Proving a Negative, Russel's Teapot and The Kobayashi Maru

I moved this topic that evolved from a different thread to address what I realized is directly related to my anger and why I experience it. It is, at the source....out of frustration at the core....but it's a frustration that never gets resolved and therefore....will fester into anger. I think the experience of having ADHD that is frustrating in itself let alone any added frustration. At times this can be overwhelming and it can all come crashing down on you when you lose your ability to tolerate IT anymore. What is IT?   Read further....

Proving a Negative ie: Russel's Teapot

A negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmative claim that asserts the non-existence or exclusion of something. There are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics including Arrow's impossibility theorem. A negative claim may or may not exist as a counterpoint to a previous claim. A proof of impossibility or an evidence of absence argument are typical methods to fulfill the burden of proof for a negative claim. Example Matt Dillahunty gives the example of a large jar full of gumballs to illustrate the burden of proof. It is a fact of reality that the number of whole gumballs in the jar is either even or odd, but the degree of personal acceptance or rejection of claims about that characteristic may vary. We can choose to consider two claims about the situation, given as: The number of gumballs is even. The number of gumballs is odd. These two claims can be considered independently, however, both claims represent the same proposition. Odd in this case means "not even" and could be described as a negative claim. Before we have any information about the number of gumballs, we have no means of checking either of the two claims. When we have no evidence to resolve the proposition, we may suspend judgment.

From a cognitive sense, when no personal preference toward opposing claims exists, one may be either skeptical of both claims or ambivalent of both claims.If there is a claim proposed and that claim is disputed, the burden of proof falls onto the proponent of the claim. If there is no agreeable evidence to support a claim, the claim is considered to be an argument from ignorance.

Russell's teapot, sometimes called the celestial teapot or cosmic teapot, is an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims rather than shifting the burden of proof to others, specifically in the case of religion. Russell wrote that if he claims that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, it is nonsensical for him to expect others to believe him on the grounds that they cannot prove him wrong.

Kobayashi Maru  (not just for Star Trek fans :)

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the simulation takes place on a replica of a starship bridge, with the test-taker as captain and other Starfleet members, officers or other cadets, in other key positions. In the scenario of the 2280s, the cadet receives a distress signal stating that the Kobayashi Maru has struck a gravitic mine in the Klingon Neutral Zone and is rapidly losing power, hull integrity and life support. There are no other vessels nearby. The cadet is faced with a decision: Attempt to rescue the Kobayashi Maru '​s crew and passengers, which involves violating the Neutral Zone and potentially provoking the Klingons into hostile action or an all-out war; or Abandon the Kobayashi Maru, potentially preventing war but leaving the crew and passengers to die. If the cadet chooses to save the Kobayashi Maru the scenario progresses quickly. The bridge officers notify the cadet that they are in violation of the treaty. As the starship enters the Neutral Zone, the communications officer loses contact with the crippled vessel. Klingon starships then appear on an intercept course. Attempts to contact them are met with radio silence; indeed, their only response is to open fire with devastating results. The objective of the test is not for the cadet to outfight the opponent but rather to test the cadet's reaction to a no-win situation.


I'm going to make an another philosophical argument here that I believe is absolutely true....that the experience of having ADHD puts one in the position of having to do this very thing in countless ways. What may look like someone who is trying to be obstinate and contrary may actually have some merit and this is not what is actually happening or what they are attempting to do? Denial could be associated with this in an extreme version of it....but even without denial present and someone is making a valid attempt at speaking as honestly and authentically as they can without distortions present in their still leaves a lot to be desired and an inability to communicate sometimes.

The reason for this? What is happening is they are trying to prove something or explain something that the person on the other side of the conversation simply cannot relate with. Without saying it.....this is absolutely true. It's a fact and there are no two ways around it. What is actually happening and for no better reason I can think a valid attempt many times to relate and try to connect in a way that is simply not possible but neither person in the relationship realizes or understands this. You can't know the experience of having ADHD unless you've had this experience...and it differs from most other people experience in their entire life time of experiences.....

Therefore....trying to relate or trying to convince someone who hasn't had this experience as means to explain it to them so they will understand is futile at best. In the worst case ends in frustration and anger and even possibly abuse all over this one un-resolvable concept. The concept itself is really the root cause of these conflicts IMHO. And over what? Trying to do what is not possible? I think that might be included in the definition of insanity. If that's the case.....a different approach on both sides is required. That's really all I have to say on the topic but I did want to share my thoughts because I think it might be possible to accept a situation that there simply is no real resolution for.

As I said this in another resolution for matter like this comes from these understandings and requires nothing on the part of anyone else in this case. If I can let go of this one for good.....I think most of my anger surrounding this will also disappear along with the frustration I have had by simply not being able to see this quite so clearly in the past. I can hope for anyone else who is ready to see this will help you as well. If there is one thing that having ADHD and being in a relationship with someone who has it will do for you without question is to test your character....for both people, not just for the one who has it.