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Reply #148: Actually it is. [View All]

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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-21-11 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #145
148. Actually it is.
You, like many others, misuse that quote.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, is a saying frequently quoted by cryptid proponents, more especially Bigfoot proponents, in an attempt to dismiss the fact that no type specimens have ever been found. Ironically, most of those who employ this saying do not realize that they are quoting a skeptic that did not believe in Bigfoot, or alien animals, or prehistoric survivors, or any of the other popular figures of cryptozoology.

The quote can be found on page 213 of Carl Sagans, The Demon-Haunted WorldScience as a Candle in the Dark, and is strictly used to criticize argumentum ad ignorantiam (appeal to ignorance), which is to say that something must be true because it cannot be proven false, and vice versa.

I do not entirely agree with Carl Sagans quote. In my opinion, absence of evidence can only be evidence of absence. Missing evidence is, after all, a very clear indication that the evidence is probably not there. However, I realize that absence of evidence is not proof of absence. But if Dr. Sagan had stated it that way, then we would not have a nifty little, easily memorized antimetabole that, despite my disagreement, conveys an apparent truth in the proper context. "

http://enigmaticstatic.com/doubt/absence.shtml
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