Sunday, July 10, 2011

Casey Anthony and Belief

Apparently two thirds of Americans believe that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter. The jury did not believe this to be the case. That is because the jury understood that belief is not a basis on which to make decisions that profoundly affect another person's life. In order to make a judgement about another person, especially when it comes to imprisoning that person, restricting their freedom or even taking their life, belief is insufficient. Fact, or evidence is needed to make a determination as to the validity of a claim. As a matter of fact, no pun intended, this is what science is all about. People wish to believe a whole host of things especially when it is meant to make their life better in some way. When it remains purely personal, each individual can maintain their belief no matter how outlandish but when it comes to imposing it on others, we run into huge problems. The same is true in the healing arts. Lots of people offer remedies and treatments that they say is helpful and often may even try to benefit financially from offering these treatments but most often these are based on beliefs at best. Though it is true that experience may precede scientific proof and anecdotal experience may certainly be true for the one having the experience, offering it to others in a authoritative manner requires science and science is complicated and labor intensive and sometimes excruciatingly time-consuming but it will ultimately offer an answer that goes beyond belief. This is what, in effect, the Casey Anthony jury did in coming to it's verdict. It did not decide that she had not killed her daughter but rather that the evidence was not there to make a truthful determination that she had and it is what most of us would have concluded if we had gone through the same rigorous scientific process. It is a principle we should always apply to things that matter in our lives.

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