Evidence for the Absence of Absent Evidence
You’ve heard the phrase “absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.” Religious people say it when trying to explain my father or any other god with the lack of evidence. Inarticulate scientists use it when they don’t know how to explain a missing object, such as the Missing Link.
Guess what. That phrase is 100% wrong. It stems from the idea that you can’t prove a negative. With that logic however, the phrase should be “absence of evidence isn’t PROOF of absence.” As it turns out, absence of evidence is the very thing necessary to deny something is there.
For example, look to your left. Is there a unicorn there? And I mean a real unicorn, not some picture or stuffed animal or any other fake representation. If you said yes, seek help. For those who said no, why? The correct answer is because there is no evidence of one. That leads directly to the conclusion that there is no unicorn. The evidence of the absence of the unicorn was the absence of the evidence.
That is why whenever someone makes a claim, they’re the ones who have to bring forth the evidence. The best way to refute the absence of evidence is to actually have evidence.
So the next time someone uses that phrase, confirm with them that there is indeed an absence of evidence and the. Show them the logic trail. See how embarrassed they get.
See you next week.