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Fstop

What constitues evidence?

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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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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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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.

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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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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
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DNA.

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

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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.

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

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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

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

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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

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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.

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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.

I often think it’s comical — Fal, lal, la!

How Nature always does contrive — Fal, lal, la!

That every boy and every gal

That’s born into the world alive

Is either a little Liberal

Or else a little Conservative.

--Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe

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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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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
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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.

they knows what evidence means ... they just don't care about the paperwork

Edited by third_eye

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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.

Science doesn't deal in proof. Proof exists in mathematics and logic.

Your understanding of science sounds like what is used against evolution or plate tectonics, unless a specimen can be placed in a lab it doesn't exist. Are fossils enough to show dinosaurs exist, or do they need a real living one?

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There is a very simple childhood experiment that to me clearly demonstrates the nature of science being evidence and not proof. Take a couple pieces of chalk and put them in a smallish box and close the box and then give it to someone and ask them, without opening the box, what is in it.

They will quickly tell you a couple pieces of chalk -- simply by shaking it and hearing the noise and maybe combining that with weight and size. They use evidence to infer the truth. We might say opening the box is proof.

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Science doesn't deal in proof. Proof exists in mathematics and logic.

Your understanding of science sounds like what is used against evolution or plate tectonics, unless a specimen can be placed in a lab it doesn't exist. Are fossils enough to show dinosaurs exist, or do they need a real living one?

In a way you're right and I should have said facts instead of proof. For a creature to be proven biologically, you must have a part of the creature. Some sciences are more about hard evidence than others. Biology has a very high standard. There's little supposition and they simply study what is.

Paleontology (I'm risking getting flamed by any passing Paleontologist here) is almost entirely supposition. It is a fact that organic material can fossilize and there is a supposition made that fossils formed from the remains of dinosaurs. The supposition may be entirely sound and logical but at its core, it's still supposition.

There is a very simple childhood experiment that to me clearly demonstrates the nature of science being evidence and not proof. Take a couple pieces of chalk and put them in a smallish box and close the box and then give it to someone and ask them, without opening the box, what is in it.

They will quickly tell you a couple pieces of chalk -- simply by shaking it and hearing the noise and maybe combining that with weight and size. They use evidence to infer the truth. We might say opening the box is proof.

That's a good analogy. What happens if you put two small rocks in the box and someone guesses that they are chalk? Or if someone guesses that the chalk is actually two small rocks?

Until you open the box, you can guess that the noise and weight is any small and hard object. To prove a creature's existence as a biological fact, opening the box requires part of the creature itself. Anything else is just fodder for supposition.

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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 burden of proof in a legal setting is much different than a scientific setting.

I challenge you to find any creature that was confirmed by science simply by the types of photographic evidence we get in cryptid cases.

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One doesn't have certainty in scientific matters, but unless one as deliberately picked the chalk to be shaped like rocks, people can readily discern the difference.

We can infer the existence of creatures from things other than having the actual creature. Spoor, automatic cameras, witnesses, whatever. Of course having a specimen settles the matter.

I never understood why people waste their lives looking for mythical beings that pretty obviously don't exist, and if they do exist, will surely turn up sooner or later. To me the main test is whether the situation is such as to allow the existence of a breeding population without discovery. In such cases some nearby university is probably the best suited to do the searching.

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The burden of proof in a legal setting is much different than a scientific setting.

I challenge you to find any creature that was confirmed by science simply by the types of photographic evidence we get in cryptid cases.

Exactly.

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One doesn't have certainty in scientific matters

Its as close to certainty as one can ever expect in our world of fakery.

We can infer the existence of creatures from things other than having the actual creature. Spoor, automatic cameras, witnesses, whatever.

We can infer lots of things about lots of topic - it doesn't make our inferences neccessarily correct. Cryptids are special because there are long-standing traditions of hoaxes and misidentification, and because the incentives(money, notoriety) to manufacture false evidence are very powerful.

The simple fact of the matter is that no cryptid will ever enjoy legitimacy until it plays by the same rules that all other animals have to follow when being classified by science. Like it or not this is the way (thank goodness) that these things work. I am thankful everyday in our world that is slowly and steadily filling up with all sorts of bull-$hit like this that there are still people dedicated to the scientific method of proving that things are actually real.

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I don't understand how anyone would say photos, video evidence and witness reports are not classed as evidence.

Look at my avatar. Are you saying it's evidence of fairies?

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Nothing but a body. :whistle:

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