Home > Investigating Skeptics > Anomalistics > A Spectrum of Belief

A Spectrum of Belief

by William S. Moulton

Adapted from a paper by the Author, circa 1990

Back to... Anomalistics

There is a wide spectrum of levels of consensus and belief, and of the conditions required to achieve them. For example, a situation may be:

  Assumed -- when it is "common knowledge," accepted on a default basis, and no evidence to the contrary has been
    presented or recognized

  Certain, True or Proven -- when evidence is conclusive or compelling

  Believed -- in Law, when there is a credible and reliable informant who is a witness

  Likely -- in Law, when the summary of evidence is in favor

  Probable -- when at least one item of direct, verifiable evidence exists

  Plausible -- when consensus-logic arguments "for" are stronger than those "against"

  Uncertain -- when evidence and arguments "for" and "against" seem equally plausible.

  Doubted -- in Law, if the existence of a competing or mutually- exclusive situation is suspected

  Unlikely -- in Law, when the summary of evidence disfavors it

  Improbable -- when direct or indirect, verifiable evidence is missing

  Implausible -- when arguments "against" are stronger than those "for," or where consensus logic cannot ascertain
    consistency or cause and effect

  Suspected -- In Law, when not believed, but there is some suggested evidence or argument to support it.

  Possible -- where no necessary conditions "for" are violated

  Disbelieved -- in Law, when a credible and reliable informant is a witness to direct contrary evidence

  Impossible, False or Disproven -- when all necessary conditions for belief are violated or disallowed by conclusive evidence

  Not Suspected -- is not considered, or there exists some generally- accepted reason to deny it.

Top of Page

Back to... Anomalistics



If you have any comments or suggestions on this website please email... morphlist@aol.com
Copyright © The Association for Skeptical Investigations