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Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Friday, 14 November 2008

Proving the Negative

The Universal vs. the particular Negative.

One visitor to Sakmongkol’s last previous blog, Questions To No Where, posted a comment. Sad but true, delegates going to the UMNO GA in March 2009, are the average John Q public. Some have paid a lot of money to be included in the G7 team. This is the term they used to describe the delegates who are elected to attend the UMNO GA. The pemuda delegates are called the P2. 2 are elected while the ketua pemuda bahagian and his deputy are automatic delegates.

The average Joe of a delegate, will not be looking for writings on mission statements or vision setting from the contestants. The choice to remain uninformed is in keeping with the general observation that the average Malaysian is said to read only two pages of a book in a year. Malays in particular don’t want to read serious staff. They prefer the glossy magazines and will be rushing to devour Mingguan Malaysia’s PancaIndera before anything else.

But they would certainly be interested in one particular piece of printed material. Its like what the visitor to Sakmongkol’s blog says- the paper printed with the Agong’s face.

That, they like to read as many as possible they can lay their hands on. The print in a particular colour is more preferred than others. That too, they wholeheartedly agree with DS Najib’s ‘the more the merrier’.

Proof? Who in the hell would want to come forward to say I have received RM30,000 from Dato Nazri Aziz? Nazri Aziz when confronted will likely go into fits of temper and probably die of stroke. A more likelier action, would see the receiver of RM30k go to the next hard up contestant and ask would you like to up the ante? Dato Nazri is asking the perennial trick question. It is also the dumbest question of all.

But sakmongkol wants to be fair to Dato nazri. He is not saying there is no money politics. He is saying, he hasn’t seen the act of money politics. There is a huge difference. Nazri affirms what Tun Mahathir is saying, but at the same time, says if there is rampant vote buying he hasn’t seen it. In the last outing Isa Samad would have said- he is not denying that money was paid to secure votes for him, but he would have said, he wasn’t the one paying. Both assertions are true.

But just suppose, what Nazri actually meant was- there is NO corruption in UMNO elections.( paying money is corruption, right?). what is he saying? He is saying a negative- there is no such …in UMNO? Accepting that he is the trickster in the pack, he is adopting the classic stance of- you cant prove a negative. People who are searching for excuses to believe silly things frequently make this statement.

The correct phrase is- you cant prove a universal negative but you certainly can prove a particular negative. For example saying that UMNO( as a whole is not corrupt- even this is contestable) is a universal negative because you cannot prove UMNO as a whole is corrupt. But suppose you want to do a particular person in, you can certainly find all the possible evidence to implicate him. The last time, unconsciously, people started with the premise, Isa Samad DOES NOT pay delegates. Those bent on bumping him off, worked feverishly, to prove he actually does pay delegates. Which shows, when it comes to proving a particular negative, we can do it.

Indeed our whole world progresses by proving negatives. More specifically, it is by constructing possible models of a phenomena (a hypothesis), and then testing them (falsification), that we advance and build on the knowledge that we already have. By doing so, we prove many negatives along the way. for example in science, we came to the conclusion that oxygen is the necessary gas in burning because we were first able to disprove the existence of phlogiston, which was the reigning scientific position at the time. More exactly, we now say that oxygen is a better explanation of burning than phlogiston, because the first fits all the facts while the second does not.

In fact, it is considerably easier to prove a negative (or even a universal negative) then it is to prove a positive. To prove a positive requires extensive testing and decades or centuries of confirmation. To prove a negative can take only one experiment ! As soon as a piece of data disproves the proposition, the negative is proven. Of course, if a model fits most facts perfectly and only disagrees with a few facts, it may very well be that the model does not need to be trashed, but rather modified.

So, let us ask Nazri, who does he want us to prove Does Not Do It?


5 comments:

MANTRA 14 November 2008 at 10:17  

Salam...

Its even more sad and true when you can find these G7 and P2 having their shopping spree during the meetings.. some may even having their dreamy nap in the hotel room while their leaders are hounding in the hall.

From listening comes wisdom, from speaking, repentance... Therefore, Nazri has to proof Tun Mahathir's allegation is wrong!

KongKor 14 November 2008 at 11:52  

Datuk,

It's an open secret that UMNO is perceived to be corrupted to the core. The politicians can say what they want.. doing the twist and turn until thier back breaks for all I care.

The bottomline is that...these people for the sake of their own selfish political survival and monetary gains are willing to sell their pride, principle and dignity. Isn't this a disservice to God, King and the country?

Are the 3 million ordinary UMNO members so helpless in choosing their leaders? Or is it because everyone gets a share of the cake? Or is it that corruption is part of UMNO's vision and mission thus, making it "halal"? (Excuse my layman and shallow questions)

The rest, I leave until the day they face their maker comes judgment day.

D S N 14 November 2008 at 12:16  

Bro Tok Sak,
The burden of prove in cases of corruption is beyond reasonable doubt i.e negative or positive. U made the allegation, u prove it. If u cant prove it beyond reasonable doubt, u don't need to answer anything...as in Razak Baginda case.
In UMNO it is strange that if u are the one accused, u have to prove your innocence and u have to prove it beyond reasonable doubt!
Any Tom Dick & Harry can complaint! Now they got the ACA involved. UMNO is an Association just like any other NGOs etc. Why must the ACA be involved? If there is any money politic in PAS/PKR/DAP and all other political parties, will the ACA be involeved too?
The fact that they termed it as "POLITIK WANG", do they mean "Wang dipolitikkan" or "politik diwangkan"?

Anonymous,  14 November 2008 at 14:28  

Tok sak,

Let all members vote at the branch meetings. Do away with the current system of voting at the divisional meetings. First meeting for nominations and the second one for actual posts election. All must be held in a single day. Let the quota system remains. The divisional and general assembly meetings will be carried out as formality only. Let see how much can a candidate willing to scorch his pocket to buy votes. Maybe this is one of the solutions to money politics..

Wak Tempe

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