No Evidence of Absence

Mon., Mar. 7/22

My wife and I have become great fans of the CBC Television detective drama series Murdoch Mysteries. Set in Victorian era Toronto the Sherlock Holmesian detective William Murdoch solves murders by wit and inventions. In one episode (Season 6, Episode 7, “The Ghost of Queen’s Park”) a politician is rumoured to have been killed by a vengeance-seeking ghost. In one scene the more gullible Constable George Crabtree discusses the case with the ever practical and scientific-minded detective William Murdoch:

  • Crabtree: “Sir, I think we may be… premature in eliminating the supernatural element from this investigation. At least two people have said they’ve seen a glowing ghost in recent days.”
  • Murdoch: “George, there is absolutely no scientific basis for the existence of ghosts.”
  • Crabtree: “Yes, sir, but you yourself have said the absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence. You yourself believe in God and heaven for instance.”
  • Murdoch: “Neither of which I’m bringing into this investigation.”
  • Crabtree: “Yes, sir…”

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.” — The line is sheer brilliance. It states concisely the truth that one’s inability to find evidence of a thing, does not mean the evidence does not exist. It only means that as yet the evidence has not been found, or realized.

The statement is easily applicable to the existence of God. A skeptic may wrongly conclude that because he sees no evidence of the existence of God, God must not exist! But this is very poor reasoning. To paraphrase Murdoch, Absence of evidence of the existence of God is not evidence of His nonexistence! It merely means that this investigator has not yet found such evidence, or realized the indications of the evidence which is all around him. And indeed there is much evidence: creation, consciousness, conviction, and our innate sense of the wrongness of death – that inner suspicion that humanity was made for something higher.

Christians do not believe in God because they think it a nice fantasy or philosophy. They believe in God because they have become aware of His Presence, His Works, His Purposes, Plans, and Redemption. As the old Loretta Lynn song expresses, “If God is dead, who’s this living in my soul?

Press on…

Link to watch Murdoch Mysteries S6,E7, “The Ghost of Queen’s Park?

Published by thebrokenrunner

I have been a committed Christian for over fifty years and a pastor assistant for over ten. Yet, perhaps like you, I still struggle as I "press on" to that high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I hope you will enjoy your visits here, and be challenged, expanded, and encouraged by what you find. May we all grow to know and to love Him more each day. - Press on...

One thought on “No Evidence of Absence

  1. Well said
    Reference CSLewis in Mear Christianity
    The consciousness of the pneumata as evidence of its existence


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