The Sandwich Argument

by Chris_Leong1 min read9th Apr 20204 comments

27

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Today I saw a very interesting argument pattern.

Normally I'd expect some evidence for X. I don't think there was any evidence for X apart from Y. So in conclusion, there was no evidence for X.

It's well known that people tend to remember the start and end more than the middle. This pattern is optimised so people to believe there is no evidence for X.

The middle part is where it gets interesting. If the statement had just said that there was no evidence for X then the author would have looked like they were ignorant of Y. It would have left them vulnerable to a comment saying "What about Y?".

Mentioning Y indicates they aren't ill-informed and blocks this obvious reply. But rather than addressing Y, they have merely used some sleight-of-hand. Their argument doesn't really account for Y; it merely pretends to.

Have you seen this pattern before? If so, please comment below.

See also: Motte and Bailey, Shit Sandwich