Living evidence

Posted by – January 29, 2008

Most things that get said a lot are true, but some aren’t. Example:

(1) Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence

That’s just patently false. In fact, the only way (that I know of) we can increase our confidence that something doesn’t exist is to try to look for it and not succeed. (1) Can be made true with two possible changes:

(2) Absence of evidence is evidence of absence

which is true but probably isn’t what is meant with the original, or

(3) Absence of evidence isn’t proof of absence

Of course, (3) is just a special case of an even more useful result,

(4) Nothing is proof of anything

Now, that actually isn’t something that gets said a lot, but perhaps one day it will be. I call it – Hardwick’s law.

Now, quick, is the following web-headline from a satire mag like The Onion or from a serious source of news and commentary?

It’s actually from Slate. How can one help loving these postmodern times?

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