Talk:Scientific evidence

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From the article:

Scientific evidence is evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theorem or hypothesis.

Shouldn't "theorem" be replaced with "theory"? -- Wonderstruck 14:14, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

I say yes - a "theorem" is for mathematics. I'll boldly make the correction.  :-) gnomelock 23:35, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Real smart. People edit this page, have corrections suggested and then show they still don't understand the words they are correcting from or to. 07:34, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Welcome to Wikipedia! It would be constructive if you say what the words mean to you !
I would say 'Theory' is general - the whole sum science of understanding : 'a Theorem' is a single specific 'atomic' ( = indivisible) unit of theory. For an example of less-abused words that have the same relationship, contrast 'Strategy' and 'a Strategem' ! Once the distinction is made, you will think twice before talking of 'a theory' or 'a strategy' - they would have to be different 'universes', such as "Number Theory is a theory in Mathematics" or "Hitler's strategy was a strategy of deception".
I may be alone in this, but dictionaries seem to support this. Language does tend to move on, though, leaving the dictionaries behind.
-- (talk) 02:45, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

First sentence of this article is nonsense[edit]

This starts out saying:-

"Scientific evidence is evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis."

That is a logical fallacy. That means any evidence of any kind is scientific if it either supports or counters a scientific theory or hypothesis. So if I say, I believe every action has an equal and opposite reaction except under water, the evidence of my belief is scientific evidence.

[Well, actually such a statement would in fact be evidence; but, there's a REALLY fundamental flaw here: there is NO SUCH THING AS "SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE." You have the scientific method, period. Anything, typically "observations," may be considered as evidence, provided such is analyzed scientifically. The word scientific applies to the process, not the evidence.] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Well done Wikipedia for getting it wrong again and in the first sentence too - probably not the first time. 07:24, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that you are misled by your own use of words.
Is a scientific theory ( or, better, a scientific theorem ! ) really supported or countered by your belief ? Will your belief cause it to stand or fall ? Belief is not evidence !
"... the evidence of my belief is scientific evidence."
Do you have evidence that Newton's 3rd Law doesn't work underwater ?
What you say sounds a bit like faith, rather than evidence
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. "
You could consider there to be two kinds of evidence: 'scientific-evidence' and 'belief-evidence'. Science is not based on belief-evidence. Even if you disbelieve Science, it still works (for others, at least)! 'Belief-evidence' that is not empirical (ie not scientific-evidence) is rejected by Science. It is only valid in the fields of Magic or Religion.
Note that I am not saying that only Science is real ! Placebo outcomes are real, but not scientific-evidence. Placebo effect is something of a mis-nomer or oxymoron, since 'effect' implies 'cause'. The effect is real, but the cause is not.
In the case where you believe that a scientifically-valid medicine will not cure you, or even make your illness worse, I suppose that Science may fail. Ethical considerations may prevent investigations, even if the evidence were to be considered 'scientific'.
You seem to believe that saying something makes it true. That would be a false and dangerous belief.
( In my opinion, of course ! )
-- (talk) 02:58, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
You could argue that the definition is slightly circular. I can arbritarily and subjectively decide to exclude evidence by calling it unscientific. Similar to the way 'Survival of the Fittest' begs the question 'Fittest for what ? ' whose only answer is 'Fittest to survive ! '. Or am I confused ? -- (talk) 04:58, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
In modern web parlance - as a 'meme' or 'snowclone':
"obvious troll is obvious"
"fittest survivor is fittest"
"scientific evidence is scientific"
-- (talk) 21:49, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I tried to find a web definition of scientific evidence, but didn't find any, so we'll have to rely on consensus. Feel free to adapt it to what you find more correct. Mikael Häggström (talk) 14:09, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Various edits[edit]

If either of the propositions is not accepted as true, the conclusion will not be deemed to follow from them (it may or may not be true).

The explanation seems unnecessary.

Evidence is information, such as facts, coupled with principles of inference (the act or process of deriving a conclusion), that make information relevant to the support or negation of a hypothesis [citation needed].

This is rubbish, I find no evidence that anyone, besides the editor who wrote this, defines evidence in this way. Also, it's obliquely contradicted by the circumstantial evidence article, which —of course— lacks citations. I hope no one misses it. :S (This[1] is the closest thing to verification I could find.)

Scientific evidence is evidence where the dependence of the evidence on principles of inference is not conceded, enabling others to examine the background beliefs or assumptions employed to determine if facts are relevant to the support of or falsification of a hypothesis.

This is just terrible. Rewording it to:

Scientific evidence is evidence that does not concede the dependence of the evidence on principles of inference. This allows the relevancy of facts to a hypothesis to be determined by examining the assumptions made.

I think this is clearer. I hope it still means the same thing.PatheticCopyEditor (talk) 21:46, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

As a matter of fact, I think it was clearer the first time. Unless someone can relate this in plain English with appropriate citations, I suggest that this paragraph be deleted.

--Coconutporkpie (talk) 05:19, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

"Scientific evidence is evidence that does not concede the dependence of the evidence..."[edit]

(Under "Principles of inference"): Unless someone can rewrite this paragraph in plain English, I suggest that it be deleted entirely.

--Coconutporkpie (talk) 05:25, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Merge this article[edit]

Can anyone explain why this article should not be merged into the article Empirical evidence? That article defines its subject as "a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation". Presumably that could be used to "either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis". Is there something that makes certain evidence so acquired especially "scientific" and different enough to merit its own page? It seems to me that this article merely cobbles together various elements (inference, the scientific method, statistical analysis) with no logical cohesion, and that those subjects are adequately treated elsewhere with regard to the scientific disciplines.

--Coconutporkpie (talk) 05:54, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Empiricism is defined as "... a theory which states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience." It has been argued that not all scientific evidence is empirical—that scientific evidence requires deduction, understanding, judgement, and logic (i.e., interpretation) as well as observation and sensory experience. I'm not sure that this question has been resolved by philosophers of science. Thus, I suggest that "Scientific evidence" and "Empirical evidence" should remain separate articles. Sunray (talk) 20:26, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Not just pure science[edit]

This article is about the concept of scientific evidence in pure science.

This statement implies that scientific evidence is relevant in pure science, but not in applied research, which is incorrect.

For that reason, I changed it to:

This article is about knowledge derived from the scientific method. For the legal term, see Scientific evidence (law).