Out of all the potential fallacies and blind corners that logical systems of thought often make, the most frustrating is the occurrence of what is called The Devil’s Proof. With this, anyone can claim the outrageous and lay waste to scientific research and logic.
To put it simply, the Devil’s Proof is the fact that non-evidence cannot disprove something’s existence. While evidence can help prove something, the lack of evidence cannot prove that something is untrue. While scientists have ample evidence that autism is not connected to vaccines, however, because of the Devil’s Proof, they cannot confirm 100% that autism is not linked to vaccines. As one scientist put it:
“[While I can’t disprove the link between autism and vaccines,] I am as certain that autism is related to vaccines as I am that I will fly if I step off the roof of this building.”
Using this logical loophole, people can claim anything because unless it has been proved to be something else, anything could be everything and vice versa. That might sound confusing and hard to swallow because our brains like to think that what we know to be true is definite. However, since we need affirmative proof to officially say something exists or exhaust every method possible to prove that there is no proof, everything that does not have evidence proving its existence can also be true because maybe the reason why we don’t have proof yet is just because we haven’t discovered it.
Here’s another example: If your friend shows up with a candy bar that you just lost, can you know that their candy bar was stolen from you? In a legal scenario, the lack of evidence that she took your candy bar means that you technically can’t indict her for the crime. However, due to the Devil’s Proof or what lawyers call probatio diabolica, she has to then prove she didn’t take your candy bar by showing where she got it from etc. So in a court, when faced with proving something impossible to prove, the burden is then reversed onto the other person to prove their innocence.
This may be contrary to “innocent ’til proven guilty” but there is no choice when you don’t can’t definitively say that this person was the one who committed the crime but is instead just the most likely one. While the example above was somewhat simplified from what you see in real life, the Devil’s Proof, when applied elsewhere, isn’t so easily remedied.
You can see that in the belief that America has millions of the dead and “illegals” that voted in the last election. While there were four cases of documented voter fraud (three of which came from Trump voters trying to prove that there is voter fraud and got caught), the Devil’s Proof states that just because there is no further evidence doesn’t mean that it did not occur. Therefore, people have taken advantage of that and that’s how we ended up with this debate nowadays.
The same goes for conspiracy theories like the fact that the global elite might be lizard people from the Illuminati. There is absolutely no proof of that but, once again, the lack of proof doesn’t mean a seal of innocence.
While this sounds quite grim for those who are logical-minded, remember that while this phenomenon can be used to support whack theories, it also means that things like extraterrestrial life are very possible and so are some of the more tentative theories in quantum physics and the possibility of parallel universes etc. So don’t lose hope and remember that although this logical loophole can be dangerous in the stupid hands, it also opens up the world of possibilities.
While I’m sure most of you are already aware of the Devil’s Proof, you just didn’t have a name for it. Well, here it is. Hope you guys enjoyed this article and leave a like if you did. Follow for more of this sort of thing and comment any topics you would like us to cover.
This is Lieutenant and I’ll see you next time.
Good and reflected post. I usually discard the devil’s proof unless there is a good reason to believe something’s existence. We can’t really be sure of anything, but that doesn’t mean we’re all totally ignorant. Check out my last post if you have time, it’s touching the same subject 😉 Thanks!
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