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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.
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."
Arguments in a Gish gallop often contain various logical fallacies, such as the strawman fallacy which attacks a fabricated argument, or appeals to nature, which claims something is good because it is perceived as natural.
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.
When responding to specific arguments within a Gish gallop, you can use certain techniques to respond effectively to the flawed arguments.
This technique's strength is that it frames the course of the debate and can create a false appearance of credibility and control.
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