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In this article I describe a type of hyperbole which does not add certainty to a technical claim by removing qualifiers and hedges to make boring science exciting. Rather, paralogical hyperbole overstates while jumping from one line of reasoning to another. For example, citing technical science to argue publicly that the “missing link” has been found is exaggerative, and in a direction illogical, given its starting premise, born of a technical sphere, which actually identifies “missing links” as indefensible claims. From an analysis of the popularization efforts of a few scientists regarding Darwinius Marsillae, a fossilized lemur-like skeleton first described in the technical scientific journal PLoS ONE, I show that paralogical hyperbole can result in discourses that are unnecessarily polarizing regarding scientifically-opposed publics, and can pose threats to broader public understandings of science. I close with a discussion of the rhetorical practices of dissoi logoi and prolepsis as means by which to more consciously experience and represent scientific rhetorics characterized by parlogical hyperbole.


hyperbole, anticategoria, dissoi logoi, prolepsis, paralogical argument, rhetoric of science

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The author would like to thank Leah Ceccarelli and Dylan Medina for their insightful feedback on earlier drafts of this work.

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