Argumentum Ad Nauseam

Argumentum ad nauseam:

Also called

Repeating a statement until nobody cares to respond anymore, then claiming you're right since nobody contradicts you. A favourite variation is to insist you've refuted your opponent's argument previously without ever actually doing so, and then go on to state that you can't help that they didn't understand it.

While it sounds simplistic, this fallacy can be maddeningly effective. In forum with content rules, the debater is often trying to frustrate their opponent into flaming them, hoping to win by default.

See also Argument of Contradictions in which both sides repeat their side of the argument briefly, rapidly and back-and-forth, or simply shout something in the form of "Is not!" "Is too!" in the hope of wearing down an opponent or simply not being willing to back down or provide actual logical reasons.

  • Almost any conversation with Cleverbot will eventually drift into it calling you a computer and insisting that it's a human. This is because it learns from what people say to it. Since everyone it speaks to is a human interacting with a computer, and will likely say so if there's any reason to, Cleverbot learns to assert that it too is a human speaking to a computer.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon 'wins' an argument with Stuart this way.
  • This is called the "broken record" technique, and will often be used in customer service situations. If a customer is complaining, you just explain that you can't help them because of a rule. If they try to argue that the rule is invalid or does not apply, you simply repeat the rule.
  • A variant on this is the Gish Gallop, a debate tactic wherein a debater will make a long series of assertions and make no attempt to back them up. Because it takes longer to refute a point than to simply assert it, his opponent will be unable to refute all of the assertions, and if they spend all their time attempting to refute each point, will have no time to make any arguments for their own case. At the end of the debate, the Gish Galloper will then point out all of his un-refuted claims and, if applicable, state that his opponent didn't defend his position at all.
  • It is a favorite tactic of message board trolls; they consistently repeat their original argument long after it's been proven false until the replying commenter finally gets tired of wasting their time, and then they declare themselves the winner.
  • A favorite tactic of Constance Contraire in the The Mysterious Benedict Society books. If she can't get what she want, then, if possible, she'll just keep arguing and arguing until she wears the other side down. It's actually instrumental in the first book in her part in defeating the Big Bad, Mr. Curtain's, Whisperer. As she starts to grow up, however, she begins to realize the problems with it, such as when she uses her powerful mental abilities to "convince" Sticky to give her his ice cream, but suffers intense flu-like symptoms as a result.
  • A common tactic of political parties the world over is to organize lists of "talking points", which they repeat at every possible opportunity to drill them into the minds of the citizens.
  • Referenced in a popular quotation that notes "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him."
  • This tactic was used effectively in the 1967 animated short The Bear That Wasn't. A hibernating bear wakes up to find a factory built by his cave and is mistaken by the foreman as a worker who needs to get back to work. The bear insists he's not, but is constantly told by the foreman, the general manager and three vice presidents that he's not a bear, but a "silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat."
  • In "Kid Court" on PB&J Otter, Baby Butter's side of the case in the Kangaroo Court held to determine which TV show should be watched consists simply of her shouting out the name of her favorite show, Baby Lovey, over and over.
  • Scott Wolter is a great example of this, during his America Unearthed TV show and even more pronounced on blogs and in his books.
  • This was heard in "Mangia Mangia, Pt. 1" on Kitchen Nightmares. Whenever Chef Ramsay would make a legitimate complaint about the food, i.e. old, frozen, bland, heated in a microwave, the owner would simply maintain "The food is good." When he tried to clarify how exactly anyone could call food like that good, she simply stated "The food is good."