Evidence

I recently encountered a very trollish troll on another blog (/waves @ Mak) This trollish troll likes to presume infinite knowledge and attempts to word game his way out of answering a direct question, and then red herring his way along with another question. I am done with this trollish troll and will not sully a good mans blog with more interactions with this trollish troll. However, I have had a couple of days to dwell on this last question, it just kept nagging at me and I think I have an answer that satifies me. This may not satisfy someone else’s take on the situation, but at this point in time, it suits me. The red herring question left to me was one of evidence. What would I consider evidence? I should hope that a guy with a blog entitled Evidence Based Reality, could come up with a decent explanation…

Evidence. Evidence comes in many categories, from weak, to good, to excellent.

Weak evidence would be hearsay, or that which would be circumstantial. As in perhaps someone being caught with a counterfeit 20. If you have one on you, it doesn’t mean you printed it in your basement, it could have been picked  up getting change at the gas station or the donut shop. Someone’s brother’s cousin that heard from someone else’s grandma that you were a counterfeiter would be hearsay, and lousy evidence.

Good evidence is much more convincing. Any reasonably intelligent parent can tell you a look on their childs face is evidence of their guilt in a matter. Let’s say you left the room, and when you came back, the fresh box of donuts you just bought was missing 1 glazed donut. Your child has glaze all over their hands. Between the look on their face and the glaze on their hands this is pretty convincing evidence they ate the donut, even though you did not see it happen.

Let’s consider a murder scene. Fingerprints, footprints, DNA from a strand of hair are all good evidence. All found together at a crime scene, and all matching a certain perp would start adding up to excellent evidence. The perp is now put at the scene, even though there is still a chance of their innocence of the crime. The more evidence made available makes all of the existing evidence stronger. Which brings us to…

Excellent evidence. This would be many converging lines of good evidence. Add up the fingerprints, footprints, DNA, toss in the murder weapon, a motive, plus a confession and you have probably found your murderer.

This kind of converging evidence is what we have for evolution, the age of the universe, and most science in general. Excellent scientific evidence is observable, repeatable, and falsifiable. When many lines of evidence from many different bodies of science converge and point to the same conclusion, I would consider this the strongest kind of evidence available.

This evidence that exists to support both evolution, and the age of the universe pretty much slam dunks straight into the trash can, the possibility of any bronze age mythologies being true.

Oh, and the kind of evidence that exists for religion? It’s weaker than weak. “Cuz reverend Billy Bob said so” is not evidence. “Cuz it says so right thar in my magic book of fables” is not evidence. “Cuz I feel the power of jayzus” is not evidence. “Cuz I know in my heart it must be true” is not evidence. “Because the sunset is beautiful, therefore my dog exists” is not evidence. “Because some philosophers or so called scientists have a certain predisposition to believing in some sort of creationism” is not evidence.

If you religious types have anything else to consider as evidence, I am certain the scientific community and many of us plain old non believing heathens would just love to hear it.

Convergent evidence for evolution : http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/lines_01

I thought this was an interesting read on the age of the universe: http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/bigbangredux.html

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14 thoughts on “Evidence

  1. Good post. I know of this troll to whom you’re referring. To be ignorant of what something is, in this troll’s case, reliable evidence, is one thing. We’re all ignorant of things. Myself, I’m ignorant of most things. But to wear your ignorance on your chest like a medal, then point to it and shout, “LOOK! I’m ignorant! And I refuse to learn! Hurray!” is, to me, evidence of severe cognitive atrophy and delusions of grandeur. Too many people want their opinions valued who haven’t lifted a finger to earn it. Learning, truly learning and studying, are hard things to do. This troll has yet to earn a single callus due to his complete lack of effort. I find that highly friggin’ annoying.

    • There is no shame in ignorance. Ignorance is easily rectified with learning something in the area you are ignorant. I too am ignorant in more areas than I’d like to admit, but when I get to a place where my knowledge hits the end of the line…I do not fear saying “I do not know.” If that happens to bother me, I have a computer and Google. One need not remain ignorant with the world at your fingertips. It just takes time and a willingness to learn.

      “LOOK! I’m ignorant! And I refuse to learn! Hurray!” is, to me, evidence of severe cognitive atrophy and delusions of grandeur. Too many people want their opinions valued who haven’t lifted a finger to earn it. Learning, truly learning and studying, are hard things to do. This troll has yet to earn a single callous due to his complete lack of effort. I find that highly friggin’ annoying.”

      Damn straight brother. Damn straight. Then to parade around as if they have all of the answers, and yet never give any (save for a verse from scripture, like that is some big aha! moment) then dodge the questions asked of them, then toss out unrelated questions to the original topic… I’m not sure who coined the term troll, but I would have come up with something different.

      • Yes. Troll isn’t very good. The Southern racists whom Dr. King used to piss off to no end when he’d come to town for rallies, sit ins, and speeches, called him an “outside agitator.” I’m not comparing Dr. King to some of the ding-bats who pop up on these blogs, but I think the term fits them. ” Mak’s blog was high-jacked by an outside agitator with an ego the size of a rhino and an intellect not visible through any wavelength on the spectrum.” i think that sounds about right, eh?

      • Tireless Outside Agitating Dufus. or T.O.A.D.

        Hell I don’t know…best I can do on my 1st cup of coffee this morn. I really like the “not visible through any wavelength in the spectrum ” part. 🙂

      • T.O.A.D. wins. I like that. But let’s use tedious rather than tireless, it’s more accurate. Tedious Outside Agitating Dufus! Imperious Rex!

      • Works for me!

  2. Mak waves back and says he likes this post!

    • 🙂 Good to see ya Mak. I hope all is well in your part of the world.

      • Yes yes, all is well here. And I hope the same is true of yours.

      • Good to hear sir. It’s just that you live pretty close to the crazy over there, at least from my interpretaion of the map…I worry about you. 🙂

        We have plenty of crazy here too, but they aren’t razing the countryside with automatic weapons, blowing shit up, and making a hobby of wanton destruction. For now…

        We are well here too. At least we are still paying the bills. I do have 1 sick brat at home from school, but he should be allright in a few days. I just hope none of the rest of us catch it.

      • Don’t be worried for me 😛 the crazies here are busy conning each other in church to worry about me. And besides most don’t read, they wouldn’t know where to get me.

        I wish the brat quick recovery and you all have a great time.
        Have a good weekend ahead mate

      • Cool beans then. As long as they are still trying to out x-ian each other they are too busy to cause trouble.

        Taking the brat back to the Dr. in about an hour. He’s still running a low grade fever after several days of Tamiflu, and 2 days of amoxicillin. Doc wasn’t sure what was going on at first so he treated for flu symptoms. Called him back when his fever was still consistent, they put him on anti biotics. If they can’t come up with some prognosis today, I will have his blood drawn and looked at.

        Crap like this will make a dad worry a little bit.

      • On an antibiotics regimen and care from the old man, the brat will be well in a short while

      • Blood drawn. Now we wait.

        There was talk of the possbility of Mono.

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