In 2002, having spent more than three years in one residence for the first time in my life, I got called for jury duty. I show up on time, ready to serve. When we get to the voir dire, the lawyer says to me, “I see you’re an astrophysicist. What’s that?” I answer, “Astrophysics is the laws of physics, applied to the universe—the Big Bang, black holes, that sort of thing.” Then he asks, “What do you teach at Princeton?” and I say, “I teach a class on the evaluation of evidence and the relative unreliability of eyewitness testimony.” Five minutes later, I’m on the street.
quote:The claim that eyewitness testimony is reliable and accurate is testable, and the research is clear that eyewitness identification is vulnerable to distortion without the witness’s awareness. More specifically, the assumption that memory provides an accurate recording of experience, much like a video camera, is incorrect. Memory evolved to give us a personal sense of identity and to guide our actions. We are biased to notice and exaggerate some experiences and to minimize or overlook others. Memory is malleable.
I've been told all my adult life that human testimony is the most unreliable form of evidence in science and logic.
It is. But do not confuse "most unreliable" with "entirely unreliable." Also... "unreliable" doesn't mean "wrong."
I talk to people every day. I rely on human testimony as "evidence" for things everyday. It has a pretty useful track-record - as far as mundane, everyday events are concerned.
It's just not something I'd consider "reliable" in the search for truth that no one really knows about because there's absolutely no readily-available public evidence about it yet.
Because where those kinds of things are concerned - human testimony has proven itself over and over and over again to be pretty much useless. Counter-productive, even.
Is this really written in stone?
Like all things in science - not at all. Prove/show/demonstrate that there's a more unreliable form of evidence, or that other forms of evidence are equally unreliable... and the idea will change, eventually.
Such is the power of science - nothing is written in stone. Science learned looooooong ago that "things written in stone" are more limiting than they are useful for advancing knowledge.
Will credentials and a lifetime of achievements count for nothing at all?
It makes it more reliable.
It just still remains "the most unreliable" form of evidence.
Take yourself as an example. Compare yourself from when you were a child to now, yourself as an adult. Are you "more reliable" now than when you were younger? -Most people become more reliable as they gain experience. If you think you know something - will you consider it "written in stone?" Or are you still capable of making a mistake, accidental or not?
Regardless of what you or anyone else says, anything people say is still "the most unreliable form of evidence."
Because people can be mistaken, or lied to without their own knowledge, or they can truly-truly-more-than-anything-triple-dog-dare believe in something that just happens to be incorrect (with or without their knowledge of it.) Because people don't know everything.
Even people with credentials. Even people with perfect credentials.
People are not keepers of the universe's knowledge. It's possible for anyone to make a mistake, whether purposeful or not.
If aliens are real, and already making deals with our governments, there will be reliable evidence soon enough. And that is the only thing that will allow anyone to know that it is for real.
Not credentials. Not "I told you so!" Not stories.
Even if this is one day proven to be entirely correct... it will not raise "human testimony - even with amazing credentials" above being "the most unreliable form of evidence."
When it comes to secret pacts between the U.S. Government and extraterrestrials, rather than sharing anything he had first-hand knowledge of, Shaked explained Eshed was citing information long put out in some of the more fringe circles of Ufology. Namely, a nearly 40-year-old conspiracy that President Dwight D. Eisenhower secretly met and signed an agreement with extraterrestrials.
So, not an eye-witness. No information learned in the course of his work. Just repeating the usual bullshit. Exactly as I thought.