Let's suppose the following:

Person 1: All scientists agree that the sun is real.

Person 2: Oh yeah, why don't you list every single scientists as proof?

Here's another example:

Person 1: Humanoid lizards are not real!

Person 2: Can you list 100 peer reviewed sources to show that this is real?

Is this type of argumentation fallacious? If so, what is this fallacy called?


It's not a logical fallacy, but a dishonest debating tactic, or "informal fallacy".

2 counters:

  • Ask of your opponent that they apply the same standard of proof to their own claim. Usually they won't be able to.

  • Depending on the situation, explain how what they're asking for is unrealistic. An informal discussion between friends can't be held to the same standard than an exchange of peer reviewed publications between experts in the field. Usually your opponent won't budge, because they figure they got you in a difficult position. But we seldom win a direct opponent to our views in debates anyway, and you might make a point with the audience, the people who listen to or read the discussion. They are usually more detached emotionally than your direct opponent, and will be more reasonable.

  • You mentioned it's an "informal fallacy", however I checked the wikipead fallacy list here (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies) but couldn't locate one. Can you identify a name for it as the OP seems also asked? – Double Knot Jun 12 at 4:47
  • If I had to give it a name I would say it's a form "moving the goal post". The OP was able to provide a source? Ehm, well... It's not good enough! We want hundreds of sources! – armand Jun 12 at 5:12
  • Adding in some kind of double standard once the OP asks the opponent to respect their own standard and they try arguing it shouldn't apply to them, which is almost guaranteed to happen. – armand Jun 12 at 5:16
  • @DoubleKnot: Informal fallacies are not fallacies; they are rhetorical ploys. Fallacies are defects in reasoning. Rhetoric is a tactic of reasoning meant to shift worldviews. – Ted Wrigley Jun 12 at 15:29

Such demands are not statements, so there is no logical fallacy as such. Rather, they raise the issue of the burden of proof.

You could appeal to an inductive argument, along the lines of, "Here are three reliable sources; I challenge you to come up with any at all." Or you could accept that you are talking to a game-playing weasel and walk away.

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