Don’t tell people to “Google it.” That’s your job, not theirs

The Logic of Science

Image via The Certified Shill Image via The Certified Shill

I spend a lot of time debating people on the internet, and, unsurprisingly, I frequently encounter people who make outlandish claims without providing any evidence to support those claims. In such situations, I typically ask them to present their sources, at which point they usually respond indignantly with something along the lines of, “just Google it,” “look it up yourself,” “do your own research,” or “so you expect me to do your work for you? I don’t think so.” However, as I will explain in this post, these responses are fundamentally flawed because they fallaciously shift the burden of proof and ignore the rules of logic.

The first major problem is simply that these responses misuse the burden of proof. The person making the claim always bears the burden and is responsible for providing supporting evidence, especially when their claim goes against the generally…

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