The impact of evidence

Since all evidence for a view can be denied, ignored, or interpreted away, ought we to give up on evidence?

No. We are willful creatures – yet, evidence has an impact. Evidence cumulatively can have a very large impact. Put another way, there is an epistemic cost to denying, ignoring, or interpreting away evidence.

When looking at whether evidence is important, one can’t just look at extreme or hypothetical cases. It’s possible that someone could deny the moon exists, for example.

Simply put, there are people who are interested in the truth (for whatever reasons), and these people are looking for compelling reasons for this view or that.

It is sometimes difficult to make a compelling case, especially when it requires making sub-cases for multiple other things. Marshaling a significant cohort of evidence, showing how certain metaphysical beliefs make more sense of the available evidence, clearly and cogently drawing out limitations or contradictions in certain lines of thought, and so on, and then effectively communicating this to large numbers of relevant people, is not typically easy or quick – especially when there are entrenched interests that would stand to lose by a given view’s adoption.

Yet, it seems to be one of the most important things one can do, if one believes a given theory to be important and true.

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