Logic, Standing on Its Head

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:

: what PROOF do u have DonaldTrump did not suffer from millions of FRAUD votes? Journalist? Do your job!

: 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.

9 thoughts on “Logic, Standing on Its Head

  1. This is why we need to start ignoring his tweets. They are a huge distraction and take away from the energy we need to be focusing on what he, his appointees, and congress are doing. I believe he is doing this on purpose to keep us off guard.

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    1. Actually, I don’t agree. I think he is tweeting for two reasons: (1) He can’t help himself, and mostly (2) It’s part of his disinformation campaign, quite deliberately. I think we need to pay attention to them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that Trump is using the tweets to advance the narrative he is selling to his most hard-core followers, who all believe them — check social media and you’ll see droves of people who genuinely believe that “millions” of illegal aliens voted in the election, for example. In other words, the tweets are part of the same propaganda effort that other “fake news” promotes. It’s a narrative designed to keep his followers riled up and Trump himself in office; think Kristallnacht. I agree that focusing on this narrative to the exclusion of other news (like terrible cabinet appointments, etc.) is a mistake…but I think ignoring it is also a mistake.

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      1. I’m very torn. I agree that we shouldn’t ignore this blatant bullshit. But I also keep thinking of Dan Rather’s Bed of Nails article, which I’m pretty sure you’re the person who pointed me at.

        I really don’t have a good answer.

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  2. Egad, I’m tired just thinking about this. I do agree with Sue’s point about advancing the narrative. Given that I’m married to a guy whose parents survived the camps, it’s hard to not be in a state of perpetual panic all the time. Good thing the Canadian border is close.

    Liked by 1 person

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