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August 12th. The Burden of Proof.

I cannot go to bed, I am watching for Dinosaurs, I say.

There are no Dinosaurs in Highgate, says the Owner.

There were supposedly no Dinosaurs in the Isle of Wight Yesterday, I say. But today I hear that one has been Found, I say.

A Tyrannosaurus has indeed been found, says the Owner. But it was found by Fossil Hunters.

What do you mean, a Tyrannosaurus? I say.

You know the one, says the Owner. Big teeth, Unsympathetic Expression, Terrible Halitosis. Chased Richard Attenborough and those Screamy Children round the Theme Park.

I thought you meant That One, I say. You said there was No Such Thing as a Dinosaur, I say. I am definitely not Going to Bed Now, I say.

The Dinosaur that has been found died over 100 million years ago, says the Owner.

That does not sound Very Long, I say. There is Bound to be another one Lurking, I say.

Dinosaurs do not Lurk, says the Owner. They Roar and Chase.

I knew it, I say.

Look, says the Owner, a Tyrannosaurus Rex could not have Lurked for 100 Million Years. Someone would have Noticed.

Frankly, I say, given that it took them 100 million years to find a Dead One Lying Down, I am hardly surprised that they have not spotted One that is Lurking, I say. They should Sort it Out, I say. There is Bound to be one in Highgate, I say.

Where would a Dinosaur Lurk in Highgate? Asks the Owner.

The Fact that you do not know the Answer to That is hardly Reassuring, I say.

There is Nowhere in Highgate for a Dinosaur to Hide, says the Owner.

I expect that is what the Last Person it Ate Said Too, I say.

Look, says the Owner, nobody has been Eaten by a Dinosaur for over 100 million years, says the Owner.

Then it must be Starving, I say.

You know I cannot Prove there are no Dinosaurs in Highgate, says the Owner.

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence, I say.

It is Like Saying that the Moral Dog has an Evil Twin because I cannot prove that he Does not have an Evil Twin, says the Owner.

Oh Good God, I say. Did I not have Enough to Worry About? I say.

The Burden of Proof is always on the Person making an Assertion, says the Owner. The Moral Dog is Shifting the Burden of Proof, which is a form of argumentum ad ignorantium. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that a Claim is true unless proven otherwise, says the Owner. Therefore, says the Owner, it is not up to me to prove that there are no Dinosaurs in Highgate, but up to the Moral Dog to claim that there are, says the Owner. Perhaps he could ask his Evil Twin to Help? Says the Owner.

Do not use your Fancy Latin on Me, I say. It is you who is making an Assertion, I say. That all the Dinosaurs are Dead, I say. Rather than in Highgate, I say. Lurking, I say. In the Boiler Room, I say.

In Science, as in Law, one must prove a Positive not a Negative, says the Owner. In general, says the Owner, the Burden of Proof applies to claims about what exists or does not exist, says the Owner. It is a Fallacy to claim that a Dinosaur exists unless you prove that there is no Dinosaur, says the Owner.

That, I say, is Exactly why People get Eaten in Dinosaur Movies, I say. And Frankly, I say, your case is looking Pretty Shaky, I say. Given that there is already One More Dead Dinosaur on the Isle of Wight than we had Thought.

I am Not Listening, says the Owner. Lalalalala, says the Owner.

And so the Moral Dog goes to Bed.

It will Serve her Right if she gets Eaten by my Evil Twin.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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