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Monday, March 14, 2005

When In Rome...

One thing I’ve started to notice a lot in the last several years is how people seem to be declaring that something is X and then, when called upon to provide evidence that supports the assertion, demand that someone needs to prove that something is not X – else they’ll keep on declaring that this thing is X. The Bloogeyman is not a philosopher, but he did take one philosophy and one logic class in college (yup, that’s right – you’re reading a college educated blogger!). This line of thinking is called ‘proving a negative’ – that is, you’re calling on someone to prove that something doesn’t exist/didn’t’ happen/isn’t true. The fundamental problem with this line of ‘logic’ is that it is false – you cannot prove a broadly asserted negative!

Here’s an example: Let’s say you call up the Bloogeyman and say “You’re gay!”. And I say “No, I’m not”, then you say “Prove it!”. Well, herein is the problem I’d have to do impossible things to prove that I’m not gay. I’d have to let you follow me around all day long, or let you video tape me everywhere (yes, even in the shower) to attempt to prove that I wasn’t gay. Even if I let you do that you could simply say that either you hadn’t been following me long enough or that I was hiding my true intentions. Long story short, you’d have to follow me around for the rest of my life and I still couldn’t prove beyond a doubt that I wasn’t gay. You are asking me to prove a negative – something that is logically impossible.

The most salient recent example is the whole debacle we call Iraq. We went to Iraq and said to them, “You have to prove to us that you don’t have WMD!” To which Iraq said, “Uh…okay…we’ll let you look anywhere you want, whenever you want, to show you that we don’t have any WMD”. You can already guess where this discussion will lead. Eventually, we found ourselves (or our administration) saying, “Well, the inspectors haven’t found any WMD yet, but he could be hiding them anywhere, even in his pocket!” Of course, it’s impossible to prove that you aren’t hiding them anywhere, because anywhere someone looks at a single point in time somebody else can say that maybe they’re somewhere else at the time. Finally we went down the absurd route of saying that they had intentions to acquire WMD. How the hell can you prove that you don’t have any intentions? It’s not like someone can crack open your skull and count all the intentions you have in there!

Regardless, that’s the path we went down, and it seems to be a favored path these days. The Iraq example is only the most obvious recent example – there are dozens, and new ones pop up every week. Well, the Bloogeyman has looked at how all of this has played out in recent years and finally decided that a new maxim applies, “When in Rome, accuse the Romans of hiding WMD!”

Since we’re all about demanding that people prove negatives these days, I figure why not start applying some of that logic to this administration?

George Bush – you are a crack addict. We now have tapes in which you basically admit to marijuana use; we have people that say you used cocaine in the past; and we have access to right-wing research that proves that once you’ve used marijuana you become a crack addict in short order. Therefore, you George Bush, are a crack addict. Now, don’t send one of your sleazy boogeymen (lawyers) over here talking about libel and slander – I want you to prove to me that you aren’t a crack addict. Until you do, I declare you to be a crack addict.

Jeff Gannon – you are a gay hooker. I’m sorry, but when you have a website which offers your ‘services’ to men for $200/hour (or $1,200/weekend, for you hedonistic, but still value-conscious and fiscally conservative, Republicans) you’re a gay hooker. Period. In fact, you’re also a gay pimp because you’ve offered to procure other men for your clients. Don’t go on TV and proclaim your ungayness or denounce that people have been calling you a hooker – you need to prove to me that you are not a gay hooker. I know that’s a little tough to do, but hey, I didn’t make up the rules.

Karl Rove – you are a self-loathing homosexual. That’s right, there’s just too much evidence that you’re gay to ignore. Hell, I don’t even need evidence – you need to prove to me that you’re not gay. Until then, I pronounce you to be gay.

Bill Bennett – you are addicted to pornography. Yeah, I know that right about now you’re saying “WTF?!? I’m just addicted to gambling…”, but according to this right-wing pamphlet I received last month gambling leads to pornography (which leads to homosexuality…or is it the other way around?). You have admitted to being a gambler, ergo, you are addicted to gay pornography. I will continue to announce to the world that you, William Bennett, are addicted to gay pornography until you prove to me that you are not.

Whew, this logic stuff is hard to apply - takes a lot of thinking. I'm sure I missed a couple of obvious people. Is there anyone else that needs to be on this list? You Tell Me.