# What exactly is the explicit difference between proof and evidence?

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I would like to know exactly what is the difference between the meaning of the terms "proof" and "evidence" since I feel like a lot of people use the term proof when they discern something that is explicitly indicative of something else happening, but can possibly still even yet be dismissed by further "proof" that the previous "proof" is untrue and must be debunked. If someone could clear up the meaning of these two concepts, that would be great!

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28 minutes ago, bluntc0ncussi0n said:

I would like to know exactly what is the difference between the meaning of the terms "proof" and "evidence" since I feel like a lot of people use the term proof when they discern something that is explicitly indicative of something else happening, but can possibly still even yet be dismissed by further "proof" that the previous "proof" is untrue and must be debunked. If someone could clear up the meaning of these two concepts, that would be great!

Good morning and welcome.

Yes it is true that too many folks talk of proof when mean something else.

The meanings of proof and evidence are pretty much the same in Mathematics, Science, Philosophy and the Law.

Proof requires a proposition, evidence does not (although evidence may be offered, rightly or wrongly, in support of a proposition).

Consider the equation

a + b = a * b

Now the statement  a = b = 2 is evidence that the equation is sometimes valid, but it is not true since for example it is not true for  a = b = 3

So the proposition that the equation is always valid is false and cannot be proved.

But the proposition that the equation is sometimes valid is true and is proved by the evidence of the eaxmple a = b = 2.

But consider the forensic science statement "Mr B died at 8 pm"

This is just evidence, there is no associated proposition. By itself it is not proof of anything.

Proof finds most use in Mathematics and Philosophy since it can be taken to mean,

"The proposition is consistent with the axioms or premises"

Since most parts of maths and philosophy concern abstract constructs this does not mean that a proof has any substance or validity in 'reality' or the observable environment.
This also confuses many.

Other areas of scientific thought and the legal profession tend to consider "The balance of the evidence" , rather than proof.
So we have no absolute 'proof' of the Laws of Thermodynamics.
But they have never been observed to fail so every instance is supporting evidence for them.

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14 hours ago, studiot said:

Good morning and welcome.

Yes it is true that too many folks talk of proof when mean something else.

The meanings of proof and evidence are pretty much the same in Mathematics, Science, Philosophy and the Law.

Proof requires a proposition, evidence does not (although evidence may be offered, rightly or wrongly, in support of a proposition).

Consider the equation

a + b = a * b

Now the statement  a = b = 2 is evidence that the equation is sometimes valid, but it is not true since for example it is not true for  a = b = 3

So the proposition that the equation is always valid is false and cannot be proved.

But the proposition that the equation is sometimes valid is true and is proved by the evidence of the eaxmple a = b = 2.

But consider the forensic science statement "Mr B died at 8 pm"

This is just evidence, there is no associated proposition. By itself it is not proof of anything.

Proof finds most use in Mathematics and Philosophy since it can be taken to mean,

"The proposition is consistent with the axioms or premises"

Since most parts of maths and philosophy concern abstract constructs this does not mean that a proof has any substance or validity in 'reality' or the observable environment.
This also confuses many.

Other areas of scientific thought and the legal profession tend to consider "The balance of the evidence" , rather than proof.
So we have no absolute 'proof' of the Laws of Thermodynamics.
But they have never been observed to fail so every instance is supporting evidence for them.

I see. That definitely clears things up. Thanks for the help!

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Or to put it more simple:

Proof is indisputable. Evidence is a matter of interpretation.

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1 hour ago, QuantumT said:

Proof is indisputable. Evidence is a matter of interpretation.

I prefer proof as indisputable, as in mathematics, and evidence, according to degree of evidence.

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