# Talk:Absence of evidence

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Aaaah Vienna! ("clearer explanations required not invoking" any "Bayesian style maths") Also the sections of the diagram could be labelled Pippa (talk) 15:31, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Difficult task as it's only convincing in a Bayesian framework with the probabilities involved. Otherwise you're still stuck with the "but it could still exist but we haven't seen it yet" mentality. If you contrast a missing transitional fossil with Russell's teapot it might help because that will introduce the idea of "prior" probability that you need for this thing to work. Namely, the prior probability, that is the probability before you look for this evidence, of a transitional fossil existing is higher than a celestial teapot. So finding no evidence of a teapot in orbit is stronger evidence against a teapot than no evidence of a transitional fossil is evidence against that. ADK...I'll discombobulate your balloon! 16:17, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Really? If look around me now I do not observe an elephant; that is, there is an absence of evidence for an elephant in the room. Seems to me that the absence of evidence in this case, that I don't see an elephant, is even on an intuitive level abundant evidence that there is, in fact, no elephant in the room. This seems relatively easy to grasp and seems to illustrate at least one of the fundamental points pretty well. A Bayesian framework is needed to model precisely how this works in a formal model, but not to grasp the basic idea. Am I missing something? (the elephant example does not capture the analogy to transitional fossils or Russell's teapot completely, but it does get the first step)G.D. (talk) 20:51, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Intuitively, that works as an example. Although it does limit the scope a little bit to situations where the only way you'd be wrong is for the nature of reality and your senses to be lying to you - which is always going to be what keeps you that tiny minuscule remote minute infinitesimal fraction away from total certainty about anything. moral 23:30, 29 July 2012 (UTC)