Empirical evidence is any evidence which can be observed
either directly or indirectly by the senses. (Broadly, DATA,
INFORMATION, and EVIDENCE.)
- It is important to consider the quality, amount,
accuracy, and relevance of the empirical evidence. Most reasoning
requires the support of empirical evidence.
- Examples of empirical evidence:
- The pulse of a Geiger counter
- The number of times your date arrived late.
- The body, knife, and other items at a murder scene.
- Skid marks at an accident scene.
- The color and crispness of the lettuce at the store.
- The humidity
- The number of home runs Barry Bonds hit.
- The Grand Canyon. Its size, the river running through it,
the layers of rocks, etc.
- Your car makes a funny sound.
- Your wallet is missing.
- The water runs up hill.
- Many claims are attempts to explain evidence. How did the current
situation come to be? Just because an explanation sounds plausable
does not mean it is correct. For instance, you notice that your
wallet is not where it is supposed to be. One explanation might
be that your roommate stole it. Should you immediately accuse
them? Probably not. Perhaps you misplaced it. Evidence doesn't
usually have a sign hanging on it telling you how it came to
- Look for additional evidence. For instance, if you see water
running uphill, it is likely that you will not be immediately
satisfied (because you know water doesn't run uphill). For instance,
at The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, one can see water
run uphill. But as one looks more closely it can be seen that
this is merely an optical illusion. The building is on a slant
that plays tricks on our senses. It only looks like water is
- Regarding Empirical Evidence, consider the following:
- Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have.
- Search for information that opposes your position as well as
information that supports it.
- Make sure that all information used is clear, accurate, and
relevant to the question at issue.
- Make sure you have gathered sufficient information.
- What alternative explanations are there for the evidence?
- Have you overlooked important information?