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Proving Non-Existence

Description: Demanding that one proves the non-existence of something in place of providing adequate evidence for the existence of that something.  Although it may be possible to prove non-existence in special situations, such as showing that a container does not contain certain items, one cannot prove universal or absolute non-existence.  The proof of existence must come from those who make the claims.

Logical Form:

I cannot prove that X exists, so you prove that it doesn’t.

If you can’t, X exists.

Example #1:

God exists.  Until you can prove otherwise, I will continue to believe that he does.

Explanation: There are decent reasons to believe in the existence of God, but, “because the existence of God cannot be disproven”, is not one of them.

Example #2:

Sheila: I know Elvis’ ghost is visiting me in my dreams.

Ron: Yeah, I don’t think that really is his ghost.

Sheila: Prove that it’s not!

Explanation: Once again we are dealing with confusion of probability and possibility.  The inability to, “prove”, in any sense of the word, that the ghost of Elvis is not visiting Sheila in her dreams is an impossible request because there is no test that proves the existence and presence of a ghost, so no way to prove the negative or the non-existence.  It is up to Sheila to provide proof of this claim, or at least acknowledge that actually being visited by Elvis’ ghost is just a possibility, no matter how slim that possibility is.

Exception: If Ron were to say, “That is impossible”, “there is no way you are being visited”, or make some other claim that rules out any possibility no matter how remote (or crazy), then Sheila would be in the right to ask him for proof -- as long as she is making a point that he cannot know that for certain, and not actually expecting him to produce proof.

Tip: If you think you are being visited by aliens, gods, spirits, ghosts, or any other magical beings, just ask them for information that you can verify, specifically with a neutral third-party that would prove their existence.  This would be simple for any advanced alien race, any god or heavenly being.  Some ideas of things to ask for:

future lottery numbers (of course you will give all your winnings to charity)

answers to scientific problems that do have scientific answers, but aren’t yet known

exact details of major future events

But if these beings just tell you things such as:

passages / ideas from the Bible

whether you should take that new job or not

where you left your car keys

that they really exist, and others will continue to doubt you

that you should never question their existence

...or anything else which is just as likely to come from your imagination that is untestable and unfalsifiable, then you might want to reconsider the fact that your being of choice is really paying you visits.

References:

You Can Prove a Negative. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/believing-bull/201109/you-can-prove-negative



Registered User Comments

Brent
Friday, August 25, 2017 - 04:30:12 AM
I would challenge you to provide "decent reasons to believe in the existence of God." I know of none, and over the last 50+ years, people who have claimed they have one have failed to produce one.

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dmaker
Friday, September 01, 2017 - 10:34:35 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
Perhaps my point is semantic. If someone says the fact that their shoe came untied is a reason to believe that God exists, is their shoe now a reason to believe in God, albeit a poor one? Or is it only a reason for that person, and simply physics for others?

Saying that there are reasons, good or bad, to believe in God implies that there are still reasons to believe in God. This seems different than saying there are things that people perceive as reasons to believe in God. Like I said, semantics most likely.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Friday, September 01, 2017 - 10:58:52 AM
@dmaker: It is semantics. I don't like telling people what is a reason and what isn't (a binary distinction) but I have no problem with making an argument as to why their reason is a poor reason.

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Brent
Saturday, September 02, 2017 - 06:04:59 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I agree, there is a reason for everything, it's just that some people choose to attribute reasons without evidence, or with inadequate evidence. If I put a nice steak dinner outside my door, and it gets eaten overnight, it's possible that Angelina Jolie stopped by for a snack, and knocked on my door to thank me by fulfilling my lustful desires, and I just didn't hear her. I may choose to believe that's what happened because my lust compels me to believe it, but that's not a good reason, and it's far more likely it was eaten by raccoons.

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Miguel Lahunken
Saturday, April 07, 2018 - 05:30:21 PM
There are two things in the universe: energy; and, information, which is the conformation of energy. This conformation, differentiation, of energy is in closed circuitry, that there be something to move out of the way and fill in behind, in the absolute density of the one substance, energy. Differentiation causes consciousness, so that, in turn, the matrix of energy is thereby differentiated and therefore energy is conscious, and better known as God.
"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever Amen" - Romans 11:36. God was called "Him" perhaps due to the ancient Israelite assignment of authority to males, or, the fact that energy is seen as active. Such "positive" attributes were attributed to males due to the fact that such was the male viewpoint. Like polarities repel and cause "positive" (like the confrontation of solid "posited" objects) effects.
In actuality, counterclockwise circuits are male, and clockwise circuits are female. These are the real polarities. Even the tiniest subatomic particles are made of closed circuits. The magnetic fluxes of the iron in the cytochromes of all male cells are counterclockwise, and in females, clockwise. Some of us can see the repulsion of like polarities as bright white light, from repelling the magnetic fluxes in the cytochromes of the cells of the optic nerves.
Opposite polarities, circuits confluent to ours, are seen as peaceful darkness ("the thick darkness where God is") in which we can experience moments of the satisfaction of all desires, known in the East as "nirvana'. Everything is running down, or stressed up by that which is running down; all pushing into ultimate confluency and peace.
The consciousness of energy is infinite and eternal. If we were energy we would never sleep. We are only information, each a closed circuit, alpha code information. Energy creating eternally is a consequence of theophysiology. The infinitessimal point nothingness, . , is rastered by time into timespace, U, which being one, exerts its oneness in one direction, /, which stirs closed circuitry, O, which all going the same way, vO^XvO^, repels, X, forcing confluency, =, which allows undfferentiation, and it starts all over again.
Critics have criticized that the exertion of the oneness is equal on both sides. The answer to that is that as this manifestation happens the value of pi is going from zero to higher values, thereby leaving one side of each circuit more pressured than the other, thus, the circuit circulates. Also, the friction of the circuitry is from the Planck's volumes that compose everything. Nothing can be smaller than Planck's volume. Without this friction there would be no consciousness.
But, by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the exact same circuits never differentiate again. The smallest thing is Planck's volume. The same Planck's volumes never reassemble again into the same closed circuit, but each proceeds out toward infinity, by circuits through circuits of the infinite continuum.
There is a psudo-scientist trying to prove a proposed law of the conservation of information to enforce Plato's belief in "immortality of the soul", but, fortunately, he has failed miserably. Those who have a wish for immortality actually seek to have continued satisfactions, but, all satisfactions are only moments of more undifferentiation. Pains are times of acute differentiation. All reliefs, pleasures, are moments of more undifferentiation of the closed circuit we call "I".
But, so many people cried for immortality that God incarnated as Jesus Christ to give directions on how to become immortal. But, actions bring reactions that return with equal worth. That which we cause is on the way back by the ultimate closed circuitry; which is called "karma" in the East.
Fire world? The fifth dimension has been defined as that direction through variously bent timespaces. In the direction of timespaces with pi values less than 3.14159265..., globally bent timespace, there are faster and faster polarity cancellation rates. Fire is a very fast polarity cancellation rate. But there, undifferentiation with the opposite polarity is much more probable, undifferentiation back into nonexistence, "nirvana". In the East, this world has been called "dharmaloka", where "nirvana" is most easily attainable,
We know that that with a fast velocity has a field of globally bent timespace around it. In mechanics, power is force times velocity; in electricity power is voltage times current, and, in thermodynamics power is temperature times entropy production rate. The entropy of the universe is the proportion of photons to nucleons, therefore, entropy is an extent of polarity cancellation, therefore, entropy production rate is polarity cancellation rate. The Philadelphia Experiment, which was actually accomplished, showed that there was no gravitational component with the electrical analogue.
There is no gravitational component with the thermodynamic analogue, which is so easy that any free person can do it. Gravity itself bends timespace globally. Timespaces with pi values higher than 3.14159265... are miserable, and called "saddle" timespace due to its geometry being parabolichyperboloidal. As unbearable as it is, "saddle" timespace is not the place originally called "Hell". Fire is impossible there. And, it has been called "bound astral light"; whereas, globally bent timespace is called "quickened astral light".
Now we know where it's at; and can figure the reasons for all the lies to keep power and wealth in the hands of the authors of intimidating lies. Also, for every possibility there is a probability timeline sideways in time, which could be called the "sixth dimension". If more that fifty percent of your brain believes anything possible, that strong thought will draw you to the probability timeline where it is reality.
And, that which wakes up the brain makes your mind more powerful to draw you to the probability timelines where your thoughts are reality. With between thirty and forty percent brain use everything you write will become your reality. And, between forty and fifty percent brain use everything you say will become your reality." If you have the faith of a mustard seed and say to this mountain move, it will be moved". You go to the probability timeline where the mountain is elsewhere.

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former student
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 04:59:21 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
I clearly see the problem with your athiestic position is that you think the door only swings one way, and logic doesnt apply to your position.
Athiests, such as yourself, demand rationality, coherence, proof and evidence for a theistic view point, and yet you provide no proof or evidence for believing what you believe.
Now there is nothing wrong with asserting that you are unconvinced with the evidence that someone may provide in supporting the theistic claims, but a blanket denial of those theistic claims can not be considered as negations of those claims. It is merely a position of opinion and denial. And yet you demand more proofs and evidences for theism, assert that it is rational to do so, I would agree, all the while holding onto the opposing position that lazily refuses to provide any rationality or evidence for it's own position.
Demanding evidence from theism, all the while shirking your own responsibility for your position on the fallacious premise that one cant prove a negative.
Athiesm is a self evident defenseless position self admittedly. As athiests run around, pounding their chest in pride that they are who they are and dont have to provide a rational reason as to why they believe what they believe.
The athiest position is an affirmative position of there not being a God. Simply inserting a negative into your belief doesn't relieve you of the necessity of providing evidence as to why you believe what you believe. And yet you believe your position devoid of any evidence.
The truth of the matter is that you can not provide any evidence for your belief. And its is a belief, because you believe it, and do so with no evidence.
If you could provide evidence, you would, but you cant, so you dont.
The lological fact is there is a God or there is not.
Both premises cannot both be true. Could never be true. And yet atheists lazily default to the position that is not evident nor is there any evidence to support their belief.
Athiesm by definition is nothing more than an indefensless oppinionated position. Nothing more.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 05:05:50 PM
@Jl2ged: You need to get your facts straight. Atheism addresses belief. I don't believe any gods exist just like I don't believe in any unicorns. I find the evidence against both existing is far more compelling to me than evidence for them existing. Your whole rant above is based on a strawman; that "The athiest [sic] position is an affirmative position of there not being a God."

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former student
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 05:20:13 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: My position is that you offer no evidence of why you believe what you believe, all the while demanding evidence from the opposing side. My position is you can't begin to logically or rationally defend why it is you believe what you believe.
My position is that your position is self evidently at the very heart of hypocrisy at its narrowest definition of terms.
Sir, provide evidence for why you believe what you believe as you demand of the theist, or else you will continually and necessarily leave yourself in a defenseless position.
Your position is self evidently a constant proof that atheism is indefensible. Athiesm is far worse than the strawman my friend.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 05:22:59 PM
@Jl2ged:
My position is that you offer no evidence of why you believe what you believe

Let's start here. What is it that I believe? Do I need evidence for things that I don't believe because I don't have enough evidence to believe them? Tell me what you think I believe that I have no evidence for.

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former student
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 05:37:32 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: are you really that thick to desire to go infinitly round and round , or wouldnt it just be easier to produce evidence as to why you believe what you believe. That's what you demand from your opponents, isnt it? Are you admitting that you have not or cannot provide evidence for what you believe?

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 05:44:47 PM
@Jl2ged: I see you found yourself in a corner and now resorted to name calling. So this is where I say goodbye but I invite you to take some time and think about your question then post it in our Q/A section at https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/qa . Advice: it might be good to ask someone what it is they believe before not only claiming that you know what they believe, but claiming they don't have evidence for it. Also some more advice, this is not a YouTube comments section. The participants on this site, both theist and atheist, are very well educated in logic and reason. So be prepared.

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Miguel Lahunken
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 08:19:30 AM
That which exists has been differentiated. When it is totally undifferentiated back with its matrix, matching Planck's volume to Planck's volume, it no longer exists. It is nonexistent, and nonexistent eternally by the fact of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The exact series of Planck's volumes can never reassemble together again. That entity, that did exist, now, doesn't exist.

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Miguel Lahunken
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 08:29:30 AM
Differentiation has been graphed as a three dimensional curve, called the Ricci curvature. Take a rubber sheet, bunch it up. The bunches represent the differentiated, information. Let it go, and it will snap back to a flat sheet. The bunches have become nonexistent. So too, all informational entities, can become nonexistent.

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