by / 0 Comments / 26 View / April 9, 2015

SILENCE – Drawing a conclusion based on the silence of your opponent. 

There are several reasons why people may not respond to you in a debate. They could be dumbfounded by how bad your argument is, they may not be familiar with the topic well enough, or they might not care to get into a debate for whatever reason. None of these strengthen your argument. Thinking that they do is the fallacy of Arguing from Silence.

One example of this fallacy:

Abe: You realize that if you support anything supplied by Koch Industries then you’re a virulent racist and are basically bringing this country one step closer to reinstating slavery.
Ben: (Stares quitely with mouth wide-opened).
Abe: Hah, I knew it! Even you libertarians cannot deny your overt racism.

The reality: Ben was probably wondering, “What is Koch Industries?” or “How could anyone follow such twisted logic to think that slavery will come back if I buy Dixie paper cups?”

A second example of the fallacy:

Anonymous Poster: I made such a great comment on the website ‘’ that the author didn’t even respond! He must have conceded the point. 

The reality: Sometimes it is not worth responding to every post. If the point was made, the argument isn’t advancing, and everyone else has lost interest, then it is simply a waste of time and effort.

Exception: In certain contexts, silence is suspicious. If you are on trial and under oath, a refusal to answer questions can weigh against you. This is not a fallacy.

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