Long ago, before 80 percent of the world’s current population was born, I had what used to be called a liberal education. (Please recall that “liberal” used to be neither a political word nor a dirty word. But I digress.) One of the things I learned about in the course of that education was logic, which appears to have been abandoned in this Trumpian age.
Consider, for example, our President-Elect’s tweet from November 27 about the popular vote:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.
Trump apparently got this idea from Infowars, who got it from God knows where. The media, quite properly, responded, “Nonsense, there is no evidence of this.”
Now consider Trump’s responses to the media’s saying there was no evidence for his statement:
@HighonHillcrest: @jeffzeleny what PROOF do u have DonaldTrump did not suffer from millions of FRAUD votes? Journalist? Do your job! @CNN @FiIibuster: @jeffzeleny Pathetic – you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame! Bad reporter.
In other words, don’t expect me to prove what I say, it’s up to you to disprove it. This is the logical fallacy argumentum ad ignorantiam, the appeal to ignorance, which claims that a proposition is true because it hasn’t been proven false.
The appeal to ignorance. Indeed.