Fw: You can't prove a negative!

Harvey Newstrom (newstrom@newstaffinc.com)
Sat, 26 Jun 1999 01:31:42 -0400

Lee Daniel Crocker <lcrocker@mercury.colossus.net (none)> wrote:
> > I am getting really concerned by what passes for "logic" in these recent
> > discussions. Most of the arguments here lately seem to boil down to
> > theories with no supporting evidence. When someone objects, the defense
> > "you can't prove I'm not right." This is not logical, not scientific,
> > not Extropian.
> There is also a place for boundless speculation, and I don't think
> this list is inappropriate for that.

I wasn't objecting to speculation.

I was objecting to the debating technique of using known logical fallacies to make a point. I was objecting to the claims of evidence that puts the burden of proof on others rather than the claimant. I was objecting to the theorem that ideas are assumed to be true until proven false. I was objecting to the evaluation of claims that are not testable, falsifiable, or repeatable.

True speculation doesn't require these anti-Extropian traits. Speculation is fine, but if speculation requires the above fakery to appear plausible, it is not useful speculation. Useful speculation leads to scientific postulates and theories, testing of logic, evaluation of data, and the scientific method. These methods can lead to actual truths. That's useful speculation.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://newstrom@newstaffinc.com> <http://newstaffinc.com>
Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.