Gish gallop

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The Gish gallop is a technique used during debating that focuses on overwhelming an opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott and named after the creationist Duane Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents 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 pre-empting 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]



  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


  • Grant, John (2011). Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions, and the War Against Reality. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-61614-400-5.
  • Grant, John (2015). Debunk it: How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation. San Francisco: Zest Books. ISBN 978-1-936976-68-3.
  • Hayward, C.J.S. (2015). The Seraphinians: '"Blessed Seraphim Rose" and His Axe-Wielding Western Converts. The Collected Works of C.J.S. Hayward. San Francisco: Zest Books.
  • Logan, Paul (25 February 2000). "Scientists Offer Creationist Defense". West Side Journal. Albuquerque Journal. 120 (56). p. 4 – via
  • Sonleitner, Frank J. (November–December 2004). "Winning the Creation Debate". Reports. National Center for Science Education. 24 (6): 36–38.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  • Scott, Eugenie (2004). Confronting Creationism. Reports of National Center for Science Education. 24/6.
  • Scott, Eugenie (1994). "Debates and the Globetrotters". Talk Origins Archive. Retrieved 2017-10-06.