Evidence and belief

Yesterday’s Scenes from a Multiverse:

Jon Rosenberg’s comment:

Me? I think the stars are gigantic glowing kittens. But I don’t have conclusive evidence yet.

Rosenberg returns here to one of his enduring themes: what counts as evidence for beliefs? The beliefs in question are often fantastical, and the reasoning his characters use to defend beliefs is often fallacious.

In this case, beliefs involve asserting a prophylactic function for some X: X is there to ward off some Y, to prevent Y from happening, so if that Y doesn’t happen, we have evidence for this function of X (stars as warding off space vampires) or even of the existence of X (those giant bulbs of garlic, those dead folks looking down on us) or of Y (space vampires). The basis of a family of jokes.

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