Let’s suppose you were accused of theft, if the Judge immediately said, “I believe
you are guilty and I sentence you to three years in jail” would you be happy?Of
course not. You would, quite rightly, demand to see the evidence; the judge’s ‘belief’
might be ill-founded.
What if a politician claims to have won an election, should the public take his word
for it or should they expect the claim to be supported by evidence from carefully
What happens when a tennis player contests a line call or an umpire can’t decide
whether a batsman is out LBW (leg before wicket)? Evidence is called for, in the
form of computer analysis or action replay, that’s what.
Before a new product is launched a company usually does market research to collect
evidence on whether it will sell.
Back in the winter of 1348, sufferers from the Black Death were advised to drink
vinegar. Would that treatment satisfy you or would you prefer some antibiotics which
have the backing of evidence demonstrating their effectiveness?
In the 1920s, cigarettes were sold as being good for sore throats. Now we recognise
that they are to blame for cardiac failure, lung disease and, yes, they actually
cause throat cancer.
What has changed our attitude? Evidence.
Evidence is the foundation for much in society including relationships - inheritance,
paternity and divorce cases are judged on evidence.
The philosopher Plato famously defined knowledge as "justified true belief." Scientists
find it hard to imagine that there might be some other, alien, sort of knowledge
which does not require the justification of evidence.
Should we trust anything that’s not supported by evidence?
His victim’s hair was found on a T-shirt in his van. DNA testing showed there was
only a one in a billion chance of it belonging to anyone else. That terminated his
career as a child rapist and murderer. He is spending fifty years in jail much to
the relief of the parents and grandparents of small girls.
We acceptthe value of evidence in the apprehension of criminals and many other aspects
of life. What reason can there be to reject it or ignore it elsewhere?
Early man believed in the Sun god, the Moon goddess, and countless others: Mars was
the god of war, Venus the god of love, Bacchus the god of wine, etc. Rational people
do not hold such primitive beliefs now; fairies, ghosts, goblins and dragons make
entertaining stories but we know they are fiction.more here