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How do you prove something doesn't exist?

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not sure if this is the right spot for this but seemed like a deep question to me so here we go.

How do you prove that something doesn't exist? i mean its easy to prove that something does exist, all you have to do is find it. but how do you PROVE something doesn't exist....? And when do you stop looking?

The only thing which can be proven not to exist is nothingness.

Lets imagine we're on a holodeck and 'outside' is a super advanced civilization called heaven. Lets picture that scenario right now and once you've done it ask yourself the following question.

How can you imagine something existing outside this 'holodeck' unless there is an outside? If it was nothingness there would be no where to picture the super advanced civilization existing.

Enjoy!

Edited by Mr Right Wing

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For "proving" the non-existence of hypothetical objects, such as, say, God, one needs to do something similar to what Euclid did when he proved there is no largest prime. First you premise the existence of the thing you propose to disprove, then you show that the premise leads to a logical contradiction that can be avoided only if the premise is false. The Latin for this is reductio ad absurdum (which is traditionally how one concludes this sort of proof).

There is some sense in logic that this kind of proof is not as good as the more straightforward proof where one takes premises that are accepted and rearranges them to show that one's premise must be true. This sort of proof is really nothing more than showing that the statement proved is tautological with the premises. (This sort of proof is known as a QED proof (quod erat demonstrandum)). Even though the absurdum has its critics, I think it is good enough when it comes to proving there is no God in the Abrahamic sense.

To "prove" that an object of physical reality doesn't in such a logical way is not possible. One can present logical arguments (how does it maintain a large enough breeding population to avoid inbreeding genetic disaster) but humans are good at coming up with rationalizations to explain away potential problems if the will to believe is strong enough.

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not sure if this is the right spot for this but seemed like a deep question to me so here we go.

How do you prove that something doesn't exist? i mean its easy to prove that something does exist, all you have to do is find it. but how do you PROVE something doesn't exist....? And when do you stop looking?

All of our deepest questions can only be answered by each of us as we make our journey through life. I take it you are really talking about the God issue. There are logical reasons for not believing in God as well as for belief. For some there is no evidence for God, for others they see it all around. The difference, perhaps is personal experience. The arguments for the existence of God don't prove anything, they just show that those who have faith have reason behind them. Fantical atheist will disagree, which is to be expected, I don't mind. Fantatical believers think atheist are evil, and are running from truth.......perhaps for some LOL, but most, like most believers, seek truth and those of us who can live with doubt, unavoidable, at least for me in life, seek to allow others to find their way. God, who existence can't be proven, is not a object, a thing, or even an inner experience, it is something beyond what our minds, profound as they are can't concieve. I also believe that 'viliage atheist' do just as much harm for their cause as some fanatical threads in any faith, be it theistic or not.

Peace

Mark

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It sounds to me like you are admitting there is good logical reason to not believe in God, and no evidential reason to believe either, so you are going to resort to personal experience. The standard word for that is "faith."

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It sounds to me like you are admitting there is good logical reason to not believe in God, and no evidential reason to believe either, so you are going to resort to personal experience. The standard word for that is "faith."

Of course my friend. We are in a world where we will never know the answer to many of our deepest questions. We are forced to seek. Even if one is on a certain path, it still takes years to move deeper in the mystery of ones life, of creation, of others, and finally of God.

peace

mark

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I would say with most things you can't prove they don't exist.

even if it is likely they don't.

for instance it is highly unlikely a 15 foot man exists.

But you can't prove the 15 foot man doesn't exist, just because you think it's unlikely.

He could live in a jungle or in a cave. Just because no one has seen him doesn't disprove

his existence.

It's like that with many things, aliens, religion,cryptids, etc.

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So, you say, they probably (or maybe almost certainly) don't exist and forget about them. You have enough business doing what you have to do with things that do exist.

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Rediculous. Yes you cannot proove a negative this is true.. Double negatives always have problems, but rational people do not need the aggregate to dictate truth by plural reasoning to what they know is true. Some things do not lend themselves to repeatability through demand.

some people do not lend themselves to repeatability through demands ... the soul seeks who it is... by seeing what it is not ... there is only the limitation of the imagination that digital answers have exceptions...

the better your answers , the more questions are spawned ... precsion is not the goal , it is the means ...

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nobody is really interested in proving god 'exist's

all they're interested in is to prove that 'someone else's god don't exist

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How can we be so arrogant as to believe that these frail bodies we live in

are perfectly equipped to perceive of all the unknown powers that exist in the universe?

Isn't it rather illogical to think that our limited collection of earthly senses

should be able to perceive of energies, entities and interdimensional physics

that exist elsewhere in the cosmos?

When we start arguing the philosophies of truth and reality,

we start by giving ourselves waaay to much physical credit.

Ya think?

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Some also say you cannot prove anything.

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If something want to exist, it will prove by itself. If non exist like to stay out of the existence, don't try to make it Visible, you may be wasting your energy and time. May be the existence is only for your belief, new belief for a while. It can be your own fantasy world not all.

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I can "prove" a statement false by providing a counter-example -- "All swans are white" is falsified by producing a black swan. "God is omnibeneficient" was falsified at Dachau. "God is omnipotent" by asking if there is anything God cannot do, since if the answer is yes then God cannot do that thing and if the answer is no then there is doing something he cannot do we can put on a list of things he can't do (self-referetial contradiction).

Does Sasquatch exist is easily proved by producing one, but there is no counterexample (failure to produce one when by now we would normally expect it is strong counter-evidence but he could always be just over the next hill.. That there is no historical record of any Jesus Christ from non-Christian centuries until over a century after his presumed existence, when in fact there were enough authors of the period who we would expect would have mentioned him but didn't is pretty good reason to think he didn't really exist, but not proof. (This is the biggest hypocrisy in Christian apologetics -- when push comes to it they always end up with, ":You can't prove otherwise.")

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Disproving something is as simple as proving the opposite. Frank Merton's swan analogy demonstrates this method perfectly. Proving something's nonexistence is not only largely impossible, but it is a waste of time when the opposite is usually simpler. If someone says "chupacabra exists" but can't show it, conclusive proof of its nonexistence is not required as the lack of proof supporting it is lacking.

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