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Can you outsmart the fallacy that started a witch hunt? - Elizabeth Cox

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It’s 1950. Anti-communist sentiment in the United States is at an all-time high. Senator Joseph McCarthy claims he has a list of communists who are influencing government policy. He makes his first accusation without providing any legitimate evidence, yet the senate committee still schedules a hearing. Can you spot the problem with this hearing? Elizabeth Cox explores the burden of proof fallacy.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Elizabeth Cox
  • Director Pazit Cahlon, Hector Herrera
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Pazit Cahlon
  • Animator Hector Herrera
  • Art Director Hector Herrera
  • Sound Designer Nick Sewell
  • Music Massassauga
  • Special Thanks Mahrukh Bashir
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Fallacies are arguments based on insubstantial reasoning or logic. Sometimes, these fallacies become the rule of the thumb. For example; Rita believes in ghosts. Dennis tells her that there is no evidence that ghosts exist. Rita tells Dennis that there is no evidence that they don't. Let’s find out what kind of Fallacy this is.

When we make an argument, the point is that we provide reasons to back our claims however when we are unable to back our claims we fall into logical fallacies. One of such logical fallacies is Burden of proof or argument from ignorance which means that just because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to be false. Here are some resources to learn more about fallacies

Stephen’s guide of fallacies describes and gives detailed examples about fallacies
An illustrated book of bad arguments by Ali Almossawi is a delightbook illustrated book about different kinds of fallacies.
Logically Fallacious is an ultimate collection of fallacies. In this book, Bo Bennett helps to see what kind of fallacies that occur in our arguments and helps realise the flaws in our arguments. Visit this interactive site to learn more about different types of fallacies.

Bad Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Fallacies in Western Philosophy This book will help to see flawed arguments and fallacies and help you learn more about how to form better arguments.

Some more web links
https://effectiviology.com/burden-of-proof/
https://www.softschools.com/examples/fallacies/burden_of_proof_examples/521/
https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Shifting-of-the-Burden-of-Proof

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Elizabeth Cox
  • Director Pazit Cahlon, Hector Herrera
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Pazit Cahlon
  • Animator Hector Herrera
  • Art Director Hector Herrera
  • Sound Designer Nick Sewell
  • Music Massassauga
  • Special Thanks Mahrukh Bashir
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • See more