There is a difference between support for the possibile truth of
something, and perfect certainty that something is true.

      Evidence is support for the possible truth of something.

      Proof is a perfect certainty that something is true.

      Evidence is an observation, and as such it is true that evidence
can prove existential statements true, and universal statements false.

      Existential Statement:

      "Daisies exist" can be proven by one observation of a single daisy.

      Universal Statement:

      "All Daisies are white" can be disproven by one observation of a
black daisy.

      But evidence that a universal statement is true is not proof.

      "All daisies are white" is not proven by finding one white daisy,
or even an infinite number of tthem.

      And evidence that an existential statement is false, is not proof.

      "Daisies exist" is not disproven by failing to ever find a single

      In particular absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      Thus by defining proof = evidence, as some dictionaries do, one
denies the ability to distinguish between mere evidence and actual
certain proof, which confusion then can be used by scammers to imply
they have proof when they only have supporting evidence.

      The claim that "Keith exists now" is an existential statement and
can be proven by one observation that he exists now.  But only Keith can
observe himself (not his body), thus only Keith can know for sure if he
exists now.

      The claim that "Keith existed 20 life times ago" is a universal
statement and thus can not be proven with any number of observations in
present time.

      The reason is that the past can not be observed directly, and thus
only observations of things in the present can be offered as evidence
for Keith's existence in the past.

      But THAT depends on the idea that present objects are causally
related to events in the past so that one can use present objects, or
their state, as evidence for the past.

      But THAT depends on the idea that the past ALWAYS gives rise to
such present objects, or that present objects are ALWAYS given rise to
by the past.  Footprints are ALWAYS caused by someone walking by.

      And those are universal statements.

      The truth of universal statements are not subject to proof, only to
supporting evidence of their possibility.

      Keith's foot print in the mud now, does not and can never prove
with perfect certainty that Keith walked by here yesterday.

      The law requires 'beyond reasonable doubt' in 'proving' people
guilty, but it is evidential only because it is always about the past,
who *DID* what.

       True proof would be 'beyond a shadow of a doubt' which is a perfect

      Using observations of the present to provide perfect certainty
about the past is ludicrous.

      Thus those that like to confuse evidence with proof are like the
crooked lawyer who tells his jury that the evidence they have provided
is PROOF the defendant is guilty.

       It's always bogus at an absolute level, and those that fall for it,
and those that engage in it are alike unworthy of polluting the air with
their breath.


- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY
homer@lightlink.com    In the Line of Duty    http://www.lightlink.com
Mon Feb 14 17:05:57 EST 2011
Fri Apr  3 11:53:31 EDT 2015