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?”
Those “drowned believers” are silent evidence. You don’t take them into account because they can’t speak up for themselves. The cliché is that, “History is written by the winners.” In fact, it’s written by whoever happens to survive.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Screenwriter John August has a blog entry on Silent Evidence which is drawn from The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: