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== == New archaeological and other types of discoveries are being made all the time that support the truth of The Bible. The phrase you quote simply means that just because we can't presently prove something from the Bible with physical evidence, it doesn't mean that such evidence does not exist, it may simply mean that we have not yet discovered it. This term is used as a counter-argument to many who try to argue illogically that because something has not been discovered apart from its mention in the Bible it therefore is not true. This is stated in summary form as 'absence of evidence is evidence of absence.' The assumption behind this is that the Bible is a lot of 'campfire tales' and 'Mythology' and where it tells of people they are far removed from the events and so cannot know of what they speak with any accuracy.

However, there now have been many archaeological discoveries made which verify historical, lifestyle and other details from the Biblical records. The fact that these had not yet been discovered did not make the Bible any more or less true than it was before. All that can be logically concluded when there is no extra-biblical evidence yet available is that there is no extra-biblical evidence yet available on a particular subject.

To use an illustration from everyday life may help clarify the issue further and demonstrate how the argument when used in its reverse form, is most illogical. The assertion 'absence of evidence is evidence of absence' cannot be applied to any unknown discovery or else the following propositions would be true:

Since William Herschel discovered Uranus in 1781 it did not exist until then because evidence of its existence was absent.

Since Neptune was not discovered until September 23rd 1846 by Galle and Arrest it did not exist until then, since there was no real evidence.

Pluto didn't exist until 1930 when it was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh, since there was no evidence of its existence.

The same kind of assertions have been made and continue to be made against historical and other Biblical details. There continue to be discoveries made which confirm the accuracy of the Biblical record. The evidence was always there, it simply had not come to light. "Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence" means it's not a fact until proven otherwise. The above answer would certainly be a correct proposition if there is clarity given to the phrase 'it's not a fact.' If this means it's not a fact that the Bible has been proven wrong simply due to a lack of evidence in certain areas then this would be a true and correct proposition. If it means that it's not a fact that the Bible has been proven true simply because there is no evidence in a particular area then the proposition is logically flawed for reasons given above.

Firstly, the Bible has been verified in numerous areas in which not that many years age it was thought to be in error. Thus, even though the evidence was relatively recently discovered the Bible was correct even without the evidence. The evidence just confirmed what was already correct.

In addition, if evidence is required for everything then we may well not believe that man landed on the moon (indeed some think it was a big hoax) since we didn't see it directly. We take it 'on faith' to a certain degree because there is enough evidence. It is not unreasonable to take some things from the Bible 'on faith' without direct evidence since the writers have proven themselves reliable elsewhere. On the other hand, were the same ultra-skepticism to be applied to many other ancient writings, we would have very little of antiquity left as the Bible has much more and better 'evidence.'

== == == ==

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โˆ™ 2007-11-22 12:25:46
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Q: What does the phrase 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' mean in relation to discoveries supporting the Bible?
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A:That is correct: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The philosopher, Bertrand Russell wrote that if he claimed that a perfectly formed teapot were orbiting the sun in the asteroid belt, it would be nonsense for him to expect others not to doubt him just because they could not prove him wrong. Russell was illustrating that there was no evidence for the tepot, but reasonable people would conclude that it does not exist. His teapot is still referred to in discussions concerning the existence, or otherwise, of God.

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