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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #20 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.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 06:39:21 AM by Tom Bishop »

Offline bj1234

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #21 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.


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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #22 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

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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.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 06:43:16 AM by Tom Bishop »

Offline bj1234

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #23 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. 

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #24 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.

Offline bj1234

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #25 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.

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Offline markjo

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #26 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.
Abandon hope all ye who press enter here.

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.

If you can't demonstrate it, then you shouldn't believe it.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #27 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 the claim.
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Offline spank86

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #28 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 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?

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #29 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.
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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #30 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.
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Offline bj1234

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #31 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 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.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 02:11:51 PM by bj1234 »

Offline spank86

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #32 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?

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #33 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.
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Offline spank86

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #34 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.


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Offline markjo

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #35 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.
Abandon hope all ye who press enter here.

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.

If you can't demonstrate it, then you shouldn't believe it.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #36 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
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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #37 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".
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 06:37:35 PM by Rama Set »
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2013, 07:07:05 PM »
Read the FAQ before asking your question - chances are we've already addressed it.
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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« Reply #39 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.
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