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Tactic of Tossing the Elephant / Throwing Mud at the Wall to See What Will Stick / Shotgun Argument


Tactic of Tossing the Elephant / Throwing Mud at the Wall to See What Will Stick / Shotgun Argument

The tactic of tossing the elephant / throwing mud at the wall to see what will stick / shotgun argument occurs when so many arguments are given in a way that makes it impossible to respond to all of them in any detail. Sometimes, this is accomplished by asking one question after another. Sometimes, it is buy making one statement after another. Often it may be done with a combination of statements and questions. It can be accomplished in relatively few statements/questions when there is a contraint, such as a time constraint. Generally, claims can be made rather quickly, but answering the many claims takes much more time than making the claims. The tactic is effective because people lose interest, are not committed enough to truth to take the time to check it out, don't have the resources to check it out, or some other factor limits answering the claims. This tactic is often used in playing to a crowd. (further reading)

Examples of the Tactic of Tossing the Elephant / Throwing Mud at the Wall to See What Will Stick / Shotgun Argument

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "It means that Ken Ham's word, or his interpretation of these other words, is somehow to be more respected than what you can observe in nature, what you can find in your backyard in Kentucky. It’s a troubling and unsettling point of view and it’s one I very much would like you to address when you come back."

Bill Nye said, knowing that the format would not allow time for an answer to Bill Nye's obvious logical fallacies. Bill is using this tactic of tossing the elephant repeatedly, asking questions knowing that there won’t be time to answer. This tactic can take many forms. In this case, Bill Nye knew that the format was going to change and that there would be questions from the audience. He repeatedly asked unrelated questions so that Ken Ham would not have time to answer in this format, and, in this way, Bill Nye could create the false impression that Ken Ham didn't have answers to his many questions. It's a clever tactic that works to fool people, but it is dishonest communication.

Sandy: "Evolution is fact. Evolution is science. Christianity is anti-science. The Bible has many errors in it. The Gospel accounts of the resurrection don't line up. It advocates rape, slavery, and murder. I know Christains, and I'm more morally right than they are. None of what you said makes any sense, and you are just wrong and evil."

Rocky: "That's a lot of stuff to address. I hardly know where to start."

Rocky could have started by saying that Sandy has just given an excellent example of the logical fallacy of tossing the elephant, that none of the arguments against the Bible or Jesus Christ have merit because they are based on made-up stuff, and that he (Rocky) knows that Christ exists because he personally knows Jesus.

Further reading

Last updated: Sep, 2014
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Tactic of Message Control / Subversion

Sanctioning the Devil Fallacy / Avoiding Sanctioning the Devil

Tactic of Dominating the Conversation

Tactic of Spamming

The Tactic of Quenching

The Tactic of Propaganda

Tactic of Subversion

Tactic of Needling

Tactic of Infiltration / Hostile Takeover

The Tactic of Intimidation

Tactic of Argument by Question

Tactic of Argument by Rhetorical Question

The Tactic of Discrimination

Tactic of Projecting a Popular Image

Tactic of Storytelling

The Tactic of Misreporting in Mass Media

Tactic of Association

Tactic of Suggestion

Tactic of Neuro Linguistic Programming

Tactic of Fear Mongering / Scare Tactics

Tactic of Hate Mongering

Tactic of Stonewalling

Tactic of Politicking

Tactic of Failure To State / Arguing for a Position While Insisting that there is No Position / "Prove Your Belief, BUT My Belief Is Not Disclosed"

Tactic of Lobbying

The Tactic of Brainwashing

Tactic of Tossing the Elephant / Throwing Mud at the Wall to See What Will Stick / Shotgun Argument

Tactic of Debate Rather Than Trying to Find the Truth / Debate Mindset

Tactic of Obtuseness / Willful Ignorance / Willed Ignorance

Logical Fallacy of Refusing to Look at Evidence

Tactic of Pious Fraud / The Ends Justify the Means Fallacy

Tactic of Demanding Impossible Condition

Tactic of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Self-Sealing Argument Fallacy

God Wildcard Fallacy

Science Wildcard Fallacy

Tactic of Moving the Overton Window / Logical Fallace of "We Have to Do Something"

Tactic of Monopolizing the Conversation / Filibustering

Tactic of NIGY / Now I've Got You

Fait Accompli Tactic / Easier Asking Forgiveness than Permission

Tactic of Spin Doctoring



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Appeal to Possibility

Circular Reasoning

Argument to the Future

Insignificant Cause

Word Magic

Love Between a Man and Woman


Colossians 2

Righteousness & Holiness

Don't Compromise


Proof by Atheism

Scriptures About Marriage

Genuine Authority

The Reason for Rejecting Truth

Witness on the Internet

Flaky Human Reasoning

How Do You Know?


The Real Purpose of the Church

The Real Purpose of Life

From Glory to Glory

REAL Faith--What it IS & IS NOT

REAL Love--What it IS & IS NOT

How to be Led by God

How to Witness

Wisdom: Righteousness & Reality

Holiness & Mind/Soul

Redemption: Free From Sin

Real Reality

Stories Versus Revelation

Understanding Logic

Logical Fallacies

Circular Reasoning-Who is Guilty?

How Can We Know Anything?

God's Word

God's Process

God's Pattern

Mind Designed to Relate to God

Answers for the Confused

Fossil Record Says: "Creation"

Avoid These Pitfalls

Public School's Religion

Twisting Science


Public School Failures

Twisting History

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