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Created:August 1, 2002
Latest Update: August 18, 2002

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Definitions of Circumstantial Evidence

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, August 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

  • Circumstances, Circumstantial Evidence Essay should clarify the meaning. Backup. Link added August 1, 2002.

    When there is no witness present, circumstantial evidence, evidence like the similarities in the chain of transmission of the hadith, are used to determine authenticity. We need to think about the intellectual leap from the "probability" of authenticity of a statement that "probably" came down through the Prophet, to actual belief in what the Prophet is "believed" to have said. To close off our minds by accepting a given statement as "true beyond questioning" is to lose ourselves in what Freire would call "cicrcles of certainty," which means to admit no new information. In the case of authenticating what the Prophet said, perhaps that makes sense, since the best evidence of what He said must come from those who knew him, or purportedly knew him.

  • Mark Twain Quotes on circumstantial evidence On the twainquotes site.

    "Even the clearest and most perfect circumstantial evidence is likely to be at fault, after all, and therefore ought to be received with great caution. Take the case of any pencil, sharpened by any woman; if you have witnesses, you will find she did it with a knife; but if you take simply the aspect of the pencil, you will say she did it with her teeth." - Pudd'nhead Wilson

    "In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."
    - Life on the Mississippi