Has anyone else noticed this? On the Internet, everyone is an expert, and everyone vigorously argues his/her point. Whenever absolute proof is available to support a point, that proof is offered, upfront, with no hesitation. However, when the evidence is weaker, a sort of “sliding scale” of why-you-should-believe-me is used to back a position. No one ever seems to say, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.”
The arguments used to buttress less-than-stellar positions seem to have become fairly standard. With this is mind, I thought it would be worthwhile to create a short list of the most common ones. Here then, in descending order of efficacy, are the usual suspects.
I have proof!
Meaning: I can prove it; here are the data/calculations.
The best evidence suggests these findings are accurate.
Meaning: That is our conclusion, and we are sticking with it.
p < 0.05
Meaning: Our findings are statistically significant. Okay–we know more work needs to be done.
A panel of eminent scholars/scientists agrees with these findings.
Meaning: We spent a lot of time on this, and who are you to question us?
There is no proof that our findings are incorrect.
Meaning: My researchers are from better schools/smarter than your researchers.
Einstein once said…
Meaning: I know you have no idea what Einstein might have said, so there.
If that’s not the cause/reason, then what is?
Meaning: No, I can’t back up what I said; why are you giving me a hard time?