What is Evidence? Nicole Codling November 18, 2012 Speech 104
Meaning of Evidence In chapter 11of Communicating Critical Thinking, it states that "evidence refers to specific instances, statistics, and testimony, when they support a claim in such a way as to cause the decision maker(s) to grant adherence to that claim.” According to Google dictionary, evidence is the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
Types of Evidence There are five different types of evidence: Precedent Statistical Testimonial Hearsay Common Knowledge Precedent Evidence – is an act or event that establishes expectations for future conduct. There are two different types of precedent evidence, personal and legal. Personal Precedent Evidence is observational learning. Take for example, one is learning to drive by watching a more experienced driver. The driver sets the precedent for the student driver by following or not following traffic laws. Legal Precedent Evidence are rulings that become legal principle established by courts for future decisions.
Types of Evidence (cont.) Statistical Evidence – It is numerical reporting that primarily comes from the results of polls, surveys, and scientific experiments. Statistical evidence is not that reliable because the surveys can be biased as well as the people that are chosen to take them. Testimonial Evidence – is an opinion of reality as stated by another person. There are three forms of testimonial evidence: Eyewitness Expert-witness Historiography Eyewitness testimony – is a personal testimony. The person was present at the time of the event and observed what took place. Expert-witness – is a qualified person used to make a personal declaration of the subject at hand. An expert witness can consist of a psychologist, some type of scientist, etc. Historiography – is an historian (someone that “traces influences, assigns motives, evaluates roles, allocates responsibilities, and juxtaposes events in an attempt to reconstruct the pass.”)
Types of Evidence (cont.) Hearsay Evidence – an assertion or set of assertions widely repeated from person to person, though its accuracy is unconfirmed by firsthand observation. In simple terms, it is a rumor. This type of evidence can only be effective outside of a courtroom. Common Knowledge Evidence – is using one’s knowledge as evidence to support an argument. This type of evidence is usually used in an argument that has no real controversy.
Why is Evidence Important to an Argument ? Evidence is the foundation of an argument. Without the facts that evidence provide, an argument cannot prevail. As portrayed in the chapter 11 module, the Greek pantheon structure breaks down what each part of the structure represents: The roof = the claim The beams = the contentions The pillars = reasoning The foundation = the argument
Credibility of Evidence One needs to be able to tell others where you obtained your evidence from. Not all evidence is credible evidence. One can check the credibility of their evidence by asking yourself the following questions: Specific Reference to Source – “ Does the advocate tell you enough about the source that could easily find it yourself?” Qualification of the Source – “Does the advocate give you reason to believe that the source is competent and well informed in the area in question?” Bias of the Source – “Could one easily predict the source’s position merely from a knowledge of his/her job, his/her political party, or organization he/she works for?” Factual Support – “Does the source offer factual support for the position taken or simply state personal opinions as fact?”
The Uses of Evidence Establish Conclusive Proof for Your Position – “the use of evidence in such a way that the law will not permit it to be contradicted, or that it is strong and convincing enough to override any objections to it.” Establish Circumstantial Proof for Your Position – “various types of evidence are used to form a link strong enough to prove one’s point.”
Testing Your Evidence One has to be able to trust the accuracy of it’s evidence. There are a few tests that one can use to check the accuracy of the evidence they have acquired: Recency – How recent is the evidence that you are using? Does the source have knowledge of a more recent development? Sufficiency – “Is their enough evidence to justify all of the claims being made from this source?” Logical Relevance – “Can one reasonably draw the conclusion being urged based on what the evidence states?” Internal Consistency – Does the source contradict itself? External Consistency – “Are the claims by this
Evidence & Critical Thinking Throughout the course of this class, we were being taught on how to become critical thinkers. A critical thinker is one who relies on reason rather than emotions to make a decision or come to a conclusion. Reason comes from evaluating facts (evidence). A critical thinker should be one whose mind can be changed based on the evidence at hand, putting aside one’s belief.
Works Cited Sterk, Jack and Jim Marteney. "Communicating Critical Thinking." 2008. 167-174.