Citation as manipulation

What purpose citations? It seems like they are extremely susceptible to being a manipulative, rather than informative, tool for any discourse other than in hard sciences where reality is close at hand. A reference on a topic or opinion that you are deeply familiar with is of little use to you. However, the majority of the time we deal with what we are not experts in. Usually there is some inferential distance that needs to be crossed, or at least some learning of the inevitable multitude of points of view surrounding an issue. Referencing particular arguments or external sources, unless done extremely carefully and in a well-balance manner, seems to be an even greater signal that the original document aims to persuade rather than inform.

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