[ExI] Atheism again
stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 23:06:52 UTC 2020
On Tue, 21 Apr 2020 at 04:54, Dave Sill via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:29 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> And in any case. you can't prove a negative.
> "The fact is, however, that this supposed "law of logic" is no such thing.
> As Steven D. Hales points in his paper "You Can Prove a Negative," "You
> can't prove a negative" is a principle of folk logic, not actual logic.
> Notice, for a start, that "You cannot prove a negative" is itself a
> negative. So, if it were true, it would itself be unprovable. Notice that
> any claim can be transformed into a negative by a little rephrasing—most
> obviously, by negating the claim and then negating it again. "I exist" is
> logically equivalent to "I do not not exist," which is a negative. Yet here
> is a negative it seems I might perhaps be able to prove (in the style of
> Descartes—I think, therefore I do not not exist!).
> Of course, those who say "You can't prove a negative" will insist that I
> have misunderstood their point. As Hales notes, when people say, "You can't
> prove a negative," what they really mean is that you cannot prove that
> something does not exist. If this point were correct, it would apply not
> just to supernatural beings lying beyond the cosmic veil but also to things
> that might be supposed to exist on this side of the veil, such as unicorns,
> Martians, rabbits with 20 heads, and so on. We would not be able to prove
> the nonexistence of any of these things either."
In general, you can only prove things in mathematics, not in science.
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