Tuesday, January 9, 2018

PROOF, EVIDENCE, & FACTS: Words the News Media may Miss

Thoughts from Tony V. Zampella

  • PROOF, 
  • FACTS -
 both newscasters and news consumers need to consider this difference at a time when our President trades in gossip and conspiracy theories. 

I offer this framework as a reminder that helps me and may be necessary for the next four years.
EVIDENCE is more general and can include something that is told by someone. It is accepted only on belief. There may or may not be truth in all evidence. Think circumstantial evidence. 50 people in a room might see the same evidence and reach difference conclusions. 

FACT is a truth that can be proven. The stock market dropped 100 points (facts) is a provable truth. 50 people in a room would all agree on this statement. 

PROOF requires a standard. A puddle of water outside (fact) might be evidence of rain, but it might also be the result of a broken water valve. Proof might include more that three puddles along two streets (facts), plus a witness (evidence), plus wet leaves on trees lining the street (facts) in the area.

 Here's another way to see this:
  • Consensus of evidence = FACT.
  • Consensus of fact = PROOF.
  • Consensus of proof = consensus of evidence + consensus of fact.
The strength of each is significant. Someone saying something on Twitter is gossip; if they include the article where they saw it, that includes some evidence; if that article includes specific testimony, research, or surveys this includes some facts. In most cases, none of this is proof.

 We tend to act on everything as if it is proof when it is usually gossip (hearsay), or at best, evidence.

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May you find Strength in Your Higher Power,
GranPa Chuck

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