A Grumpy Computer Scientist
3 min readDec 26, 2021


Here is a negative that you have proved: you don't understand the first thing about arguments or rational thought.

You have read once on twitter that you can't prove a negative. You have understood absolutely nothing of what it means, when it applies, and what it applies to... and sure enough you are now looking foolish, by attemtpting to call upon it when it absolutely has no relevance.

Let me educate you then.

First of all: you can and you do absolutely prove a negative in logic and mathematic just as easily as you do a positive: in fact, any statement p is also a negative !(!p).
It can be absolutely proved without question that the square root of 2 is *not* a rational number.

When they say that you can't prove a negative it refers to a particular kind of proofs, proofs by induction. But rational arguments are not proofs, they do not seek to be proofs at all (by induction or otherwise) if one could produce a proof of a rational argument, it would be a theorem. What is more, not even all proofs are proofs by induction.

Science uses induction as its main instrument to argue but it is never concerned with proving things. Outside of mathematics, there is no “proof by induction”, there is only “support by induction”. All proofs that are true proofs are by deduction and in general they do not apply to human discourse or debate.

Moreover, even if absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, science can and does accept arguments for absence on the basis of absence of evidence, under particular conditions in which they are rational. Anyone who has a basic a knowledge of rational thinking knows this. And those who don’t, make fools of themselves by arguing about things without even bothering to have the most basic of wikipedia knowledge.

That said, of course there is the small matter that I never asked for any proof, or mention proof at all in my comment. I specifically asked for *evidence* in support of a statement of opinion, which was provided without any evidence whatsoever. I can hardly think of a more rational thing to ask.

Of course, with your reply you showed unequivocally that you do not understand the difference between proof and evidence, and that speaks volumes about your grasp of rational thinking, so I don’t expect you to make sense of any of the above.

That said: millenials are indeed whiny, but they are still better than many boomers who benefitted from destroying the planet and the economy, got themselves in a position of privilege, and now are leaving the following generations in a disastrous situation, with raging inequality and a messed up environment. All the while muttering nonsense and trying at all costs to maintain the status quo which benefits them. Old people are the disgrace of the world in this moment: it is them voting for Trump, for Brexit, it's a lot of them being racist and bigoted... and that is a "positive" statement that has tons and tons of data to support it, just look up any statistics from reliable sources about the age distribution of racists, Trumpians, or Brexiters.

Stay away from Breitbart and remember to take your pills.



A Grumpy Computer Scientist

UK-based AI professor interested in AI, mind, science, rationality, digital culture and innovation. Hobbies: incessantly fighting nonsense.