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Argumentum Ad Nauseam

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Most people find an argument more persuasive if they hear it multiple times. That's why you'll see the same few commercials for Raid Shadow Legends on every Youtube video you watch today. Because most people find an argument more persuasive if they hear it multiple times.

Argumentum ad nauseam is 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 forums 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.


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  • 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 (basically combining Ad nauseam with the Chewbacca Defense), a debate tactic wherein a debater will make a long series of intertwined and often fallacy-laden assertions and make no attempt to back them up. The Gish Gallop works on the basic principle that it is much easier to make a mess than it is to clean it up again, or, to put it in debate terms: it takes longer to refute a point than to simply assert it. In a nutshell, the ideal result the Gish Galloper aims for is trying to overwhelm their opponent by throwing as many convoluted assertions at him as possible, in an attempt to make them spend all of their time tied up in trying to untangle and refute each point, so that they will have no time to make any arguments for their own case. Or, failing that, make their opponent decide that trying to make heads and tails of their messy arguments is simply not worth the effort and thereby making them appear like they are unable to come up with an answer. 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.
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  • 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. Can backfire if a moderator catches on to their tactics and either orders them to attempt a different argument or bans them from the thread.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
    • This is a favorite tactic of Constance Contraire in these books. If she can't get what she wants, 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.
    • Similarly, Mr. Curtain's messages from the Whisperer are this on a subconscious level. He broadcasts the same set of messages over and over, repeated in children's voices in a subconscious part of the mind, until people are brainwashed into believing that things are out of control, but that they must obey the Institute and that Mr. Curtain will protect them.
  • 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."
  • This is the basic idea of Shaggy's song "It Wasn't Me." The idea of the "Shaggy defense" is that no matter how badly you're caught out, no matter how staggering the proof is, you just keep saying "It wasn't me." Though, as is eventually admitted in the song "Gonna tell her that I'm sorry for the pain that I've caused / I've been listenin' to your reason, it makes no sense at all."
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, Kaeloo and Mr. Cat get into a debate and Quack Quack must decide who the winner is. Each time Kaeloo says something, Mr. Cat simply replies "Liar". Quack Quack ends up actually taking this into consideration and deciding Mr. Cat to be the winner.


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