I don’t agree with Andrew McCarthy all the time, and this really isn’t the main point of his article, but I think this snippet is especially important to discussions of “proof”:
Apodictic knowledge eludes us. That’s the human condition. Whether we are in the position of relying on circumstantial evidence, direct evidence, or some combination of the two, we are forever at a deficit. Our knowledge is imperfect and our premises may be flawed (and constantly reminding oneself of that is what separates good intelligence analysts from bad ones). Notice that in the criminal justice system, where we apply the most exacting evidentiary standards, the requirement is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, not proof beyond all possible doubt.
There is no proof beyond all possible doubt.
The whole article is worth a read:
My personal quote about proof is this:
Proof is in the eye of the beholder.
Just like beauty. Our senses, our abilities to reason, and so on are limited and affected by our emotions and motives (which we may not even know).
And, ultimately, we will never believe what we really don’t want to believe.
P.S. My disclaimer at the top may imply something I don’t intend. I suspect I am usually aligned with Andrew and what he produces is always worth a read, listen, or watch.