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standard of evidence

Establishing a common standard of evidence is key to establishing reciprocal equality? in any decision making. Without it, whoever can lower the standard more wins debates.

A common standard also avoids wasting time on propaganda technique?s like raising standard of evidence?. These are a common source of groupthink and should be exposed when discovered.

See evidence and evidence/source/authority for more practical information that applies directly to Living Platform structures. The following is mostly decision making theory:

inference has no standard


There are no "standards of evidence" in inference, as it uses whatever evidence is provided to draw conclusions axiomatically - thus there is a standard of rigor instead. The idea of rigor is specific to inference.

The idea of rigor in inference can be vaguely compared to the idea of morality in deference, and to the idea of integrity in reference - though the latter is only an intellectual integrity, and would imply that rigor was used in many small inferences (for instance in the software that processes a click on a refer link.)

standard of reference


The following (integrity) standards apply in reference:
  • empirical methods? as employed in the 'hard' physical sciences, those focused on prediction?, and which employ mathematics for modelling, and are generally thought capable of identifying causality relationships.
  • control methods? as employed in the 'soft' sciences, which seek only to establish correlation? and some very limited multi-causal relationships.

The standard of reference integrity and inference rigor is kept high in the scientific method?, where scientific citation?s are used to ensure references are easily validated, and inference is checked by peer review?. The same principles apply in Living Platform which has massive peer review - see trolls - and deep reference integrity - see cite link.

standard of deference


However, there are many situations where decisions will be made based on evidence that can never be sure to a scientific degree of certainty, but only a technological or professional standard. In all such cases there is a need to defer to someone with morality. Not necessarily a person who is a moral example? but who is accountable in an ethical code to other people of a similar background who are ultimately accountable to the society as a whole. These tend to vary drastically across professions:
  • clinical methods? as used in medicine? which have valid controls but focus on such complex systems or technologies that evidence is not as reliable as science proper; nor can it be very easily investigated by the public; appropriate for very high individual bodily risk decisions - if the body dies, it's bad, but it doesn't kill the society, so the causes of deaths can be compared and aggregated - see also value of life on this.
  • expert consensus? as employed in climate change, electoral reform, sociology?, theology?, ethics and other fields that totally lack control conditions or means to examine causes directly. Means of consensus decision making may vary drastically among these professions. A Precautionary Principle may apply if the stakes are very high.
  • prevailing view? as employed in economics, infrastructure?, technology? and management? fields, usually the basis of professionalism? and ethical codes - where many low-stakes decisions are made by many people. It can lead to a Cargo Cult? situation where bad ideas reinforce each other, as it often relies on consensus definitions which are not as politically contentious nor as open to challenge by outsiders - whereas "experts" and "clinics" are often challenged
  • forensic methods? which explore one-off cases such as airplane crashes, but can often establish to a high probability "what happened" despite lack of any direct witness. Also, however, amenable to spot manipulation, especially if the evidence is fingerprints, DNA, audio or still photographs, all of which are easily faked.
  • beyond a reasonable doubt standard employed in criminal justice?, by randomly selected jurors and trusted judges following some strict procedures in an adversarial process. Note that reliability of such a ruling cannot be higher than that of forensic methods evidence relies on.

The varying standards applied in law, accounting?, medicine? and public health?, management?, government and so on, make it difficult to apply a single activity-based costing? to all the efforts that go into human decision-making. Accordingly the value of life can vary drastically across fields - a great deal more money may be spent to track down the cause of an airline accident than a bus accident - probably because we assume that bus accidents are often caused by unique road, weather or driver condtions, while large airplanes are supposed to be more tightly controlled. But there are many more bus accidents than airline accidents, perhaps because of this attitude.


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