…is an article by Vic Stenger. He addresses that weird old canard that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, which has always struck me as bogus. Of course it is! It is just evidence of variable strength, from laughably weak (I have no evidence of a teapot in orbit around the sun, which isn’t a very strong case since no one has looked for an orbiting teapot, and it’s a tiny target in a vast volume anyway) to extremely strong (there are no dragons in my backyard; I have looked, and there are no large firebreathing reptiles gnawing on virgins back there).
I wonder if the source of this cliche isn’t a different claim, that absence of evidence is not proof of absence…which is actually mostly true (still, there is no way to claim there are dragons in my backyard) and also entirely irrelevant, since science doesn’t deal in proof. And since most of the wackjobs who cite the aphorism can’t tell the difference between proof and evidence anyway, they probably think it means the same thing.