Watch out for silent evidence…

by. Anthony Demangone

Social media and our 24-hour news cycle have a tendency to distort reality. It isn’t that both information channels intentionally mislead us. Rather, both have a tendency to focus on a very small number of issues.

If an alien visited our world today, “it” might think that the number one issue facing our planet is whatever the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is doing today. I just visited CNN’s website, and they are focusing on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s homecoming, the plane crash involving a Philadelphia news executive, and the fact that a whale has washed up on shore in California.

What’s missing?  A great deal. This missing story is referred to as “silent evidence.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book, The Black Swan, talks a great deal about silent evidence. He uses a story from Cicero to highlight the issue.

Diagoras, a nonbeliever in the gods, was shown painted tablets bearing the portraits of some worshippers who prayed, then survived a subsequent shipwreck. The implication was that praying protects you from drowning.

Diagoras asked, “Where are the pictures of those who prayed, then drowned?”

The winners often tell the story, and we don’t have a great way of hearing from the losers. You often hear about some lady or gentlemen who turned their life around by flipping homes, day trading, or getting into the healthy food vending business.

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