Scientists use several rhetorical strategies to heighten the objectivity and credibility of their findings. Examples are the rhetoric of effort, which involves emphasizing the amount of effort expended in research, and the rhetoric of self-effacement, which involves suggesting that the facts have manifested themselves without input from the researcher. In this article, I present a further, hitherto unrecognized rhetorical strategy that scientists use for the same aims: the rhetoric of effortlessness, which consists in conveying the impression that establishing a result has cost the investigator little effort. This rhetorical strategy heightens the credibility of individual scientific findings, raises the reputation of individual scientists, and propagates an attractive view of science as a whole. I outline the epistemology underpinning the rhetoric of effortlessness and give examples of its use in modern science.
James W. McAllister
Rhetoric of Effortlessness in Science
Perspectives on Science March-April 2016 Volume: 24, Number: 2 March-April 2016: 145-166.