How do you prove there are no unicorns?

May 25, 2006

Taken from Microsoft TechNet Article: Deconstructing Common Security Myths :

How do you prove there are no unicorns? Well, you’d have to go to every possible place that there might be a unicorn and observe that no unicorn exists in that place. Thing is, unicorns move. And they very likely will keep one step ahead of you because they prefer lives of secrecy. So you’d have to go to every possible place that there might be a unicorn all at the same time and simultaneously observe that every place lacks a unicorn. Have you mastered the difficult art of being in more than one place at a time? We didn’t think so. Therefore, you can’t prove there are no unicorns.

How do you prove that there are unicorns? Simple: find one.


6 Responses to “How do you prove there are no unicorns?”

  1. Eip Says:

    it is just as easy to find one as it is to prove that they don’t exist.

  2. punkouter Says:

    errr… nope. I think you completely missed the logic there. Let me explain it in a more modest language. Lets replace the unicorn with something that is much more familiar. Since I like music, lets replace the premise with music so that it becomes: “How dow you prove there are no Good Music”.

    Now, how do I prove that? I have to listen to every single music and songs ever released since the beginning of time until now and if I found not even a single Good Music, then I have proved that there are no good music. Now, since music came out every day and there are tons of those, I must either have demonic powers, divine ears or immortality to be able to accomplish that, given that the earth doesnt explode before I finished hearing all the musics.

    On the contrary, “Proving that there IS good music” is rather easy. I just have to find ONE and it will proved the whole premise.

  3. Eip Says:

    i understood what You were saying, but i was only makeing the point that when looking for that one good song, or the unicorn, it can seem impossible. after all, it might be in the last place.

  4. punkouter Says:

    hmm.. if you put it that way, then yes the probability might be as hard as it can be. but i think the point here is not the search, rather the change of conception.

    when proving there about unicorns:
    -> No Unicorn: you have to go to the WHOLE world at the same time to prove it.
    -> There is a Unicorn: you just have to find ONE.

    Do you get it? It means finding at least ONE have larger probability than covering a WHOLE and proving there are NONE.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    But i would think the means of searching for a good song is very different from finding a unicorn…. wouldnt it? With a song i know where to start and search… with the unicorn… hmmm… also with a good song it can be a subjective search. whereas a unicorn needs to be .. well a unicorn…


  6. u2345 Says:

    “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” this post makes complete sense. By the way, i’ve seen a goat with one horn sticking out the top.

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