Evidence

Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion.[1] This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence.

In law, rules of evidence govern the types of evidence that are admissible in a legal proceeding. Types of legal evidence include testimony, documentary evidence,[2] and physical evidence.[3] The parts of a legal case which are not in controversy are known, in general, as the "facts of the case." Beyond any facts that are undisputed, a judge or jury is usually tasked with being a trier of fact for the other issues of a case. Evidence and rules are used to decide questions of fact that are disputed, some of which may be determined by the legal burden of proof relevant to the case. Evidence in certain cases (e.g. capital crimes) must be more compelling than in other situations (e.g. minor civil disputes), which drastically affects the quality and quantity of evidence necessary to decide a case.

Scientific evidence consists of observations and experimental results that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory, when collected and interpreted in accordance with the scientific method.

In philosophy, the study of evidence is closely tied to epistemology, which considers the nature of knowledge and how it can be acquired.

Dublin Castle Gates of Fortitude and Justice 05
The balance scales seen in depictions of Lady Justice can be seen as representing the weighing of evidence in a legal proceeding.

Burden of proof

The burden of proof is the obligation of a party in an argument or dispute to provide sufficient evidence to shift the other party's or a third party's belief from their initial position. The burden of proof must be fulfilled by both establishing confirming evidence and negating oppositional evidence. Conclusions drawn from evidence may be subject to criticism based on a perceived failure to fulfill the burden of proof.

Two principal considerations are:

  1. On whom does the burden of proof rest?
  2. To what degree of certitude must the assertion be supported?

The latter question depends on the nature of the point under contention and determines the quantity and quality of evidence required to meet the burden of proof.

In a criminal trial in the United States, for example, the prosecution carries the burden of proof since the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Similarly, in most civil procedures, the plaintiff carries the burden of proof and must convince a judge or jury that the preponderance of the evidence is on their side. Other legal standards of proof include "reasonable suspicion", "probable cause" (as for arrest), "prima facie evidence", "credible evidence", "substantial evidence", and "clear and convincing evidence".

In a philosophical debate, there is an implicit burden of proof on the party asserting a claim, since the default position is generally one of neutrality or unbelief. Each party in a debate will therefore carry the burden of proof for any assertion they make in the argument, although some assertions may be granted by the other party without further evidence. If the debate is set up as a resolution to be supported by one side and refuted by another, the overall burden of proof is on the side supporting the resolution.

Science

In scientific research evidence is accumulated through observations of phenomena that occur in the natural world, or which are created as experiments in a laboratory or other controlled conditions. Scientific evidence usually goes towards supporting or rejecting a hypothesis.

The burden of proof is on the person making a contentious claim. Within science, this translates to the burden resting on presenters of a paper, in which the presenters argue for their specific findings. This paper is placed before a panel of judges where the presenter must defend the thesis against all challenges.

When evidence is contradictory to predicted expectations, the evidence and the ways of making it are often closely scrutinized (see experimenter's regress) and only at the end of this process is the hypothesis rejected: this can be referred to as 'refutation of the hypothesis'. The rules for evidence used by science are collected systematically in an attempt to avoid the bias inherent to anecdotal evidence.

Law

FBI Evidence Response Team
An FBI Evidence Response Team gathering evidence by dusting an area for fingerprints

Evidence forms the very foundation of a legal system, without which law would be subject to the whims of those with power.

In law, the production and presentation of evidence depends first on establishing on whom the burden of proof lies. Admissible evidence is that which a court receives and considers for the purposes of deciding a particular case. Two primary burden-of-proof considerations exist in law. The first is on whom the burden rests. In many, especially Western, courts, the burden of proof is placed on the prosecution in criminal cases and the plaintiff in civil cases. The second consideration is the degree of certitude proof must reach, depending on both the quantity and quality of evidence. These degrees are different for criminal and civil cases, the former requiring evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, the latter considering only which side has the preponderance of evidence, or whether the proposition is more likely true or false. The decision maker, often a jury, but sometimes a judge, decides whether the burden of proof has been fulfilled.

After deciding who will carry the burden of proof, evidence is first gathered and then presented before the court:

Collection

In criminal investigation, rather than attempting to prove an abstract or hypothetical point, the evidence gatherers attempt to determine who is responsible for a criminal act. The focus of criminal evidence is to connect physical evidence and reports of witnesses to a specific person.

Presentation

The path that physical evidence takes from the scene of a crime or the arrest of a suspect to the courtroom is called the chain of custody. In a criminal case, this path must be clearly documented or attested to by those who handled the evidence. If the chain of evidence is broken, a defendant may be able to persuade the judge to declare the evidence inadmissible.

Presenting evidence before the court differs from the gathering of evidence in important ways. Gathering evidence may take many forms; presenting evidence that tend to prove or disprove the point at issue is strictly governed by rules. Failure to follow these rules leads to any number of consequences. In law, certain policies allow (or require) evidence to be excluded from consideration based either on indicia relating to reliability, or broader social concerns. Testimony (which tells) and exhibits (which show) are the two main categories of evidence presented at a trial or hearing. In the United States, evidence in federal court is admitted or excluded under the Federal Rules of Evidence.[4]

Types

See also

References

  1. ^ Davis Oldham: 'Evidence' (English 101 & 102) at Shoreline Community College, shoreline.edu Accessed 18 June 2017
  2. ^ American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. (2016). The Certified Criminal Investigator Body of Knowledge. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. Pg113. ISBN 978-1-4987-5206-0
  3. ^ American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. (2016). The Certified Criminal Investigator Body of Knowledge. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. Pg112. ISBN 978-1-4987-5206-0
  4. ^ "Federal Rules of Evidence 2008". Federal Evidence Review.

External links

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which thin needles are inserted into the body. Acupuncture is a pseudoscience because the theories and practices of TCM are not based on scientific knowledge. There is a range of acupuncture variants originating in different philosophies, and techniques vary depending on the country in which it is performed. It is most often used to attempt pain relief, though it is also recommended by acupuncturists for a wide range of other conditions. Acupuncture is generally used only in combination with other forms of treatment.The conclusions of numerous trials and systematic reviews of acupuncture are inconsistent, which suggests that it is not effective. An overview of Cochrane reviews found that acupuncture is not effective for a wide range of conditions. A systematic review conducted by medical scientists at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth found little evidence of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating pain. Overall, the evidence suggests that short-term treatment with acupuncture does not produce long-term benefits. Some research results suggest that acupuncture can alleviate some forms of pain, though the majority of research suggests that acupuncture's apparent effects are not caused by the treatment itself. A systematic review concluded that the analgesic effect of acupuncture seemed to lack clinical relevance and could not be clearly distinguished from bias. One meta-analysis found that acupuncture for chronic low back pain was cost-effective as an adjunct to standard care, while a separate systematic review found insufficient evidence for the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic low back pain.Acupuncture is generally safe when done by appropriately trained practitioners using clean needle technique and single-use needles. When properly delivered, it has a low rate of mostly minor adverse effects. Accidents and infections do occur, though, and are associated with neglect on the part of the practitioner, particularly in the application of sterile techniques. A review conducted in 2013 stated that reports of infection transmission increased significantly in the preceding decade. The most frequently reported adverse events were pneumothorax and infections. Since serious adverse events continue to be reported, it is recommended that acupuncturists be trained sufficiently to reduce the risk.Scientific investigation has not found any histological or physiological evidence for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points, and many modern practitioners no longer support the existence of life force energy (qi) or meridians, which was a major part of early belief systems. Acupuncture is believed to have originated around 100 BC in China, around the time The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing) was published, though some experts suggest it could have been practiced earlier. Over time, conflicting claims and belief systems emerged about the effect of lunar, celestial and earthly cycles, yin and yang energies, and a body's "rhythm" on the effectiveness of treatment. Acupuncture fluctuated in popularity in China due to changes in the country's political leadership and the preferential use of rationalism or Western medicine. Acupuncture spread first to Korea in the 6th century AD, then to Japan through medical missionaries, and then to Europe, beginning with France. In the 20th century, as it spread to the United States and Western countries, spiritual elements of acupuncture that conflict with Western beliefs were sometimes abandoned in favor of simply tapping needles into acupuncture points.

Bigfoot

In North American folklore, Bigfoot or Sasquatch are said to be hairy, upright-walking, ape-like creatures that dwell in the wilderness and leave footprints. Depictions often portray them as a missing link between humans and human ancestors or other great apes. They are strongly associated with the Pacific Northwest (particularly Oregon, Washington and British Columbia), and individuals claim to see the creatures across North America. Over the years, these creatures have inspired numerous commercial ventures and hoaxes. The plural nouns 'Bigfoots' and 'Bigfeet' are both acceptable.Folklorists trace the figure of Bigfoot to a combination of factors and sources, including folklore surrounding the European wild man figure, folk belief among Native Americans and loggers, and a cultural increase in environmental concerns.A majority of mainstream scientists have historically discounted the existence of Bigfoot, considering it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than living animals. A minority, such as anthropologists Grover Krantz and Jeffrey Meldrum, have expressed belief in the creatures' existence.

Burden of proof (law)

The burden of proof (Latin: onus probandi) is the obligation of a party in a trial to produce the evidence that will prove the claims they have made against the other party. In a legal dispute, one party is initially presumed to be correct and gets the benefit of the doubt, while the other side bears the burden of proof. When a party bearing the burden of proof meets its burden, the burden of proof switches to the other side. Burdens may be of different kinds for each party, in different phases of litigation. The burden of production is a minimal burden to produce at least enough evidence for the trier of fact to consider a disputed claim. After litigants have met the burden of production and their claim is being considered by a trier of fact, they have the burden of persuasion, that enough evidence has been presented to persuade the trier of fact that their side is correct. There are different standards of persuasiveness ranging from a preponderance of the evidence, where there is just enough evidence to tip the balance, to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as in United States criminal courts.The burden of proof is always on the person who brings a claim in a dispute. It is often associated with the Latin maxim semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit, a translation of which in this context is: "the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges."The party that does not carry the burden of proof carries the benefit of assumption of being correct, they are presumed to be correct, until the burden shifts after presentation of evidence by the party bringing the action. An example is in an American criminal case, where there is a presumption of innocence by the defendant. Fulfilling the burden of proof effectively captures the benefit of assumption, passing the burden of proof off to another party.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Some proponents, especially those in the field's early history, have claimed that such disorders affect general health via the nervous system, through vertebral subluxation, claims which are not based on scientific evidence. The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), manipulations of other joints and soft tissues. Its foundation is at odds with mainstream medicine, and chiropractic is sustained by pseudoscientific ideas such as subluxation and "innate intelligence" that reject science. Chiropractors are not medical doctors.Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results. Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition. Spinal manipulation may be cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic low back pain but the results for acute low back pain were insufficient. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care are unknown. There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations. It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases. There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke and death, from cervical manipulation. Several deaths have been associated with this technique and it has been suggested that the relationship is causative, a claim which is disputed by many chiropractors.Chiropractic is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions such as osteopathy and physical therapy. Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain. Back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic, but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues. Many chiropractors describe themselves as primary care providers, but the chiropractic clinical training does not support the requirements to be considered primary care providers, so their role on primary care is limited and disputed. Chiropractic has two main groups: "straights", now the minority, emphasize vitalism, "innate intelligence", and consider vertebral subluxations to be the cause of all disease; "mixers", the majority, are more open to mainstream views and conventional medical techniques, such as exercise, massage, and ice therapy.D. D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s, after saying he received it from "the other world", and his son B. J. Palmer helped to expand it in the early 20th century. Throughout its history, chiropractic has been controversial. Despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccination is an effective public health intervention, among chiropractors there are significant disagreements over the subject, which has led to negative impacts on both public vaccination and mainstream acceptance of chiropractic. The American Medical Association called chiropractic an "unscientific cult" in 1966 and boycotted it until losing an antitrust case in 1987. Chiropractic has had a strong political base and sustained demand for services; in recent decades, it has gained more legitimacy and greater acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States.

Climate change

Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. The climate system is comprised of five interacting parts, the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (ice and permafrost), biosphere (living things), and lithosphere (earth's crust and upper mantle). The climate system receives nearly all of its energy from the sun, with a relatively tiny amount from earth's interior. The climate system also gives off energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth's energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth's energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling.

As this energy moves through Earth's climate system, it creates Earth's weather and long-term averages of weather are called "climate". Changes in the long term average are called "climate change". Such changes can be the result of "internal variability", when natural processes inherent to the various parts of the climate system alter Earth's energy budget. Examples include cyclical ocean patterns such as the well-known El Niño–Southern Oscillation and less familiar Pacific decadal oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Climate change can also result from "external forcing", when events outside of the climate system's five parts nonetheless produce changes within the system. Examples include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Human activities can also change earth's climate, and are presently driving climate change through global warming. There is no general agreement in scientific, media or policy documents as to the precise term to be used to refer to anthropogenic forced change; either "global warming" or "climate change" may be used.The field of climatology incorporates many disparate fields of research. For ancient periods of climate change, researchers rely on evidence preserved in climate proxies, such as ice cores, ancient tree rings, geologic records of changes in sea level, and glacial geology. Physical evidence of current climate change covers many independent lines of evidence, a few of which are temperature records, the disappearance of ice, and extreme weather events.

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for desired outcomes, emotionally charged issues, and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

A series of psychological experiments in the 1960s suggested that people are biased toward confirming their existing beliefs. Later work re-interpreted these results as a tendency to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives. In certain situations, this tendency can bias people's conclusions. Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Another explanation is that people show confirmation bias because they are weighing up the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way. However, even scientists and intelligent people can be prone to confirmation bias.Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in political and organizational contexts.

Conspiracy theory

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. The term has a pejorative connotation, implying that the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence. Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it, are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth, and the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than proof.On a psychological level, conspiracist ideation -- belief in conspiracy theories -- can be harmful or pathological, and is highly correlated with paranoia. Conspiracy theories once limited to fringe audiences have become commonplace in mass media, emerging as a cultural phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

DNA profiling

DNA profiling (also called DNA fingerprinting) is the process of determining an individual's DNA characteristics, which are as unique as fingerprints. DNA analysis intended to identify a species, rather than an individual, is called DNA barcoding.

DNA profiling is a forensic technique in criminal investigations, comparing criminal suspects' profiles to DNA evidence so as to assess the likelihood of their involvement in the crime. It is also used in parentage testing, to establish immigration eligibility, and in genealogical and medical research. DNA profiling has also been used in the study of animal and plant populations in the fields of zoology, botany, and agriculture.

Death of Caylee Anthony

Caylee Marie Anthony (August 9, 2005 – 2008) was an American girl who lived in Orlando, Florida, with her mother, Casey Marie Anthony (born March 19, 1986), and her maternal grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony. On July 15, 2008, she was reported missing in a 9-1-1 call made by Cindy, who said she had not seen Caylee for 31 days and that Casey's car smelled like a dead body had been inside it. Cindy said Casey had given varied explanations as to Caylee's whereabouts before finally telling her that she had not seen Caylee for weeks. Casey lied to detectives, telling them Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny on June 9, and that she had been trying to find her, too frightened to alert the authorities. She was charged with first-degree murder in October 2008 and pleaded not guilty.

On December 11, 2008, two-year-old Caylee's skeletal remains were found with a blanket inside a trash bag in a wooded area near the Anthony family's house. Investigative reports and trial testimony varied between duct tape being found near the front of the skull and on the mouth of the skull. The medical examiner mentioned duct tape as one reason she ruled the death a homicide, but officially listed it as "death by undetermined means".The trial lasted six weeks, from May to July 2011. The prosecution sought the death penalty and alleged Casey wished to free herself from parental responsibilities and murdered her daughter by administering chloroform and applying duct tape. The defense team, led by Jose Baez, countered that the child had drowned accidentally in the family's swimming pool on June 16, 2008, and that George Anthony disposed of the body. The defense contended that Casey lied about this and other issues because of a dysfunctional upbringing, which they said included sexual abuse by her father. The defense did not present evidence as to how Caylee died, nor evidence that Casey was sexually abused as a child, but challenged every piece of the prosecution's evidence, calling much of it "fantasy forensics". Casey did not testify. On July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child, but guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. With credit for time served, she was released on July 17, 2011. A Florida appeals court overturned two of the misdemeanor convictions on January 25, 2013.The not-guilty murder verdict was greeted with public outrage and was both attacked and defended by media and legal commentators. Some complained that the jury misunderstood the meaning of reasonable doubt, while others said the prosecution relied too heavily on the defendant's allegedly poor moral character because they had been unable to show conclusively how the victim had died. Time magazine described the case as "the social media trial of the century".

Dinosaur

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, between 243 and 233.23 million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution of dinosaurs is the subject of active research. They became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates after the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event 201 million years ago; their dominance continued through the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Reverse genetic engineering and the fossil record both demonstrate that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier theropods during the late Jurassic Period. As such, birds were the only dinosaur lineage to survive the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. Dinosaurs can therefore be divided into avian dinosaurs, or birds; and non-avian dinosaurs, which are all dinosaurs other than birds. This article deals primarily with non-avian dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs are a varied group of animals from taxonomic, morphological and ecological standpoints. Birds, at over 10,000 living species, are the most diverse group of vertebrates besides perciform fish. Using fossil evidence, paleontologists have identified over 500 distinct genera and more than 1,000 different species of non-avian dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are represented on every continent by both extant species (birds) and fossil remains. Through the first half of the 20th century, before birds were recognized to be dinosaurs, most of the scientific community believed dinosaurs to have been sluggish and cold-blooded. Most research conducted since the 1970s, however, has indicated that all dinosaurs were active animals with elevated metabolisms and numerous adaptations for social interaction. Some were herbivorous, others carnivorous. Evidence suggests that egg-laying and nest-building are additional traits shared by all dinosaurs, avian and non-avian alike.

While dinosaurs were ancestrally bipedal, many extinct groups included quadrupedal species, and some were able to shift between these stances. Elaborate display structures such as horns or crests are common to all dinosaur groups, and some extinct groups developed skeletal modifications such as bony armor and spines. While the dinosaurs' modern-day surviving avian lineage (birds) are generally small due to the constraints of flight, many prehistoric dinosaurs (non-avian and avian) were large-bodied—the largest sauropod dinosaurs are estimated to have reached lengths of 39.7 meters (130 feet) and heights of 18 meters (59 feet) and were the largest land animals of all time. Still, the idea that non-avian dinosaurs were uniformly gigantic is a misconception based in part on preservation bias, as large, sturdy bones are more likely to last until they are fossilized. Many dinosaurs were quite small: Xixianykus, for example, was only about 50 cm (20 in) long.

Since the first dinosaur fossils were recognized in the early 19th century, mounted fossil dinosaur skeletons have been major attractions at museums around the world, and dinosaurs have become an enduring part of world culture. The large sizes of some dinosaur groups, as well as their seemingly monstrous and fantastic nature, have ensured dinosaurs' regular appearance in best-selling books and films, such as Jurassic Park. Persistent public enthusiasm for the animals has resulted in significant funding for dinosaur science, and new discoveries are regularly covered by the media.

Empirical evidence

Empirical evidence is the information received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation. The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).

After Immanuel Kant, in philosophy, it is common to call the knowledge gained a posteriori knowledge (in contrast to a priori knowledge).

Evidence-based medicine

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an approach to medical practice intended to optimize decision-making by emphasizing the use of evidence from well-designed and well-conducted research. Although all medicine based on science has some degree of empirical support, EBM goes further, classifying evidence by its epistemologic strength and requiring that only the strongest types (coming from meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and randomized controlled trials) can yield strong recommendations; weaker types (such as from case-control studies) can yield only weak recommendations. The term was originally used to describe an approach to teaching the practice of medicine and improving decisions by individual physicians about individual patients. Use of the term rapidly expanded to include a previously described approach that emphasized the use of evidence in the design of guidelines and policies that apply to groups of patients and populations ("evidence-based practice policies"). It has subsequently spread to describe an approach to decision-making that is used at virtually every level of health care as well as other fields (evidence-based practice).

Whether applied to medical education, decisions about individuals, guidelines and policies applied to populations, or administration of health services in general, evidence-based medicine advocates that to the greatest extent possible, decisions and policies should be based on evidence, not just the beliefs of practitioners, experts, or administrators. It thus tries to assure that a clinician's opinion, which may be limited by knowledge gaps or biases, is supplemented with all available knowledge from the scientific literature so that best practice can be determined and applied. It promotes the use of formal, explicit methods to analyze evidence and makes it available to decision makers. It promotes programs to teach the methods to medical students, practitioners, and policy makers.

Evidence (law)

The law of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of facts in a legal proceeding. These rules determine what evidence must or must not be considered by the trier of fact in reaching its decision. The trier of fact is a judge in bench trials, or the jury in any cases involving a jury. The law of evidence is also concerned with the quantum (amount), quality, and type of proof needed to prevail in litigation. The rules vary depending upon whether the venue is a criminal court, civil court, or family court, and they vary by jurisdiction.

The quantum of evidence is the amount of evidence needed; the quality of proof is how reliable such evidence should be considered. Important rules that govern admissibility concern hearsay, authentication, relevance, privilege, witnesses, opinions, expert testimony, identification and rules of physical evidence. There are various standards of evidence or standards showing how strong the evidence must be to meet the legal burden of proof in a given situation, ranging from reasonable suspicion to preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, or beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are several types of evidence, depending on the form or source. Evidence governs the use of testimony (e.g., oral or written statements, such as an affidavit), exhibits (e.g., physical objects), documentary material, or demonstrative evidence, which are admissible (i.e., allowed to be considered by the trier of fact, such as jury) in a judicial or administrative proceeding (e.g., a court of law).

When a dispute, whether relating to a civil or criminal matter, reaches the court there will always be a number of issues which one party will have to prove in order to persuade the court to find in his or her favour. The law must ensure certain guidelines are set out in order to ensure that evidence presented to the court can be regarded as trustworthy.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy or homœopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of like cures like (similia similibus curentur), a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people. Homeopathy is a pseudoscience – a belief that is incorrectly presented as scientific. Homeopathic preparations are not effective for treating any condition; large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, indicating that any positive effects that follow treatment are not due to the treatment itself but instead to factors such as normal recovery from illness, or regression toward the mean.Hahnemann believed the underlying causes of disease were phenomena that he termed miasms, and that homeopathic preparations addressed these. The preparations are manufactured using a process of homeopathic dilution, in which a chosen substance is repeatedly diluted in alcohol or distilled water, each time with the containing vessel being struck against an elastic material, commonly a leather-bound book. Dilution typically continues well past the point where no molecules of the original substance remain. Homeopaths select homeopathics by consulting reference books known as repertories, and by considering the totality of the patient's symptoms, personal traits, physical and psychological state, and life history.Homeopathy is not a plausible system of treatment, as its dogmas about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made in the two centuries since its invention. Although some clinical trials produce positive results, multiple systematic reviews have shown that this is because of chance, flawed research methods, and reporting bias. Homeopathic practice has been criticized as unethical because it discourages the use of effective treatments, with the World Health Organization warning against using homeopathy to try to treat severe diseases such as HIV and malaria. The continued practice of homeopathy, despite a lack of evidence of efficacy, has led to it being characterized within the scientific and medical communities as nonsense, quackery, and a sham.There have been four large scale assessments of homeopathy by national or international bodies: the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council; the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee; the European Academies' Science Advisory Council; and the Swiss Federal Health Office. Each concluded that homeopathy is ineffective, and recommended against the practice receiving any further funding. The National Health Service in England has announced a policy of not funding homeopathic medicine because it is "a misuse of resources". They called on the UK Department of Health to add homeopathic remedies to the blacklist of forbidden prescription items, and the NHS ceased funding homeopathic remedies in November 2017.

Human evolution

Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates—in particular genus Homo—and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, the great apes. This process involved the gradual development of traits such as human bipedalism and language, as well as interbreeding with other hominins, which indicate that human evolution was not linear but a web.The study of human evolution involves several scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, paleontology, neurobiology, ethology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryology and genetics. Genetic studies show that primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous period, and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago.Within the Hominoidea (apes) superfamily, the Hominidae family diverged from the Hylobatidae (gibbon) family some 15–20 million years ago; African great apes (subfamily Homininae) diverged from orangutans (Ponginae) about 14 million years ago; the Hominini tribe (humans, Australopithecines and other extinct biped genera, and chimpanzee) parted from the Gorillini tribe (gorillas) between 8–9 million years ago; and, in turn, the subtribes Hominina (humans and biped ancestors) and Panina (chimps) separated 4–7.5 million years ago.

Index of law articles

This collection of lists of law topics collects the names of topics related to law. Everything related to law, even quite remotely, should be included on the alphabetical list, and on the appropriate topic lists. All links on topical lists should also appear in the main alphabetical listing. The process of creating lists is ongoing – these lists are neither complete nor up-to-date – if you see an article that should be listed but is not (or one that shouldn't be listed as legal but is), please update the lists accordingly. You may also want to include Wikiproject Law talk page banners on the relevant pages.

Neanderthal

Neanderthals (UK: , also US: ; Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo, who lived within Eurasia from circa 400,000 until 40,000 years ago.Currently the earliest fossils of Neanderthals in Europe are dated between 450,000 and 430,000 years ago, and thereafter Neanderthals expanded into Southwest and Central Asia. They are known from numerous fossils, as well as stone tool assemblages. Almost all assemblages younger than 160,000 years are of the so-called Mousterian techno-complex, which is characterised by tools made out of stone flakes.

The type specimen is Neanderthal 1, found in Neander Valley in the German Rhineland, in 1856.

Compared to modern humans, Neanderthals were stockier, with shorter legs and bigger bodies. In conformance with Bergmann's rule, as well as Allen's rule, this was likely an adaptation to preserve heat in cold climates. Male and female Neanderthals had cranial capacities averaging 1,600 cm3 (98 cu in) and 1,300 cm3 (79 cu in), respectively,

within the range of the values for anatomically modern humans.

Average males stood around 164 to 168 cm (65 to 66 in) and females 152 to 156 cm (60 to 61 in) tall.There has been growing evidence for admixture between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, reflected in the genomes of all modern non-African populations but not in the genomes of most sub-Saharan Africans. The proportion of Neanderthal-derived ancestry is estimated to be around 1–4% of the modern Eurasian genome. This suggests that some interbreeding between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans took place after the recent "out of Africa" migration, around 70,000 years ago. Recent admixture analyses have added to the complexity, finding that Eastern Neanderthals derived up to 2% of their ancestry from anatomically modern humans who left Africa some 100,000 years ago.

O. J. Simpson murder case

The O. J. Simpson murder case (officially People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson) was a criminal trial held at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Former National Football League (NFL) player, broadcaster, and actor O. J. Simpson was tried on two counts of murder for the June 12, 1994, slashing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. On the morning of June 13, 1994, the couple was found stabbed to death outside Brown's condominium in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Simpson was a person of interest in their murders. He did not turn himself in, and on June 17 he became the object of a low-speed pursuit in a white 1993 Ford Bronco SUV owned and driven by his friend Al Cowlings. TV stations interrupted coverage of the 1994 NBA Finals to broadcast the incident. The pursuit was watched live by an estimated 95 million people. The pursuit, arrest, and trial were among the most widely publicized events in American history. The trial—often characterized as the trial of the century because of its international publicity—spanned eleven months, from the jury's swearing-in on November 9, 1994. Opening statements were made on January 24, 1995, and the verdict was announced on October 3, 1995, when Simpson was acquitted on two counts of murder. Following his acquittal, no additional arrests related to the murders have been made, and the crime remains unsolved to this day. According to USA Today, the case has been described as the "most publicized" criminal trial in history.Simpson was represented by a very high-profile defense team, also referred to as the "Dream Team", which was initially led by Robert Shapiro and subsequently directed by Johnnie Cochran. The team also included F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Shawn Holley, Carl E. Douglas, and Gerald Uelmen. Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld were two additional attorneys who specialized in DNA evidence.

Deputy District Attorneys Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden thought that they had a strong case against Simpson, but Cochran was able to convince the jurors that there was reasonable doubt concerning the validity of the State's DNA evidence, which was a relatively new form of evidence in trials at that time. The reasonable doubt theory included evidence that the blood sample had allegedly been mishandled by lab scientists and technicians, and there were questionable circumstances that surrounded other court exhibits. Cochran and the defense team also alleged other misconduct by the LAPD related to systemic racism and the actions of Detective Mark Fuhrman. Simpson's celebrity status, racial issues, and the lengthy televised trial riveted national attention. By the end of the trial, national surveys indicated dramatic differences of opinion between black and white Americans in the assessment of Simpson's guilt or innocence.The immediate reaction to the verdict created a division along racial lines. A poll of Los Angeles County residents showed that most African Americans felt that justice had been served by the "not guilty" verdict, while the majority of whites and Latinos expressed an opposite opinion on the matter.After the trial, the families of Brown and Goldman filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson. On February 4, 1997, the jury unanimously found Simpson responsible for both deaths. The families were awarded compensatory and punitive damages totaling $33.5 million ($52.3 million in 2018 dollars), but have received only a small portion of that monetary figure. In 2000, Simpson left California for Florida, one of the few states where one's assets like homes and pensions cannot be seized to cover liabilities that were incurred in other states.

Pangaea

Pangaea or Pangea ( ) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It assembled from earlier continental units approximately 335 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago. In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, much of Pangaea was in the southern hemisphere and surrounded by a superocean, Panthalassa. Pangaea was the most recent supercontinent to have existed and the first to be reconstructed by geologists.

Critical thinking and
informal logic
Theories of deduction

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