Throwing spaghetti

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Throwing spaghetti (or "spaghetti-throwing") is a rhetorical technique in which a large number of counter-arguments, general statements, or even sentence-fragments are issued in the hope that one or more of them will be seen as a valid response – "throwing spaghetti at the wall until something sticks". It is an effective technique because of amount of effort which goes into each argument, i.e. not checking for valid logic, previous refutation, or factuality; each argument just has to sound plausible enough not to be rejected prima facie (i.e. seen as self-evidently wrong).

This technique is consistent with the view of arguments as soldiers, and inconsistent with the goals of rational discourse.

Related Concepts

Spaghetti-throwing is...

  • a form of rhetorical deception, in that it encourages others to believe that the speaker has a valid case, given the large number of arguments the speaker presents. The fact that none of these arguments are actually valid may easily go unnoticed.
  • a form of discussion trolling, in that it derails a discussion with irrelevant arguments (i.e. arguments which consistently turn out to be invalid, and therefore an indication that the speaker is not working honestly towards a common understanding).
  • similar to the Gish gallop rhetorical technique: "...named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. Sam Harris describes the technique as 'starting 10 fires in 10 minutes.'" (from RationalWiki)