There is a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance (Ad ignorantiam) which states that a specific belief is true because we don’t know that it isn’t. Take this argument for example: since there are things we see in the night sky that are currently unidentified, these things must therefore be alien space ships. The argument from ignorance is the reason why the term UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) is now synonymous with alien space ship, even though the term UFO doesn’t actually denote an alien visitor.
The argument from ignorance can also take another form, in which the person making the claim denies the existence of something because he or she has not seen it. In a way it comes close to the argument from personal incredulity (i.e. “I can’t understand this, thus it is false”). What separates is that the person making the claim gives themselves a position of authority.
Nearly everyone is aware of Holocaust denialism, but until today I never encountered anyone denying the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Even the Chinese government admits to it, although they drastically lower the death count from the Red Cross approximation of 2,000 down to 200. Additionally they also spin the reasons behind the protests, a topic which I won’t go into detail here, but is covered in the BBC documentary The Lost Voices of Tiananmen.
As I previously stated, until today I had never heard anyone deny the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Enter George Galloway, the man who never met a dictatorship he didn’t like. Here is a series of clips in which he denies the event in question, because he has never seen any pictures of the massacre. Apparently Galloway didn’t turn his TV on in 1989. Nor has he ever googled the subject, for if he did he find more gory pictures of mutilated protestors than anyone would ever want to see.
Galloway’s claims about the Tiananmen Massacre is a picture perfect example of Ad ignorantiam.