As group two pointed out in their wiki post, “Rhetoric terms that are considered Bad Proof are: false comparison, all natural fallacy, appeal to popularity, hasty generalization, misinterpreting the evidence, unit fallacy, and fallacy of ignorance.” (Heinrichs, 294)
If Bad Proof is so bad, why is it used so often and why does it seem to work? Bad Proof seems to be the last go to, it is the rhetorical strategy used when the speaker doesn’t know what else to do. For example, when a politician is trying to make another candidate look bad that usually jump to Bad Proof. This often happens because the politicians do not know enough about each others character to create a correct assumption that is backed up by true facts. Instead, politicians jump to using false or exaggerated information in hopes of appealing to the emotional side of the their listeners.
Jay Heinrichs points out on page 122 of his book Thank You For Arguing, “appealing to logos works well in defense, it gives us the chance the skip the facts.”
This is exactly why the use of Bad Proof is so incredibly popular. It gives speakers the opportunity to neglect the facts and what is actually going on. Bad Proof adapts to the audience and gives them exactly what they want to hear. It no longer matters what the truth is, only what sounds good. In the minds of speakers, politicians mainly, the main thing that needs to be through a speech is to paint an incredible picture; it doesn’t matter if it realistic or even if it can be done, it just has to sound amazing.
Photo credits: http://chiefdonaldtrump.com/i-will-build-a-wall/
Prime example, Donald Trump’s Wall. He states that we should trust his word, this wall can be done. He also “proves” that it will work by saying that China built a wall and they have very few Mexicans. This is a perfect example of Bad Proof; it worked for China so it has to work for us. Not exactly, China definitely doesn’t lay directly on the border of Mexico.
It is important to understand that Bad Proof plays off of ignorance. Every speaker on the planet that uses the strategy of Bad Proof does it because they know, or hope, that their audience is ignorant in the subject. Anyone can speak on a certain top and sound intelligent if the listener knows nothing about the subject. For example, I could sit here and convince you that softballs are bigger than baseballs because it has been proven that women have a harder time seeing than men. In 2014 more women were involved in car crashes that men, that MUST mean they can’t see as well. Therefore, softballs HAVE to be bigger than baseballs. For a reader, viewer, or listener that knows nothing on the subject of baseball and softball it would be incredibly easy to convince them of anything, especially if I seem to be credible.
Ignorance and Bad Proof go hand-in-hand. It is incredibly important that we research topics instead of jumping on the bandwagon. It only takes one idiot to spread the word and create a pack of idiots with an idiot for a leader.