373: The Data So Far

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The Data So Far
But THIS guy, he might be for real!
Title text: But THIS guy, he might be for real!


There are often people who claim to have supernatural powers, but then when their powers are tested by some sort of experiment, the experiment refutes their claims. This comic summarizes all the data from such experiments, observing that given the data, it's very unlikely that supernatural powers actually exist.

The title text refers to a person who has claimed to have supernatural powers, and suggests that he might really have such powers. This invokes the fact that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence, although there has never previously been a confirmed example of a person with superpowers. This does not prove that this is certainly impossible. However, the graph above suggests that, although not impossible, such an event would be highly unlikely. No matter how much evidence we collect, there is always some positive (but vanishingly small) chance that some person may hold supernatural powers.

Alternatively, the title text explains that even though there is no reason to believe that anyone has any super powers, some people are always ready to believe the next one to claim so - very naive - and the exact opposite meaning of the one described above. Knowing Randall's comic, this seems more likely.

The title itself may be a reference to the TV show Supernatural's recap segment, "The Road So Far."


[Bar graph titled "Claims of Supernatural Powers" and has two sets of data. The first data set is labeled "Confirmed By Experiment" and is empty. The second data set is "Refuted By Experiment" and goes to the top of the graph.]

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The comic title "The Data So Far" could also be a reference to the television program "Supernatural" which uses the phrase "The Road So Far" to recap plot points. ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

But is more likely a general reference to the use of "The Story So Far" in literally Graham's number of places. 21:17, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Supernatural powers are, specifically, not evidence-based. If they were, they would be measured, quantified, and our understanding of the physical universe updated to account for them. They would then be simply described as "natural." For example, the power to hypnotize may appear "super," but the phenomena is sufficiently supported by evidence that it can be quantified, studied, and reproduced. It is thus treated as a "natural" rather than "supernatural." Power. Mountain Hikes (talk) 00:00, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

I disagree with the statement that hypnosis is a "power". It is no more a power than reiki or homeopathy. Also, there is no actual evidence for hypnosis beyond anecdotal, same as reiki and homeopathy! -- The Cat Lady (talk) 14:45, 14 August 2021 (UTC)

As I write this in August 2021, the explanation says, "In this case, the two other comics mentioned have no relation to this comic." However, no other comics are actually referenced? Nitpicking (talk) 14:09, 24 August 2021 (UTC)