Gish gallop

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"Gish gallop" is a technique used during debating that focuses on overwhelming one's opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments.

The term was coined by Eugenie C. Scott and named after the creationist Duane T. Gish, who used the technique frequently against opponents on the topic of evolution.[1][2]

Technique and counter measures[edit]

During a Gish gallop, a debater confronts an opponent with a rapid series of many specious arguments, half-truths, and misrepresentations in a short space of time, which makes it impossible for the opponent to refute all of them within the format of a formal debate.[3][4] In practice, each point raised by the "Gish galloper" takes considerably more time to refute or fact-check than it did to state in the first place.[5] The technique wastes an opponent's time and may cast doubt on the opponent's debating ability for an audience unfamiliar with the technique, especially, if no independent fact-checking is involved,[6] or, if the audience has limited knowledge of the topics.

Generally, it is more difficult to use the Gish gallop in a structured debate than in a free-form one.[7] If a debater is familiar with an opponent who is known to use the Gish gallop, the technique may be countered by preempting and refuting the opponent's commonly used arguments first, before the opponent has an opportunity to launch into a Gish gallop.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Scott 2004, p. 23
  2. ^ Scott 1994
  3. ^ Logan 2000, p. 4
  4. ^ Sonleitner 2004
  5. ^ Hayward 2015, p. 67
  6. ^ Grant 2011, p. 74
  7. ^ Johnson 2017, p. 14-15
  8. ^ Grant 2015, p. 55

References[edit]