Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Too much evidence can be a bad thing...

Too much evidence can be a bad thing...  This is a fascinating article that shows how evidence that is “too good to be true” often really is untrue – the result of a systematic bias of some kind, or outright fraud.  I particularly like the article's lead – it's not the sort of thing you see every day in a science journal:
Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect was acquitted. This reasoning sounds counter-intuitive, but the legislators of the time had noticed that unanimous agreement often indicates the presence of systemic error in the judicial process, even if the exact nature of the error is yet to be discovered. They intuitively reasoned that when something seems too good to be true, most likely a mistake was made.

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