Argumentum ad nauseam
|Cogito ergo sum|
Logic and rhetoric
An argumentum ad nauseam (also known as an argument by repetition) is the logical fallacy that something becomes true if it is repeated often enough. It is a subset of argument by assertion and is an informal fallacy. An ad nauseam argument that can be easily shown to be false leads to the "point refuted a thousand times".
Due to the modern 24 hour cable news cycle and the fact that every idiot now has a blog, argumentum ad nauseam has become particularly prevalent. In politics it is usually used in the form of a talking point, which is then reduced to a three second sound bite and is repeated at every available opportunity. On the blogosphere it takes the form of a meme, where every like-minded blogger repeats a statement used by a fellow blogger. Twitter, where every message has to be less than 280 (and until recently just 140) characters, has only made this latter form of viral propaganda worse.
Repeating an opinion again and again seems to convince people that it is true, in large part because it simulates the effect of an appeal to the people (argumentum ad populum). Moreover, by assuming what needs proof, it is circular, and therefore amounts to begging the question (petitio principii). However, that does not apply to arguments such as "Hydrogen and oxygen molecules combine in a 2:1 ratio to create water; therefore, if you combine hydrogen and oxygen in proper proportion, water will result." Like redundancy, repetition is not inherently evil, nor does it constitute a logical fallacy (flawed reasoning) all by itself. If it were, every parent would be guilty of it, as would every teacher, every drill sergeant, and every conductor or director. It is also important to distinguish between opinions and arguments. By definition, an argument is a set of premises in support of a conclusion, whereas an opinion is merely a thought or a belief, whether it has or lacks any evidence to justify or support it. Accusing someone of committing a fallacy is not the same as proving it. Indeed, some of the examples cited here fall far short of the mark. Beware of bearing false witness, and of using the weapons of logic indiscriminately, lest they backfire on those who wield them. Beware of name-calling ("any idiot with a blog"), which is itself an ad hominem. And beware of thyself. Let one whose reasoning is flawless invent the first dismissive label. Or as the French say, honi soit qui mal y pense.
- 9/11 was an inside job.
- Actually, it's about ethics in game journalism.
- America is a republic, not a democracy.
- Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.
- Carthago delenda est.
- CNN is fake news.
- Democrats are the real racists!
- Equality, not equity!
- Evolution is just a theory.
- Feminism is just the hatred of men.
- God is good.
- HeadOn, apply directly to forehead! HeadOn, apply directly to forehead! HeadOn, apply directly to forehead! HeadOn, apply directly to forehead! HeadOn, apply directly to forehead!
- Heritage, not hate.
- Hope, reward, opportunity.
- I identify as an attack helicopter.
- "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me." And it'll be yuge!
- Israel has a right to defend itself.
- It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!
- Jobs and growth.
- Let's Go Brandon!
- Life begins at conception.
- Make America Great Again.
- Mexico will pay for the wall.
- No blood for oil.
- "No Carbon tax" / "Axe the tax"
- No passenger railway in the world makes a profit.
- Obamacare will install death panels and kill your grandmother.
- Read On Authority.
- Remember the 6 gorillion.
- Ron Paul
2008 2012 2016 20202024.
- Stop the boats.
- Taxation is theft.
- Thank the straights for your existence.
- The American Civil War was about state's rights.
- The creation-evolution debate is a debate about worldviews.
- The Earth hasn't warmed since 1998.
- The "Founding Fathers" intended for the USA to be a Christian nation.
- The Jews are to blame for Germany's problems!
- The New World Order is nearly upon us!
- The science of global warming is still unclear.
- There is no pay gap!
- There are no transitional fossils.
- There are only two genders.
- Trump won the 2020 election by a lot!
- Trust the plan.
- Vaccines cause autism.
- Wake up!
- "Yes we can." (among other political slogans)
- You will never be a woman.
- You're just a triggered SJW.
"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
|—Lewis Carroll, The Hunting Of The Snark|
- Argument by assertion
- Big lie
- Circular reasoning
- Philip J. Rayment
- Fun:Creationist argument Bingo
- Gish Gallop
- Infinite regress
- Thought-terminating cliché
Want to read this in another language?
Русскоязычным вариантом данной статьи является статья Аргумент к тошноте