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