Evidence is often portrayed as the collection of facts who neatly prove a conclusion. Just follow the arrows. Several things of late hurt my brain as others second guess and respond to the sad truth evidence rarely is so neat.
- Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a school gym. The local sheriff processed the scene. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations did an autopsy. The ruling was humans are not designed to be upside down so while trapped in an wrestling mat for a long period of time, the brain suffocated as oxygenated blood could not reach it. The family did not buy the result. Trayvon Martin was at the time still a hot topic. The family exhumed the body and got a second autopsy who said he was murdered. CNN got the surveillance footage with gaps. This situation is insanely mess with no where along the line there being all the evidence there ought. Because this is real life not a crime drama, I guess.
- The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan talks about various situations such as the search for alien life as allusions for how the lack of evidence is hard. So we keep looking. He also seemed pretty skeptical of the existence of God. As a self-described person who follows the evidence, this should not be too surprising. Because it really means no evidence really will be good enough.
Facts are facts until they are disputed. Not so much the what as the meaning. (Though sometimes the what in order to change the meaning into a desired one.) One person’s rock solid data point is another’s fuzzy meaningless drivel.
Any time we look at facts or data, our experience also looks at them. They shape the meaning for us. These leaps of intuition are our experience drawing inferences. Sometimes for the good. Sometimes for the bad. Only later do we really discover.
The scientist in me never likes my first answer. I want to prove it wrong. And the second, third, and nth. I want the correct answer and spend as much time as it takes to get there.
The pragmatist in me realizes sometimes I do not have time for the correct answer. Sometimes my best guess will have to do. This disappoints me every time, but I try not to let it get to me.