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It is a rhetorical technique that involves overwhelming your opponent with numerous vague arguments, with no regard for accuracy, validity, or relevance of those arguments.
The Gish gallop is a misleading rhetorical technique, rather than a logical fallacy because it doesn't represent a pattern of flawed reasoning.
A classic example is when a proponent of some pseudoscience bombards an expert with many weak arguments and start a new argument each time the expert successfully refute one of them.
But Gish gallops also appear in less formal contexts. E.g., someone who wants to support an unfounded stance on social media might post a huge list of irrelevant sources that they didn't actually read.
When responding to specific arguments within a Gish gallop, you can use certain techniques to respond effectively to the flawed arguments.
The Gish gallop technique was first known by names such as 'argument by verbosity', 'proof by verbosity', and 'shotgun argumentation.'
Professor Eugenie Scott used the term 'Gish gallop' to describe the debate technique of Duane Gish, a Young-Earth creationist, who was "allowed to run on for 45 minutes or an hour, spewing forth torrents of error that the evolutionist hasn't a prayer of refuting in the format of a debate."
The Gish gallop technique is used for two main reasons:
The Gish galloper will often use a prepared list of arguments that they can fire off rapidly. They then appear well prepared because a person is unlikely to refute every single point.
Different techniques will work better in different circumstances based on who your opponent is and what your goals are.
Regardless of which technique you use, you can generally point out that your opponent is using the Gish gallop, especially if you need to explain why you cannot provide a full, point-by-point rebuttal.
Explain how your opponent is using this technique and why it is problematic.
This technique's strength is that it frames the course of the debate and can create a false appearance of credibility and control.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of an opinion or viewpoint, designed to be as easy as possible to contradict.
The only purpose is for it to be easy to expose. I...
This is a weak case (similar to the Straw man arguments) attributed to a non-existent group: Someone will fabricate a viewpoint that is easy to contradict, then claim it was made by a group they disagree with. Arguing against an opponent which doesn’t exist is a pretty easy way to win any debate.
People who use hollow man arguments will often use vague, non-specific language without explicitly giving any sources or stating who their opponent is.
It is designed to be resistant to attacks by a defier.There arguments are difficult to avoid because they have a lot of overlap with legitimate debate techniques.
A person using an iron man argument will most likely make their own viewpoint so vague that nothing anyone says about it can weaken it. They’ll use jargon and imprecise terms. This means they can claim anyone who disagrees didn’t understand them, or they’ll rephrase their argument multiple times.
Normally, any debate has the potential to turn into an ugly match, due to the fact that both the sides are trying to win. The problem is that one person will win the debate, and tw...
Logic is not the best strategy for winning a debate. Any logic has plenty of counter logic waiting to pounce on it.
A simple NO can wash over:
We falsely assume that our explanation is bulletproof, and forget that the other person has a choice to not agree with us. We could say the sun exists, and the earth is round, but the other person can simply say ‘No’.
Instead of trying to persuade someone that they are wrong, try to create a different premise. You can debate to learn something, or to see the other person’s viewpoint, understanding why they disagree. You can also politely put on the table what you think about the topic, not waiting for them to change their mind.
The fun part is when you are not trying to win an argument, you usually do.
It is a logical fallacy and it happens when we choose and focus only on evidence that supports our views and arguments while ignoring anything that may contradict us.
Also referred to as Bernoulli’s maxim, it states that, when assessing the probability that a certain hypothesis is true, we must take into account all the available information.