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What constitutes evidence?

 
 
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:12 am
We marvel over the beauty of our universe, myriad reports and speculations over 'dark matter', 'parallel universes', and the sheer magnitude of the cosmos. On a molecular level, discoveries of such intrigueing particles as the Higgs Boson have caused further speculation about the nature of light, matter, and energy. Biologists have peered into the incredible complexity of DNA to discover amazing similarities between species.

All this is evidence, but evidence of what?

Archeologists, geologists and historians have unearthed remarkable discoveries of antiquity. Ancient writings have been discovered, translated, and argued.

All this is evidence, but evidence of what?

In our legal system, circumstantial evidence may be used to convict. A chemist who publishes based on his gut instinct is soon flipping burgers. Yet, in our everyday living, our direction and decisions are based on a complex fabric of things learned, things believed, and things perceived. Imagine a brilliant scientist who suddenly experiences an Alzheimer's type disassociation from his past. Even the most ordinary daily experiences now become unumaginably difficult. Why? Because he no longer has all the necessary evidence. Evidence is there, of course. But how to process. . . ?

So, what is evidence?

Personal opinions accepted.


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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 1,919 • Replies: 21
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:23 am
@neologist,
Evidence is measurable.


(if we want to use it for anything than our own purposes/entertainment)
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:28 am
@ehBeth,
Devil's advocate, here.

You are crossing street. Car coming towards you.
Evidence.
How does measurement fit in?

You read of earthquake in Tibet.
Evidence.
How do you process?

ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:30 am
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

You are crossing street. Car coming towards you.
Evidence.
How does measurement fit in?


speed/distance/time etc etc

it's amazing what people can, and do, assess and evaluate in situations like that
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:30 am
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

You read of earthquake in Tibet.
Evidence.
How do you process?


process what?
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:32 am
@ehBeth,
Sheesh!

You must be watching over my shoulder.

Shudder.

Looking for evidence of same. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 10:36 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
Evidence is measurable.


(if we want to use it for anything than our own purposes/entertainment)
A man in Snohomish County was sentenced to 90+ years this month on circumstantial evidence. Bullet never found. Presence at scene never established.

Explain what jury may have been able to measure.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 11:06 am
@neologist,
I think it's pretty simple, Neo. Once you already know something, then EVERYTHING is evidence for it. There can be no possible contrary evidence, because we know the facts. Any piece of information which might otherwise raise questions about what we "know" MUST, a priori, be misleading and wrong. It is the evidence, not the knowledge, which is suspect.

Quote:
"The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain't so." (Mark Twain)


If this approach leads to any kind of logical contradiction, well, then, so much the worse for logic, eh? It too is now suspect.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 11:14 am
@neologist,
neologist wrote:
Explain what jury may have been able to measure.


what was presented to the jury?
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 11:16 am
@layman,
Cynical, eh!

Heh, heh.

That'll get you far here.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 11:58 am
@neologist,
We KNOW, for example, that General Relativity (gravity) is a fact, and that it applies uniformly across the entire universe.

So, what happens when things don't act according to the "laws" of GR? That PROVES the existence of unseen, and unseeable, matter of a completely mysterious form, aka "dark matter," can't ya see? And LOTS of it, too. Everywhere else, but not here. So much for uniformity, I guess.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 12:01 pm
@layman,
What?
Plenty of dark matter on a2k
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 12:13 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:
So, what happens when things don't act according to the "laws" of GR?


people do more research. That's what happens.

_____

that's what makes living in these days so magnificent - more knowledge and information coming at us superfast. Magnificent and overwhelming times.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 12:29 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
people do more research. That's what happens....

Maybe. But there is no need for further research into a matter which you already know what MUST be the case, eh?

Quote:
Dark matter (virtual particles) is a hypothetical kind of matter that cannot be seen with telescopes but accounts for most of the matter in the universe. The existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe. It has not been detected directly, making it one of the greatest mysteries in modern astrophysics....existence of dark matter is generally accepted by the mainstream scientific community.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter

And why shouldn't the mainstream accept it? After all, the evidence for it is quite clear, notwithstanding the fact that dark matter, is, by hypothesis, totally undetectable.

My kind of evidence, eh!? Science (aka wild-ass speculation run rampant) always has the best evidence, I figure.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 12:30 pm
@neologist,
Good question.

To answer it, you need to start with what you want to prove. By definition, there can be no evidence in absence of a claim or theory to be substantiated or invalidated by said evidence.

So: evidence is whatever proofs or indications (expressed in numbers or not -- ie it doesn't need to be quantitative) one can assemble in support or against a theory.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 12:35 pm
@Olivier5,
Quote:
So: evidence is whatever proofs or indications...one can assemble in support or against a theory.


I don't think that's the question Neo is asking. The question is how do you decide what "supports" what?
layman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 12:46 pm
@layman,
Quote:
Science (aka wild-ass speculation run rampant) always has the best evidence, I figure.


There are alternative theories, of course. I like this one even better!:

Quote:
Alternative theories: Mass in extra dimensions

In some multidimensional theories, the force of gravity is the unique force able to have an effect across all the various extra dimensions,[15] which would explain the relative weakness of the force of gravity compared to the other known forces of nature that would not be able to cross into extra dimensions: electromagnetism, strong interaction, and weak interaction.

In that case, dark matter would be a perfect candidate for matter that would exist in other dimensions and that could only interact with the matter on our dimensions through gravity. That dark matter located on different dimensions could potentially aggregate in the same way as the matter in our visible universe does, forming exotic galaxies.


Dark matter, still, but now it only exists in extra dimensions, which themselves exist in "exotic galaxies," with selective force interaction between them and our three dimensions. Yeah, that's the ticket!
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 01:03 pm
@layman,
Quote:
The question is how do you decide what "supports" what?

That would depend of the "what"... Each theory or claim will call for specific evidence, developed creatively and subjectively. In my experience, the gathering of evidence is not 100% rational and predictable. Flair plays a role. Likewise, interpreting evidence is rarely as straightforward as many people think.

In fine, it depends what you want to prove, at what degree of confidence (since nothing is ever certain 100%), and to whom: some constituencies are harder to convince than others, and/or will accept different types of evidence than others.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 01:11 pm
I wonder if there's any connection between two different logical proposals:

1. That the expansion of the universe is NOT actually accelerating (hence no need to posit dark matter), and
2. That Bohm's pilot theory of QM, which is perfectly consistent with all the known facts (and which avoids all the contradictions and the need for such "multi-universe" speculations such as given by the Everett interpretion) should replace the "standard model" in QM.

The problem: Both of these suggestions would require dumping the special theory of relativity with a theory of motion which acknowledges absolute simultaneity.

But why should that be a problem? These other theories of motion explain all the known phenomena just as well (if not better) than special relativity. They are "confirmed" by every experiment that is said to "confirm" SR.

Well, I'll tell ya why. We KNOW special relativity is true, that's why!
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2015 01:12 pm
@Olivier5,
Quote:
Each theory or claim will call for specific evidence, developed creatively and subjectively. In my experience, the gathering of evidence is not 100% rational and predictable. Flair plays a role. Likewise, interpreting evidence is rarely as straightforward as many people think


Very astute, Ollie..
 

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