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I'm currently engaged in a debate where the opposing party has said:

"I'm right because I've written 1000 blog posts on this issue. Go read them before replying"

Is there a name for this technique/fallacy? I realize it's an "argument from authority", but I'm looking for something more specific.

The general idea is that, instead of arguing the subject directly, you claim the opposing party has insufficient knowledge, and tell them they should read a timeconsuming corpus before responding.

Note: this isn't the same thing as saying "we've already answered this argument in these 3 posts" or "read the FAQ", since, in both cases, you're directing the opposing party to short, specific documents.

The technique/fallacy I'm looking for is the one that intends to overwhelm the opposing party with the quantity of documents, with the implication the opposing party is unqualified to continue arguing until he/she has read the large quantity of documents.

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Yeesh! That would be so annoying! I'd ask the "blogger" to sum up those clearly hyperbolic "1000's" of related blogs and state their position for the audience! Otherwise, I like @jwpat7's answer! :-) –  Kristina Lopez Feb 28 '13 at 18:42

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Proof by verbosity is one possible name of the technique. Of it, wikipedia says:

Proof by verbosity, sometimes colloquially referred to as argumentum verbosum - a rhetorical technique that tries to persuade by overwhelming those considering an argument with such a volume of material that the argument sounds plausible, superficially appears to be well-researched, and it is so laborious to untangle and check supporting facts that the argument might be allowed to slide by unchallenged.

In mathematical contexts, it may also be called Proof by intimidation.

More generally, “proof by intimidation” has also been used by critics of junk science to describe cases in which scientific evidence is thrown aside in favour of a litany of tragic individual cases presented to the public by articulate advocates who pose as experts in their field.

Edit: Even if sources are valid and expert, if the argument is presented in a way that depends mainly on volume, the argument is a proof by verbosity. An “alleged proof ... so daunting as to be unassailable” is better termed “proof by intimidation”. In either case, a brief précis or overview that explains the organization of the argument or proof, thereby making specific points easily accessible and understandable at a higher level, will serve to make the argument or proof not a proof by verbosity or intimidation.

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Does Proof by Verbosity allow that the sources are, allegedly, valid and do constitute expertise, or is it more that the alleged proof is so daunting as to be unassailable? –  tylerharms Feb 28 '13 at 15:21
    
@tyler, please see edit –  jwpat7 Feb 28 '13 at 15:35
    
Ah, that clarifies it. Cheers. –  tylerharms Feb 28 '13 at 15:47
    
'Proof by the size of the margins I'd need to write it in'? –  Edwin Ashworth Feb 28 '13 at 17:54

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