Ever since 1993, a conspiracy has circulated online alleging that the German city of Bielefeld doesn’t exist. Now the city is pushing back by offering a million euros to anyone who can definitively prove it doesn’t exist.
Entries can be submitted in either German or English
, but the deadline is Sep. 4. So there’s not much time left.
It seems to me that the contest has set an impossible task, because it's well known that a negative can never be proven. For instance, we can't definitively prove that the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist. We can only say that we haven't found her yet.
But on the other hand, the opposite is equally true. It's impossible to definitively prove anything with absolute certainty. For instance, what if someone believes that Bielefeld exists because they've lived there their entire life? Well, that doesn't actually prove anything. As Bertrand Russell pointed out in his five-minute hypothesis
, it's possible that the entire universe sprang into existence five minutes ago, complete with our memories of an older history. It may seem unlikely, but it's possible. So likewise, just because someone remembers living in Bielefeld, it's possible that their memories are false.
Which is to say that even if no one wins the million euros by proving that Bielefeld doesn't exist, that doesn't mean the city actually does
exist. The existence of Bielefeld can never be definitively proven or disproven.
More info: epoch times