Proof Surrogate

Description: A claim masquerading as proof or evidence, when no such proof or evidence is actually being offered.

Logical Form:

Claim X is made.

Claim X is expressed in such a way where no evidence is forthcoming, or no requests for evidence are welcome.

Therefore, X is true.

Example #1:

Jose writes that "people are mostly good at heart." The author is simply wrong.

Explanation: The arguer states that the author is "simply wrong" yet offers no reasons. Words and phrases such as "simply," "obviously," "without question," etc., are indicators that no such evidence will be presented.

Example #2:

Politician X is crooked—this is an indisputable fact known by everyone except politician X's supporters.

Explanation: The language "this in an indisputable fact" is a surrogate for the evidence showing that politician X is crooked.

Exception: Claims that are universally accepted as self-evident truths don't apply.

If you put your penis in a wood chipper, it's going to hurt.

Tip: If you have a penis, don't put it in a wood chipper.

References: {apa}

Dowden. (1993). Logical Reasoning Im. Thomson Learning EMEA, Limited.


Questions about this fallacy? Ask our community!

Eat Meat... Or Don't.

Roughly 95% of Americans don’t appear to have an ethical problem with animals being killed for food, yet all of us would have a serious problem with humans being killed for food. What does an animal lack that a human has that justifies killing the animal for food but not the human?

As you start to list properties that the animal lacks to justify eating them, you begin to realize that some humans also lack those properties, yet we don’t eat those humans. Is this logical proof that killing and eating animals for food is immoral? Don’t put away your steak knife just yet.

In Eat Meat… Or Don’t, we examine the moral arguments for and against eating meat with both philosophical and scientific rigor. This book is not about pushing some ideological agenda; it’s ultimately a book about critical thinking.

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