Logical Fallacy Lesson 6: Argumentum Ad Nauseam

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Logical Fallacy Lesson 6: Argumentum Ad Nauseum
Category: Religion and Philosophy


Samuel Thomas Poling, Blog 130, Logical Fallacy Lesson 6, Argumentum Ad Nauseum

LFL1: Argumentum Ad Hominem
LFL2: Red Herring
LFL3: Non Sequitor
LFL4: Bald Assertion
LFL5: Ad Hoc
And Now LFL6: Argumentum Ad Nauseum

Logical fallacy is an error in logical reasoning, an underhanded trick, a lie, or something else invalid during any debate, discussion, or argument. Once such fallacy is Argumentum Ad Nauseum.

To be honest, every time I write a logical fallacy lesson, I feel like saying, "this is the fallacy I hate the most." I thought that for every fallacy I wrote about thus far, with the exception of Red Herring, because that one isn't so frustrating.

Ad Nauseum I hate because no matter what you say, your opponent doesn't listen - in the worst and unfortunately most common Ad Nauseums.

Ad Nauseum, to put it simply, is repeating something over and over again, as if that proves anything.

"Porn leads to sexual violence! Porn leads sexual violence! Porn leads sexual violence!"

Aside from being my favorite example of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, I have illustrated Ad Nauseum well. They aren't proving Porn leads to sexual violence by saying it over and over again. That's Ad Nauseum.

Unfortunately Ad Nauseum isn't always that way, it get fester into a deeper, more frustrating form. For example:

"You ate the cake!"

"No I didn't, I wasn't even here today, I was at the movies and Joe here will vogue for me."

"You ate the cake!"

"...No, listen, I just got home, my shoes are still on, and see my teeth? No sign of chocolate."

"You ate the cake!"

"I didn't even have time to eat the cake, let alone one slice!"

"You ate the cake!"

As you can see here, one person refuses to even respond to the arguments the other is making. All they do is keep repeating their claim over and over again. Usually they toss it up a bit and don't use the exact same wording, but you get the idea.

Mike is my new designated example boy for logical fallacies. You can check out my blog on prostitution, where he repeats the same statistics over and over again despite the fact I already proved them invalid. Or you can check out my "Theist Argument 1" blog where he cites the same scientific law over and over again, despite the fact I made several arguments why it doesn't prove God. Or you can see my "ad hoc" blog where Mike accuses me of bald assertion.

"That's a bald assertion!"

"No, I wasn't asserting anything; I was stating my opinion in passing while asserting something else. I did back up the opinion, even though I didn't need to, AND I proved it in previous blogs of mine."

"No, that's a bald assertion!"

You can go look for yourself. Those using Ad Nauseum completely ignore any arguments you make and just restate their view, no matter what damage you did to it. When this happens, all you really have to say is, "You already said that, I already refuted it. You're guilty of Argumentum Ad Nauseum." The likelihood is they'll just deny it bluntly and repeat what you already refuted nine times. See Mike on my Prostitution and Theist Argument 1 blogs.

After someone makes an argument, you refute it, then they must refute your refute, or lose the argument. If they only assert what you've already destroyed then slap the fallacy on their forehead and walk away, leaving them to kick and scream - continuously making a fool out of themselves.

Another form of Argumentum Ad Nauseum that I think I should touch on is the simple, what I like to call, "over time" Ad Nauseum. Something is stated constantly over time, most likely by many different people, to the point where no one cares to try and refute it anymore - or worse - they take it for granted. "God" was this way for a very long time, and in the minds of many fools, this Ad Nauseum still unfortunately holds effect.

Finally, I must state the common misunderstandings of the fallacy. Like Ad Hominem, Bald Assertion, Ad Hoc and others, there are times when technically "doing it" isn't illogical. What makes a fallacy a fallacy is not committing the action in the Latin or English title of the fallacy. No, it's how it is used and applied. Repeating yourself is not necessarily fallacious. Repeating the argument that was already refuted and expecting it to be valid is fallacious. That is Ad Nauseum. If you have to repeat yourself due to some other person committing Ad Nauseum, don't let them accuse you of Ad Nauseum just because you repeated yourself. Repeating yourself is only illogical if what you said has already been addressed and defeated. If it hasn't, and your opponent is trying to ignore it, then by all means repeat yourself.

Samuel Thomas Poling, Blog 130, Logical Fallacy Lesson 6, Argumentum Ad Nauseum