Types of Evidence

Some of the recent discussions on the board and other chats I’ve had, started to make me think about ‘evidence’ in general. I started to categories evidence into ‘levels’, level 0 being the currently most objective evidence. This is different from implications of evidence but it seems to map nicely to applications of evidence.

Level 0: Scientifically Accepted Evidence
This is evidence that has been validated and accepted into the scientific body of knowledge. An important characteristic of this evidence is that is based on the predictions of an accepted theory.

Level 1: Scientifically Validated Evidence
Evidence that has been scientifically derived but yet has no accepted theory. Many PSI phenomena and possible the placebo effect for example lie in this level.

This level and the first level are useful for Engineers to build from. Engineers do not need to know the ‘why’ or ‘how’ only the ‘what’.

Level 2: Non-scientifically Validated Evidence
I couldn’t think of a good name for this level. But this is evidence taken from surveys, doctor reports, statistic tracking, etc. This may come from systems that cannot yet currently be completely controlled like the human mind or body. Drug testing, psychology, etc. all come under this level.

This level is still highly useful for Doctors, Governments, Business (i.e. marketing, finance, etc.), etc.

Level 3: Anecdotal Evidence
Anecdotal Evidence is essentially stories often many times distorted, full of personal interpretation and emphasis. I’d consider most News would fall in this category as it’s nearly impossible to validate honestly, too many human variables involved. Spontaneous events that cannot be replicated (yet) in labs would fall under here. A personal experience of an event would fit here.

Level X: Subjective Evidence (i.e. the personal experience)
I don’t believe this ‘level’ fits entirely correctly above Anecdotal Evidence. For me this _direct personal experience of evidence_ and so it can, technically, be on top of any other level.

If you think about it, all evidence is really subjective because we are just human. Third hand knowledge of evidence is just that (or at the most perhaps it can be considered anecdotal).

Not many of us really experience evidence directly in the other levels unless we’re working in the appropriate field, it is simply to reproduce or we can see the applications of the evidence (i.e. Technology).

This, I think, means we have to weigh up how reliable we can consider the source of reported evidence. Our bias and prejudices come into play and not necessarily in a bad way as they can help shield us against perhaps inaccurate information. For example, most of us are more willing to accept what we read on BBC website than the ‘guy in the pub’.

Anyway, this train of thought is meant to be going somewhere. People assume that scientifically validated evidence is the greatest evidence in existence and anything that isn’t is wrong. I’d argue that, that is not necessarily wise. Non-validated scientific evidence can and is used in modern technology and anecdotal evidence also has a huge impact on our personal lives.

While I can understand the viewpoint that only scientifically accepted evidence should only be used to talk about the world, the other levels have no less ‘value’ and implication. A lot of evidence basically moves through the levels until it finds acceptance anyway.

Some, I guess, might argue that evidence of God exists as anecdotal evidence but perhaps that’s another discussion.

To find it ‘weird’ that others accept evidence on the other levels is not correct or fair. Is there anyone with any opinions and thoughts on it or am I just diving in the deep end without a float here?

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