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This millennium has provided us with discoveries, proof and evidence

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What Is Proof? Read This If You Want To Become An Apologist.

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What is proof?

This millennium has provided us with discoveries, proof and evidence. Every discovery should be proven. Establishing of truth is never a simple affair, it requires proof. Establishing of truth is no longer a simple issue; it needs an array of evidences and cross-examinations

The fall of the proverbial apple that Newton witnessed was not enough to prove the existence of gravitational force. It took years of repeated experiments before it became a universal law. Valid conclusions are not straight forward, but rather a long winding path.

Every field of knowledge has its own sets of methods, tools, and canon of proofs. This means that, what must be useful in one case might not work in the other. Most of the time those who need to use proof are not equipped enough or lack understanding in how to handle them. Proof is not the same in Logic, Mathematics, and Physical Science and in Historical Science or in legal investigations. This also means that, proofs are not arrived at with the help of the same tools or canon of proof. The same is also with disproving in these fields.

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The ordinary man can go on with his life with no regard to proof and the canons of proof, but the student of the Bible and Science do not have that luxury. But anybody who is interested in Apologetics or Politics should be acquainted with the basic principles, evidence, and illogic in the field of proof.

The following are the types of proof:

a. Axiomatic Truth: Is the most basic and fundamental level of truth. They are self proof and self evident truth. This means that the axiomatic truth also serves the same purpose as axiomatic proof. Axiomatic proofs are universally self evident and unchallenged proof. A perfect example is, if B is equal to A and if C is also equal to A, then B and C will be equal to each other. Axiomatic proofs are divided into two main categories and they are, Universal Axioms and Particular Axioms. Universal Axioms is a collection of axioms that has a direct or indirect influence in every field of knowledge. Particular Axioms are related to a specific field of knowledge, such as Quantum Mechanics or Pharmacology, or historiography etc.

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b. Logical Proof: Logic deals with statements that are reduced to the simplest form or most basic level. When two of such simplest statements, are related to each other in certain specific way, are placed side by side, then certain predictable deductions follow. These deductions are not just predictable but they also stand for the only possibility. Error of faulty logic has been identified as well. 

Whenever we come to a conclusion based upon the well established canons of logic, then it is called logical proof.

c. Mathematical Proof: Every branch of mathematics has a lot of proofs. All together are known as mathematical proof. You need to invoke both Axiomatic and Logical proofs to arrive at Mathematical proofs. Consider these two arithmetical series;

A = 1+0.1+0.01+0.001+0.0001+...and

B = 1+10+100+1000+10,000+...

Nobody will be able to calculate the total even if the person spends the whole of eternity, even though, it will have an infinite component. Using mathematical methods developed to analyze infinite series, we will come to a conclusion that, the sum total of series A will be a small finite number and at the same time B will be infinite. We arrived at this proof not by actual compilation of the total but through logic. This is called Mathematical proofs.

The Christian apologist should be aware that Mathematical proofs are only used in the area of Mathematics, and any other use is not valid. Most often you will see Muslims point out that if God is three persons, how can he be one? Their argument is that 1+1+1 can never give you one.

In fact, God is not Mathematics but he is a personality. Therefore, you can never use Mathematical expressions to prove or disprove the nature or the existence of God.

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d. Empirical Proof: This type of proof is very common in Science and Technology. It is the combination of Axiomatic, Logic and Mathematical proofs. Empirical proofs are done through practical demonstration and assessment and not theory. In other words, this proof is totally dependent on repeated experiments. Repeated experiment reduces error.

This implies that, the smaller the sample the greater the error in the final result and that creates a false picture. By the way, empirical proofs dont just end with repeated experiments but the results are then scrutinized. This ensures that the computation is objective.

Empirical proof is obtained through communication between experimental data, experimental results, and theoretical predictions. This process is laborious but it ensures correctness of results, reduction of bias, and elimination of error.  

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e. Historical-Legal Proof: This proof deals with issues that are not repeatable. It actually deals with things that cannot be brought into a cosmological laboratory for repetition. This proof actually depends on probabilities and the best way in which certain event took place.

A perfect example is a murder case. The police arrest all suspects, interrogate them and charge them appropriately. The police then bring all material and immaterial evidence and present it to the learned judge. The judge in turn will weigh all the evidence and comes to probable conclusion and he gives verdict based on that. So many things can go wrong with this process but because the majority of the deductions reached a high probability, he brought his verdict.

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f. Legal Logical Proof: Legal Logical proof is closely related to the Historical Legal Proof. These two come into play in the same analysis. Legal logical proof is used to reconstruct history or a single event that took place over a long period of time. 

This is normally what is used by a detective who is investigating a crime. The detective gathers all physical evidence that is available and then he uses this evidence to reconstruct a picture of how the crime took place. Then, the detective applies two or more theories to himself or to the team he is working with. He then eliminates any unworkable theory. He would then add new evidence, if any, to the picture. The detective can then ask new questions and further investigations can be conducted as soon as possible before the available evidence like foot prints are utterly destroyed by nature or by intelligent criminals. After elimination of all unworkable theories and proper analysis is done, what is left is assumed to represent the truth. The court stands on this circumstantial evidence and punishes people. But this circumstantial evidence is not foolproof. This is the main reason why people who are on death row can be acquitted and discharges when new evidence is found. 

Therefore, the apologist should use only those legal logical proofs that are said to be Undisputed evidence.

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g. Relational Proof: People often accept a large amount of statements and claims because it came from people they know and trust. This is what we call relational proofs. This proof is not blind at all. Students accept whatever their teachers tell them whether it be history or physics. Children also accepts whatever their parents tell them as true because that is what theyve been taught right from childhood. Theyve also taught them not to trust certain people. This trust is as a result of their long standing relationship with them. This type of proof plays a major role in Christian apologetics because it helps us discover many vital truths including the existence of God.

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Source: opera.com
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