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What constitues evidence?


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#1    Fstop

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:01 PM

We debate the existence of a lot of creatures here in this foum, but often the debate all boils down to what each individual considers to be evidence.  So where do you line up?  What do YOU consider to be evidence when considering crypto-creatures and why?

I'm of the mind that evidence is something that can specifically, concretely, and uniquely be tied to one animal definitively and objectively evaluated under controlled conditions...ie in a lab.  So like a live or dead example of said animal or enough genetic material to be able to say for sure its a new creature.

I don't consider photos, video, or eyewitness accounts to be evidence.  I think these things become evidence if a creature is vetted and validated by science.  Thats just my own personal system of belief though - sort of a hierarchy of evidence and related material.  How about you?

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#2    Rafterman

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:09 PM

View PostFstop, on 24 February 2013 - 04:01 PM, said:

We debate the existence of a lot of creatures here in this foum, but often the debate all boils down to what each individual considers to be evidence.  So where do you line up?  What do YOU consider to be evidence when considering crypto-creatures and why?

I'm of the mind that evidence is something that can specifically, concretely, and uniquely be tied to one animal definitively and objectively evaluated under controlled conditions...ie in a lab.  So like a live or dead example of said animal or enough genetic material to be able to say for sure its a new creature.

I don't consider photos, video, or eyewitness accounts to be evidence.  I think these things become evidence if a creature is vetted and validated by science.  Thats just my own personal system of belief though - sort of a hierarchy of evidence and related material.  How about you?

Agreed.  Photos, videos, and all of the stuff we typically go round and round about on here is the STARTING point.  We think this creature exists.  We think we have captured a photo of it.  Now, let's mount an expedition to go find proof.

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#3    ali smack

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

Ah but if you take that argument. Court cases wouldn't exist. Because they don't have a video of someone committing a crime and more than often rely on witnesses !

I don't understand how anyone would say photos, video evidence and witness reports are not classed as evidence.
There's being cases were scientists have said they have seen strange unidentified  creatures
or there's being videos or photographs of something but people don't know what it is by scientists.

to dismiss them all sounds a bit silly to me.
there are cryptids that are real and ones which are not.


#4    Overdueleaf

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:42 PM

View Postali smack, on 24 February 2013 - 05:50 PM, said:

there are cryptids that are real and ones which are not.

and how do you determine which ones are real and which ones are not? what evidence do you use to support your claims?

court cases are a far cry from the scientific community.. can not compare the two when discussing evidence

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#5    Fstop

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:06 PM

View Postali smack, on 24 February 2013 - 05:50 PM, said:

Ah but if you take that argument. Court cases wouldn't exist. Because they don't have a video of someone committing a crime and more than often rely on witnesses !

I don't understand how anyone would say photos, video evidence and witness reports are not classed as evidence.
There's being cases were scientists have said they have seen strange unidentified  creatures
or there's being videos or photographs of something but people don't know what it is by scientists.

to dismiss them all sounds a bit silly to me.
there are cryptids that are real and ones which are not.

The reason that the dsparity exists between what is admissable in court as evidence and what is acceptable for science is because of the human factor of the jury trial which is the standard of legal proceedings the world over.  

The problem here is that scientific evidence and judicial evidence are two different standards.  In a court, evidence must be used to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  In science, evidence must be used to prove objectively and repeatedly by multiple practitioners. It must be peer-reviewed.

The other factor with evidence used in a trial setting is the skill of a trial lawyer to build a case that is slanted by its very nature in the favor of whoever the lawyer is representing.  Thats the nature of the game.  The purpose of science is to find objective truth that is the same for everyone to the greatest degree possible.

We are not trying cryptids in a court of law.  They are supposedly (mostly) animals.  Which means they have to play by science's rulebook.  So if Cryptozoologists want to prove their creatures, they need to bring their A game, and suck it up.

Edited by Fstop, 24 February 2013 - 07:10 PM.

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#6    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:19 PM

DNA.
Ideally in the form of a intact body. Anything less is hearsay, potentially tainted by hoaxers and crass moneygrabbers.


#7    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:43 PM

I would assume for science a new animal would require classification at some point.  
Imo (I'm not a scientist), doing so using only a photograph, would be impossible and not acceptable science.
So, a specimen, DNA or body, would be required.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#8    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

Not sure how classifying with new DNA only would work either.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#9    White Unicorn

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:13 PM

View PostFstop, on 24 February 2013 - 04:01 PM, said:

We debate the existence of a lot of creatures here in this foum, but often the debate all boils down to what each individual considers to be evidence.  So where do you line up?  What do YOU consider to be evidence when considering crypto-creatures and why?

I'm of the mind that evidence is something that can specifically, concretely, and uniquely be tied to one animal definitively and objectively evaluated under controlled conditions...ie in a lab.  So like a live or dead example of said animal or enough genetic material to be able to say for sure its a new creature.

I don't consider photos, video, or eyewitness accounts to be evidence.  I think these things become evidence if a creature is vetted and validated by science.  Thats just my own personal system of belief though - sort of a hierarchy of evidence and related material.  How about you?

Photos, video, or eyewitness accounts ARE evidence just  as in the courts but evidence can be misleading. What you are looking for is DNA, a body as a scientific verification  which would be PROOF of the cryptid's existence.

Evidence ALWAYS comes before the proof or debunking.  It's a personal matter whether you believe just the evidence just as a jury in making their decision.  I don't believe but consider the POSSIBILITY  on evidence depending on the character of the witness.

However if I was the one taking the picture I would believe without the PROOF. I'd know it exists but I wouldn't jump to conclusions as to what it would really be in a scientific analysis.

When the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) was a myth and if I saw one before it's proof of existence, I'd say yes they EXIST and call it the duck with a beaver tail that laid eggs, not necessarily a mammal since I really wouldn't know that it wasn't a fowl or a lizzard like creature laying the eggs!  

You don't really know what it is  except for your perception of the evidence, but you know it exists.  It doesn't matter if you can prove it to others that it exists because you know.   You just feel kind of lucky that you observed it before it became a proven animal.

Edited by White Unicorn, 24 February 2013 - 10:16 PM.


#10    hatecraft

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

The platypus was proven to exist long before you were born.


#11    Rlyeh

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:27 PM

View PostWhite Unicorn, on 24 February 2013 - 10:13 PM, said:

What you are looking for is DNA, a body as a scientific verification  which would be PROOF of the cryptid's existence.
Actually no, in science that is evidence. It is something that can be verified and tested.

Edited by Rlyeh, 25 February 2013 - 02:34 PM.


#12    keninsc

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

Well, before you can establish what evidence is, you must first establish that you have proof of existance. Videos can be faked easily, as can foot prints and other things that are often posted up as evidence. For many years there was evidence that giant squids existed, but it's only been in recent years that they have been shown to be real.

Now, you might ask. "So what is going to show proof of existance?"? That's a legitimate question to ask. A body, a skeleton, a captured juvinile would fit that bill nicely.


#13    Frank Merton

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

I would say almost anything is evidence, even hearsay.  There is good and not-so-good evidence, persuasive and unpersuasive evidence, and so on.

We all assess evidence in a context of what we already know about things, and some seem to also assess evidence in a context of what they would like to be true.

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#14    third_eye

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

you tell me, anything considered evidence of cryptoids here, even circumstantial is worth a few cool million bucks from where we're standing

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#15    sam12six

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:03 PM

I often get into this quagmire in discussions with my friends who are believers in one fringe thing or another. They feel that evidence is proof while I feel that it's just something that tends to point in a certain direction. The problem is that the vast majority of evidence is circumstantial and requires interpretation - in other words, a huge footprint only proves that there's a depression in the soil that is shaped like a hominid foot. A hardcore believer interprets that depression as evidence that there's an enormous hominid walking around. A hardcore disbeliever interprets that depression as evidence that a hoaxer is playing tricks on the gullible.

Part of the problem with the situation is that too many people think of proving Biff's existence like a court case. Take a murder case: They find the murder weapon under someone's bed - prosecutors feel that this is evidence that the person who owns the bed is a murderer while that person's mother might feel that this is evidence that someone is trying to frame her baby. To win a court case, prosecutors gather as many different points of evidence that all seem to point in a given direction and hope it weighs enough in the minds of the jury that the conclusion can only be denied by an unreasonable level of mental gymnastics.

Science is different. It's not about evidence, it's about proof. To say a Biff exists scientifically, the only thing that qualifies is a Biff (or part of one). The entire planet could be covered in 30 inch footprints and wrapped in a coccoon of unidentifiable hair and it still isn't enough for biology to accept the existence of a new creature without actually having a specimen of the creature itself.

Anyway, the point is that when dealing with any subject that's currently outside the sphere of science (ghosts, cryptids, religion, etc), discussing the evidence and why you think it points in a given direction is an interesting activity, if for no other reason than it gives us an insight into why people believe what they do. Saying, "THIS is a fact and THIS is why I believe that fact is evidence of something.", while someone else says, "HERE'S why I think that fact is evidence of something else.", is good discussion. As long as everyone involved in the discussion understands that science requires proof level evidence to actually claim the evidence is what you're saying it is and that there's almost never a way to prove a negative then the whole thing is just a good mental workout.

Edited by sam12six, 25 February 2013 - 03:05 PM.





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