Quote# 67969

[You can't prove a negative]

That is a phrase commonly used by many people, even agnostics and especially atheists. First point, if that were true then there is something fundamentally wrong with you and your logic. Why? Because atheists spend an tremendous amount of time and effort desperately trying to prove God doesn't exist.

Secondly, I can show you where that statement goes south. I read a good example recently. If existent is a positive, then nonexistent is a negative. So, you and I can probably easily prove we aren't nonexistent.

Remember, nonexistent is a negative. So, with little effort, we just proved a negative. Of course, getting into a discussion or debate over the existence of nonexistence of God would not be that simple, proving your statement is wrong negates any possible use of it during the debate.

Vic, Christianforums.net 38 Comments [12/10/2009 5:31:23 PM]
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Ever heard of a double negative?

Come on, it's 5th grade math!

12/10/2009 5:38:09 PM


You did just prove that you're an idiot.

12/10/2009 5:41:42 PM

Doctor Whom

A swing and a miss. While it's true that "positive" or "negative" is sometimes a matter of characterization rather than objective reality, Vic's word salad does a terrible job of making that case.

12/10/2009 5:51:45 PM

Old Viking

Vic, you're getting yourself all upset, and that little twitch at the corner of your eye is back.

12/10/2009 5:53:01 PM


Congratulations, you just proved the nonexistence of your logical skills.


12/10/2009 6:10:34 PM


"Not nonexistent" is a double negative and therefore is a positive statement. You fail logic forever.

12/10/2009 6:24:56 PM


Proving that your arguments are lacking in logic is not the same as proving a negative.

And if we prove that we aren't nonexistent, we prove that we're existent, and therefore we did not prove a negative and... my head hurts.

12/10/2009 6:33:25 PM


There's an old saying my father used to tell me...

If you cant beat them with brilliance baffle them with bullshit
I would definitely say it applies in this case.

12/10/2009 6:50:37 PM

Dr. Razark

"If existent is a positive, then nonexistent is a negative. So, you and I can probably easily prove we aren't nonexistent."

Very good. You just proved that we aren't nonexistent.

Now, if you can just prove that your god is not nonexistent, you'll be doing good.

I'd suggest you look up a few concepts to get started with that. First, positive. Then negative. Then double negative. After that, find a large electrical supply. Point to the positive terminal. While still touching it, point to the negative terminal.

Problem solved.

12/10/2009 7:17:21 PM


Except we DON'T. We occasionally take a bit of time out of our otherwise busy and productive schedules to prove that you have insufficient evidence for your beliefs.

Also, if we can prove we AREN'T NONEXISTENT, we proved a DOUBLE negative, meaning that we proved a POSITIVE CLAIM.

12/10/2009 7:52:49 PM

How much weight could I lose on a diet of Vic's word salad?

12/10/2009 8:03:39 PM

Lucifer's estranged son

For starters, athiests don't believe in your god. So why would they spend any time trying to disprove its existence?
Show me an athiest that gives a shit about god's existence, and i'll show you a tool that doesn't know what an athiest is.

Secondly, you can't prove a negative because if a negative is true, then it's a positive.
thats the great thing about free thought, if new evidence arises, you can revise your previous conclusions.

12/10/2009 8:12:12 PM

Thinking Allowed

12/10/2009 8:48:25 PM


As I understand it, "you can't prove a negative" means you can't prove something does NOT exist. You can only prove something DOES exist.

That's why the burden of proof in a murder case, for instance, is on the prosecution. You can't prove you did NOT commit the murder, so the prosecution has to prove you DID commmit the murder.

Proving you are not non-existent is proving a positive: you ARE existent. Proving you are non-existent could be a bit tricky if you plan to keep on breathing.

12/10/2009 10:13:46 PM


Because atheists spend an tremendous amount of time and effort desperately trying to prove God doesn't exist.

No, they try to show that evidence for God doesn't exist.

If existent is a positive, then nonexistent is a negative

No, non-existence is nothing. Non-existence isn't a property. A wyvern isn't an animal with the property of non-existence. It's not an animal, or anything else at all, unless you actually find one. Until then, it's just a made-up word. So non-existence can't be proved. Only existence can.

12/10/2009 10:48:59 PM


*rubs temples*

You know, you can't prove that you're not just a figment of my imagina-- wait, no, I do better work than this. You're more likely to be the result of too much beer and pizza.

12/10/2009 11:17:51 PM


Actually, from a logical stand point, it is possible to determine whether something is false by trying to find an event where the negation to the original negation is true.. if there is a path for the negated negation to be true, then no conclusion can be drawn (From a purely logical perspective)

12/11/2009 2:03:11 AM

One Trick Pony

It's true we can't prove that there is no God, but it is true that we can prove he isn't necessary.

As for the second thing, you actually didn't prove a negative, you just proved that you existed.

12/11/2009 5:41:25 AM


Nobody is trying to prove God doesn't exist.
All atheists are saying is that until they have proof that God exists, they'll do without religion.
It has nothing to do with you, whether they believe or don't believe.

12/11/2009 5:48:39 AM

Big Jilm

No, it's a moot point. We waste no energy. It takes little effort to say no to the bullshit you're selling.

You need to make the case for anyone to believe your BS to start.

Seems you're just angry because you fail to convince anyone. Too bad for you that you're not very persuasive.

12/11/2009 6:03:53 AM

Big Jilm

If you'd provide a concrete definition of just wtf you're talking about then we can easily demonstrate its non-existence.

For example, the most commonly accepted definition of "god" implodes upon itself, so it can't exist.


12/11/2009 6:06:22 AM

Mister Spak

You just proved your IQ is negative.

12/11/2009 6:18:53 AM


You may not hear that, but i am laughing at this. Is this supposed to be humour?

12/11/2009 6:45:28 AM

David B.

That "you can't prove a negative" is an oft stated, and thoroughly inaccurate maxim.

For a start, it is itself a negative assertion, so if it were true you would never be able to prove it. But it is easily disprovable by example. There are negatives that have been proved.

That the "largest prime" does not exist is a negative, and is provable (by modus tollens). That a "married batchelor" does not exist is a negative, and is provable (from definition). You can also prove a negative by exhaustion, i.e. there is no whole number between 1 and 10 with 4 prime factors.

That's not to say every negative is provable, but some certainly are so the assertion is false. The burden of proof lies on the person making the assertion. Always. Making an assertion without evidence or argument for it is called "bare assertion" and is a fallacy. Whether you are claiming God exists or whether you are claiming he does not, it's up to you to back up your claims. No-one is de facto right until proven otherwise.

12/11/2009 6:52:03 AM

Matt The Infidel

That's not a negative, that's a double negative numb nuts

12/11/2009 7:43:50 AM

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