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Hitchens Razor

The late Christopher Hitchens was an intellectual, philosopher, journalist, and novelist. In one of his books, Hitchens put forth his ‘razor’:

That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisions Everything

We live in an age where crackpot political conspiracy theories thrive among a significant minority. There are pitfalls in responding to baseless assertions. Conspiracy theorists do not respond to logical analysis. Such analysis will not change their opinion. Responding to baseless assertions gives those assertions a platform from which the nonsense can continue to spread.

Christopher Hitchens’ Razor has its origins in the Latin phrase, “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” which means ‘what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason.’ It is the responsibility of those who make claims to prove the truth of those claims. In law, a defendant is not required to disprove a charge. It is the task of the accuser to prove that charge with concrete evidence. Since there is nothing to be gained in arguing with conspiracy theorists and trolls whose only aim is to bait others, one may simply dismiss unsubstantiated claims without disproving that claim’s validity.

Read more about Christopher Hitchens at https://christopherhitchens.net/.

Sources

https://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/2015/07/25/the-long-history-of-hitchens-razor/
https://www.stevens-bolton.com/site/insights/articles/asserted-without-evidence-dismissed-without-evidence-hitchens
https://www.latin-is-simple.com/en/vocabulary/phrase/1615/
https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/what-does-hitchens-razor-means-in-philosophy/article21827514.ece
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/thoughts-thinking/202006/critically-thinking-about-trolls-and-hitchens-razor

Thanks and a tip of the hat to meesh at Flickr for the image of Christopher Hitchens.

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