Inadmissible: Not competent to be considered. Said of certain kinds of
testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with,
and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of proceedings before themselves
alone. Hearsay evidence is inadmissible because the person quoted was
unsworn and is not before the court for examination; yet most momentous
actions, military, political, commercial and of every other kind, are
daily undertaken on hearsay evidence. There is no religion in the world
that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. Revelation is hearsay
evidence; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the
testimony of men long dead whose identity is not clearly established and
who are not known to have been sworn in any sense. Under the rules of
evidence as they now exist in this country, no single assertion in the
Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in a court of law...
But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved
that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to
mankind. The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women
were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still
unimpeachable. The judges' decisions based on it were sound in logic and
in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than
the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death.
If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike
destitute of value.
-- Ambrose Bierce "The Devil's Dictionary"