Fallacy: Burden of Proof

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If you make an assertion without any evidence and state that you are correct until someone else proves you wrong, you have committed the burden of proof fallacy.


Example of burden of proof fallacy

Josh: We’ll generate twice as many sales if we label our cabbage as celery.
Michael: What? How do you figure?
Josh: Can you prove me wrong?

Again, our premises and conclusions can be assumed:

Premise 1: Michael can’t prove that labeling cabbage as celery won’t double our sales.
Conclusion: Labeling cabbage as celery will double our sales.


Why it’s erroneous

It should be noted here that Josh started the argument with a conclusion and no premises to support his argument. He may be right, but he certainly hasn’t provided any reason why we should believe it.

When Michael questions him on it, Josh refuses to support his conclusion. Instead, he asks Michael to support a different conclusion – that Josh is wrong.

Even if Michael doesn’t provide such proof, Josh’s conclusion remains unsupported.

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Author: A. Primate

Mammal. Organizes itself into complex social hierarchies. Very particular about objects - even those that can't be eaten or used for shelter. Seemingly aware of itself as separate from the environment.

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