Another dot in the blogosphere?

Logical fallacy & atheoretical practice

Posted on: August 27, 2020

About a week ago, I watched a news interview where a politician countered a question by saying that there was no evidence for a nefarious deed and therefore it did not happen.

That was not unusual because that is what a backpedalling might politician say. What might be unusual is how easily we might accept that argument.

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

An often stated axiom is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. A lack of evidence of a crime does not mean that the crime did not take place. It could mean that proof has not yet been gathered.

The politician’s argument is a logical fallacy that is based on ignorance. If you do not know that something exists or that some process happens, you might insist that it does not. The remedy is to learn so that you are no longer ignorant.

And then there is wilful ignorance. This is when you (should) know better, but decide to ignore the facts or advice. An example of this in schooling and training is atheoretical practice. This is perpetuating information and processes (the what and how) without knowing the reasons for them (the why).

Atheoretical practice is frighteningly common. I know of people who claim to be “learning designers” who have little to no theoretical foundation. They choose not to learn from edtech history or stay current with research.

Ignorance is difficult enough to overcome. But wilful ignorance is a beast ridden particularly by adults who think they know better. They do not.

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