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Standard of evidence
Establishing a common standard of evidence is key to establishing reciprocal equality and avoiding wasting time on propaganda techniques like raising standard of evidence. A general scale of standards is:
- axiomatic proof which is generally thought to be very reliable but narrow.
- quasi-empirical methods including highly trusted human arbitrators.
- 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.
- clinical methods as used in medicine which have valid controls but focus on such complex systems that evidence is not as reliable as science proper.
- consensus of experts as employed in climate change, political science, sociology, ethics and other fields that totally lack control conditions. Means of consensus decision making may vary drastically among these professions.
- prevailing view as employed in economics, technology and management fields, usually the basis of professionalism and ethical codes - often relies on consensus definitions which are not as political or open to challenge by outsiders.
- 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.
- statistical proofs usually measured in "sigmas" beyond the mean, that mean signalling coincidence, and basis of advanced voting systems and standards of circumstantial evidence.
- statistical significance indicating some level of correlation
- balance of probabilities, colloquially, "51%", basis of civil law, simplest voting systems.