Feb 262014

Here is a perfect example of a conclusive evidence trap. This video poster thinks there is “Conclusive evidence that the 9/11 Planes were NOT REAL” (he writes it in capitals, just in case). He believes the planes were holograms. Enjoy.

The people in the video are no moon-barking mystics. Their conclusions are based on evidence, which tells them that “the plane entering the steel tower like a ghost without any part of it breaking is absolutely impossible“. Impossible, just like Arthur Conan Doyle’s hallucinations (see the quote at the bottom of the video’s About tab on YouTube). Impossible, just like two real planes bringing down the twin towers.

Such is the allure of conclusive evidence: it secures our win in the evidential tug of war, with no need to weigh any other evidence. Therefore, the larger the amount of evidence accumulated on the other side, the stronger is the incentive to come up with conclusive evidence on our side. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Conclusive evidence is most extraordinarily powerful.

Hence the tendency to make it up, which of course can be intentionally fraudulent or, more interestingly, perfectly honest. To avoid the effort of a tug of war, we tend to mistake inconclusive evidence – more or less confirmative or disconfirmative – for conclusive evidence.

Plane holograms and psychic experiments are egregious examples, where the mistake is obvious and, therefore, instructive. They can be used to recognize the pattern when the mistake is not as transparent.


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