A Preponderance of Evidence

Fingerprint and scales of Justice

Evolution or Intelligent Design

By Vin Sparks

In a discussion about proof, we would kick around three kinds of evidence that can be presented for consideration in a court of law:

Direct evidence is presented in the form of testimony from a witness who actually, saw, heard, smelled, touched or tasted the subject of questioning. If believed, this kind of evidence proves that the event in question took place without inference or presumption. It can also point to the parties involved.

Circumstantial evidence relies on an inference or presumption to connect it to the conclusion that a particular event took place.

Forensic evidence is obtained by scientific methods, such as ballistics, blood tests and DNA testing to establish that the event in question took place and who the parties are that were involved.

To Illustrate:

If I went to the window, looked out side and saw it was raining, I would be able to provide direct evidence of the event by virtue of the fact that I saw the downpour myself. I am a witness to the event.

On the other hand, if after I had heard what I thought was rain hitting the window, I saw droplets on the glass, noticed the street outside was wet and water was rushing through the gutter and into the storm drain I would have circumstantial evidence that a rain event had occurred.

Finally, if a chemical analysis of water from a puddle outside revealed that the cellular make up of the accumulated water was consistent with rain water in the area, I would have forensic evidence that a rain event had occurred.

In a court of law a trial is held to determine the facts and what can legally be implied by those facts. For instance, did an event take place and who was or wasn’t involved?

This question is decided by presenting evidence to a “fact finder”. In some situations, the fact finder may be a judge. In other situations it may be a jury. Either way, evidence is presented to the fact finder(s) in order to help in determining the question at hand – did the event in question take place?

A Common Misconception

There is a widespread mistaken belief that circumstantial evidence is less valid or not as important as direct evidence. This is not entirely true. Many successful criminal prosecutions rely largely or entirely on circumstantial evidence. Much of the evidence against convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, for instance, was circumstantial. Speaking about McVeigh’s trial, University of Michigan law professor Robert Precht said, “Circumstantial evidence can be, and often is much more powerful than direct evidence.” The 2004 murder trial of Scott Peterson was another high-profile conviction based heavily on circumstantial evidence.

Let’s face it; the overwhelming majority of criminal acts are events that take place in front of no witnesses. We have to rely heavily on circumstantial and forensic evidence to get to the truth about what happened.

A Hypothetical

The discovery of a woman stabbed to death on the beach triggers a police investigation during which no eye witnesses can be found. However:

• Fresh tire tracks just yards from the crime scene match the tracks that would be left by the tires on the vehicle owned by the victim’s husband.

• A resident of a beach condo near by said that he heard a man and a woman arguing the night of the murder in the area where the woman was found. He later identified the male voice that he heard as being that of the husband.

• Sand found on the husband’s shoes match the sand in the immediate area around the body.

• A knife consistent with one that would make the kinds of wounds sustained by the victim was found in the trunk of the husband’s car.

• Testing revealed that there was blood on the knife and that it matches the blood of the victim and fingerprints on the knife belong to the husband.

• A shirt belonging to the husband was found in a trash can in the couple’s garage that had blood spatters on it from the victim.

The fact that there were no eye witnesses to the murder does not mean that we cannot know the truth about the event that occurred on the beach that night. A preponderance of evidence, circumstantial and forensic, paints a picture for us that will lead to the truth.

Evolution or Intelligent Design?

There were also no eye witnesses to what occurred at the emergence of the universe. Whether it all came into existence as the result of a big bang or God spoke and the universe burst into being, no one was there to observe it. Consequently, there is no direct evidence that can be cited for what happened. There is, however, a preponderance of circumstantial and forensic evidence that can be presented to the fact finders – you.

The Trouble with Darwin

There is substantial evidence for intelligent design in ALL fields of science:

The Evidence of Cosmology (the study of the origin and development of the universe)

The Evidence of Physics (the branch of science concerned with the nature and of matter and energy)

The Evidence of Astronomy (the branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space and the physical universe as a whole)

The Evidence of Biochemistry (the branch of science concerned with the chemical and physiochemical processes that occur within living organisms)

The Evidence of Biological Information (internally coded, inheritable information carried by all living organisms used as a “blueprint” or set of instructions for building and maintaining a living creature)

The Evidence of Consciousness (the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings)

Remember, you are the fact finders. Take the evidence presented here and weigh it against reason and your own personal research. See if it stands up to your scrutiny. This is a “living document”. Check back for the links to the unfinished posts above and for new posts.