Oh, honestly Glaucon, I never made a mistake. I believe you finally qualified that statement I kept throwing back at you by putting negative assertions in reaction to positive ones outside the category of claims - partially, since you say yes and no. Or defined a term - claim - in a not necessarily obvious way. And thus cannot be seen to referring to these kinds of negative statements. I think if you go back through the thread you will see how important it would have been for either you or Fraggle to actually have referred to the above statement - which I kept re-citing - rather than assuming I needed to hear about the difference between open and closed systems, which I really did not. I think you projected a potential error that was 'up' in the thread onto me, rather than seeing the very specific nature of my response. Thank you Parmalee for getting this focus noticed! As far as this negative claims are not really claims, yes and no... Contingency eliminating the quality of claimness. Hm. It seems to me that both you and the theist are making claims from the perspective of an agnostic. To put this another way, I can see one viewing the negative as not a 'real' or 'full' claim if there were some reason one had to choose between the positive and the negative, the latter becoming a kind of passive default. But it isn't. If the positive is a philosophical curiosity for the reasons you've given, the negative, based on the positive is at least as curious, even if inductive methodologies indicate it is the more likely of the two. Curiousness not being a synonym for unliklihood from some experiencer's vantage. The curiousity comes in with what the reader or listener is supposed to do with the claim or 'non-claim'. There is very little the listener or reader can do with the non-claim either. It just floats there at least as uselessly as the positive claim. There is certainly nothing one can do with it - another, but broader, way of saying it is untestable. The agnostic, however, will further consider it a claim, even if it is one he or she is more sympathetic towards as far as liklihoods. And apart from remaining silent there is the, it seems to me, wonderfully clear This seems the perfect response for the materialist positivist pragmatic phenomenalist to the positive assertion. It 'works'. It is true.