Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Incompleteness proves deceit fallacy

One thing I have to give internet conservatives credit for is their ability craft and devise brand new species of logical fallacies.  I checked several different lists of logical fallacies, but didn't find one that addressed this form of argument:
Author: <article, essay or blog post on subject>
Critic: Oh, look how you've conveniently left out fact/argument X, this proves you're (a hack/wrong/biased)!
 It's a special form of ad-hominem, and the beauty part of it (for sophists anyway) is that since no essay or article can possible include every fact or argument relevant to a topic, you can always find something the author didn't mention or a counter argument not rebutted.  It's the ultimate moving goalpost. 

It probably doesn't belong purely on a list of logical fallacies since it can be a valid argument, where it is obvious the author has ignored something they could be expected to know about that undercuts their entire premise or shows some significant personal bias toward a desired conclusion and purposely avoids considering obvious plausible alternatives (for example villagers like David Brooks writing entire columns about the need to fix the deficit without even mentioning tax increases) but I see it used so regularly by conservative trolls, particularly against journalists I thought I would call it out. 

Hopefully it does have a name somewhere that I didn't find, as it is hard to search for concepts or logical structures on search engines.  If not, I've coined it per the title.

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