prove a negative.
A negative statement is much the same .
You can't do it .
Thing like
Lance Armstrong won the tour de France.
You have to have a statement.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/20/2016 4:30:38 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/20/2016 4:07:56 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:58:54 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/20/2016 3:52:34 PM, Deb-8-A-Bull wrote:
I'm not 1 to ask.
I always lie .
Can't really be taken in.
It's a statement . That means nothing.

So why even say "you can't prove a negative" when you really mean to destroy the whole concept of proof altogether? Specifying the "negative" thing implies that there's something specifically about negative statements that makes them less amenable to proof.

Do you think the statement that "the moon is 3 inches tall" is equally as likely to be true as the statement that "human beings exist"?

That's a false statement altogether.
It looks like it's 3 inches tall . Is the sentence.

I have a 6 inch , ( man part ) .
Is the statement I come up with.
Whilst sitting in a ice bath.
You can't prove a negative.
A negative statement is much the same .
You can't do it .
Thing like
Lance Armstrong won the tour de France.
You have to have a statement.

Let's try this way: When you attempt to prove any positive statement whatsoever, you are also proving that the same sentence is not false, which is a negative proposition. So, if you grant any possibility of proof at all, then you are logically committed to granting negative proof also.

If you reject the whole concept of rational proof at the base of it, then that's a different conversation, but I'd really like you to at least tell me which of these options you are going for.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
createdman
Posts: 110
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8/21/2016 10:56:09 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/10/2016 2:41:59 AM, Sitar wrote:
The sun is not cold. : :

Watch the comments that respond to this true and positive statement;

"I AM THE VOICE OF GOD."
ford_prefect
Posts: 4,137
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8/24/2016 2:33:07 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
You can't prove a negative, but you can't prove that you can't prove a negative, because that would be proving a negative. So maybe you can prove a negative.