03 January 2015

Indirect Evidence Information is Inadequate?

 The inside front cover of Evidence Explained contains a nice one-page graphic on "evidence analysis." 

It refers to "indirect" evidence as "relevant-inadequate."

A too quick reading may leave one wondering "what?" How can something be relevant and inadequate at the same time? 

It can and it's an excellent situation where reading the entire book and remembering that graphics and charts are often used to provide quick visual summaries of the actual text is important. Charts are meant to jog the mind not replace it.

Indirect evidence is evidence that cannot answer a question all by itself. Indirect evidence can, with other indirect evidence and careful analysis and reasoning, answer a question. 

Indirect evidence just needs help. It needs more indirect evidence and a scaffold of support. 

That's why one piece of information which is labeled indirect evidence is called inadequate in the graphic on the inside front cover. 

That one piece isn't adequate by itself. 

Just like one brick isn't adequate to build an entire building.

There need to be other bricks (more indirect evidence) and mortar (arguments and analysis) in order to complete the building process.

I don't think Mills uses the building metaphor, but it works for me. 

And I'll avoid any references to mills being built of bricks and mortar. 


Note: We're not reproducing the chart here because it's a violation of copyright law do so without being asked and because that's just the way we do things here. 
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