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Jason Mathias

A possible different version of the Gish Gallop Fallacy?

I saw an argument today that went like this:

"Wikileaks just dumped all of their files online. Everything from Hillary Clinton's emails, McCain's being guilty, Vegas shooting done by an FBI sniper, Steve Jobs HIV letter, PedoPodesta, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Bilderberg, CIA agents arrested for rape, WHO pandemic. Happy Digging! Here you go, please read and pass it on..... "

There were 1000's of different related and unrelated documents in the link all scrambled up together so there is no way to verify the claims made that went along with the wikileak attachment. 

It seems like the manipulation is that someone just shares that link with the attached claims and since there are so many pages no one reads it all but just assumes the claims attached are true. 

What fallacy would this be? It doesn't rely on a debate setting where the opponent cant address all the arguments in time, but rather it uses way to many unrelated and possibly related unorganized sources than the reader could never sift through and read to verify the attached claims being made. 

asked on Sunday, Jan 03, 2021 01:56:29 PM by Jason Mathias

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Bo Bennett, PhD
3

It is certainly a version of the Gish Gallop, but I would say it would most accurately be simply a lie or at least deception. For example, if the document did not contain anything related to "Vegas shooting done by an FBI sniper" it would be a lie. If the document did say, "looks like the Vegas shooter wasn't an FBI agent" then it would be deception.

answered on Sunday, Jan 03, 2021 06:59:07 PM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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Jason Mathias writes:

Yes, but the links seem to give the claims more credibility than it otherwise would have. After all, if they say the document is in there somewhere then maybe its true? I just don't have enough time to find the needle in the haystack, but I am sure this someone has. So one whom might be biased to want to believe the claims can appeal to faith that the document is in there somewhere? Or they can just repeat the claim that the document is in there somewhere based on trust, faith or a desire or assumption for it to be true? 

posted on Sunday, Jan 03, 2021 09:03:17 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Jason Mathias ]

This is similar to the "Google it" (implied or stated) response

CLAIM: Evidence of lizard people is overwhelming. There are thousands of websites and youtube videos providing evidence.

Once my coworker tried to "introduce me to Jesus" by providing me with overwhelming evidence that God existed. He provided me with printed out listing of over 500 books on the topic, claiming every one of these books contain "compelling evidence." Of course, without investigating each claim, the only reasonable position is that we have no idea if any of this is legitimate evidence for the claim, so it should not sway us, but it clearly does sway people—which is your point. This seems to be more of a cognitive bias, but can be used in argumentation:

X is true
Here are an overwhelming number of resources that claim to provide evidence that X is true.
Therefore, X must be true.

This is fallacious, and perhaps a general non sequitur .

This can be a valid heuristic if we change the conclusion to "I will accept X as provisionally true based on the reliability of the sources referenced." The biases come into play when evaluating the sources.

Back to your original question: Is this a unique fallacy? I don't know of any but perhaps this does deserve it's own name. It does seem to meet the criteria.

 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 08:08:20 AM
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Jason Mathias writes:

Sweet! Can I name it? lol

posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 09:32:47 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Jason Mathias ]

Go for it

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 09:46:51 AM
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Rationalissimo writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

I've heard this being referred to as the Snow Job, and you actually list it as a B-list fallacy in your book.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 10:11:47 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Rationalissimo]

Thanks! I tend to ignore the B-List:

Snow Job: There are several uses of this phrase: 1) “Proving” a claim by overwhelming an audience with mountains of irrelevant facts, numbers, documents, graphs and statistics that they cannot be expected to understand. 2) A strong effort to make someone believe something by saying things that are not true or sincere. Or 3) an attempt to deceive or persuade by using flattery or exaggeration. All of these uses are closer to lying than a fallacy.

The "fallacy" would be "because there are so many documents then it must be true" - I remember questioning how many people actually think. The other option is "because there are so many documents then it must have some truth to it." This MIGHT be a decent heuristic , depending on the sources. For example, "virtually every scientific journal confirms that there is no evidence for the claim that vaccines cause autism - here are links to 100s of articles." That would not be unreasonable to accept this at least provisionally (assuming the links are legit).

 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 10:49:10 AM
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Jason Mathias writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

How about the "Haystack Fallacy"

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 12:08:22 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Jason Mathias ]

See my comment above. Rationalissmo was correct - there is already a name for this: "snow job"

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 12:15:24 PM
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Dr. Richard
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I characterize this situation as Proof by Verbosity (Argumentum Verbosium). It is the submission of an argument too complex and verbose to reasonably deal with within the time available. I can also see it as a variation of the Gish Gallop and the Argument from Authority and Proof by Intimidation. 

answered on Monday, Jan 04, 2021 10:41:13 AM by Dr. Richard

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