# The Flat Earth Society

## Flat Earth Discussion Boards => Flat Earth Theory => Topic started by: garygreen on December 19, 2013, 03:51:00 AM

Title: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on December 19, 2013, 03:51:00 AM
tl;dr version: every truth claim has a burden of proof.  it doesn't matter whether or not the claim contains a negation.

I feel like I'm derailing the UA vs. gravity thread, so I'm starting a new one.  This isn't strictly about FET, but it comes up a lot.

It's often claimed in various threads by members of both sides that one cannot proves a negative claim like, "There is no x."  This is a popular belief, and it's completely false.  Deductive reasoning is valid if and only if it is impossible for its premises to be true and its conclusion false.  Deductive reasoning is sound if and only if it is valid and its premises are true.  That's all.  It makes no difference if the premises or conclusions contain negations.

First, all truth claims carry a burden of proof.  Consider the following statement: Barack Obama does not exist.  The statement is not relieved of a burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  Anyone making this claim would be required to offer evidence supporting the truth of its claim.  This is because all truth claims, negative or positive, carry a burden of proof.

Negative claims can also be proven deductively.  Consider the following argument:

1.  If A, then B. (If A exists, then B exists)
2.  Not B. (B does not exist)
3.  Therefore: not A. (A does not exist)

This argument uses a basic rule of inference called modus tollens, and we just used it to prove a negative: not A.  It's logically valid because if the premises are true, then the conclusion cannot be false.  Whether or not it's sound depends on the truth of the premises.

Let's consider a less abstract example:

If Barack Obama exists, then a birth certificate for Barack Obama exists.
A birth certificate for Barack Obama does not exist.
Therefore, Barack Obama does not exist.

This is a good example because it illustrates a point that is often missed in these discussions.  Notice that we can still argue and debate the truth of premises.  A proof can be both valid and not sound.  Obviously the argument I just made is very unsound (the premises are untrue), but if the premises were true, then it would be a logically valid proof of the conclusion (if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true).

There are obviously a host of other issues that would have to be resolved with the premises (What do we mean by Barack Obama?  Anyone with that name?  The person who is the president?  Does the argument require that the person who is the president be named Barack Obama?).  And, in practice, some conclusions and their associated premises might be too complex in reality for us to resolve; but, the fact that our reasoning includes statements with negatives doesn't make them necessarily irresolvable.

And, we can't just assume that every negative claim is true until proven otherwise.  There's at least one good reason for this: every positive truth claim can be reformulated into a negative one.  It's called double negation.  'x exists' can be rewritten as 'x does not not exist,' or, 'it is not the case that x does not exist.'  If every negative claim is assumed true until proven false, then all claims must be assumed true until proven false.  That is the opposite of skepticism.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on December 19, 2013, 03:59:23 AM

It is true that you cannot empirically prove a negative but all this means is that you should not make such a truth claim to begin with unless you want to make an inductive argument.

One can prove a negative using deduction in the empirical sense you're talking about.  Whether or not the conclusion or the premises of an argument contain negatives doesn't affect the logical validity of the proof.  We can modify the previous example:

If there is a baseball at location X,Y,Z, then my detector will detect photons as from a baseball at location X,Y,Z.
My detector not detect photons as from a baseball at location X,Y,Z.
Therefore, there is not a baseball at location X,Y,Z.

As before, the proof is valid (conclusion must be true if premises are true) even if it isn't sound (all premises are true).  And, we can certainly debate many aspects of the premises.  P1 can certainly be false for many reasons.  We'd need to better define 'baseball.'  P2 could be false if my detector is bad or faulty or insufficient in some way.  The list goes on.  But, the proof is still valid.

I see what you're getting at, though.  The claim 'there are no unicorns anywhere' would be insurmountably difficult to prove.  But, we could still construct valid deductive arguments in such a proof.  They just almost certainly wouldn't be sound.

1.  If the experiment used proper procedures to eliminate sources of error, then those procedures will be mentioned in documents on that experiment.
2.  Those procedures were not mentioned in documents on that experiment.
3.  The experiment did not use proper procedures to eliminate sources of error.

Alternatively:
3. Proper procedures to eliminate sources of error were used, but not documented.

Just had to toss that in. ;)

But again, that's a problem with truth of P1, not the conclusion.  The argument might not be sound, but it's still valid.  I'm just being pedantic at this point; I know what you're getting at.  It's a good illustration, though.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 19, 2013, 12:29:27 PM
I think there's a difference between the ability to prove a negative and the requirement to prove a negative.

In the case of the specific argument there's only small reason to believe that the controls Tom is requiring were in fact in place, especially as we and by inference they doubt that gravity could affect the calibration of a digital scale after it's set.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 19, 2013, 01:14:53 PM
There is also a huge difference between believing and knowing.

For example, say I flip a coin 500 times.  If they all come up heads, I might be believe that there is no tails on the coin.
Until I physically look at both sides of the coin, there is no way of knowing 100% if there is not a tails on the coin.

However, if my data is limited to just 2 flips, then my belief that there is no tails on the coin really isn't substantiated.

Now say I still claim there is no tails, my opponent asks me why I beloved there is no tails.  The burden of proof lies on me.  I need to show him my data.  I can't just say, "you can't proove a negative, the burden of proof is on you" and walk away.

Now I know this is an oversimplified example, but the premise holds for any claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Socker on December 19, 2013, 07:11:52 PM
Isn't the base rule the one making the claim, regardless of whether it's negative or not, has the burden of proof?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 19, 2013, 07:15:07 PM
Yes it is.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 19, 2013, 07:32:09 PM
Isn't the base rule the one making the claim, regardless of whether it's negative or not, has the burden of proof?

yes, however who is making a claim in a long running discussion?

I mean essentially by asking for proof you are making a claim to the contrary of the one posted so there's claims on both sides.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 19, 2013, 09:48:12 PM
Asking for proof is not the same as making a contrary claim.  It is asking the one who claimed it to back up that claim with either evidence or a coherently logical explanation.

For example.

Person 1 "This coin does not have a tails"
Person 2 "Why do say that?  Please provide proof that it doesn't"

Person 2 did not at all state that the coin must have a tails.  Just asked for evidence to back up the claim.

Now in this case, Person 1 could simply show both sides of the coin to Person 2 to prove the negative claim of the coin not having tails.  Or back it up with some evidence such as "I flipped the coin 500 times and every time it landed heads.  Here is the video with the results of every flip. With eye witnesses testimony."

However, they cannot just say "Prove me wrong" without supplying some supporting evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 19, 2013, 09:54:44 PM
Asking for proof is not the same as making a contrary claim.  It is asking the one who claimed it to back up that claim with either evidence or a coherently logical explanation.

For example.

Person 1 "This coin does not have a tails"
Person 2 "Why do say that?  Please provide proof that it doesn't"

Person 2 did not at all state that the coin must have a tails.  Just asked for evidence to back up the claim.

Now in this case, Person 1 could simply show both sides of the coin to Person 2 to prove the negative claim of the coin not having tails.  Or back it up with some evidence such as "I flipped the coin 500 times and every time it landed heads.  Here is the video with the results of every flip. With eye witnesses testimony."

However, they cannot just say "Prove me wrong" without supplying some supporting evidence.

So if the person says I've looked and can't find any evidence online of tails on coins, nor do any articles mention tails on coins.

There would still be a burden of proof on the claimant? Or should you move on/try to find the proof that the  coin does in fact have tails.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 19, 2013, 10:35:27 PM
I would say he needs to supply some of his articles or sources where he looked at.  Not just "well I looked and I couldn't find it"
He needs to say I looked here and here and here.  Supply the sources, then supply a logical argument.
In the case of the coin.

The data from this video shows 500 coin flips, all coming up heads.
The odds of a single coin(assuming it is a standard issue coin that has both heads and tails) flip coming up heads is 1/2.
We know that each subsequent coin flip is also 1/2.
Therefore the odds of all 500 coin flips coming up heads is (1/2)^500, or a really small number.
The odds of getting 500 heads in a row is such a small chance that this makes me believe that there is no tails on this coin.

He can't just say "prove me wrong" the burden of proof is on you now.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 20, 2013, 01:14:15 AM
The difference lies in that in the original case that inspired this study the coin flips were being presented as an argument by the other party.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 20, 2013, 01:35:04 AM
Actually, the other side did present their evidence.  It was the gnome experiment and the gravity map.  Tom dismissed this evidence by saying the gnome experiment was not controlled and that the gravity map wasn't true because spaceflight is impossible.  This claim then shifts the burden of proof onto him.

Quote from wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Proving a negative

"When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false".[8]"

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 20, 2013, 01:40:47 AM
Actually, the other side did present their evidence.  It was the gnome experiment and the gravity map.  Tom dismissed this evidence by saying the gnome experiment was not controlled and that the gravity map wasn't true because spaceflight is impossible.  This claim then shifts the burden of proof onto him.

Quote from wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Proving a negative

"When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false".[8]"

I'd agree that the burden of proof was with him on the "no such thing as space flight" claim, but it seems to me the no controls in the gnome experiment is less clear, after all in the first instance he is making a claim directly contrary to what has been stated, in the second he is exposing something that has NOT been stated.

I mean how exactly would you have him go about proving there were no controls?

Short of tracking down the researchers or paying for the full methodology?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 20, 2013, 02:43:43 AM
I don't think he can. I took issue with him making the claim and then saying it was valid by citing a Wikipedia page that did not mention the controls, as if that is information that you would expect to find on Wikipedia.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 21, 2013, 06:50:56 PM
Actually, the other side did present their evidence.  It was the gnome experiment and the gravity map.  Tom dismissed this evidence by saying the gnome experiment was not controlled and that the gravity map wasn't true because spaceflight is impossible.  This claim then shifts the burden of proof onto him.

Quote from wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Proving a negative

"When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false".[8]"

I'd agree that the burden of proof was with him on the "no such thing as space flight" claim, but it seems to me the no controls in the gnome experiment is less clear, after all in the first instance he is making a claim directly contrary to what has been stated, in the second he is exposing something that has NOT been stated.

I mean how exactly would you have him go about proving there were no controls?

Short of tracking down the researchers or paying for the full methodology?

Well see both his negative claims were disputing evidence that was presented to support a different claim.  It is Tom's responsibility to support his claims.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 22, 2013, 01:55:59 AM

I mean how exactly would you have him go about proving there were no controls?

Short of tracking down the researchers or paying for the full methodology?

But this is the crux of the matter. He asserted a truth he had no support for and cannot easily find the support for unless he wants to start sorting through the published appears which are behind paywalls at \$40 each. In this case you should not make the claim in the first place unless you are willing to do the work or be exposed for lazy research work.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 28, 2013, 12:22:50 AM
Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 28, 2013, 12:43:32 AM
Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?
Does this mean that you admit that you must now start supporting your negative claims?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 28, 2013, 01:13:20 AM
Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?
Does this mean that you admit that you must now start supporting your negative claims?

Negative claims already have supporting evidence of absence by virtue of an absence of evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 28, 2013, 02:19:31 AM
Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?
Does this mean that you admit that you must now start supporting your negative claims?

Negative claims already have supporting evidence of absence by virtue of an absence of evidence.
Only if you have looked in the most likely places.  Otherwise, it is just an argument from ignorance.

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

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...[5]

Note the bold.  In other words, if you haven't looked in the most likely places, you cannot use absence of evidence to claim it does not exist.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 28, 2013, 06:17:15 AM
Quote
Only if you have looked in the most likely places.  Otherwise, it is just an argument from ignorance.

There is no "argument from ignorance fallacy" if there is a lack of knowledge in the discussion, and we truly are arguing from ignorance.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 28, 2013, 06:34:57 AM
Only if you have looked in the most likely places.  Otherwise, it is just an argument from ignorance.

But these are discussions from ignorance. I do not see that anyone is all knowing in these discussions.

Do you even know what an argument from ignorance is?

Just so you can read up on it, because I know you won't look it up on your own, it isn't in the paperwork on you desk after all, here is a link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

Basically, an argument from ignorance is an assertion that a claim is true because it hasn't been disproven, or an assertion that a claim is false because it hasn't been proven.  It completely ignores the fact that there just might not be enough evidence to support a claim either way.

In order to prove something doesn't exist, it needs to be shown to not be where it is most likely to be if it did exist.

For example, I cannot claim that there is no elephant in my mother's backyard without first looking in her backyard and not seeing an elephant.  Even though the chance of there being an elephant in her backyard is extremely unlikely and a claim of there not being an elephant in her backyard is most likely true.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 28, 2013, 06:39:57 AM
It is not my responsibility to prove anything either way. The act of challenging the critic to "prove me wrong" is the fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Quote
The philosophical burden of proof or onus (probandi) is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.

...

Holder of the burden

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed". This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question.

See bolded.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 28, 2013, 06:48:44 AM
It is not my responsibility to prove anything either way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Quote
The philosophical burden of proof or onus (probandi) is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.

...

Holder of the burden

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed". This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question.

See bolded.

Basically what is bolded is exactly what you have done.

You claim that lack of evidence proves you right.  You then push the responsibility of looking for any sort of evidence to others even when you admit that you haven't looked in the most likely place that this evidence would exist if it does exist.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 28, 2013, 07:00:36 AM
Basically what is bolded is exactly what you have done.

You claim that lack of evidence proves you right.  You then push the responsibility of looking for any sort of evidence to others even when you admit that you haven't looked in the most likely place that this evidence would exist if it does exist.

I am looking in the most likely place. I'm looking right here on this forum, awaiting claimants to provide the obligated evidence for their claims. It is not my responsibility to find the evidence. See the quote above.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 28, 2013, 07:08:00 AM
Basically what is bolded is exactly what you have done.

You claim that lack of evidence proves you right.  You then push the responsibility of looking for any sort of evidence to others even when you admit that you haven't looked in the most likely place that this evidence would exist if it does exist.

I am looking in the most likely place. I'm looking right here on this forum, awaiting claimants to provide the obligated evidence for their claims. It is not my responsibility to find the evidence. See the quote above.
What? Really?  So if the information is NOT on this forum, you can make any claim you want, as long as it is a negative claim, because you looked here?

Remember it was your truth claims that people want you to provide some sort of evidence for.

1. I know that earth based gravimeters have not been used to verify satellite based measurements because no such trials have been associated with the data.

Here is you supplying some you lack of evidence

Sure, here is the evidence that no such trials have been associated with the measurements:

Oh and here is you shifting the burden to others

If it exists, then find it for us. I've already provided evidence that it does not exist.

As can be seen, you make a claim, then tell others to prove you wrong by doing your leg work.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 28, 2013, 09:34:47 AM
It is not my responsibility to prove anything either way. The act of challenging the critic to "prove me wrong" is the fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Quote
The philosophical burden of proof or onus (probandi) is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.

...

Holder of the burden

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed". This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question.

See bolded.
What about the sentence before the bolded one?  It makes no distinction between positive and negative claims regarding the burden assumed by the one making the claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 01:11:25 PM
What about the sentence before the bolded one?  It makes no distinction between positive and negative claims regarding the burden assumed by the one making the claim.
Actually, it does quite clearly say that the burden of proof is on the person asserting (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/assert#Verb) the claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 28, 2013, 01:14:24 PM
What about the sentence before the bolded one?  It makes no distinction between positive and negative claims regarding the burden assumed by the one making the claim.
Actually, it does quite clearly say that the burden of proof is on the person asserting (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/assert#Verb) the claim.

so do we now move on to what constitutes a claim and is questioning or picking holes in a claim, itself a claim?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 01:22:07 PM
so do we now move on to what constitutes a claim and is questioning or picking holes in a claim, itself a claim?
No, we're simply calling markjo out on his lack of understanding of English.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 28, 2013, 01:47:51 PM
The main issue for me is that Tom was making claims of non-evidence and then tried to disguise them as criticisms.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 28, 2013, 02:02:52 PM
What about the sentence before the bolded one?  It makes no distinction between positive and negative claims regarding the burden assumed by the one making the claim.
Actually, it does quite clearly say that the burden of proof is on the person asserting (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/assert#Verb) the claim.

And this shows a distinction between a positive and a negative claim how?  I can just as easily assert a negative claim as I can assert a positive claim.

Specifically definition 1
Quote
To declare with assurance or plainly and strongly; to state positively.
he would often assert his beliefs to us

I can know for a fact that there is no elephant in my backyard.

That is me making a negative claim, declaring positively, that there is no elephant in m backyard.

We also have this a few lines down from the link that Tom posted

Proving a negative

When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false".[8]

So please take a look at the bolded section.
This is exactly what has happened in the other thread.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 28, 2013, 03:15:23 PM
Sounds like a criticism of the way he phrased his comment more than the actual thrust of it.

If he'd said there's not enough evidence to conclude that the gnome experiment is valid due to the  lack of information regarding any controls and possible extraneous factors would that have been better?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 04:46:58 PM
And this shows a distinction between a positive and a negative claim how?  I can just as easily assert a negative claim as I can assert a positive claim.
No, you can't. To assert means to state positively. Asserting a negative claim is like spending a negative amount of money - a cool abstract concept, but it doesn't actually happen.

I can know for a fact that there is no elephant in my backyard.

That is me making a negative claim, declaring positively, that there is no elephant in m backyard.
No, that is you negating the assertion that there is an elephant in your backyard.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 28, 2013, 05:07:07 PM
No, you can't. To assert means to state positively. Asserting a negative claim is like spending a negative amount of money - a cool abstract concept, but it doesn't actually happen.

I got a mirror for free with some furniture I bought and it was chipped at the back so they gave me £40 off the mirror.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 28, 2013, 05:34:16 PM
To assert means to state positively.
To state positively is not the same as stating a positive.  I can positively state that there is no elephant in my backyard.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 05:36:03 PM
I got a mirror for free with some furniture I bought and it was chipped at the back so they gave me £40 off the mirror.
Yes, I think my description of "doesn't actually happen" covers that :P
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 28, 2013, 06:20:51 PM
To assert is simply to state something as factual. For example, "there is no evidence for unicorns", is a factual statement that can be asserted. This requires evidence, which unfortunately the assertion can never adequately provide except on an inductive basis.

EDIT: I want to be clear, so as to avoid equivocation, that my reading if the word "positively", as it appears in the definition of "assert" is: to state with certainty(e.g. I am
positively sure water freezes at 0C). I would dispute that the general definition is using the specialized definition meaning "to formulate a sentence using positive syntax".
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 07:07:05 PM
Assertions of any and all sorts deal with things that are true (or presumed to be true), not things that are false.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_assertion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_act#Classifying_illocutionary_speech_acts
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assertion_%28software_development%29
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 28, 2013, 07:11:12 PM
Assertions of any and all sorts deal with things that are true (or presumed to be true), not things that are false.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_assertion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_act#Classifying_illocutionary_speech_acts
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assertion_%28software_development%29

Assuming there is no evidence is not an assumption of falsehood.  It is assuming that it is true that there is not evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 07:19:46 PM
Assuming there is no evidence is not an assumption of falsehood.  It is assuming that it is true that there is not evidence.
Correct, but also irrelevant.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 28, 2013, 08:25:32 PM
Assuming there is no evidence is not an assumption of falsehood.  It is assuming that it is true that there is not evidence.
Correct, but also irrelevant.

It is relevant, because saying, "I have looked and there is no evidence" is an assertion that in and of itself carries a BOP.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 08:31:35 PM
It is relevant, because saying, "I have looked and there is no evidence" is an assertion that in and of itself carries a BOP.
How is it relevant to the subject of "Is it possible to prove a negative?"?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 28, 2013, 08:41:18 PM
It is relevant, because saying, "I have looked and there is no evidence" is an assertion that in and of itself carries a BOP.
How is it relevant to the subject of "Is it possible to prove a negative?"?

This thread was started because Tom said, "I have looked and there is no evidence for the controls in this gravity experiment.  Prove me wrong." (more or less).  He claimed he was being critical of a the contention that there is evidence for the controls in this experiment, but he was not being critical, he was asserting the negative viewpoint.  This thread was essentially to determine whether or not Tom had a burden of proof.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 28, 2013, 11:08:43 PM
Assertions of any and all sorts deal with things that are true (or presumed to be true), not things that are false.
I assert that your premise is false.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 11:27:24 PM
Feel free to. It won't make you any less wrong.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 28, 2013, 11:49:04 PM
Feel free to. It won't make you any less wrong.
And attacking a straw man won't make you right.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 28, 2013, 11:54:08 PM
And attacking a straw man won't make you right.
You're right, I shouldn't waste my time attacking your straw man. Now, if you'd like to add something to this discussion, feel free to, but otherwise, please stop attempting to derail this thread.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 29, 2013, 12:50:03 AM
And attacking a straw man won't make you right.
You're right, I shouldn't waste my time attacking your straw man. Now, if you'd like to add something to this discussion, feel free to, but otherwise, please stop attempting to derail this thread.
I'm sorry if you are unable to understand that it is possible to assert a negative claim and therefore incur a burden to support that negative claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 29, 2013, 12:47:06 PM
I'm sorry if you are unable to understand that it is possible to assert a negative claim and therefore incur a burden to support that negative claim.
Yes, it's difficult to understand how you could use a word to mean its opposite without committing an error of some sort. So far, you have not succeeded.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 29, 2013, 01:48:23 PM
I'm sorry if you are unable to understand that it is possible to assert a negative claim and therefore incur a burden to support that negative claim.
Yes, it's difficult to understand how you could use a word to mean its opposite without committing an error of some sort. So far, you have not succeeded.

No one is doing that.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 29, 2013, 03:16:21 PM
No one is doing that.
Markjo is, by trying to "assert a negative". Again, assertions deal with truths, not falsities. I've already presented evidence to that fact, so unless you'd like to counter it with something credible, I'm going to consider this settled.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 29, 2013, 03:50:02 PM

Proving a negative

When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false".[8]

So please take a look at the bolded section.
This is exactly what has happened in the other thread.

I believe that I have already shown that negative assertions exist.  Something that seems to have been overlooked.

You also seem to be missing definition #3 on your page too

3  To maintain or defend, as a cause or a claim, by words or measures; to vindicate a claim or title to; as, to assert our rights and liberties.

This does not say anything about the claim being a positive or negative claim.  Just a claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 29, 2013, 05:03:51 PM
No one is doing that.
Markjo is, by trying to "assert a negative". Again, assertions deal with truths, not falsities. I've already presented evidence to that fact, so unless you'd like to counter it with something credible, I'm going to consider this settled.
I think that you are confusing the concepts of positive/negative and true/false.  They are not the same.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 29, 2013, 05:38:52 PM
I think that you are confusing the concepts of positive/negative and true/false.  They are not the same.
If you ignore context, sure. If you don't, well...
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on December 29, 2013, 05:41:08 PM
Again, assertions deal with truths, not falsities.

I might be misunderstanding what you've been saying in this thread.  To the extent that, for instance, 'Not P' means 'P is false,' we can assert falsities.  This is true for many logical systems (but not all), and it's definitely true of propositional logic.  I dunno anything about programming languages, so I'm out of my depth there; but, I take you to be saying that one cannot assert 'Not P' (or something to that effect) as a premise in propositional logic.

Is that an accurate interpretation?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 29, 2013, 05:53:37 PM
I might be misunderstanding what you've been saying in this thread.  To the extent that, for instance, 'Not P' means 'P is false,' we can assert falsities.  This is true for many logical systems (but not all), and it's definitely true of propositional logic.  I dunno anything about programming languages, so I'm out of my depth there; but, I take you to be saying that one cannot assert 'Not P' (or something to that effect) as a premise in propositional logic.

Is that an accurate interpretation?
That is accurate both for propositional logic and programming, but they still deal with positive claims in one way or another. You positively state something that is provable - ¬P falls into that category. However, in non-mathematical arguments, it is fairly easy to prove ∃ (you show that something exists, bam, done), and essentially impossible to prove ¬∃, because you'd then have to somehow exhaust the domain of the debate (which is often impossible to even define, and even more often simply inaccessible to the parties discussing). It is exactly because of the vagueness and inaccessibility of the domain that this sort of logic falls short. Can you prove that there exist no handkerchiefs in my pockets? You can't, and it would be unfair for me to request that. You can't access my pockets, you don't even know if I'm wearing clothes right now, so you can't possibly exhaust the domain of "all the things in my pockets".

Yes, it sometimes is possible to prove a negative, usually by proving another claim that implies said negative (e.g. if I can prove that my name is Frank, that implies that my name is not John, or, in propositional logic, any invocation of modus tollens), but it is often impossible when no such implication can be made. As people have already pointed out in this thread, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so if I do not provide you with any information about the contents of my pockets, my handkerchief hypothesis is unfalsifiable. Of course, that causes problems of its own, but you certainly can't disprove it.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on December 29, 2013, 08:10:07 PM
That is accurate both for propositional logic and programming, but they still deal with positive claims in one way or another. You positively state something that is provable - ¬P falls into that category.

I agree in the sense that the validity of a proof relies on the relationship between true premises.  In that regard we're always talking about true assertions and not false ones.  But the premises may contain negations, and negations are logically equivalent to 'false' in propositional logic.

Maybe I'm still misunderstanding you, but I'm saying that 'Not P' and 'P is false' are logically equivalent.  One can assert that P is false by asserting 'Not P' with no problems.  It seems like you're saying that one cannot assert that something is false in propositional logic.

I think this 'negative/positive' label is what's causing the confusion.  I dunno what it means to positively or negatively state something, and I think that the distinction is entirely superfluous.  Assertions are assertions.  They may contain negations.

However, in non-mathematical arguments, it is fairly easy to prove ∃ (you show that something exists, bam, done), and essentially impossible to prove ¬∃, because you'd then have to somehow exhaust the domain of the debate (which is often impossible to even define, and even more often simply inaccessible to the parties discussing). It is exactly because of the vagueness and inaccessibility of the domain that this sort of logic falls short. Can you prove that there exist no handkerchiefs in my pockets? You can't, and it would be unfair for me to request that. You can't access my pockets, you don't even know if I'm wearing clothes right now, so you can't possibly exhaust the domain of "all the things in my pockets".

If the domain is truly inaccessible or inexhaustible, then I agree with you.  But that's a question of soundness, not validity.  I totally agree that there is much room for debate about the truth of the premises in any of these discussions.  But those debates can be resolved, and those domains can be restricted.

That I personally cannot verify the contents of your pocket does not mean that it's impossible to prove that it contains no handkerchiefs.

P1.  If PP's pocket contains a kerchief, then I will find a kerchief when I reach my hand into PP's pocket.
P2.  I find no kerchief when I reach my hand into PP's pocket.
C: PP's pocket does not contain a kerchief.

I agree that I cannot resolve the truth of the premises from my current location, and we could probably debate/modify them to make them more accurate/specific/whatever.  But the truth value of the conclusion is logically provable.

Yes, it sometimes is possible to prove a negative, usually by proving another claim that implies said negative (e.g. if I can prove that my name is Frank, that implies that my name is not John, or, in propositional logic, any invocation of modus tollens), but it is often impossible when no such implication can be made. As people have already pointed out in this thread, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so if I do not provide you with any information about the contents of my pockets, my handkerchief hypothesis is unfalsifiable. Of course, that causes problems of its own, but you certainly can't disprove it.

Same as above, basically.  It might be difficult or impossible to resolve the truth of a particular premise, but that doesn't make the conclusion unprovable.  It's often simply a matter of modifying a premise or formulating the proof in a different way.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 29, 2013, 09:09:42 PM
Ah. If that's the perspective you want to take, then yes, pretty much everything is logically (dis)provable. I interpreted the topic to have a more practical aim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 02:59:58 AM
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on December 30, 2013, 03:31:11 AM
An expression of skepticism is a negative claim, not a positive claim. The burden of proof is on those with the positive claims.

"There is no evidence of ghosts" is an expression of skepticism, and is a negative claim. The burden of proof, consequentially, is on the people claiming the existence of ghosts.

Claiming that 'it does not exist' is a negative claim, and does not need to be proven. It is that which must be assumed before all else.

It is positive claims which carry the burden of proof.

I have a feeling that if I searched .org I could find many examples of you stating explicitly that one cannot prove a negative, but maybe not.

I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 03:57:18 AM
I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.

The burden of proof is clearly on the person with the positive claim. In an argument on the existence of ghosts, if someone claims that ghosts exist, is it the burden of that person to provide evidence for the existence of ghosts? Or, is it the burden of the person claiming that ghosts do not exist to provide evidence of their non-existence?

Clearly, the burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist to prove that claim. There is already plenty of evidence that ghosts DON'T exist. The burden of the skeptic to provide evidence that ghosts don't exist has been automatically met, by virtue of a life long experience that ghosts do not exist.

This is why the burden is always on the person with the positive claim. The negative claim is trivial to prove.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 04:06:48 AM
I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.

The burden of proof is clearly on the person with the positive claim. In an argument on the existence of ghosts, if someone claims that ghosts exist, is it the burden of that person to provide evidence for the existence of ghosts? Or, is it the burden of the person claiming that ghosts do not exist to provide evidence of their non-existence?

Clearly, the burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist to prove that claim. There is already plenty of evidence that ghosts DON'T exist. The burden of the skeptic to provide evidence that ghosts don't exist has been automatically met, by virtue of a life long experience that ghosts do not exist.

This is why the burden is always on the person with the positive claim. The negative claim is trivial to prove.

Incorrect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Proving_a_negative

It may be trivial to fulfill your burden in some cases, but that does not free one from the burden.  Anytime a truth is asserted it carries a burden of proof.  It is very simple.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 04:20:05 AM
I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.

The burden of proof is clearly on the person with the positive claim. In an argument on the existence of ghosts, if someone claims that ghosts exist, is it the burden of that person to provide evidence for the existence of ghosts? Or, is it the burden of the person claiming that ghosts do not exist to provide evidence of their non-existence?

Clearly, the burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist to prove that claim. There is already plenty of evidence that ghosts DON'T exist. The burden of the skeptic to provide evidence that ghosts don't exist has been automatically met, by virtue of a life long experience that ghosts do not exist.

This is why the burden is always on the person with the positive claim. The negative claim is trivial to prove.

Incorrect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Proving_a_negative

It may be trivial to fulfill your burden in some cases, but that does not free one from the burden.  Anytime a truth is asserted it carries a burden of proof.  It is very simple.

A negative claim is such that it is already automatically proven. I don't need to prove that ghosts don't exist because their non-existence is already established by experience.

The burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist. My responsibility for proving that ghosts do not exist extends to me opening my eyes and seeing that they do not exist.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 30, 2013, 04:27:38 AM
I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.

The burden of proof is clearly on the person with the positive claim. In an argument on the existence of ghosts, if someone claims that ghosts exist, is it the burden of that person to provide evidence for the existence of ghosts? Or, is it the burden of the person claiming that ghosts do not exist to provide evidence of their non-existence?

Clearly, the burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist to prove that claim. There is already plenty of evidence that ghosts DON'T exist. The burden of the skeptic to provide evidence that ghosts don't exist has been automatically met, by virtue of a life long experience that ghosts do not exist.

This is why the burden is always on the person with the positive claim. The negative claim is trivial to prove.

Incorrect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Proving_a_negative

It may be trivial to fulfill your burden in some cases, but that does not free one from the burden.  Anytime a truth is asserted it carries a burden of proof.  It is very simple.

A negative claim is such that it is already automatically proven. I don't need to prove that ghosts don't exist because their non-existence is already established by experience.

No negative claims are not automatically proven.  It has been shown to you multiple times that negative claims also carry a burden of proof.  Why do you assume that negative claims are automatically true?

Use Pizza's example

I claim
"There is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket"

It cannot be assumed to be a true statement until all the logical places are checked.  Have I checked in his pocket? No.  Therefore, it cannot be claimed that it is automatically a true statement.

I might be able to create a logical argument and deduce that my statement is correct, however, my claim is not automatically true.

In reality, the only position I can take, without any further evidence, is that

"I do not know if Pizza has a handkerchief in his pocket"

Until I check Pizza's pockets, or someone else does, I cannot know for certain what is in Pizza's pocket.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 30, 2013, 04:31:11 AM

To determine the validity of assertions like this one:
A negative claim is such that it is already automatically proven.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 06:09:26 AM
No negative claims are not automatically proven.  It has been shown to you multiple times that negative claims also carry a burden of proof.  Why do you assume that negative claims are automatically true?

The negative claims automatically meets the burden of proof by virtue of being a negative.

Quote
Use Pizza's example

I claim
"There is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket"

The base truth is that there is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket. My experience says that there is no handkerchief. Your experience says that there is no handkerchief. No one has seen any such handkerchief. All available evidence says there is none, therefore there is no handkerchief until demonstrated otherwise. If anyone is claiming existence of a handkerchief, the burden is on them.

Quote
In reality, the only position I can take, without any further evidence, is that

"I do not know if Pizza has a handkerchief in his pocket"

Until I check Pizza's pockets, or someone else does, I cannot know for certain what is in Pizza's pocket.

When we speak, we speak from our own knowledge. If you make a statement that "diamonds are the hardest rock" it is because you believe that diamonds are the hardest rock. There is no difference if you preface the statement with "As far as I know, diamonds are the hardest rock". Each statement is equally of your own belief.

If I state that there is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket I am speaking truthfully from my own knowledge, and therefore that can be said. It is impossible to speak from someone else's knowledge or from a universal truth. It is the present knowledge in the discussion.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 06:15:23 AM
Quote
Use Pizza's example

I claim
"There is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket"

The base truth is that there is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket.

The base truth is that you do not know for certain.
Quote
My experience says that there is no handkerchief. Your experience says that there is no handkerchief. No one has seen any such handkercheif. There is no handkerchief until demonstrated otherwise.

Incorrect.  Your ignorance does not satisfy a burden of proof.

Quote
If anyone is claiming existence of a handkerchief, the burden is on them.

What if no one has claimed the existence of a handkerchief, but you are merely asserting it?

[/quote]
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 06:46:37 AM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.

Quote from: Rama Set
Quote
My experience says that there is no handkerchief. Your experience says that there is no handkerchief. No one has seen any such handkercheif. There is no handkerchief until demonstrated otherwise.

Incorrect.  Your ignorance does not satisfy a burden of proof.

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The websites saying otherwise are authored by people trying to justify their belief in ghosts, aliens, and magical fairies who live in the sky.

See: http://oyhus.no/AbsenceOfEvidence.html

Quote
an anecdote from Roar Lauritzsen about Absence of Evidence:

"Suppose you are a programmer, and you are looking for bugs in a program. At first you cannot sleep at night because you are convinced that there must be a bug somewhere, you just haven't found it yet. To find the bug, you test the program to see if you find something that doesn't work as you expected. If you found something, it would be evidence that there was a bug. If you test the program a lot, and still find no evidence of a bug, this increases your confidence that there is no bug. In other words, it counts as evidence for the absence of a bug, and you are finally able to sleep better.

After a while, your program is thoroughly tested, and you still find no evidence for a bug. You begin to suspect that there might not be a bug after all. However, if there is no bug, you will have no purpose as a programmer. You feel as if your life depends on the existence of a bug. You are now looking for the Bug that will save you. You believe that there must be a Bug, so you test your program even more thoroughly. When you still cannot find any evidence for a Bug, you start to rationalize: Although I cannot find any Bug, that does not prove that there is no Bug. You are now a true believer in the Bug."

Quote from: Rama Set
Quote
If anyone is claiming existence of a handkerchief, the burden is on them.

What if no one has claimed the existence of a handkerchief, but you are merely asserting it?

If no one has claimed the existence of a handkerchief and I had merely asserted that there is no handkerchief, then it is still not my burden to demonstrate that there is no handkerchief beyond the evidence which already tells us that there is none. The burden was already met with evidence. It is this evidence which must be contradicted.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 30, 2013, 12:20:34 PM
Well see in your example of the bug in a program, the programmer is looking for a bug where it is most likely to be.  In the program.  Not some other program or in your drawers.  He is looking in the program.  If he can't find a bug where a bug is supposed to be, that is supporting his claim.  However, he sure wouldn't have a long career as a programmer if he developed his code, submitteded it and claimed the are no bugs in this program.  I don't need to test it.  It isn't my responsibility to do so.

Just as if I claimed there is no handkerchief is Pizza's pocket, it is my burden to actually check Pizza's pocket for a lack of handkerchief.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 30, 2013, 12:36:33 PM
Oh and yes there is a huge difference between making a claim and stating a belief.

Stating

There is no X.

Is not the same as saying

As far as I know, there is no X.

The first you are asserting that you know, for a fact, and that you have examined all sorts of research or data.
The second, you are acknowledging that you have a limited grasp on the subject, but from what you have seen, X does not exist.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 01:12:18 PM
Tom-Absence of evidence is evidence of absence if you exhaust the domain of the claim. If the absence is due to ignorance, it is not sufficient to fulfill a burden. For example, not finding specs of an ESA satellite experiment in your briefcase would not be sufficient to prove an absence of evidence. You have not looked anywhere near where evidence would be should you assume its existence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 30, 2013, 02:25:18 PM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 04:52:05 PM
Well see in your example of the bug in a program, the programmer is looking for a bug where it is most likely to be.  In the program.  Not some other program or in your drawers.  He is looking in the program.  If he can't find a bug where a bug is supposed to be, that is supporting his claim.  However, he sure wouldn't have a long career as a programmer if he developed his code, submitteded it and claimed the are no bugs in this program.  I don't need to test it.  It isn't my responsibility to do so.

Just as if I claimed there is no handkerchief is Pizza's pocket, it is my burden to actually check Pizza's pocket for a lack of handkerchief.

No, it is not your burden to check, or the programmer's for that matter. The burden is on the party with the positive claim.

If someone claims that a bug in the software exists, that person would be burdened to demonstrate or provide information on that bug. The programmer wouldn't be burdened with searching through a needle in a haystack of code for some sort of bug. There is already evidence that a bug does not exist. The claimant must demonstrate the assertion.

In a discussion of ghosts it is not my burden to 'prove that ghosts don't exist'. It is the burden of the claimant to demonstrate the existence of ghosts. There is already evidence that ghosts do not exist.

In a discussion of the handkerchief, the current evidence in the discussion is that there is no such handkerchief.

In a discussion of whether schematics exist of a gravity measuring space ship built to withstand magnetic interference, the evidence is that there is no such schematic.

Positive evidence is required for all of that. Our current knowledge and experience tells us that none of that exists. The most likely place to check for those things is with the party with that claim. If that party cannot provide the necessary evidence, then the proof falls flat.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 04:56:32 PM
Oh and yes there is a huge difference between making a claim and stating a belief.

Stating

There is no X.

Is not the same as saying

As far as I know, there is no X.

The first you are asserting that you know, for a fact, and that you have examined all sorts of research or data.
The second, you are acknowledging that you have a limited grasp on the subject, but from what you have seen, X does not exist.

Those statements are the same. You cannot speak from an ultimate truth in one sentence and then from your own belief in the next. They are both your belief.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 04:59:16 PM
Tom-Absence of evidence is evidence of absence if you exhaust the domain of the claim. If the absence is due to ignorance, it is not sufficient to fulfill a burden. For example, not finding specs of an ESA satellite experiment in your briefcase would not be sufficient to prove an absence of evidence. You have not looked anywhere near where evidence would be should you assume its existence.

I am looking right here on this forum where it is claimed that schematics exist of a certain type of magnetically-resistant satellite. This is the only place I have seen where is is suggested that such a thing exists, therefore this is the most likely place to look. The party claiming that it exists must post it here for all to see.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 05:03:34 PM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise, as far as he is concerned, you do not.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 30, 2013, 05:11:32 PM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise you do not.
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

Just as if the programmer assumed there were no bugs in his program, he would not test it out to verify its operation.  He would just submit it and say, "there are no bugs"  There is a reason why people test things that they design or build.  It is to prove that there are no errors in it.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 05:16:46 PM
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

He's doing it for the money.

If you would like to pay me a physician's wages to do tests and collect evidence, I would be happy to. Otherwise it is not my burden to provide evidence for the positive claims which you or anyone else has made.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 30, 2013, 05:24:40 PM
Well see in your example of the bug in a program, the programmer is looking for a bug where it is most likely to be.  In the program.  Not some other program or in your drawers.  He is looking in the program.  If he can't find a bug where a bug is supposed to be, that is supporting his claim.  However, he sure wouldn't have a long career as a programmer if he developed his code, submitteded it and claimed the are no bugs in this program.  I don't need to test it.  It isn't my responsibility to do so.

Just as if I claimed there is no handkerchief is Pizza's pocket, it is my burden to actually check Pizza's pocket for a lack of handkerchief.

No, it is not your burden to check, or the programmer's for that matter. The burden is on the party with the positive claim.

In a discussion of ghosts it is not my burden to 'prove that ghosts don't exist'. It is the burden of the claimant to demonstrate the existence of ghosts. There is already evidence that ghosts do not exist.

In a discussion of the handkerchief, the current evidence in the discussion is that there is no such handkerchief.

In a discussion of whether schematics exist of a gravity measuring space ship built to withstand magnetic interference, the evidence is that there is no such schematic.

Positive evidence is required for all of that. Our current knowledge and experience tells us that none of that exists. The most likely place to check for those things is with the party with that claim. If that party cannot provide the necessary evidence, then the proof falls flat.
This is where you are making your faulty leap of logic.  You argument of ignorance.  Which is assuming that since it has not been proven to be true, it must be false.  You completely forget the third option of, we just do not have enough evidence to support either proving or disproving the statement.

Our current knowledge of if the lack of handkerchief in Pizza's pocket indicates that we cannot be sure.  Therefore we should not make any assumptions.  Now if I had made the initial claim of there not being a handkerchief in Pizza's pocket, It falls on me to support that claim.

I could make some logical deductions, such as "I saw Pizza sneeze, he grabbed for a napkin from the table, if he had a handkerchief, he would have used that.  Therefore, I assume that he does not have a handkerchief in his pocket."

However, I have never met Pizza, I have not seen him sneeze, therefore, I cannot make any assumptions about what he might have in his pockets.

The same goes for the schematics for the satellite.  I cannot claim that it has the required shielding.  Just as you cannot claim it doesn't.

If you want to cast doubt on the claim that the satellite was adequate source for determining gravity variations, you can't make the claim that the satellite was not shielded.  You need to make the claim that "Since we do not know if the satellite was properly shielded, we cannot assume the accuracy of the experiment."

I really don't understand how you are not understanding this.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 30, 2013, 05:26:50 PM
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

He's doing it for the money.

If you would like to pay me a physician's wages to do tests and collect evidence, I would be happy to. Otherwise it is not my burden to provide evidence for the positive claims which you or anyone else has made.
No, because if he assumed you didn't have cancer, gave you a clean bill of health and sent you packing, without confirming this, he sure as hell wouldn't last very long as a physician.  It is his job to rule out diagnoses.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 30, 2013, 05:27:36 PM
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

He's doing it for the money.

If you would like to pay me a physician's wages to do tests and collect evidence, I would be happy to. Otherwise it is not my burden to provide evidence for the claims or assertions which you or anyone else has made.
Tom, payment has nothing to do with burden so please refrain from such inane comments.  They add nothing at all to the discussion.

A doctor is responsible for performing a certain amount of diagnostic investigation before issuing a diagnosis.  If that investigation reveals no anomalies, then the diagnosis is healthy.  However, if the doctor does no such investigation, then he may miss a potentially serious condition that may lead to a malpractice law suit.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 06:56:08 PM

In a discussion of whether schematics exist of a gravity measuring space ship built to withstand magnetic interference, the evidence is that there is no such schematic.

The evidence is that there are no schematics on Wikipedia, on your TV or in your briefcase. The same could be said of thousands of things. This does not qualify as evidence. It qualifies as ignorance until you have made an exhaustive search. What you did is similar to ostriching unfortunately.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 30, 2013, 07:47:02 PM
In a discussion of whether schematics exist of a gravity measuring space ship built to withstand magnetic interference, the evidence is that there is no such schematic.
I'm thinking that the people who designed and built that gravity measuring space ship would disagree with your "evidence".

By the way, did you ever mention which specific gravity measuring space ship you're referring to?  I ask because there have been several such probes.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Alchemist21 on December 30, 2013, 08:20:14 PM
ITT: People argue about how to argue.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 09:42:02 PM
This is where you are making your faulty leap of logic.  You argument of ignorance.  Which is assuming that since it has not been proven to be true, it must be false.  You completely forget the third option of, we just do not have enough evidence to support either proving or disproving the statement.

There is no "undecided" option. There is not a lack of evidence. We have a running collection of evidence. The primary source making the claim has failed to provide any evidence to back that claim. This is evidence that the claim is false.

Quote
If you want to cast doubt on the claim that the satellite was adequate source for determining gravity variations, you can't make the claim that the satellite was not shielded.  You need to make the claim that "Since we do not know if the satellite was properly shielded, we cannot assume the accuracy of the experiment."

I really don't understand how you are not understanding this.

It's very simple. The primary source claiming that the satellite was shielded has not provided evidence of
that claim. From our experience we also find an absence of evidence.

If the only evidence we have is that is does not exist the conclusion must be, necessarily, that it does not exist. Until evidence is presented otherwise, this is the current truth.

We cannot say with honesty "there may be no evidence of ghosts, but we cannot assume that ghosts don't exist". The evidence is that ghosts do not exist, and that is the conclusion.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 09:58:02 PM
It's actually simpler. You have no idea if the ESA has evidence of the shielding on the satellite because you have not even bothered to look. You do not even know if shielding is an appropriate control for the type of variable you are concerned about. You are ignorant on this matter. It is the height of disingenuousness to claim you know anything about the experiment after reading a Wikipedia page.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 10:00:23 PM
It's actually simpler. You have no idea if the ESA has evidence of the shielding on the satellite because you have not even bothered to look. You do not even know if shielding is an appropriate control for the type of variable you are concerned about. You are ignorant on this matter. It is the height of disingenuousness to claim you know anything about the experiment after reading a Wikipedia page.

It is not my responsibility to go out on a wild goose hunt whenever someone blabbers some claim on this forum. It is the responsibility of the claimant.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 10:06:50 PM
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

He's doing it for the money.

If you would like to pay me a physician's wages to do tests and collect evidence, I would be happy to. Otherwise it is not my burden to provide evidence for the claims or assertions which you or anyone else has made.
Tom, payment has nothing to do with burden so please refrain from such inane comments.  They add nothing at all to the discussion.

A doctor is responsible for performing a certain amount of diagnostic investigation before issuing a diagnosis.  If that investigation reveals no anomalies, then the diagnosis is healthy.  However, if the doctor does no such investigation, then he may miss a potentially serious condition that may lead to a malpractice law suit.

You are paying a doctor to perform a service. It is not a debate. "Burden of proof" does not apply.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 10:09:44 PM
If you don't want to do so that's fine but claiming you have looked for evidence is simply not true; you have demonstrated you have not looked for evidence. This supports the position that there may be evidence and if there were, you are ignorant of it. Your unwillingness to support your claims does not make you right. You unwillingness to accept your burden of proof also does not make you right. You have been shown sources supporting the position that you owe a burden of proof for your claims that "something does not exist". If you would like I can cite sources, again, showing that a negative claim requires a burden of proof.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 10:17:32 PM
If you don't want to do so that's fine but claiming you have looked for evidence is simply not true; you have demonstrated you have not looked for evidence. This supports the position that there may be evidence and if there were, you are ignorant of it. Your unwillingness to support your claims does not make you right. You unwillingness to accept your burden of proof also does not make you right. You have been shown sources supporting the position that you owe a burden of proof for your claims that "something does not exist". If you would like I can cite sources, again, showing that a negative claim requires a burden of proof.

I never said that the conclusions made were ultimate truths. They are simply current truths. Based on all available evidence a truth is concluded.

It is the responsibility of the claimant to provide evidence for his claim. If he does not, then the conclusion is that there is no evidence that X exists. There is no "maybe" or "undecided". There is no evidence and that is that.

The negative claim does not incur a burden of proof because it is automatically satisfied by nature of being a negative. We saw that the schematics of a magnetically reinforces satellite did not exist when the claimant failed to provide his obligated evidence. We saw that ghosts did not exist when the claimant failed to provide his obligated evidence. The primary sources on the matter could not provide evidence of existence, and so it is evidence of absence. The burden of proof has already been met.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 10:37:20 PM
Well there is plenty of evidence. Here is demonstration that you were simply arguing from ignorance.

http://bit.ly/KfYczP

You never looked for evidence then claim, "Based on all available evidence a truth is concluded."  It's very bad form. On top of that you ignore the formal rules of debate by assuming that your ignorance is an absence if evidence; ignorance you flaunted and paraded as a feather in your cap.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 10:49:46 PM
Well there is plenty of evidence. Here is demonstration that you were simply arguing from ignorance.

http://bit.ly/KfYczP

Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?

Quote
You never looked for evidence then claim, "Based on all available evidence a truth is concluded."

It is not my burden to look for evidence. The burden of proof is on the party with the positive claim. If he lacks evidence, then there is no evidence available.

The burden of proof is never on the negative claimant. I can't walk up to people and tell them "Prove that I can't fly". They would go "what do you mean prove you can't fly? Prove that you can!'" That is exactly the same thing. The implicit truth is already that I can't fly. They have never seen flying humans and I did not provide any evidence of my claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 11:04:05 PM
If you are not required to look how can you claim you have looked at all available evidence ?
Well there is plenty of evidence. Here is demonstration that you were simply arguing from ignorance.

http://bit.ly/KfYczP

Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?

Straw man. I was showing that you were arguing from ignorance and not based on all available evidence.

Quote
Quote
You never looked for evidence then claim, "Based on all available evidence a truth is concluded."

It is not my burden to look for evidence. The burden of proof is on the party with the positive claim. If he lacks evidence, then there is no evidence available.

The burden of proof is never on the negative claimant. I can't go up to people and tell them "Prove that I can't fly". They would go "what do you mean prove you can't fly? Prove that you can!'" That is exactly the same thing. The implicit truth is already that I can't fly. They have never seen flying humans.

The rest is getting boring. You have been shown evidence falsifying your position and you ignore it.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 11:14:58 PM
If you are not required to look how can you claim you have looked at all available evidence ?

It is the claimant's responsibility to present the evidence. I looked at it.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 11:20:28 PM
No you did not. You did not read anything other than a Wikipedia page. There were sources cited in that that linked you to sources about presentations of research findings, etc..  That was presented. You did not read them. Stop pretending you were diligent.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 11:23:10 PM
No you did not. You did not read anything other than a Wikipedia page. There were sources cited in that that linked you to sources about presentations of research findings, etc..  That was presented. You did not read them. Stop pretending you were diligent.

It is the claimant's burden to post the relevant material here for all to see. I am not obligated to go on a wild goose hunts in search of material, which may or may not exist, to support random claims posted on this forum.

I would suggest to stop trying to shift the burden and start posting evidence for your claims. It is the responsibility of the claimant to demonstrate their claim, and everyone knows it.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 11:35:24 PM
I showed that you were ignorant of "all available evidence" contrary to your claim. What more need I do to show you were arguing from ignorance?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 11:37:12 PM
I showed that you were ignorant of "all available evidence" contrary to your claim. What more need I do to show you were arguing from ignorance?

I looked at all available evidence in the discussion. Obviously I am not looking at all available evidence in the world. That's for the claimant to gather and present. It is not my responsibility to prove his claim for him.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 11:38:13 PM
Thanks for shifting the goalposts.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 30, 2013, 11:41:20 PM
It is the claimant's burden to provide the evidence. It is the skeptic's burden to look at it.

If you don't like it, don't make the claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 30, 2013, 11:50:45 PM
You made the claim without provocation. No one had brought up the issue before you. You made a claim, a negative one, and it has been shown to you, with citations that a negative claim carries a specific burden of proof which you did not fulfill. You were not sceptical; you did not cast doubt, you were sure your claim was right because you had looked at a Wikipedia page and not seen a detailed technical discussion of the GOCE craft, as if that was where you would find it. This is a display of disingenuous academic research, as bad as you can imagine. You would receive a failing grade at any academic institution for this kind of shoddy work. I seriously doubt anyone reading this thread would agree that you have a valid point.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 12:01:55 AM
Let me show you how asinine your claim that negative claims are automatically true.

P1)The window is not open
P2)The window is not closed

Both claims must be true, according to you.  Both claims don't require any burden of proof, according to you.  I mean they are both negative claims.  Oh and we also don't know who made which claim first.

Please tell me what is the state of the window Tom?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 12:15:38 AM
Let me show you how asinine your claim that negative claims are automatically true.

P1)The window is not open
P2)The window is not closed

Both claims must be true, according to you.  Both claims don't require any burden of proof, according to you.  I mean they are both negative claims.  Oh and we also don't know who made which claim first.

Please tell me what is the state of the window Tom?

The burden of proof is with the person with the positive claim. Neither of those statements are positive claims, and so neither incurs a burden of proof.

The state of the window is that that there is no evidence that it is open and there is no evidence that it is closed. The skeptic has no burden to prove anything either way since he has not made a positive claim. The burden of proof lays with anyone claiming "the window is open".
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 12:25:10 AM
Let me show you how asinine your claim that negative claims are automatically true.

P1)The window is not open
P2)The window is not closed

Both claims must be true, according to you.  Both claims don't require any burden of proof, according to you.  I mean they are both negative claims.  Oh and we also don't know who made which claim first.

Please tell me what is the state of the window Tom?

The burden of proof is with the person with the positive claim. Neither of those statements are positive claims, and so neither incurs a burden of proof.

The state of the window is that that there is no evidence that it is open and there is no evidence that it is closed. The skeptic has no burden to prove anything either way since he has not made a positive claim. The burden of proof lays with anyone claiming "the window is open".

Way to back pedal on your claim that negative claims are automatically true.  Because if that were the case, the evidence shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 12:39:04 AM
Way to back pedal on your claim that negative claims are automatically true.  Because if that were the case, the evidence shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Negative claims are automatically true. The lack of evidence factually shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Both statements are true. Since there is a lack of evidence, the window is not anything.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 31, 2013, 12:44:01 AM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise you do not.
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 12:46:53 AM
Way to back pedal on your claim that negative claims are automatically true.  Because if that were the case, the evidence shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Negative claims are automatically true. The lack of evidence factually shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Both statements are true. Since there is a lack of evidence, the window is not anything.

(http://cdn2.stocksy.com/a/B1A000/z0/38513.jpg)

This picture provides no evidence either way that the window is open or closed.  Does this window exist?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 12:58:19 AM
Way to back pedal on your claim that negative claims are automatically true.  Because if that were the case, the evidence shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Negative claims are automatically true. The lack of evidence factually shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Both statements are true. Since there is a lack of evidence, the window is not anything.

But they both CANNOT be true.

The lack of evidence shows that we cannot make a truth claim on the state of the window.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 01:23:38 AM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise you do not.
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

I don't know about you, when I go for a check up, the Dr. checks my blood pressure, weight, heart, lungs, sends me for a blood test to check cholesterol and such.  A standard gamut of tests.  This is just a standard annual check up.  If something doesn't look or come back right, I would be sent for further exams to determine what is wrong.  The Dr doesn't assume anything about my health, and if he did, I would find a different Dr.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Roundy on December 31, 2013, 02:08:38 AM
Way to back pedal on your claim that negative claims are automatically true.  Because if that were the case, the evidence shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Negative claims are automatically true. The lack of evidence factually shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Both statements are true. Since there is a lack of evidence, the window is not anything.

But they both CANNOT be true.

Sure they can.  It's Schrodinger's Window; the window is in a superimposed state of open and closed until it is observed to be one or the other.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 02:21:10 AM
Way to back pedal on your claim that negative claims are automatically true.  Because if that were the case, the evidence shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Negative claims are automatically true. The lack of evidence factually shows that the window is both not open and not closed.

Both statements are true. Since there is a lack of evidence, the window is not anything.

But they both CANNOT be true.

Sure they can.  It's Schrodinger's Window; the window is in a superimposed state of open and closed until it is observed to be one or the other.

Windows only display quantum effects in thought experiments!
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 31, 2013, 02:48:32 AM
Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?
Where is the evidence that the gravimetric equipment in question is susceptible to magnetic influence as you originally claimed or that the magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for?  Since you haven't been able to find any of the schematics for the satellite or the data analysis protocols, you have no way of knowing if any of the materials used would be influenced by the earth's magnetic field or that any magnetic influence could not be filtered out during data analysis, therefore you have not met the burden of your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a problem for such a mission.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 03:25:46 AM
Ok just gonna throw this one out here too.

There is no massive governmental cover up.
Space flight is not faked.
The experiments in EnaG were not conclusive to a flat earth.
The earth is not flat.

All negative claims. All automatically true.  I checked my mail box today and evidence to the contrary was not found in there.

That is it.  Discussion over. Shut the site down.  Conclusive proof that this theory is not true.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 07:54:39 AM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise you do not.
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

Good example of absence of evidence. That is exactly what a doctor would do.

Ok just gonna throw this one out here too.

There is no massive governmental cover up.
Space flight is not faked.
The experiments in EnaG were not conclusive to a flat earth.
The earth is not flat.

All negative claims. All automatically true.  I checked my mail box today and evidence to the contrary was not found in there.

That is it.  Discussion over. Shut the site down.  Conclusive proof that this theory is not true.

Those statements would be the conclusion if no other evidence was provided by the claimants for those positive claims. However, there is evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 31, 2013, 12:03:22 PM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise you do not.
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

I don't know about you, when I go for a check up, the Dr. checks my blood pressure, weight, heart, lungs, sends me for a blood test to check cholesterol and such.  A standard gamut of tests.  This is just a standard annual check up.  If something doesn't look or come back right, I would be sent for further exams to determine what is wrong.  The Dr doesn't assume anything about my health, and if he did, I would find a different Dr.

you're an American with expensive health insurance am I right?

That or you're in an at risk group for one or all of the above.

Without any symptoms they don't check for cancer right? That WAS your question.

next time you're there tell your doctor you think you may have cancer then admit the complete absence of symptoms when he asks and see if he sends you for all the tests for all the cancers or if he explains it's unlikely without any reason to think so.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 31, 2013, 01:33:11 PM
Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

Good example of absence of evidence. That is exactly what a doctor would do.
Have you been to a doctor lately?  Yes, the doctor would discuss symptoms with you.  This is the first level of investigation.  The doctor would also discuss risk factors like family history and lifestyle, check your weight, temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiration and probably order some routine blood work.  This is known as a routine physical.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 01:40:37 PM
Now Tom, can you tell the difference between a doctor, in his area of specialty, spending time with a patient, declaring an absence of evidence and you, not knowing anything about the construction of a gravity probe, reading a Wikipedia page, declaring an absence of evidence? There is a crucial difference.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 01:43:07 PM
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.
Tom, please define "available evidence".  For example, do you want your doctor to declare that you do not have cancer before or after he examines you?  After all, if he doesn't examine you, then he can't find any evidence of cancer.

Your doctor does assume that you don't have cancer before he examines you. The moment you come in you are considered at a healthy state, which is why you are not carted to the emergency room before observational and diagnostic evidence is collected.

Only until evidence is presented, can the doctor say that you have an ailment. Otherwise you do not.
Last I checked, a doctor doesn't assume anything until he checks you out, gets some diagnostic tests done, then compares the results to get a diagnosis of your health.  If the doctor assumed that you did not have cancer, he would not perform any sort of tests.

Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

Good example of absence of evidence. That is exactly what a doctor would do.
Really?  My grandma was diagnosed with cancer because bloodwork from a routine physical came back abnormal.  She was then sent for further tests to finally determine what was wrong.  She had NO symptoms what-so-ever.

So please keep telling my that Doctors automatically assume that you are a perfectly healthy individual when you walk into there office.
Quote
Ok just gonna throw this one out here too.

There is no massive governmental cover up.
Space flight is not faked.
The experiments in EnaG were not conclusive to a flat earth.
The earth is not flat.

All negative claims. All automatically true.  I checked my mail box today and evidence to the contrary was not found in there.

That is it.  Discussion over. Shut the site down.  Conclusive proof that this theory is not true.

Those statements would be the conclusion if no other evidence was provided by the claimants for those positive claims. However, there is evidence.

I don't know.  According to you, I don't have to go on any wild goose chases and search it out.  It needs to be presented to me.  I looked in my mail box.  No one has mailed me anything to look at.  Evidence contrary to my claims has not presented itself to me there.  My claims are true.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 31, 2013, 02:00:19 PM
Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

Good example of absence of evidence. That is exactly what a doctor would do.
Have you been to a doctor lately?  Yes, the doctor would discuss symptoms with you.  This is the first level of investigation.  The doctor would also discuss risk factors like family history and lifestyle, check your weight, temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiration and probably order some routine blood work.  This is known as a routine physical.

Went back in July as it happens.

He asked me why I was there and after I'd provided him with evidence he ran some checks on that and gave me a prescription.

If I'd gone in and presented no symptoms he'd not have done that.

Your example was cancer. cancer. If you go in to a doctors and say you think you;ve got cancer he'll want you to provide some evidence of where or why you think that. He wont just run a raft of tests on you to explore all possible places you could have cancer because you're a hypochondriac.

This is entirely different from a routine medical where you are in specifically to have things checked up based on your medical insurance, that's got no bearing on the discussion. Although it is worth noting that a lot of what they do in these physicals is based on previous evidence provided that you are likely to be at rick of certain things, that's why they check them.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 02:09:06 PM
Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?
Where is the evidence that the gravimetric equipment in question is susceptible to magnetic influence as you originally claimed or that the magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for?

The first claim was answered in the previous thread with evidence that the magnetic field is powerful enough to affect small metal components. When using a compass one sees that the magnetic field is powerful enough to move a metal component in the compass. With the knowledge that satellites and scientific tools such as gravimeters are made of small metal components, it follows that a satellite with a gravimeter on it would be susceptible to magnetic fields. It further follows that a small metal component in the weightlessness of space is more easily movable than a metal component in a 1g environment.

There are a couple secondary claims in the above answer, namely that satellites and gravimeters contain small metal components, and that there would be less friction in a weightless environment, which I would be required to provide evidence for if called upon.

The second claim that "magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for" is a negative claim which I do not have the burden of proof on.

Quote
Since you haven't been able to find any of the schematics for the satellite or the data analysis protocols, you have no way of knowing if any of the materials used would be influenced by the earth's magnetic field or that any magnetic influence could not be filtered out during data analysis, therefore you have not met the burden of your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a problem for such a mission.

It was never my claim that such schematics existed. That was your claim. It was your claim that schematics existed of a satellite with magnetically resistant features. It is your burden to provide evidence for that positive claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 02:15:57 PM
Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?
Where is the evidence that the gravimetric equipment in question is susceptible to magnetic influence as you originally claimed or that the magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for?

The first claim was answered in the previous thread with evidence that the magnetic field is powerful enough to affect small metal components. When using a compass one sees that the magnetic field is powerful enough to move a metal component in the compass. With the knowledge that satellites and scientific tools such as gravimeters are made of small metal components, it follows that a satellite with a gravimeter on it would be susceptible to magnetic fields. It further follows that a small metal component in the weightlessness of space is more easily movable than a metal component in a 1g environment.

There are a couple secondary claims in the above answer, namely that satellites and gravimeters contain small metal components, and that there would be less friction in a weightless environment, which I would be required to provide evidence for if called upon.

The second claim that "magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for" is a negative claim which I do not have the burden of proof on.

Tom, you cannot have it both ways: you yourself have said that you have not seen the schematics for the GOCE probe. As such, any claim you make about the building materials is obviously an assumption. Therefore we can reject your claim that magnetic fields are a source of error based on an invalid premise.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 02:22:41 PM
Tom, you cannot have it both ways: you yourself have said that you have not seen the schematics for the GOCE probe. As such, any claim you make about the building materials is obviously an assumption. Therefore we can reject your claim that magnetic fields are a source of error based on an invalid premise.

The claim that gravimeters and satellites contain small metal components is a positive claim, and would be my burden to demonstrate if called upon, perhaps with pictures of the interior of gravimeters and 'satellites'. There would be evidence that gravimeters and satellites contain metal components.

I made no claims about the schematic, that one exists, or that it would contain information on all building materials of all scientific components within the structure. The schematic is markjo's claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 31, 2013, 02:25:29 PM
Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?
Where is the evidence that the gravimetric equipment in question is susceptible to magnetic influence as you originally claimed or that the magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for?

The first claim was answered in the previous thread with evidence that the magnetic field is powerful enough to affect small metal components. When using a compass one sees that the magnetic field is powerful enough to move a metal component in the compass. With the knowledge that satellites and scientific tools such as gravimeters are made of small metal components, it follows that a satellite with a gravimeter on it would be susceptible to magnetic fields. It further follows that a small metal component in the weightlessness of space is more easily movable than a metal component in a 1g environment.
Not all metals are susceptible to magnetic fields.  Where is your evidence that susceptible metals were used in the probe?

Quote
Quote
Since you haven't been able to find any of the schematics for the satellite or the data analysis protocols, you have no way of knowing if any of the materials used would be influenced by the earth's magnetic field or that any magnetic influence could not be filtered out during data analysis, therefore you have not met the burden of your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a problem for such a mission.

It was never my claim that such schematics existed. That was your claim. It was your claim that schematics existed of a satellite with magnetically resistant features. It is your burden to provide evidence for that positive claim.
How does someone build a satellite without schematics?  ???
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 03:16:55 PM
Probably wouldn't if you didn't give him a reason (at least not in a place where his main goal wasn't milking the insurance).

If i went to a doctor and told him I was worried I had "cancer", he'd ask if I had any symptoms or problems and when I said no he'd probably not require a load of tests to prove I was completely healthy. He'd just tell me that in the absence of any evidence there was no reason to think I had cancer of the anything.

Good example of absence of evidence. That is exactly what a doctor would do.
Have you been to a doctor lately?  Yes, the doctor would discuss symptoms with you.  This is the first level of investigation.  The doctor would also discuss risk factors like family history and lifestyle, check your weight, temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiration and probably order some routine blood work.  This is known as a routine physical.

Went back in July as it happens.

He asked me why I was there and after I'd provided him with evidence he ran some checks on that and gave me a prescription.

If I'd gone in and presented no symptoms he'd not have done that.

Your example was cancer. cancer. If you go in to a doctors and say you think you;ve got cancer he'll want you to provide some evidence of where or why you think that. He wont just run a raft of tests on you to explore all possible places you could have cancer because you're a hypochondriac.

This is entirely different from a routine medical where you are in specifically to have things checked up based on your medical insurance, that's got no bearing on the discussion. Although it is worth noting that a lot of what they do in these physicals is based on previous evidence provided that you are likely to be at rick of certain things, that's why they check them.
Actually, it was Tom's assertion that a doctor assumes that you are completely healthy when you walk in the door.
It is my assertion that a doctor assumes nothing about your health until he runs a minimum amount of tests.

Having a conclusion about the outcome BEFORE testing is a very backwards way of doing things.

I walk into the doctor's office for a ROUTINE check up.

If the doctor assumes that I am perfectly healthy
1)Asks me if I am feeling alright
3)Dr says OK you are perfectly healthy because you haven't given me reason to run any sort of tests.
4)Sends me a bill in the mail

If the doctor assumes nothing
1)Nurses take down my height, weight, blood pressure
2)Doctor looks this over when he gets in, notices any changes from last year
3)Sends me to the lab for ROUTINE blood work to check cholesterol and such (not exactly sure what since I am not a doctor)
4)Analyzes the results.
5)IF anything here is out of ordinary sends me for more specialized testing.
6)Sends me a bill in the mail.

No I know for a fact that my grandmother was feeling perfectly fine when she was diagnosed with cancer.  It was her routine check up that discovered it.  If the doctor had assumed she was healthy, they wouldn't run any tests until she starts feeling ill.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on December 31, 2013, 03:23:30 PM
Thats a routine checkup though.

Thats something you choose to do and the doctor does it because he likes money.

It's simply not relevant.

Now if you were in a country where this wasn't the case and you walked into a doctors he'd ask you why you came in and if you had no reason he'd send you on your way.

If you change your first instance to "i walk into the doctors in between ROUTINE checkups"

then chances are he WILL do what you said and send you on your way as you have no symptoms and no complaints.

A routine checkup has things already planned into it, it's like the difference between taking a car into a garage for a service (where work will be done because you pay and only because you pay) or just because you want to go gown there and say, "the cars wrong". they'll ask you whats wrong and when you don't know they'll probably look at you funny and telly you to come back when you do UNLESS you wish to pay them for random parts to be fitted or for their time in which case they might decide they just like money again.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 03:40:01 PM
Thats a routine checkup though.

Thats something you choose to do and the doctor does it because he likes money.

It's simply not relevant.

Now if you were in a country where this wasn't the case and you walked into a doctors he'd ask you why you came in and if you had no reason he'd send you on your way.

If you change your first instance to "i walk into the doctors in between ROUTINE checkups"

then chances are he WILL do what you said and send you on your way as you have no symptoms and no complaints.

A routine checkup has things already planned into it, it's like the difference between taking a car into a garage for a service (where work will be done because you pay and only because you pay) or just because you want to go gown there and say, "the cars wrong". they'll ask you whats wrong and when you don't know they'll probably look at you funny and telly you to come back when you do UNLESS you wish to pay them for random parts to be fitted or for their time in which case they might decide they just like money again.

The claim was that a doctor assumes that you are perfectly healthy when you see him.  The claim said nothing about what kind of check up or why you might be there.  I am saying that it is absurd to claim that a doctor has any assumptions about your health when you walk in the door to his office.  Because as soon as he asks "Why are you here"  he is gathering information that can be used as a diagnostic.  If he assumed you were healthy, he would take your money, pat you on the back, and say see you later chump.

So are you saying that there are now provisions on the claim that weren't originally stated with the claim?

OK, I will go with that.

I call up the doctor to make an appointment outside of my normal annual check up.

Most likely, he is now assuming that something IS wrong with me.  Not that there is nothing wrong with me.

So now we have a completely opposite happening to what you are claiming.  Based on the symptoms and other tests, he will rule out certain possibilities.

Note in BOTH a routine check up, AND an appointment outside of a normal check up, the doctor does not assume I am perfectly healthy.  In the first case, he assumes nothing before he runs some tests, in the second case, he assumes something is wrong.  He then gathers data before ruling out certain things.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 05:32:21 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 05:51:48 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 06:00:24 PM
Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?
Where is the evidence that the gravimetric equipment in question is susceptible to magnetic influence as you originally claimed or that the magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for?

The first claim was answered in the previous thread with evidence that the magnetic field is powerful enough to affect small metal components. When using a compass one sees that the magnetic field is powerful enough to move a metal component in the compass. With the knowledge that satellites and scientific tools such as gravimeters are made of small metal components, it follows that a satellite with a gravimeter on it would be susceptible to magnetic fields. It further follows that a small metal component in the weightlessness of space is more easily movable than a metal component in a 1g environment.
Not all metals are susceptible to magnetic fields.  Where is your evidence that susceptible metals were used in the probe?

That is for you to demonstrate.

There are two claims:

1. The builders built the components with materials resistant to magnetism
2. The builders did not build the components with materials resistant to magnetism

The first statement/position (yours) is a positive claim. The second statement/position (mine) is a negative claim.

Quote
How does someone build a satellite without schematics?  ???

The same way someone can put a 6 cylinder BMW engine in the chassis of a Honda Accord and go directly to testing, without the need to make a schematic for it.

It also does not necessitate that the schematic even has data on the composition of the materials in the craft. Schematics usually don't even have that kind of information in them.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 06:18:54 PM
Where is the evidence that a schematic exists of a satellite impervious to magnetic influence, as originally claimed?
Where is the evidence that the gravimetric equipment in question is susceptible to magnetic influence as you originally claimed or that the magnetic influence would be a source of error that could not be accounted for?

The first claim was answered in the previous thread with evidence that the magnetic field is powerful enough to affect small metal components. When using a compass one sees that the magnetic field is powerful enough to move a metal component in the compass. With the knowledge that satellites and scientific tools such as gravimeters are made of small metal components, it follows that a satellite with a gravimeter on it would be susceptible to magnetic fields. It further follows that a small metal component in the weightlessness of space is more easily movable than a metal component in a 1g environment.
Not all metals are susceptible to magnetic fields.  Where is your evidence that susceptible metals were used in the probe?

That is for you to demonstrate.

There are two claims:

1. The builders built the components with materials resistant to magnetism
2. The builders did not build the components with materials resistant to magnetism

The first statement/position (yours) is a positive claim. The second statement/position (mine) is a negative claim.

Quote
How does someone build a satellite without schematics?  ???

The same way someone can put a 6 cylinder BMW engine in the chassis of a Honda Accord and go directly to testing, without the need to make a schematic for it.

It also does not necessitate that the schematic even has data on the composition of the materials in the craft. Schematics usually don't even have that kind of information in them.

You claimed the experiment would be susceptible to magnetic interference. You have not proved this. Citing the strength of the Earth's magnetic field is only one portion of the system in question.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 06:44:12 PM
You claimed the experiment would be susceptible to magnetic interference. You have not proved this. Citing the strength of the Earth's magnetic field is only one portion of the system in question.

I also cited that gravimeters and satellites are made of metal components. This statement was apparently accepted and rebutted with a claim that some metal components exist which are non-ferrous, and that this craft may have been made with such magnetically-resistant materials.

Ignoring the fact that all materials are magnetic to some degree (ie. levitating frog), and there is no such thing as magnetic resistance, especially in the frictionless environment of space, there are two positions here:

1. The craft was built with magnetically-resistant materials
2. The craft was not built with magnetically-resistant materials

One is a positive claim, and the other is a negative claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 31, 2013, 07:11:53 PM
Quote
How does someone build a satellite without schematics?  ???

The same way someone can put a 6 cylinder BMW engine in the chassis of a Honda Accord and go directly to testing, without the need to make a schematic for it.

It also does not necessitate that the schematic even has data on the composition of the materials in the craft. Schematics usually don't even have that kind of information in them.
How did BMW build their 6 cylinder engine without a schematic?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 07:17:20 PM
You claimed the experiment would be susceptible to magnetic interference. You have not proved this. Citing the strength of the Earth's magnetic field is only one portion of the system in question.

I also cited that gravimeters and satellites are made of metal components. This statement was apparently accepted and rebutted with a claim that some metal components exist which are non-ferrous, and that this craft may have been made with such magnetically-resistant materials.

Ignoring the fact that all materials are magnetic to some degree (ie. levitating frog), and there is no such thing as magnetic resistance, especially in the frictionless environment of space, there are two positions here:

1. The craft was built with magnetically-resistant materials
2. The craft was not built with magnetically-resistant materials

One is a positive claim, and the other is a negative claim.

Do not confuse premises with your conclusion. You concluded that magnetic interference was a significant issue with this experiment. Where is your evidence for this?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 07:17:49 PM
1)The craft was not built with components that are significantly affected by magnatism
2)The craft was built with components that are significantly affected by magnatism.

So now that your position is written as a positive claim, you must now back it up.

See how every claim can be written as a positive and as a negative?  A claim is a claim and every claim carries with it a burden of proof.  As it has been shown to you before.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on December 31, 2013, 07:28:04 PM
You claimed the experiment would be susceptible to magnetic interference. You have not proved this. Citing the strength of the Earth's magnetic field is only one portion of the system in question.

I also cited that gravimeters and satellites are made of metal components. This statement was apparently accepted and rebutted with a claim that some metal components exist which are non-ferrous, and that this craft may have been made with such magnetically-resistant materials.

Ignoring the fact that all materials are magnetic to some degree (ie. levitating frog), and there is no such thing as magnetic resistance, especially in the frictionless environment of space, there are two positions here:

1. The craft was built with magnetically-resistant materials
2. The craft was not built with magnetically-resistant materials

One is a positive claim, and the other is a negative claim.
You are claiming magnetic interference.  The levitating frog demonstration was performed by a magnetic field about 5 orders of magnitude stronger than that of the earth.  You have not shown that the earth's magnetic field is strong enough to affect otherwise nonmagnetic metals.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on December 31, 2013, 10:28:47 PM
1)The craft was not built with components that are significantly affected by magnatism
2)The craft was built with components that are significantly affected by magnatism.

So now that your position is written as a positive claim, you must now back it up.

See how every claim can be written as a positive and as a negative?  A claim is a claim and every claim carries with it a burden of proof.  As it has been shown to you before.

Ah, but it can't be worded that way. I never made a positive claim for what the craft was made out of. I never gave a claim or opinion on whether the craft was made out of nuclear-plasma or super glue.

While it has been claimed that the craft was made out of magnetically-resistant materials, I have never made a positive claim for the composition of the craft, and therefore have no positive claim to prove.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on December 31, 2013, 10:46:36 PM
I have given evidence in the other thread that magnetism was not a significant source of error.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on December 31, 2013, 10:59:23 PM
1)The craft was not built with components that are significantly affected by magnatism
2)The craft was built with components that are significantly affected by magnatism.

So now that your position is written as a positive claim, you must now back it up.

See how every claim can be written as a positive and as a negative?  A claim is a claim and every claim carries with it a burden of proof.  As it has been shown to you before.

Ah, but it can't be worded that way. I never made a positive claim for what the craft was made out of. I never gave a claim or opinion on whether the craft was made out of nuclear-plasma or super glue.

While it has been claimed that the craft was made out of magnetically-resistant materials, I have never made a positive claim for the composition of the craft, and therefore have no positive claim to prove.

Since you failed to realize the point of my post, it was to show the absurdity of your claim that "Negative claims bear no burden of proof"
And once again, here is the link from burden of proof on how to prove a negative.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Proving_a_negative

I will quote it again for you that way you don't even have to click a link to read it.  You know so it is presented right in front of you and you don't have to search.

Quote
When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false"

See bolded.  But I also hear you claiming "Evidence of Absence!!!!!!!"

So I will grab that for you too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

Oh look, that sentence there means that you need to look where the evidence would be found if the entity existed.

Well, by golly, you claiming it does not exist because it isn't in your room or on the forum it is a total crock.

So let me summarize it for you.

All claims, positive or negative, carry a burden of proof.  A negative claim can be supported by the absence of evidence if you have looked in the most likely place for that evidence.  Until then, you cannot claim anything to be true or false.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 01, 2014, 03:39:09 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 01, 2014, 04:24:33 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms
Incorrect.  Since early stages of cancer often exhibit no obvious symptoms, the doctor will most likely order some routine tests just to be safe.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 01, 2014, 04:27:31 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms
Incorrect.  Since early stages of cancer often exhibit no obvious symptoms, the doctor will most likely order some routine tests just to be safe.
Which tests would these be?

For cancer of the what?

Bear in mind you're not telling him any symptoms or that anythings wrong, you're fine, you just think you've got cancer for no reason at all.

You had your routine checkup 6 months ago, he's not going to randomly run a load of tests for stuff unless it's purely an exercise in charging your health provider.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 01, 2014, 04:50:44 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms
Incorrect.  Since early stages of cancer often exhibit no obvious symptoms, the doctor will most likely order some routine tests just to be safe.
Which tests would these be?

For cancer of the what?

Bear in mind you're not telling him any symptoms or that anythings wrong, you're fine, you just think you've got cancer for no reason at all.

You had your routine checkup 6 months ago, he's not going to randomly run a load of tests for stuff unless it's purely an exercise in charging your health provider.
CBC and blood chemistry tests, most likely.  These are routine tests that can pick up quite a few irregularities.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 01, 2014, 04:56:46 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms

No, the original claim was that the doctor will automatically assume you don't have cancer.
I have shown that the doctor has no assumptions about your health when you walk in the door.

There are routine things that a happens at a doctors office before the doctor even sees you.  They weigh you, the get your height, they get your blood pressure.  All of these things are diagnostics to help determine if there is a significant variation to what is normal.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 01:07:32 AM
Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

Oh look, that sentence there means that you need to look where the evidence would be found if the entity existed.

Well, by golly, you claiming it does not exist because it isn't in your room or on the forum it is a total crock.

So let me summarize it for you.

All claims, positive or negative, carry a burden of proof.  A negative claim can be supported by the absence of evidence if you have looked in the most likely place for that evidence.  Until then, you cannot claim anything to be true or false.

I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

If someone is claiming that ghosts exist, and I do not believe that, is the most likely place to find evidence of ghosts to rent out some old houses to stay the night in, in hopes that evidence for ghosts will appear, or is the most likely place to find evidence of a ghost from the person claiming that ghosts exist?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 02, 2014, 01:30:46 AM
What a terrible cop out.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 01:36:20 AM
Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

Oh look, that sentence there means that you need to look where the evidence would be found if the entity existed.

Well, by golly, you claiming it does not exist because it isn't in your room or on the forum it is a total crock.

So let me summarize it for you.

All claims, positive or negative, carry a burden of proof.  A negative claim can be supported by the absence of evidence if you have looked in the most likely place for that evidence.  Until then, you cannot claim anything to be true or false.

I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

If someone is claiming that ghosts exist, and I do not believe that, is the most likely place to find evidence of ghosts to rent out some old houses to stay the night in, in hopes that evidence for ghosts will appear, or is the most likely place to find evidence of a ghost from the person claiming that ghosts exist?

Since you seem to be having a reading comprehension problem, I will again post this for you.

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

The evidence where the data about a satallite is NOT most likely to be found on this forum.  Also, quit using ghosts or God as an example, because if you notice, those do not fall under absence of evidence.  See point (1) above it is not something that might leave no traces.  Last I checked, ghosts and Gods might leave no traces.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 01:40:01 AM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

Oh and by the way, positive claim.  Prove that data about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 02, 2014, 02:52:49 AM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.
Why would you expect to find schematics to an unnamed gravity probe here?  I'd think that the people who built the probe would be a far more likely source for schematics.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 06:48:14 AM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

Oh and by the way, positive claim.  Prove that data about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

With the ghosts example I just did demonstrate that the evidence is more likely to be found by consulting the person making the claim. I did not see anyone disagree with the demonstration.

Again, if someone is claiming that ghosts exist, but you do not, is the most likely place to find ghosts is to rent out some old houses to stay overnight in, in hopes that evidence for ghosts will appear, or is the most likely place to find evidence of a ghost from the person claiming that ghosts exist?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 07:09:10 AM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.
Why would you expect to find schematics to an unnamed gravity probe here?  I'd think that the people who built the probe would be a far more likely source for schematics.

I would think that the most likely source for schematics of a magnetically-resistant gravity space ship is with the person making the claim that it exists.

I don't see that anyone else is making such a claim. There is only one person making that claim here. Claiming that some unnamed third parties have evidence of the claim is yet another positive claim which needs to be demonstrated by the claimant. The burden is not on the skeptic to find the unnamed creator of a gravity mystery machine.

The burden is on the claimant. And he needs to put up or shut up.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 02, 2014, 12:47:14 PM
Again Tom, it has been quoted to you that making a negative claim shifts the burden of proof back to you. You have a burden to fulfill and saying that you could not find the evidence on your opponents side is a weak attempt to move the BOP back again.  Do you appreciate these rules of debate?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 02, 2014, 01:25:23 PM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.
Why would you expect to find schematics to an unnamed gravity probe here?  I'd think that the people who built the probe would be a far more likely source for schematics.

I would think that the most likely source for schematics of a magnetically-resistant gravity space ship is with the person making the claim that it exists.

I don't see that anyone else is making such a claim. There is only one person making that claim here. Claiming that some unnamed third parties have evidence of the claim is yet another positive claim which needs to be demonstrated by the claimant. The burden is not on the skeptic to find the unnamed creator of a gravity mystery machine.

The burden is on the claimant. And he needs to put up or shut up.
But you are not acting as a skeptic.  Skepticism is an agnostic position and makes no claims, positive or negative.  You have not yet sufficiently supported your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a significant source of error for gravity probes.  As you say, put up or shut up.

BTW, I don't think that anyone actually claimed that the probe was magnetically shielded.  As I recall, it was more of a "how do you know that it isn't magnetically shielded?" type question.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 01:33:25 PM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

Oh and by the way, positive claim.  Prove that data about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

With the ghosts example I just did demonstrate that the evidence is more likely to be found by consulting the person making the claim. I did not see anyone disagree with the demonstration.

Again, if someone is claiming that ghosts exist, but you do not, is the most likely place to find ghosts is to rent out some old houses to stay overnight in, in hopes that evidence for ghosts will appear, or is the most likely place to find evidence of a ghost from the person claiming that ghosts exist?
What does this post have to do with ghosts?  This post is asking about why you believe information about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

Also, I have already addressed your use of ghosts and Gods in the previous post.  The one you seems to have missed, or overlooked completely.  The post that I did have an issue with your constant attempt to shift focus elsewhere.

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

The evidence where the data about a satallite is NOT most likely to be found on this forum.  Also, quit using ghosts or God as an example, because if you notice, those do not fall under absence of evidence.  See point (1) above it is not something that might leave no traces.  Last I checked, ghosts and Gods might leave no traces.

Since ghosts and Gods are beings likely to leave no evidence, whereas schematics and technical documents are likely to leave evidence, you cannot use absence of evidence to say they are none existent.  This is because the most compelling evidence for them is such a personal experience.  I have known people who were extreme atheists seemingly turn into Christians overnight.  To them, they have proof of God existing.  This proof is from an internal personal experience that you cannot see.  Same goes for ghosts.  Personal experiences.

Where as schematics are documents, which are not likely to be found on this forum.  Two completely different types of entities.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 02:38:24 PM
Again Tom, it has been quoted to you that making a negative claim shifts the burden of proof back to you. You have a burden to fulfill and saying that you could not find the evidence on your opponents side is a weak attempt to move the BOP back again.  Do you appreciate these rules of debate?

The burden of proof is on the claimant making the positive claim. It cannot be shifted back to the skeptic to disprove him. The person challenging the claimant is not under a burden of proof to "disprove him" because he made a "negative claim" in his challenge.

Your assertion that the skeptic bears the burden of proof is a joke. The claimant must PROVE HIS CLAIM.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 02:42:10 PM
But you are not acting as a skeptic.  Skepticism is an agnostic position and makes no claims, positive or negative.

Incorrect. A skeptic is one who doubts. Please consult a dictionary.

Quote
You have not yet sufficiently supported your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a significant source of error for gravity probes.  As you say, put up or shut up.

I believe I've directed you to look at a compass to see that the magnetic field moves metal masses, which went unchallenged. It was further asserted that satellites and gravimeters are made out of metal components, which went unchallenged as well.

Quote
BTW, I don't think that anyone actually claimed that the probe was magnetically shielded.  As I recall, it was more of a "how do you know that it isn't magnetically shielded?" type question.

It was claimed that the craft may be shielded, that evidence of this may be contained in its schematic, and that its designers would have further evidence of this. It does not matter if the claim is expressed in the form of a question.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 02, 2014, 02:51:40 PM
Again Tom, it has been quoted to you that making a negative claim shifts the burden of proof back to you. You have a burden to fulfill and saying that you could not find the evidence on your opponents side is a weak attempt to move the BOP back again.  Do you appreciate these rules of debate?

The burden of proof is on the claimant making the positive claim. It cannot be shifted back to the skeptic to disprove him. The person challenging the claimant is not under a burden of proof to "disprove him" because he made a "negative claim" in his challenge.

Your assertion that the skeptic bears the burden of proof is a joke. The claimant must PROVE HIS CLAIM.

So you do not agree with the validity of the sources cited that contradict your position?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 02:53:41 PM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

Oh and by the way, positive claim.  Prove that data about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

With the ghosts example I just did demonstrate that the evidence is more likely to be found by consulting the person making the claim. I did not see anyone disagree with the demonstration.

Again, if someone is claiming that ghosts exist, but you do not, is the most likely place to find ghosts is to rent out some old houses to stay overnight in, in hopes that evidence for ghosts will appear, or is the most likely place to find evidence of a ghost from the person claiming that ghosts exist?
What does this post have to do with ghosts?  This post is asking about why you believe information about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

Also, I have already addressed your use of ghosts and Gods in the previous post.  The one you seems to have missed, or overlooked completely.  The post that I did have an issue with your constant attempt to shift focus elsewhere.

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

The evidence where the data about a satallite is NOT most likely to be found on this forum.  Also, quit using ghosts or God as an example, because if you notice, those do not fall under absence of evidence.  See point (1) above it is not something that might leave no traces.  Last I checked, ghosts and Gods might leave no traces.

Since ghosts and Gods are beings likely to leave no evidence, whereas schematics and technical documents are likely to leave evidence, you cannot use absence of evidence to say they are none existent.  This is because the most compelling evidence for them is such a personal experience.  I have known people who were extreme atheists seemingly turn into Christians overnight.  To them, they have proof of God existing.  This proof is from an internal personal experience that you cannot see.  Same goes for ghosts.  Personal experiences.

Where as schematics are documents, which are not likely to be found on this forum.  Two completely different types of entities.

What are you mumbling about? People claim to have photographic evidence of ghosts. People claim to have recorded audio of ghosts. People claim that ghosts destroy things spontaneously. People claim that things levitate without explanation. People claim to have found plasma residue in the locations where they appear.

Barring any that, ghosts would leave traces of their existence by leaving their presence imprinted on the mind of observers. The evidence, in this case, would take the form of multiple corroborating eye witness reports.

Everything which interacts with the world leaves evidence. There is no example of anything which interacts with the world which does not leave evidence of its existence.

The burden of proof is on the positive claimant, regardless of any wikipedia author or spiritualist trying to weasel himself out of the burden of proof by allowing himself to claim that God/spirits exists without the necessary evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 02, 2014, 03:00:20 PM
But you are not acting as a skeptic.  Skepticism is an agnostic position and makes no claims, positive or negative.

Incorrect. A skeptic is one who doubts. Please consult a dictionary.

doubt
verb (used with object)
1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
2. to distrust.
3. Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.

-from dictionary.com

You will notice that none of the definitions involve making truth claims such as you have made.

Quote
Quote
You have not yet sufficiently supported your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a significant source of error for gravity probes.  As you say, put up or shut up.

I believe I've directed you to look at a compass to see that the magnetic field moves metal masses, which went unchallenged. It was further asserted that satellites and gravimeters are made out of metal components, which went unchallenged as well.

It is your job to prove your assertions.  Please show that satellites and gravimeters are made of metal and that this is crucial to the topic as is implied in your claim.

Quote
Quote
BTW, I don't think that anyone actually claimed that the probe was magnetically shielded.  As I recall, it was more of a "how do you know that it isn't magnetically shielded?" type question.

It was claimed that the craft may be shielded, that evidence of this may be contained in its schematic, and that its designers would have further evidence of this. It does not matter if the claim is expressed in the form of a question.

In the other thread I cited a report discussing the major issues and sources of error in the experiment.  There was a distinct lack of discussion of the Earth's magnetic field which would qualify as an absence of evidence.  This supports the position that the Earth's magnetic field is not a significant source of error.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 03:03:55 PM
Again Tom, it has been quoted to you that making a negative claim shifts the burden of proof back to you. You have a burden to fulfill and saying that you could not find the evidence on your opponents side is a weak attempt to move the BOP back again.  Do you appreciate these rules of debate?

The burden of proof is on the claimant making the positive claim. It cannot be shifted back to the skeptic to disprove him. The person challenging the claimant is not under a burden of proof to "disprove him" because he made a "negative claim" in his challenge.

Your assertion that the skeptic bears the burden of proof is a joke. The claimant must PROVE HIS CLAIM.

So you do not agree with the validity of the sources cited that contradict your position?

Which sources?

There are plenty of people on the net arguing that the person with the negative claim incurs a burden of proof. This is false. The burden of proof is on the positive claimant. The burden of proof is not on the skeptic who doubts his claim, because he made a "negative claim" in his disagreement.

Anyone with an IQ above room temperature understands that if I walk up to someone and claim that I can fly up into the air without assistance, the burden of proof is on me, and not on the skeptic who disagrees with my claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 03:08:53 PM
Why would anyone continue on this absurd line of argument, that they can make a claim, but the burden of proof is on the people who disagree?

It was claimed that things exist, namely that the GOCE satellite was built to take magnetism and other factors into account, and evidence must be provided for that.

So where is it?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 02, 2014, 03:10:36 PM
But you are not acting as a skeptic.  Skepticism is an agnostic position and makes no claims, positive or negative.

Incorrect. A skeptic is one who doubts. Please consult a dictionary.
But you don't doubt, you deny (which is a negative claim).  There is a difference.

Quote
Quote
You have not yet sufficiently supported your claim that the earth's magnetic field is a significant source of error for gravity probes.  As you say, put up or shut up.

I believe I've directed you to look at a compass to see that the magnetic field moves metal masses, which went unchallenged. It was further asserted that satellites and gravimeters are made out of metal components, which went unchallenged as well.
You are assuming that the satellite in question contains magnetic materials.  You have not demonstrated that it does.

Quote
Quote
BTW, I don't think that anyone actually claimed that the probe was magnetically shielded.  As I recall, it was more of a "how do you know that it isn't magnetically shielded?" type question.

It was claimed that the craft may be shielded, that evidence of this may be contained in its schematic, and that its designers would have further evidence of this. It does not matter if the claim is expressed in the form of a question.
That was not a claim of the satellite being shielded.  It was a suggested that the satellite might be shielded if the designers felt that the earth's magnetic filed would be a concern.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 03:10:45 PM
I did survey the most likely area the information would be found. I looked here on this forum, at information provided by the primary source making the claim.

Oh and by the way, positive claim.  Prove that data about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

With the ghosts example I just did demonstrate that the evidence is more likely to be found by consulting the person making the claim. I did not see anyone disagree with the demonstration.

Again, if someone is claiming that ghosts exist, but you do not, is the most likely place to find ghosts is to rent out some old houses to stay overnight in, in hopes that evidence for ghosts will appear, or is the most likely place to find evidence of a ghost from the person claiming that ghosts exist?
What does this post have to do with ghosts?  This post is asking about why you believe information about satellites is most likely to be found on this forum.

Also, I have already addressed your use of ghosts and Gods in the previous post.  The one you seems to have missed, or overlooked completely.  The post that I did have an issue with your constant attempt to shift focus elsewhere.

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

The evidence where the data about a satallite is NOT most likely to be found on this forum.  Also, quit using ghosts or God as an example, because if you notice, those do not fall under absence of evidence.  See point (1) above it is not something that might leave no traces.  Last I checked, ghosts and Gods might leave no traces.

Since ghosts and Gods are beings likely to leave no evidence, whereas schematics and technical documents are likely to leave evidence, you cannot use absence of evidence to say they are none existent.  This is because the most compelling evidence for them is such a personal experience.  I have known people who were extreme atheists seemingly turn into Christians overnight.  To them, they have proof of God existing.  This proof is from an internal personal experience that you cannot see.  Same goes for ghosts.  Personal experiences.

Where as schematics are documents, which are not likely to be found on this forum.  Two completely different types of entities.

What are you mumbling about? People claim to have photographic evidence of ghosts. People claim to have recorded audio of ghosts. People claim that ghosts destroy things spontaneously. People claim that things levitate without explanation. People claim to have found plasma residue in the locations where they appear.
Yes, and that that evidence they produce can be looked at by you.  If you have a problem with the evidence, and you claim the it is not real, the burden is on YOU to show how it is not real.  You cannot just go and say "That photo is not really showing a ghost" and walk away.  You need to back your claim up.

Quote
Barring any that, ghosts would leave traces of their existence by leaving their presence imprinted on the mind of observers. The evidence, in this case, would take the form of multiple corroborating eye witness reports.

Everything which interacts with the world leaves evidence. There is no example of anything which interacts with the world which does not leave evidence of its existence.

The burden of proof is on the positive claimant, regardless of any wikipedia author or spiritualist Tom Bishop trying to weasel himself out of the burden of proof by allowing himself to claim that God/spirits exists without the necessary evidence.that negative claims don't need to be supported.
So basically, you make a positive claim that the burden of proof is always on the backs of the ones making the positive claim.  Yet you don't back that claim up.

When I have made a claim that ALL claims need to be backed up, I show you multiple sources supporting my claim.  Where are your sources supporting your positive claim that only positive claims need to be supported?

Quote
Generally speaking, there are three primary types of persuasive claims:

Claims of fact assert that something is true or not true.
Claims of value assert that something is good or bad, more or less desirable.
Claims of policy assert that one course of action is superior to another.
In rational arguments, all three types of claims must be supported by facts.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 03:22:34 PM
But you don't doubt, you deny (which is a negative claim).  There is a difference.

Incorrect. One who doubts is making an implicit disagreement with the claimant.

Quote
You are assuming that the satellite in question contains magnetic materials.  You have not demonstrated that it does.

I made no claim of the satellites composition. Please show me where I have. My only doubt was your claim that this satellite took magnetic fields and other factors into account. Unfortunately for you, you have been unable to provide studies or data showing that the trials accounted for any outside factors, showing your position to be untenable.

How can you know my claims without me claiming them? If I were to make a claim of the satellite's composition I would claim that it is composed of nothing, because it does not exist. A negative claim.

Quote
That was not a claim of the satellite being shielded.  It was a suggested that the satellite might be shielded if the designers felt that the earth's magnetic filed would be a concern.

If you are suggesting that assertion to me, then that is a claim, and you must show supporting evidence for that assertion.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 03:28:10 PM
Why is no one arguing that in a discussion on the existence of ghosts, that the burden of proof is person who doubts or disagrees with the existence of ghosts to show that ghosts do not exist?

Perhaps because that is an ignorant argument to make?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 02, 2014, 03:35:02 PM
Since ghosts and Gods are beings likely to leave no evidence, whereas schematics and technical documents are likely to leave evidence, you cannot use absence of evidence to say they are none existent.  This is because the most compelling evidence for them is such a personal experience.  I have known people who were extreme atheists seemingly turn into Christians overnight.  To them, they have proof of God existing.  This proof is from an internal personal experience that you cannot see.  Same goes for ghosts.  Personal experiences.

Where as schematics are documents, which are not likely to be found on this forum.  Two completely different types of entities.

What are you mumbling about? People claim to have photographic evidence of ghosts. People claim to have recorded audio of ghosts. People claim that ghosts destroy things spontaneously. People claim that things levitate without explanation. People claim to have found plasma residue in the locations where they appear.
Yes, and that that evidence they produce can be looked at by you.  If you have a problem with the evidence, and you claim the it is not real, the burden is on YOU to show how it is not real.  You cannot just go and say "That photo is not really showing a ghost" and walk away.  You need to back your claim up.

What are you talking about and how does it apply here?

In this situation I have NO evidence to look at. None has been provided by the person claiming that it exists. NONE. Plenty of opportunity has been given to provide it. NONE RECEIVED.

I am supposed to go talk to {mystery creator} at {mystery location}. I am supposed to go out on the internet and into the world searching for {mystery data} in {mystery location}. NO! It is the burden of the claimant to provide evidence for his positive claim!
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 03:41:38 PM
Why isn't anyone arguing that in a discussion on the existence of ghosts, that the burden of proof is person who doubts or disagrees with the existence of ghosts to show that ghosts do not exist?

Perhaps because that is an ignorant argument to make?

Yes, and that that evidence they produce can be looked at by you.  If you have a problem with the evidence, and you claim the it is not real, the burden is on YOU to show how it is not real.  You cannot just go and say "That photo is not really showing a ghost" and walk away.  You need to back your claim up.

Why do you completely ignore what I say Tom?  Is it because it shows that if you think presented evidence is not adequate, you need to back up your claim that it is not?

I present you with evidence showing gravity measurements taken from space.
You refute the evidence by claiming that the satellite did not take into account all the variables it needed to, it is YOUR claim.  You need to back up your claim that the evidence is not adequate.  You cannot simply say "Nope, that doesn't prove anything" and walk away.  You need to back it up.

Also, where is your evidence backing up your positive claim that only positive claims need to be backed up?  I have shown you that ALL claims need to be backed up.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 02, 2014, 03:50:00 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms

No, the original claim was that the doctor will automatically assume you don't have cancer.
I have shown that the doctor has no assumptions about your health when you walk in the door.

There are routine things that a happens at a doctors office before the doctor even sees you.  They weigh you, the get your height, they get your blood pressure.  All of these things are diagnostics to help determine if there is a significant variation to what is normal.

no.

These are things you pay for if you want a routine check up. My doctor doesn't weight me or check my height every time I go to see him. None of my doctors ever have except when I change surgery. It would be pointless, I know how tall I am and how much I weigh anyway, don't need to waste money having a doctor keep that info too. I'm not overly worried I'm in a Roald Dahl book and might get the dreaded shrinks.

He simply asks me what I'm there for and we proceed based off the evidence I provide.

If I have no evidence of a problem the doctor isn't going to go looking for it unless I press for it and provide some evidence.

Of course I suppose the doctor might weigh me if I was morbidly obese But then I guess I've already presented evidence by walking in the door.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 04:10:58 PM
Who walks into the doctor's and gets an appointment if it is not either a routine check up or a complaint of something specific?  I think a routine check up is the minimum care you would expect.
I know, but had to give an example based on their claim.

you did.

the original claim that if you go tell a doctor you've got cancer he will simply start treating you or running tests with no evidence presented.

He won't, He'll ask you to show some evidence and if you can't he'll suggest some possible evidence you might have noticed and if you still can't he'll ask you what makes you think you have cancer and if there's STILL no evidence being provided he'll send you on your way because he's not going to run a full set of tests just because you woke up and thought you had some nebulous cancer  of the "I don't know what", with no symptoms

No, the original claim was that the doctor will automatically assume you don't have cancer.
I have shown that the doctor has no assumptions about your health when you walk in the door.

There are routine things that a happens at a doctors office before the doctor even sees you.  They weigh you, the get your height, they get your blood pressure.  All of these things are diagnostics to help determine if there is a significant variation to what is normal.

no.

These are things you pay for if you want a routine check up. My doctor doesn't weight me or check my height every time I go to see him. None of my doctors ever have except when I change surgery. It would be pointless, I know how tall I am and how much I weigh anyway, don't need to waste money having a doctor keep that info too. I'm not overly worried I'm in a Roald Dahl book and might get the dreaded shrinks.

He simply asks me what I'm there for and we proceed based off the evidence I provide.

If I have no evidence of a problem the doctor isn't going to go looking for it unless I press for it and provide some evidence.

Of course I suppose the doctor might weigh me if I was morbidly obese But then I guess I've already presented evidence by walking in the door.

I don't know what you are getting on about.  You are describing a scenario that does not happen (other than the rare case of hypochondria) where someone walks into doctor claiming to have a disease without any symptoms.

The original claim was that the doctor assumes you have nothing wrong with you.

I have shown that in the two most likely scenarios, that a doctor does NOT assume anything about your health.

A routine check up, there is a minimum amount of testing done by the doctor. If the test results come back normal, the doctor then assumes there is nothing wrong.

An appointment that you make between check ups.  YOU call the doctor and give him symptoms.  Based on these symptoms, he orders tests to rule out possible diagnoses.  Prior to you calling, the doctor is not assuming anything about your health.  Once you call him, you have given him information and based on that information, might have an idea what might be wrong with you.

So please tell me which scenario the doctor automatically assumes you have nothing wrong with you?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 02, 2014, 04:16:03 PM
Since ghosts and Gods are beings likely to leave no evidence, whereas schematics and technical documents are likely to leave evidence, you cannot use absence of evidence to say they are none existent.  This is because the most compelling evidence for them is such a personal experience.  I have known people who were extreme atheists seemingly turn into Christians overnight.  To them, they have proof of God existing.  This proof is from an internal personal experience that you cannot see.  Same goes for ghosts.  Personal experiences.

Where as schematics are documents, which are not likely to be found on this forum.  Two completely different types of entities.

What are you mumbling about? People claim to have photographic evidence of ghosts. People claim to have recorded audio of ghosts. People claim that ghosts destroy things spontaneously. People claim that things levitate without explanation. People claim to have found plasma residue in the locations where they appear.
Yes, and that that evidence they produce can be looked at by you.  If you have a problem with the evidence, and you claim the it is not real, the burden is on YOU to show how it is not real.  You cannot just go and say "That photo is not really showing a ghost" and walk away.  You need to back your claim up.

What are you talking about and how does it apply here?

In this situation I have NO evidence to look at. None has been provided by the person claiming that it exists. NONE. Plenty of opportunity has been given to provide it. NONE RECEIVED.

https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/g/goce

This link describes many technical elements of the GOCE craft including the challenges anticipated in getting accurate readings. It never mentions magnetic fields as an issue. Based on this it is safe to assume that magnetic fields were not a significant concern.

Just because you have not looked at it, does not mean it has not been provided.

Quote
I am supposed to go talk to {mystery creator} at {mystery location}. I am supposed to go out on the internet and into the world searching for {mystery data} in {mystery location}. NO! It is the burden of the claimant to provide evidence for his positive claim!

As per the source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Proving_a_negative) provided at least twice before, and citing a professor of philosophy who has written a book dealing with the subject matter, if you make a negative claim, such as:

The gravity space missions were uncontrolled. It does not conform to the scientific method, which demands that trials are controlled. Trying to pass off something uncontrolled and unscientific as scientific is reprehensible. I would suggest that you and the 'scientists' at NASA go back to middle school and learn some science.

you have a burden of proof.

This is not a skeptical position but is asserting a truth which is demonstrable.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 02, 2014, 04:59:58 PM
Quote
You are assuming that the satellite in question contains magnetic materials.  You have not demonstrated that it does.

I made no claim of the satellites composition. Please show me where I have.
Exactly my point.  You have not shown that the satellite in question contains any materials that would be affected by the earth's magnetic field.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 02, 2014, 08:56:35 PM
So please tell me which scenario the doctor automatically assumes you have nothing wrong with you?

The original claim was cancer.

All through that example you have yourself providing evidence to the doctor that something is wrong with you.

No assumption needed, once you've provided evidence that something is wrong the doctor finds out WHAT.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 09:00:47 PM
So please tell me which scenario the doctor automatically assumes you have nothing wrong with you?

The original claim was cancer.

All through that example you have yourself providing evidence to the doctor that something is wrong with you.

No assumption needed, once you've provided evidence that something is wrong the doctor finds out WHAT.
That is exactly my point.  The doctor makes no assumption about you health.  He does not assume you have cancer. He also doesn't assume you DON’T have cancer.  He make no assumptions about your health until more evidence is collected.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 02, 2014, 09:03:47 PM
So please tell me which scenario the doctor automatically assumes you have nothing wrong with you?

The original claim was cancer.

All through that example you have yourself providing evidence to the doctor that something is wrong with you.

No assumption needed, once you've provided evidence that something is wrong the doctor finds out WHAT.
That is exactly my point.  The doctor makes no assumption about you health.  He does not assume you have cancer. He also doesn't assume you DON’T have cancer.  He make no assumptions about your health until more evidence is collected.

But it is your responsibility to provide the evidence.

If you provide not a single symptom as evidence the man's not going to do a lot.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 09:14:16 PM
But the whole point is that he isn't automatically defaulted into one possition about your health.  He will simply assume nothing about your health.

In this debate, the results of a satellite were provided to show the variations of gravity.  It was automatically assumed that the results were invalid because the satellite was not made to account for magnetism.  It was then claimed by Tom his claim was a negative claim and doesn't need to be backed up.  And that the default position to take is that of a negative claim.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 02, 2014, 09:47:11 PM
and in the absence of any evidence that's exactly what will happen in your example.

Symptoms are evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 02, 2014, 11:11:39 PM
and in the absence of any evidence that's exactly what will happen in your example.

Symptoms are evidence.

But say you walk into the doctor(Tom Bishop) and present him with some symptoms (evidence that gravity varies) and he just simply dismisses the symptoms and says "There is nothing wrong with you" (claims that the satellite didn't account for magnetism).  To which you reply "But what about the symptoms I have?" (what is wrong with the satellite readings?) To which he replies "Well, I don't need to run any tests because I said there was nothing wrong with you.  You have to prove to me there IS something wrong with you.(I am not going to even determine where there might be a problem with the evidence, just claim it is no good)
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on January 03, 2014, 01:04:32 AM
Why is no one arguing that in a discussion on the existence of ghosts, that the burden of proof is person who doubts or disagrees with the existence of ghosts to show that ghosts do not exist?

Perhaps because that is an ignorant argument to make?

i have. anyone who claims that ghosts do not exist is making a logically provable claim that has a burden of proof.

1. if ghosts exist, reliable and reproducable evidence of ghosts exists.
2. r&r evidence of ghosts does not exist.
3. ghosts do not exist.

easy. maybe we will disagree about the truth of one of the premises, but it's still provable.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 03, 2014, 01:56:28 AM
Why is no one arguing that in a discussion on the existence of ghosts, that the burden of proof is person who doubts or disagrees with the existence of ghosts to show that ghosts do not exist?

Perhaps because that is an ignorant argument to make?

i have. anyone who claims that ghosts do not exist is making a logically provable claim that has a burden of proof.

1. if ghosts exist, reliable and reproducable evidence of ghosts exists.
2. r&r evidence of ghosts does not exist.
3. ghosts do not exist.

easy. maybe we will disagree about the truth of one of the premises, but it's still provable.

Then if I claim one of his premises is not valid, I need to support my claim.
I might produce a photo of, what I believe, is a ghost.

He will then take that evidence I produced and either accept it, or refute it.

If he refutes it, he then needs to support his claim.

It is that simple.  Someone makes a claim, they need to support it.  Either with evidence, or a logical conclusion.  There is no backing out of supporting a claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 03, 2014, 03:10:51 AM
So please tell me which scenario the doctor automatically assumes you have nothing wrong with you?

The original claim was cancer.

All through that example you have yourself providing evidence to the doctor that something is wrong with you.

No assumption needed, once you've provided evidence that something is wrong the doctor finds out WHAT.
Who originally claimed cancer?  Early stages of cancer often have no symptoms.  In fact, it would be preferable to find any cancer before any symptoms become evident.  This is why routine screening (including blood work) is so important.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 03, 2014, 07:56:40 AM
Who originally claimed cancer?  Early stages of cancer often have no symptoms.  In fact, it would be preferable to find any cancer before any symptoms become evident.  This is why routine screening (including blood work) is so important.

I don't know who originally, It's a long way back.

And we've already established it's not a routine appointment, that's an entirely different matter and would have no bearing on the situation.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 03, 2014, 01:23:36 PM
Who originally claimed cancer?  Early stages of cancer often have no symptoms.  In fact, it would be preferable to find any cancer before any symptoms become evident.  This is why routine screening (including blood work) is so important.

I don't know who originally, It's a long way back.

And we've already established it's not a routine appointment, that's an entirely different matter and would have no bearing on the situation.
So, why would a doctor not order routine tests for a non-routine appointment?  Don't forget that the medicine is a business.  Unless you come in overly frequently for screening and keep getting a clean bill of health, why would the doctor turn down easy money?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 03, 2014, 02:32:06 PM
Who originally claimed cancer?  Early stages of cancer often have no symptoms.  In fact, it would be preferable to find any cancer before any symptoms become evident.  This is why routine screening (including blood work) is so important.

I don't know who originally, It's a long way back.

And we've already established it's not a routine appointment, that's an entirely different matter and would have no bearing on the situation.
So, why would a doctor not order routine tests for a non-routine appointment?  Don't forget that the medicine is a business.  Unless you come in overly frequently for screening and keep getting a clean bill of health, why would the doctor turn down easy money?

Over here it's not easy money.

It's not any money. That's the beauty of the NHS, I don't get mugged for cash once a year so the doctor can tell me I'm still 5ft 7inches tall and 10stone.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on January 03, 2014, 03:38:20 PM
Over here it's not easy money.

It's not any money. That's the beauty of the NHS, I don't get mugged for cash once a year so the doctor can tell me I'm still 5ft 7inches tall and 10stone.
Are you suggesting that British doctors don't get paid? They still get money, they just don't get it (directly) from you. It goes from you to the government to the NHS to the doctor.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: spank86 on January 03, 2014, 03:53:18 PM
Over here it's not easy money.

It's not any money. That's the beauty of the NHS, I don't get mugged for cash once a year so the doctor can tell me I'm still 5ft 7inches tall and 10stone.
Are you suggesting that British doctors don't get paid? They still get money, they just don't get it (directly) from you. It goes from you to the government to the NHS to the doctor.

of course not. they get a very nice salary.

That's not dependent on whether they tell me how tall I am or not, nor does it change dependent on if they send me for blood tests.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on January 03, 2014, 11:20:50 PM
tom: would you briefly explain what, in your opinion, is the difference between a 'negative' and 'positive' claim? what does that distinction mean to you?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 03:39:39 AM
tom: would you briefly explain what, in your opinion, is the difference between a 'negative' and 'positive' claim? what does that distinction mean to you?

Negative claims are an absence, not a reworded positive claim. It is not "0". It is "-".

Negative claims hold a special distinction. If I claim that the window is NOT open, it does not mean I am claiming that the window is closed. I am claiming that the window is NOT open.

It is possible that the window does not even exist, making the claims that the window is both 'not open' and 'not closed' simultaneously true.

It is also possible that the window is positively open or closed, but due lack of evidence of its positive state, and lack of evidence of its existence altogether, we are compelled to define it as it is, a NOT. Barring some sort of evidence otherwise, the window does not exist and it is neither open or closed. It is the burden of the person with the positive claim -- that the window exists, or that the window is open or closed -- to provide evidence for that claim.

We must believe in nothing because there is no evidence. Once there is evidence we can start believing in things.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 03:58:06 AM
You refute the evidence by claiming that the satellite did not take into account all the variables it needed to, it is YOUR claim.  You need to back up your claim that the evidence is not adequate.  You cannot simply say "Nope, that doesn't prove anything" and walk away.  You need to back it up.

There was no claim that it was a controlled trial. As it is described from the sources presented on this forum, there were no mention of controls. This is evidence that there were none.

Quote
Also, where is your evidence backing up your positive claim that only positive claims need to be backed up?  I have shown you that ALL claims need to be backed up.

So the person who disagrees with a lunatic claiming that ghosts exist needs to prove, beyond an absence of evidence, that ghosts do not exist?

No way. The person claiming that ghosts exist needs to PROVE THEY EXIST. The conversation stops there once he is unable to provide the evidence for his claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 04, 2014, 04:00:49 AM
Nice double speak there Tom.  You should try to be a polotician.

If you cannot know for certain the state of the window you cannot make the truth claim that the window is not open.  That is a claim that requires support of some sort.

If you do not know, what is the hang up about admitting that you do not have enough evidence to make a claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 04:06:02 AM
Nice double speak there Tom.  You should try to be a polotician.

If you cannot know for certain the state of the window you cannot make the truth claim that the window is not open.  That is a claim that requires support of some sort.

If you do not know, what is the hang up about admitting that you do not have enough evidence to make a claim.

There is support for the claim 'the window is not open'. The support for the claim that the window is not open is the absence of evidence that it is open. The statement that 'the window is not closed' is equally valid for the same reason.

All truths are determined with available evidence. "I don't know" is an excuse to not answer what the available evidence shows. The available evidence concludes that the window is NOT open. If there is no evidence, it is a not.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 04, 2014, 04:08:26 AM
You refute the evidence by claiming that the satellite did not take into account all the variables it needed to, it is YOUR claim.  You need to back up your claim that the evidence is not adequate.  You cannot simply say "Nope, that doesn't prove anything" and walk away.  You need to back it up.

There was no claim that it was a controlled trial. As it is described from the sources presented on this forum, there were no mention of controls. This is evidence that there were none.

Quote
Also, where is your evidence backing up your positive claim that only positive claims need to be backed up?  I have shown you that ALL claims need to be backed up.

So the person who disagrees with a lunatic claiming that ghosts exist needs to prove, beyond an absence of evidence, that ghosts do not exist?

No way. The person claiming that ghosts exist needs to PROVE THEY EXIST. The conversation stops there once he is unable to provide the evidence for his claim.

There were predictions made regarding magnitude of error sources and results were plotted against the actual sources of error. How does this not qualify as a control?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 04:09:46 AM
There were predictions made regarding magnitude of error sources and results were plotted against the actual sources of error. How does this not qualify as a control?

The variables involved were not controlled. Please look up how a controlled experiment is performed.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 04, 2014, 04:10:50 AM
Nice double speak there Tom.  You should try to be a polotician.

If you cannot know for certain the state of the window you cannot make the truth claim that the window is not open.  That is a claim that requires support of some sort.

If you do not know, what is the hang up about admitting that you do not have enough evidence to make a claim.

There is support for the claim 'the window is not open'. The support for the claim that the window is not open is the absence of evidence that it is open. The statement that 'the window is not closed' is equally valid for the same reason.

All truths are determined with available evidence. "I don't know" has nothing to do with what the available evidence shows. The available evidence concludes that the window is NOT open. If there is no evidence, it is a not.

If you are not looking at a window you have no evidence of it. The only honest claim you can make is "I do not know." Anything else is semantic play.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 04:13:55 AM
If you are not looking at a window you have no evidence of it. The only honest claim you can make is "I do not know." Anything else is semantic play.

If there is no available evidence of the window, that is evidence that it does not exist. All truths are made from available evidence.

"I don't know" is not a claim at all. It is an avoidance of claim. It is a refusal to participate, and has no place in the weighing evidence and honest debate.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 04, 2014, 04:15:57 AM
There were predictions made regarding magnitude of error sources and results were plotted against the actual sources of error. How does this not qualify as a control?

The variables involved were not controlled. Please look up how a controlled experiment is performed.

There are various types of valid experimental methods of which controlled experiment is but one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_experiment
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 04, 2014, 04:16:54 AM
Nice double speak there Tom.  You should try to be a polotician.

If you cannot know for certain the state of the window you cannot make the truth claim that the window is not open.  That is a claim that requires support of some sort.

If you do not know, what is the hang up about admitting that you do not have enough evidence to make a claim.

There is support for the claim 'the window is not open'. The support for the claim that the window is not open is the absence of evidence that it is open. The statement that 'the window is not closed' is equally valid for the same reason.

All truths are determined with available evidence. "I don't know" is an excuse to not answer what the available evidence shows. The available evidence concludes that the window is NOT open. If there is no evidence, it is a not.

No, saying I don't know keeps me from making a fool of myself when there is insufficient data to come to a logical conclusion.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 04, 2014, 04:21:18 AM
If you are not looking at a window you have no evidence of it. The only honest claim you can make is "I do not know." Anything else is semantic play.

If there is no available evidence of the window, that is evidence that it does not exist. All truths are made from available evidence.

"I don't know" is not a claim at all. It is an avoidance of claim. It is a refusal to participate, and has no place in the weighing evidence and honest debate.

We finally agree on something.  Saying I don't know is not a claim.  However, it is not a refusal to participate.  It is acknowledging that my knowledge on the subject at hand is limitied.  It allows me to gather more evidencefrom an unbiased point of view.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 04, 2014, 04:22:15 AM
If you are not looking at a window you have no evidence of it. The only honest claim you can make is "I do not know." Anything else is semantic play.

If there is no available evidence of the window, that is evidence that it does not exist. All truths are made from available evidence.

"I don't know" is not a claim at all. It is an avoidance of claim, and has no place in weighing evidence in debate.

If you cannot see a window and you have no way of knowing if a window exists or not, "I don't know" is a claim that based on the available evidence it is impossible to tell if a window is open or not.  This is different than if you are looking at a brick wall and asked about the state of the window on the wall that is not there.  I sincerely hope you can tell the difference.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 04:23:10 AM
Bj, Rama, I have never seen evidence for ghosts, and the source claiming that they exist is unable to provide evidence of existence. This is evidence that they do not exist.

I am not burdened to prove that ghosts do not exist.

Please tell me that I need to prove that ghosts do not exist if I disagree with someone who claims that ghosts exist, so we can all see how stupid you sound.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 04, 2014, 04:27:59 AM
No, saying I don't know keeps me from making a fool of myself when there is insufficient data to come to a logical conclusion.

Sure there is. I have never seen evidence for ghosts, and the source claiming that they exist is unable to provide evidence of existence, so this is evidence that they do not exist.

I am not burdened to prove that ghosts do not exist.

Please tell me that I need to prove that ghosts do not exist if I disagree with someone who claims that ghosts exist, so we can all see how stupid you sound.
Then state it as abelief. I don't believe ghosts exist is much different that saying ghosts don't exist.

If someone shows you a picture of a ghost, that is their evidence.  You cannot then claim ghosts don't exist until you demonstrate that the picture is not genuine.  So please tell me you still don't understand the difference between a truth claim and a statement of belief.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 04:33:11 AM
No, saying I don't know keeps me from making a fool of myself when there is insufficient data to come to a logical conclusion.

Sure there is. I have never seen evidence for ghosts, and the source claiming that they exist is unable to provide evidence of existence, so this is evidence that they do not exist.

I am not burdened to prove that ghosts do not exist.

Please tell me that I need to prove that ghosts do not exist if I disagree with someone who claims that ghosts exist, so we can all see how stupid you sound.
Then state it as abelief. I don't believe ghosts exist is much different that saying ghosts don't exist.

If someone shows you a picture of a ghost, that is their evidence.  You cannot then claim ghosts don't exist until you demonstrate that the picture is not genuine.  So please tell me you still don't understand the difference between a truth claim and a statement of belief.

Saying "I don't believe that" is also disagreeing with with the claimant. You are making an assertion that ghosts do not exist.

For example:

Person 1: The Ancient Egyptians have made successful limb transplants.
Person 2: I don't believe that. I don't agree that they would know how to do that.

Person 2 is asserting that the ancient Egyptians have not make successful limb transplants. In his disbelief, he is making the claim that it did not happen.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 04, 2014, 04:37:37 AM
If we are talking about a formal debate, and someone has said ghosts exist, and has provided some evidence, then once you claim "Ghosts do not exist" you must either provide contradicting evidence or debunk the positive sides evidence.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 04, 2014, 04:39:23 AM
Saying "I don't believe that" is also disagreeing with with the claimant. You are making an assertion that ghosts do not exist.
Not necessarily.  Saying "I don't believe that" is not the same as saying "you are wrong".  It's saying that the claimant hasn't provided sufficient evidence to change the person's mind.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 04, 2014, 04:44:41 AM
If we are talking about a formal debate, and someone has said ghosts exist, and has provided some evidence, then once you claim "Ghosts do not exist" you must either provide contradicting evidence or debunk the positive sides evidence.

Correct. The conversation proceeds once evidence is presented.

Saying "I don't believe that" is also disagreeing with with the claimant. You are making an assertion that ghosts do not exist.
Not necessarily.  Saying "I don't believe that" is not the same as saying "you are wrong".  It's saying that the claimant hasn't provided sufficient evidence to change the person's mind.

If I say "water is wet" and you respond with "I don't believe that" then your statement is asserting that water is not wet. How could it not?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 04, 2014, 05:07:46 AM
Well, saying I don't believe water is wet is a good way to get evidence of how wet water can be.  I would splash the cup of water in their face.  The wetness of water is easily demonstrated.  In fact wetness is one of the properties of liquid water.

However, the existence of ghosts is not as easily proven or disproven.  So if one says I don't believe in ghosts, they are demonstraiting that they have come to a personal conclusion that ghosts do not exist.  They also are acknowledging that it is foolish to flat out deny the existence of ghosts because they have not fully examined ALL the exidence there is on ghosts.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 04, 2014, 05:56:32 AM
If I say "water is wet" and you respond with "I don't believe that" then your statement is asserting that water is not wet. How could it not?
No, I would be asserting that you have not provided enough evidence to support your claim that water is wet.  After all, what evidence did you provide that water is wet?  None.  You made a claim without providing any supporting evidence.  You also ignored the fact that water in its solid form (ice) is not wet.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: rottingroom on January 04, 2014, 05:18:01 PM
There is a handkerchief in the pocket.    <--- a claim by which the claimant has the burden of proof.

There is not a handkerchief in the pocket   <--- a claim by which the claimant has the burden of proof. Not a skeptical statement. This is an assertion.

I don't know if there is a handkerchief in the pocket   <--- also a claim by which the claimant has the burden of proof but such a burden is easy to meet because the claimant is stating that they don't know if there is a handkerchief in the pocket. That itself, is the claim. There is no assertion in this phrase about whether the handkerchief is actually in the pocket, just the claim about not knowing, which the claimant is free to assert since the assertion proves itself. This is a skeptical statement.

A negative claim is an assertion.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 04, 2014, 05:46:49 PM
I think the sticking point here is that Tom talks about situations where he negates a positive claim for which evidence has not been provided.  If someone makes a claim, provides evidence and then is met with a negative claim in rebuttal, obviously the person making the negative claim must support their position with evidence.

If someone introduces a negative claim, not as a rebuttal, but as a first statement, the person making this negative claim must provide evidence; you cannot force a burden of proof on someone who has not made any claim obviously.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 05, 2014, 09:36:04 AM
So, if someone introduces as a first claim, that there is no evidence that ghosts exist, it is their burden to prove that ghosts don't exist?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 05, 2014, 10:58:17 AM
So, if someone introduces as a first claim, that there is no evidence that ghosts exist, it is their burden to prove that ghosts don't exist?
Yes.  And they do this by showing reported evidence and explaining why this evidence is not genuine.  It is that simple.  They need to make atleast some effort more Than, well there is no evidence in my closet so therefore ghosts don't exist.  They need to do the leg work.

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 05, 2014, 12:58:34 PM
So, if someone introduces as a first claim, that there is no evidence that ghosts exist, it is their burden to prove that ghosts don't exist?

Of course. If you walk up to someone and say "Ghosts do not exist."  That someone is very justified in saying "How are you sure?"

A more practical example: you walk up to someone and say "Oranges are not good for your health." You must show some sort of evidence for this or there is no good reason to believe you.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Pete Svarrior on January 05, 2014, 04:24:14 PM
Yes.  And they do this by showing reported evidence and explaining why this evidence is not genuine.  It is that simple.  They need to make atleast some effort more Than, well there is no evidence in my closet so therefore ghosts don't exist.
Isn't that what Tom does? The usual RE'er response to that approach is "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 05, 2014, 05:10:35 PM
Yes.  And they do this by showing reported evidence and explaining why this evidence is not genuine.  It is that simple.  They need to make atleast some effort more Than, well there is no evidence in my closet so therefore ghosts don't exist.
Isn't that what Tom does? The usual RE'er response to that approach is "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".
No, He just claims it is not and walks away proclaiming he searched under his bed or some such statement.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 05, 2014, 05:15:17 PM
No.  Tom pretty much takes "I don't have to prove that I'm right but you have to prove that I'm wrong" approach and seems to think that the designers and builders of gravity satellites leave as little evidence of their existence as ghosts do.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on January 05, 2014, 06:31:54 PM
tom: would you briefly explain what, in your opinion, is the difference between a 'negative' and 'positive' claim? what does that distinction mean to you?

Negative claims are an absence, not a reworded positive claim. It is not "0". It is "-".

I can't make sense of this.  What is an absence?  What is a positive claim and how is it different?

Negative claims hold a special distinction. If I claim that the window is NOT open, it does not mean I am claiming that the window is closed. I am claiming that the window is NOT open.

You say that it holds a special distinction, but you're not saying what the distinction is.  How do I recognize a negative claim when I see one?  Is it that it has the word 'not' in it?

What if I claim that the window is not not open?  Is that a negative claim?  What about 'it is not the case that the window is not open'?  Is that a negative claim?

Also, what exactly do you think the word 'closed' means?

(http://i.imgur.com/33MBKu7.png)

So, if someone introduces as a first claim, that there is no evidence that ghosts exist, it is their burden to prove that ghosts don't exist?

Yes.  Every truth claim has a burden of proof.  It sounds like you're saying that "Ghosts do not exist," and "I personally have encountered no evidence of ghosts," are logically equivalent statements.  They are not.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 12, 2014, 02:53:19 AM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 12, 2014, 04:32:01 AM

I see.

Person  1: The Earth is not round.

Person 2: What?  Why would you say that?

Person 1: Prove me wrong!

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 12, 2014, 04:23:56 PM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!
Person 2: Here are some reported pictures of the boogey man.  This is why they are not genuine.  All pictures that have been reported of the boogeyman have been looked at and determined to be either faked or a case of mistaken identity.  Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman.  Because these pictures are the most likely source of proof of the boogey man, I have concluded that the boogeyman does not exist.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 12, 2014, 05:27:15 PM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!
Person 2: Here are some reported pictures of the boogey man.  This is why they are not genuine.  All pictures that have been reported of the boogeyman have been looked at and determined to be either faked or a case of mistaken identity.  Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman.  Because these pictures are the most likely source of proof of the boogey man, I have concluded that the boogeyman does not exist.

That's an "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" argument. You said that there is little credible evidence that the boogeyman exists, and since there is no other evidence he therefore does not exist. We are told by the participants in this thread that absence of evidence arguments are invalid arguments. It still needs to proven that the boogeyman does not exist.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 12, 2014, 05:55:42 PM
You were told that looking in your briefcase was not a sufficient search to declare an absence of evidence. I trust you can see why.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 12, 2014, 06:50:52 PM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!
Person 2: Here are some reported pictures of the boogey man.  This is why they are not genuine.  All pictures that have been reported of the boogeyman have been looked at and determined to be either faked or a case of mistaken identity.  Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman.  Because these pictures are the most likely source of proof of the boogey man, I have concluded that the boogeyman does not exist.

That's an "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" argument.
No Tom, that's called "refuting evidence".  Person 2 collected evidence and then showed why that evidence is not valid.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 12, 2014, 07:15:49 PM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!
Person 2: Here are some reported pictures of the boogey man.  This is why they are not genuine.  All pictures that have been reported of the boogeyman have been looked at and determined to be either faked or a case of mistaken identity.  Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman.  Because these pictures are the most likely source of proof of the boogey man, I have concluded that the boogeyman does not exist.

That's an "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" argument.
No Tom, that's called "refuting evidence".  Person 2 collected evidence and then showed why that evidence is not valid.

Person 1 did not present any evidence. If Person 2 collects a child's drawing of the boogeyman from the internet and criticizes it, it is not a "refutation of evidence".

The absence of evidence argument is explicit:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 12, 2014, 09:09:56 PM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!
Person 2: Here are some reported pictures of the boogey man.  This is why they are not genuine.  All pictures that have been reported of the boogeyman have been looked at and determined to be either faked or a case of mistaken identity.  Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman.  Because these pictures are the most likely source of proof of the boogey man, I have concluded that the boogeyman does not exist.

That's an "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" argument.
No Tom, that's called "refuting evidence".  Person 2 collected evidence and then showed why that evidence is not valid.

Person 1 did not present any evidence. If Person 2 collects a child's drawing of the boogeyman from the internet and criticizes it, it is not a "refutation of evidence".

The absence of evidence argument is explicit:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."
Who said anything about a child's drawing?  I said pictures. Or should I have been more exact for your pedantic self and said photographic pictures?.  And note, person 2 collected the pictures.  He supplied support for his claim.

Also, if Person 2 did refute a child's drawing and came to the conclusion, Person 1 would say that Person 2 did not sufficiently meet the burden of proof.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 13, 2014, 02:27:15 AM
Who said anything about a child's drawing?  I said pictures. Or should I have been more exact for your pedantic self and said photographic pictures?.  And note, person 2 collected the pictures.  He supplied support for his claim.

Also, if Person 2 did refute a child's drawing and came to the conclusion, Person 1 would say that Person 2 did not sufficiently meet the burden of proof.

Posting a few photographs from the internet and explaining them as the result of over exposure or other photograph issues does not prove that the boogeyman does not exist.

The absence of evidence argument is used to disprove the boogeyman in your example:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 13, 2014, 02:52:23 AM
Who said anything about a child's drawing?  I said pictures. Or should I have been more exact for your pedantic self and said photographic pictures?.  And note, person 2 collected the pictures.  He supplied support for his claim.

Also, if Person 2 did refute a child's drawing and came to the conclusion, Person 1 would say that Person 2 did not sufficiently meet the burden of proof.

Posting a few photographs from the internet and explaining them as the result of over exposure or other photograph issues does not prove that the boogeyman does not exist.

The absence of evidence argument is used to disprove the boogeyman in your example:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."
The point is that Person 2 went and did the legwork to back up his claim.  If Person 1 wants to refute that claim with another claim, Person 1 needs to do the legwork.  Person 2 cannot just say, The bogeyman does not exist, prove me wrong as you seem to think you can by making negative claims without backing them up.

Otherwise it turns into a school yard spat
Person 1: The bogeyman doesn't exist
Person 2: Yes he does, here is a picture of him
Person 1: That in not a real picture of the bogeyman
Person 2: Yes it is, why isn't it real?
Person 1: I don't have to tell you, I gave a negative claim
Person 2: But why isn't it real?
Person 1: Negative claim
Etc.

As has been shown, ALL claims need to be supported.  Do you really need me to go look up the link that specifically states so again?
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 13, 2014, 03:06:46 AM
What are you talking about? We're talking about the absence of evidence. The absence of evidence argument is used to disprove the boogeyman in your example:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."

So, is absence of evidence a perfectly fine rebuttal now?

Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 13, 2014, 03:12:59 AM
What are you talking about? We're talking about the absence of evidence. The absence of evidence argument is used to disprove the boogeyman in your example:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."

So, is absence of evidence a perfectly fine rebuttal now?
When you have searched the likely places for that evidence if it were to exist.  We have already been over that.

Looking in your briefcase for documents on a satellite does not meet this standard.  The documents, if they existed are not likely to be in your briefcase.

Looking on a website dedicated to the existence of bogeymen and explaining the pictures would.  The evidence of bogeymen, if it were to exist, would likely be located on a website dedicated to the existence of bogeymen.

I really don't know how you are not getting that point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence#Absence_of_evidence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence#Absence_of_evidence)

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 13, 2014, 04:25:38 AM
So, is absence of evidence a perfectly fine rebuttal now?
Only when not used fallaciously.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 13, 2014, 04:37:35 AM
What are you talking about? We're talking about the absence of evidence. The absence of evidence argument is used to disprove the boogeyman in your example:  "Therefore, I conclude that there is not enough evidence to confirm the existence of a boogeyman."

So, is absence of evidence a perfectly fine rebuttal now?
When you have searched the likely places for that evidence if it were to exist.  We have already been over that.

Looking in your briefcase for documents on a satellite does not meet this standard.  The documents, if they existed are not likely to be in your briefcase.

Looking on a website dedicated to the existence of bogeymen and explaining the pictures would.  The evidence of bogeymen, if it were to exist, would likely be located on a website dedicated to the existence of bogeymen.

I really don't know how you are not getting that point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence#Absence_of_evidence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence#Absence_of_evidence)

Quote
in the absence of evidence rendering the existence of some entity probable, we are justified in believing that it does not exist, provided that (1) it is not something that might leave no traces and (2) we have comprehensively surveyed the area where the evidence would be found if the entity existed...

I did look in the most likely place for evidence that the satellite was built to be magnetically resistant. I inquired with the sole source making that claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 13, 2014, 05:01:45 AM

All measurements are experiments. The gravity space missions were uncontrolled. It does not conform to the scientific method, which demands that trials are controlled. Trying to pass off something uncontrolled and unscientific as scientific is reprehensible. I would suggest that you and the 'scientists' at NASA go back to middle school and learn some science.

I've read all about the gravity space experiments. No controls were used what-so-ever. The data could have been controlled by repeating the experiment numerous times with different kinds of gravimeters, to see if the results changed over time or from device to device. Both land and space and land measurements could have been taken simultaneously to ensure a proper reading. Instruments used to test the strength of the earth's magnetic field could have been included in the system.

1. I know that earth based gravimeters have not been used to verify satellite based measurements because no such trials have been associated with the data.

I believe this is the point that people started questioning the veracity of your stance.  You did not provide where you looked and acquired this knowledge.  You then started to claim that you did not need to back up a negative claim.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 13, 2014, 06:50:02 AM
Incorrect. I provided evidence that the experiment was uncontrolled by directing the thread's participants to look at their own sources they had posted which describe the experiment.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: bj1234 on January 13, 2014, 06:56:09 AM
The original claim was that gravity varied over the surface of the earth.  It was supported by a gravity map.  This piece of evidence was disputed by you with your aforementioned claims that you knew that it was uncontrolled.  When asked to back your claims up, you shouted "negative claim!" And tried to shift the burden to the others who were questioning your claim.  This is where the issue lies.  ALL claims Ned to be supported.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Tom Bishop on January 13, 2014, 09:13:33 AM
The original claim was that gravity varied over the surface of the earth.  It was supported by a gravity map.  This piece of evidence was disputed by you with your aforementioned claims that you knew that it was uncontrolled.  When asked to back your claims up, you shouted "negative claim!"

I would recommend looking at the thread again. Claiming that the experiment was uncontrolled was a positive claim which I provided evidence for.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: Rama Set on January 13, 2014, 12:24:39 PM
The original claim was that gravity varied over the surface of the earth.  It was supported by a gravity map.  This piece of evidence was disputed by you with your aforementioned claims that you knew that it was uncontrolled.  When asked to back your claims up, you shouted "negative claim!"

I would recommend looking at the thread again. Claiming that the experiment was uncontrolled was a positive claim which I provided evidence for.

You provided no evidence, nor any sources that would indicate that you had looked. The people
posting on this site are not the most likely place you will find evidence of gravity maps or controls on experiments. You also have never dealt with the there being multiple ways to set up experiments, not all of which require a laboratory setting tightly controlling all variables.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: markjo on January 13, 2014, 01:26:59 PM
The original claim was that gravity varied over the surface of the earth.  It was supported by a gravity map.  This piece of evidence was disputed by you with your aforementioned claims that you knew that it was uncontrolled.  When asked to back your claims up, you shouted "negative claim!"

I would recommend looking at the thread again. Claiming that the experiment was uncontrolled was a positive claim which I provided evidence for.
Yes, and I showed you that your claim was invalid because the gravity probe itself is the control.
Title: Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
Post by: garygreen on January 14, 2014, 08:25:44 PM
I see.

Person 1: Does the boogeyman exist?

Person 2: No...

Person 1: Ha! You just claimed that the boogeyman doesn't exist! Now you have to prove it!

You're simply choosing to use examples that are practically unverifiable (assuming that the whole universe counts as a possible domain for ghosts and boogeymen).  We can't scour the entire universe for ghosts and boogeymen.  Beyond the practical hurdles, the statement "The boogeyman does not exist" absolutely can be proven using deductive reasoning. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens)  It's trivially easy.

When you were talking about windows it was much more obvious that the negative/positive distinction is a superfluous one that leads to absurdities.  You have yet to even define it or explain how to identify it.