Shifting the Burden of Proof – FT#38

Shifting the Burden of Proof – FT#38

Show Notes

Typically, the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim. The more outrageous the claim, the more the claimant should be expected to provide evidence before anyone is likely to believe him.

When the claimant instead challenges others to prove his claim is not true he is Shifting the Burden of Proof. This is fallacious because he is not backing up his claim with evidence, or even a logical argument, but simply passing the buck to his opponent. In addition, it is in many cases impossible to prove a negative.

We started out with this retweet from Trump:

And we followed that up with this clip where he challenges journalist to prove him right:

and finally we talked about this exchange I had with a Trump supporter:

In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about this clip of Boris lying about hospitals on LBC radio:

Then we talked about Michael Gove avoiding a question on Channel 4

And finally we heard Jo Swinson panicking on Woman’s Hour on Radio 4:

In the Fallacy in the Wild, we looked at this clip from Luther:

(If the above clip is blocked in your country, you can just go to about 18mins in the full episode, below)

Then we discussed this clip of Pastor Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens on the Joy Behar Show:

We also talked briefly about Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot, about which he wrote this in 1952:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game, one of which was written by the amazing RoboTrump :

  1. China respects us. And everybody, Russia respects us. They all respect the United States. They all respect what we’ve done. You know, I meet a lot of leaders. They’re great, you know, some of them. Some I like, some I don’t like. What the hell. But every one of them, they come in, they say, Mr. President, congratulations on what you’ve done for this country, what you’ve done with the economy is incredible. We have the hottest economy in the world. Think of it. And they all come in, congratulations, congratulations.
  2. This election is about security, it’s about jobs, it’s about borders, it’s about taxes, it’s about everything. It’s all about security. That’s why we’re here tonight. That includes our military. Our military has done more than almost any other country in the world to help rebuild Iraq after ISIS. Rebuilding Iraq. In fact, we’ve rebuilt Iraq, as good as it is, better than most countries. Better than, frankly, some countries that were rebuilding their own country. Incredible. Incredible what they’ve done. And, really, if they’d let us alone, we’d probably still be there.
  3. They want to impose socialism. That’s what they’re doing. They want to take away your Second Amendment. Take away your strong health care that we’re making stronger and stronger every single day. By the way, nobody talks about, but we got rid of the individual mandate, the most unpopular aspect of Obamacare. Where you had the great privilege of paying a fortune in order to pay a fortune to not pay for bad health care. That’s not a very good — right? That’s not a very good thing. Now we got rid of the individual mandate. That’s big.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it wrong this week, like 60% of people tested on RoboTrump quotes, and now he’s on 15/37, or roughly 41%.


We then talked about the House Judiciary Committee hearings.


And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:

  • Devin Nunes, the Republican congressman currently suing a fictional cow, has filed another lawsuit, this time against CNN, which actually exists, so that’s a step up. CNN reported on the fact that the lawyer for indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said that Parnas is prepared to testify Nunes met with ex-prosecutor Viktor Shokin to discuss digging up dirt on Biden. If true, this would be awkward for Nunes, given that he is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and just oversaw hearings about the Ukraine Biden connection.  Nunes insists it isn’t true, though, and according to the lawsuit, CNN’s report has caused him to suffer “actual damages, including, but not limited to, insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, injury to his reputation, special damages, costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses, in the sum of $435,000,000”. He was already suing a fake cow – I don’t think his reputation is worth that much!
  • The 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage will be commemorated with a new $1 coin courtesy of the Commemorative centennial coin act signed by women’s favourite el Trumpo – who of course displayed his genius big “uh brain” grip on space, reality and time err… no he didn’t he actually said, yes out loud; “I’m curious why wasn’t it done a long time ago? And also, I guess the answer to that is because now I’m president, we get things done.” So he’s now taking credit for the passage of time itself or what? This of course has nothing to do with anything he’s actually done, the coin comes as part of a broader celebration of the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the passage of 19th amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. Each of the participants who spoke as part of the signing ceremony was generally magnanimous, praising the bipartisan teamwork of the commemorative effort that passed through Congress by unanimous consent. Everyone except for the president, that is, after all he’s the guy who booted Harriet Tubman off the $20 bill. Cos after all noone has more respect for women no-one! 
  • According to a new poll from the Economist and YouGov, 53% of Republicans think that Trump is a better President than Lincoln. To be honest I’m not that surprised – after all, Lincoln freed the slaves, so he doesn’t really resonate with today’s Republican mindset.  But some of the other numbers in the poll are more interesting. Like the fact that 94% of Democrats think Lincoln was a better President than Trump. What the fuck, 6% of Democrats? Lincoln! Vs Trump! What are you smoking? And can I have some, please?
  • Just as we suspected might happen Trump is looking around for someone else to throw out of the flaming dumpster of “who did the thing he’s being impeached for” and into the direct path of large, sometimes yellow, public road transportation vehicles. Good ol’ face like a soggy crushed toilet roll tube Rudy Giuliani is being slowly distanced from Trump who now says I didn’t instruct Rudy to get Ukraine’s president to announce he’s digging dirt on Biden, saying “You know, Rudy has other clients, other than me … He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years.” All of which flies in the face of Giuliani’s testimony that he didn’t go to Ukraine but got all the gen in the US. When liars who lie for liars get lies told about them to discredit the lies they’ve told about the liars and make them look like liars, I for one wouldn’t blame Rudy for leaving like the lone wolf agent that he seems to be being painted as, packing up and seeking the peace, quiet and stability of rural Ukraine, they have nice neighbours too, very up on US politics, he’ll feel right at home.  
  • Just before Thanksgiving, Senator John Kennedy – no, not that one, the one who looks and sounds like Foghorn Leghorn trying to punch his way out of a bag of skin – said on Fox that you couldn’t be sure it was Russia who interfered in the 2016 election, and it might have been Ukraine.  On November 26th, on CNN, he told Chris Cuomo “I was wrong. “It was Russia who tried to hack the computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it”. Finally, a Republican with integrity. Oh, no, wait, on Sunday December 1st he told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that Ukraine did meddle in the 2016 election. When asked about it 2 days later, he said he had nothing further to say on Ukraine – Probably wise –  and then rushed into an elevator, telling the operator “Ma’am, can you help me here? These people are trying to kill me and hurt me the entire time that I’m dying.”
  • At the UK Nato summit, sophisticated knowledgeable adults gathered at a Buckingham Palace reception like an episode of Frasier for drinks and chatted; Frasier, Niles, Macron, Trudeau, Princess Anne, whilst under-educated blonde dictator wannabe Boris Johnson hovered on the edges and asked why Macron was late and sniggered when it turns out it was cos there’d been a presser he’d had to attend with the US delegation which ran over for 40 unscheduled minutes cos of the US delegate ranting off-piste. All this was overhead sufficiently on mic to be subtitled and social media’d – and uh-oh who lives on the internet? Frasier’s Dad, who never gets invited to sophisticated gatherings cos all he can talk about is the women he’s had, getting booed at the game and something about peaches. Anyway he took umbrage (Mr President that means you didn’t like it), a huff arrived and he went off in it – that’s probably HuffForce One, he then called Trudeau “two faced” in a presser and then congratulated himself as he left the stage and the country when caught on the still live mic saying “That was funny when I said the guy’s two-faced, you know that.” Like the bully who’s not managed to bully anyone so has to tell himself he has, in his pitiful loneliness – ha ha ha!
  • Yes, as Mark said, Princess Anne was joking with the others about Trump, but it didn’t stop there for the Queen’s only daughter. When I saw her name trending on Twitter I was momentarily concerned that she might have died, but no – Anne, always the royal with the least fucks to give, was trending because of an amazing viral video where Trump is greeting the Queen, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla. Anne is not in the group and when the Queen appears to demand she come and shake hands with the interloping cockwomble, she simply stays where she is and shrugs.  And I’ve never been prouder to live under a Monarchy.
  • The damned elusive de Pfeffel failed to appear on a TV debate about climate and was empty ice-sculptured by Channel 4 – sadly not a neanderthal -stooping frosted portrait monstrosity but an elegant disc with the party logo on it which dripped metaphorically into oblivion throughout. For the party that professes to be the only one able to sort out the planet this was a thumbing of the nose in their direction, sufficient that his Dad showed up at the studio saying oh why won’t you let my little boy’s best friend the unctuous Micheal Gove play with you instead, Gove and Johnson pere were shown the door cos neither of them are party leaders – they’re barely human! Boris then pulled a Trump and threatened to review Channel 4’s broadcasting licence. He did appear on the Andrew Marr show following the terrorist attack on London Bridge but failed to say anything statesman-like simply Gish-galloped all over the interviewer, to date hasn’t appeared opposite Andrew Neil his ex-boss at the Spectator at the time Boris was laughingly called a journalist cos that’d involve too much scrutiny – so many people complained on an interview with Gove that Gove gave out 10 Downing Street’s phone number and the switchboard was jammed in minutes! He also failed to appear tonight for a speech ahead of the latest TV head-to-head, because 5 protesters showed up – and as a good 10% of the gathered throng even THAT was too much scrutiny for a clown. Thursday the 12th is election day here – let’s hope he fails to show up in Number 10 the next day – or let’s face it we are going to move to the Ukraine too!

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial