Objective evidence – definition and meaning

Objective evidence is evidence that we base on provable facts. In other words, we can prove the facts by measurement, analysis, and observation. It is possible to evaluate and examine objective evidence. It means the same as ‘compelling evidence.’

According to definitions.uslegal.com:

” Even if objective evidence is characterized as completely unbiased, submittal of objective evidence allows a more thorough review.”

Objective vs. subjective evidence

Subjective evidence is evidence that we cannot evaluate. In fact, we have two choices; to accept what somebody says or reject it.

For example, imagine Peter goes to his doctor and says “I keep having these horrible nightmares.” The doctor must decide whether to believe or reject what Peter told him. There is no compelling evidence to back up what he said.

The evidence for the existence of Peter’s nightmares is subjective.

Objective evidence is evidence that we can examine and evaluate for ourselves.

Let’s imagine that Peter’s doctor videos him while he sleeps. The doctor examines the recording the next day.

The video footage shows Peter tossing and turning in his sleep, then screaming. The doctor can see that Peter wakes up in the night sweating profusely and clearly scared.

Now the doctor must believe Peter because the evidence is objective. In other words, there is proof – the evidence is compelling.

Objective evidence versus subjective evidence - image
The doctor on the right has objective evidence that the patient has a terrible pain in his back. In other words, there is compelling evidence – he can see the knife. The doctor on the left, however, has subjective evidence, i.e., just the patient’s word. He has to choose whether to believe him or not.

Objective evidence is irrefutable

If the evidence is objective, it is irrefutable. If somebody has objective evidence that the law of gravity is true, it means that they have proved it.

Choosing not to believe compelling proof about the law of gravity does not make it false. Therefore, if I jump out of a third-floor window, I am still going to fall.

If I have faith in my religion, I am basing that faith on subjective evidence. Devout Christians, Mormons, Jews, and Muslims base their faith on subjective evidence.

Objective evidence in IT

‘IT’ stands for Information Technology. The explanation of objective evidence in the world of IT comes from Chambers.com.au.

The term includes any statement of fact that somebody documented and based on verifiable tests, observations, or measurements.

Evidence that is objective may, for example, be a test log, test report, review report, or non-conformance report.

In business, the word ‘objective‘ on its own means a company’s aims or goals.

Video – science and objective truth

In this Big Think video, Richard Hawkins talks about ‘objective truth’ or ‘objective evidence.’ Prof. Dawkins is a British ethologist and evolutionary biologist. He is an emeritus fellow of New College at Oxford University.