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This was the gist of the conversation I had recently.

Me: I got item x from the capsule.
Opp: It's impossible to get item x from the capsule, because such and such.
Me: It is possible. I just got it.
Opp: Oh then it's a bug and needs to be reported as such.
Me: Here is a link from the developers to show that it works as intended.
Opp: Oh they must have changed it.
Me: They never changed it. It was always like that.
Opp: Prove me they never change it.
Me: It's your statement. Prove it yourself.
Opp: I agree I'm wrong currently, but it's your statement that they never changed it, so prove it.

This conversation really got me frustrated. All the burden of proof to his statements falls on my shoulders. But he wants to maintain an illusion like he is right in some shape or form. He goes from this is correct, to this was correct in the past without putting any work and expecting all the work done by the opponent. Is it at all possible to debate these kind of people and how?

  • I made an edit which you may roll back or continue editing. Welcome! – Frank Hubeny May 15 at 14:21
  • This is called moving the goalposts:"evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded". – Conifold May 16 at 5:52
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Here is the first part of the argument:

Me: I got item x from the capsule.
Opp: It's impossible to get item x from the capsule, because such and such.
Me: It is possible. I just got it.
Opp: Oh then it's a bug and needs to be reported as such.
Me: Here is a link from the developers to show that it works as intended.

This part of the argument appears to be complete based on Stephen E. Toulmin's model of argument. A claim has been made that X can be found in the capsule. Data was provided that X was found. Finding X is the warrant that the data justifies the claim. The rebuttal that it was a bug was countered with backing from the link that X could be found which appears to be accepted.

Opp: Oh they must have changed it.
Me: They never changed it. It was always like that.
Opp: Prove me they never change it.
Me: It's your statement. Prove it yourself.
Opp: I agree I'm wrong currently, but it's your statement that they never changed it, so prove it.

In the second part new, opposing claims come from both sides about whether the capsule was changed. What is lacking is data to proceed with the argument.

To obtain this data, the link used in the first part may contain a change history or one could send an email to those managing the link asking for information about the change history, specifically asking: Was there ever a time when X should not have been found in the capsule?

It may turn out that it is not easy to get this data and one side may try to shift the burden of proof to the other. This may or may not be fallacious as Bo Bennett writes:

Making a claim that needs justification, then demanding that the opponent justifies the opposite of the claim. The burden of proof is a legal and philosophical concept with differences in each domain. In everyday debate, the burden of proof typically lies with the person making the claim, but it can also lie with the person denying a well-established fact or theory. Like other non-black and white issues, there are instances where this is clearly fallacious, and those which are not as clear.


Bennett, B. Shifting the Burden of Proof. Retrieved on May 15, 2019 from Logically Fallacious at https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/222/Shifting-of-the-Burden-of-Proof

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, March 4). Argumentation theory. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:11, May 15, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Argumentation_theory&oldid=886097165

  • Thanks for the answer. Given that the first statement from the opponent was easily disproved. It can be seen that he is making statements based on his beliefs rather than knowing it. I see it's only fair that he himself would have to prove any variations of his statements from here on out. – user5616478 May 15 at 15:16
  • @user5616478 I agree that it is likely the opponent who would care the most to show this and should bring in the evidence. However, it might not be easy to get that evidence even if the opponent tried. – Frank Hubeny May 15 at 18:16

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