Evidence of Absence is not absence of evidence – a closed mind in one area may be closed in many other areas..

Yeah, thats https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence

It lies VERY close to the realm of “argument from ignorance” though. A formal argument that is successful can nevertheless be an informal fallacy.


Oh of course. The main reason I don’t like it, however, has little to do with this particular topic but rather its danger when applied Universally.

Let’s say it is applied to Law, or to the Sciences. Suddenly, you are faced with a problem: There’s no inquiry. It’s closed.

Carl Sagan, who was inspirational to me growing up, was agnostic and was not a fan of Russell’s Teapot for this reason: it’s a mindset that has decided and is finished, not only in this one area, but perhaps in many other areas as well. It can stifle curiosity and creativity and a willingness to explore.

So I’ll do something I don’t normally do, and quote the aphorism: “Evidence of absence is not absence of evidence”.

I’m not saying this to convince someone NOT to choose to be atheist – just pointing out one of its potential dangers to limiting thinking in other areas as well.


Oh I know it well. But consider it applied to other things besides this one, solitary topic. A biologist looking for new species? An investigator in a criminal case…. I mean something can be technically correct but you also have to consider the ultimate fictitiousness of Russell’s Teapot:

It’s a thought experiment.

Thought experiments ARE fictions.


Don’t mix up scientist and rationalist.
They’re different.
Atheist is also different.

Also this is a thought experiment. You can consider it an analogy and that wouldn’t be wrong. But a strong analogy is the way that electrical systems behave similarly to hydraulic systems which behave similarly to physical systems.

Those are strong analogies. One maps well to the other.

But this is a thought experiment mapping to a formal logic system.

It is not a scientific argument. It is formal logic with a thought experiment as analogy.


I’m not denying you atheism. I’m no saying “you should consider theism”. I’ve never brought up theism. I’m agnostic. I don’t know. That’s my answer.

But evidence from absence is simply not very strong because it does not do much except say that you’ve reached the limited of the formal logic in this case. The formal logic cannot go further than this and must stop because it is incapable of going any further.



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