There are a lot of religious people who would love it if we could scientifically prove the existence of God. What would happen if, while attempting to prove the existence of God, we instead proved the existence of a devil?
Assume the proof is scientifically rigorous—it is repeatable, statistically sound, etc.
What we don't know:
- The proof does not demonstrate anything about the nature of this devil, so we don't know if it is a singular Devil, a horde of devils, or the ghosts of Homo neanderthalensis with a vendetta against all Homo sapiens.
- The proof still doesn't prove or disprove the existence of God. Of course, many people would correlate the existence of a devil with the existence of God, and although "correlation doesn't imply causation, ... it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'." In any case, further attempts to prove the existence of God will fail to do so but might solidify the proof of the devil's existence.
- This doesn't prove or disprove any existing religions (though if there are any that have the specific doctrine "there is no devil", those have now been proven to not be 100% correct)
What we have been able to determine:
- There is a real, malevolent psychic force that wishes ill upon humanity
- This force doesn't necessarily want us to go extinct (then it wouldn't have anybody to torment)
- Its goal is to make as many people as miserable as possible
- Its influence is only psychic, and even then it cannot force anyone to do anything.
- It is not limited to influencing a single person at a time
- It is intelligent enough to not easily give itself away while influencing someone—people will usually mistake the influence as one of their own thoughts.
How would society at large react to this development?