Disconfirming Evidence is Decisive

[Written by John Loftus]
Pool of Siloam
I actually saw the Pool of Siloam for myself when I was in Jerusalem in 1989. What follows from this? The archaeological evidence is consistent with the Gospel stories about Jesus sending the blind man there who was healed (John 9:1-7). But it does nothing to show Jesus healed the man. Roswell, New Mexico, is an actual city too. Is this evidence of the existence of aliens? Both cases are equivalent. The existence of the Pool of Siloam and the city of Roswell are what we would expect to find if such claims were true, but that's all it shows. This is called confirming evidence.

Compare this kind of evidence with the disconfirming archaeological evidence for Noah's Flood and the Canaanite conquest, as but two examples. Archaeology disconfirms these stories told in the Bible. Confirming evidence confirms while disconfirming evidence disconfirms. At best then, what Christians have are archaeological findings that are consistent with what they believe in the same way as the city of Roswell confirms the existence of aliens, or the city of Bethlehem confirms that Jesus was born of a virgin there. But this kind of evidence is negligible at best.

Now let's consider confirmation bias theory which predicts that we all seek to confirm rather than disconfirm what we believe. Confirming evidence is easy to come by since it can be found at every corner, while disconfirming evidence is decisive evidence. It only takes a small amount of disconfirming evidence to discredit something, which goes for the Bible. Got it? Confirming evidence is not irrelevant but it takes a whole lot of it to confirm something when there is no disconfirming evidence to the contrary. Therefore we should pay more attention to disconfirming evidence and even actively seek it out.