Iraqi and American democracy

Nelson Lund nelsonlund at
Sun Jun 12 14:55:35 PDT 2005

Suppose someone made the following assertions:

"1) The CIA is responsible for spreading AIDS in the black community; 
and 2) Bill Clinton committed treason."

If someone else denied these propositions (both of which have, I 
believe, been "widely reported"), I wouldn't suppose that the second 
person had thereby assumed the burden of disproving them. Nevertheless, 
in order to conform with this demand for absolute precision, let me 
amend my initial statement as follows:

Having followed the events in question fairly closely, I am unaware of 
any evidence that a "riot" occurred or that the protesters were "seeking 
to stop the counting of votes." In my opinion, those who make such 
accusations have a duty to prove them, and I look forward to seeing what 
proof Professor Laycock has to offer.

Nelson Lund

RJLipkin at wrote:

>         Of course, some claims about what is tendentious are 
> themselves tendentious. Further, in academic or intellectual 
> conversations, I've never been impressed with assigning the burden of 
> proof in such a manner as to simply support one's own position and 
> thereby absolving oneself of adducing evidence in support of one's 
> claim.  Nelson Lund answered Doug's remark about white collar rioting 
> with "Wrong. There was no "riot" and no effort to "stop the counting 
> of votes." The modal status of this claim is quite different from the 
> claim that one has "seen no evidence to support the accusations." 
> Quite different! Given the currency of the accusations about violence 
> intent on ending the recount and the quite categorical pronouncement 
> that these accusations are "tendentious characterizations" and 
> "wrong," it neither contributes to intellectual analysis or exchange, 
> in my view, nor is it at all persuasive to insist that what was widely 
> reported at the time is "tendentious," and that one's rejection of 
> these reports requires no evidence. Nelson Lund is perfectly justified 
> in requesting evidence from Doug, but his assertion doesn't merely 
> raise doubts about the so-called "riots;" instead, it categorically 
> denies there exists any such evidence.  Why? Because "there was no 
> "riot." Stating that one has never seen evidence of X, on the one 
> hand, and denying X, on the other, are importantly different kinds 
> assertions.  No evidence is generally required for the former, but 
> evidence is certainly required for the latter.
> Bobby
> Robert Justin Lipkin
> Professor of Law
> Widener University School of Law
> Delaware
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