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Fallacies of Choice

 

 

Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma which is simply the fact that the foundation of all human thought (without Divine revelation) is one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regression, circular reasoning, or bare assertions without any evidence.

 

Fallacies of Choice

  • Correlative Based Fallacy: occurs when two statements are mutually exclusive (both cannot be true) and one of several fallacies is committed. A correlative is conjunction is a relationship between two statements in which one must be false and the other must be true. A false dilemma is a false correlative. When a true correlative is denied by suggesting that there may be another possibility, this is called denying the correlative. When one of the two options is irrationally defined to encompass the other option, this is called suppressing the correlative.
  • Logical Fallacy of Denying the Correlative Conjunction / Denying the Correlative / Suppressed Correlative Fallacy: occurs when two statements where one must be true and the other must be false (the correlative conjunction), but a third, unreal option is introduced. This is fallacy abuse of the false dichotomy fallacy. It is a fallacy of claiming that a false dichotomy has been committed when a true dichotomy exists. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Either God created everything or He did not.” Sandy: “There could be other possibilities.”
  • Suppressing the Correlative / Suppressing the Correlative Conjunction: occurs when two statements where one must be true and the other must be false, but then one of the options is irrationally defined as encompassing the other. Sometimes two things are contrasted that really could be part of the same thing, depending on how they are defined. Often, such redefinition is a tactic of quibbling to avoid getting down to the truth. EXAMPLE Rocky: “It is a matter of Divine revelation versus arbitrary assumption. I believe in Jesus because He has revealed Himself to me and He leads me moment by moment.” Sandy: “What you are calling Divine revelation is merely arbitrary assumption.” Of course, Sandy’s redefinition is based on the presupposition of no God, which is what Sandy is trying to prove. This constitutes circular reasoning. Therefore, Sandy has irrationally defined arbitrary assumption as encompassing Divine revelation.
  • False Dilemma: occurs when two things are presented as being mutually exclusive or as negating each other; however, they can both coexist without conflict. The word, dilemma, indicates a decision between two equally undesirable choices or where a difficult choice must be made. Especially in logic, "false dilemma" is a term that indicates one person trying to force another person to choose between two unfavorable alternatives, when either both could be true or there are other alternatives available. A dichotomy, on the other hand, is a division or contrast between two things that are, or are represented as being, opposed or entirely different. All dilemmas are dichotomies. Dichotomies may or may not be dilemmas. Some sources lump false dilemma in with the following labels for false dichotomy fallacies: black-and-white thinking, bifurcation, denying a conjunct, the either-or fallacy, false dichotomy, fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses, the fallacy of false choice, the fallacy of the false alternative, and the fallacy of the excluded middle. None of these, however, are necessarily dilemmas. This means just means that you will do well to clarify terms if the word, "dilemma," is used. While these other terms would encompass dilemmas, all examples of these other terms are not necessarily dilemmas. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Creation Model is based on the Old Testament. So when you bring in, I’m not a Theologian, when you bring in the New Testament, isn’t that a little out of the box?" The reason this is a false dilemma is that Bill is trying to force a decision between the New and the Old Testaments, which is an untenable choice. This may have been said in ignorance, but the New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is a necessary foundation for the New Testament. There is no dilemma here. It isn't even a dichotomy.
  • Logical Fallacy of False Dichotomy / Black-and-White Fallacy / Black-and-White Thinking / The Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis / Bifurcation / False Correlative / False Either-Or /Either-Or Fallacy: occurs when it is falsely assumed that there are only two mutually exclusive choices when in fact there is at least one additional possibility. There are instances where the choice is either-or. For instance, God either created the Universe or not. Natural causes (without God) either created everything from nothing or they didn't. In any moment, we either acknowledge God's leading, receive His faith and hope and allow His grace to do His Love/Righteousness through us, or we do not. EXAMPLE "You either accept science or the Bible." This is an obvious either-or fallacy, since we accept both and scientific observation has always confirmed the Bible.
  • False Excluded Middle / No Middle Ground / Polarization: occurs when the two extreme positions are presents and an either/or proposition, but it excludes the middle ground of everything between the extremes. This is a type of false dichotomy. EXAMPLE "I am a failure." This could stated as, "I always fail," or, "Every time I try to do something it doesn't work out," or "Nothing works for me." It is a polarization fallacy. It excludes the middle ground.
  • All-Or-Nothing Mistake: occurs when a continuum is stated as a black and white issue. There are things that are black or white. A switch is on or off. You have a car or you do not. But a person is not either gifted or non-gifted. This is a type of false excluded middle.
  • Limited Alternatives Fallacy / Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis: occurs when it is assumed that all of the possible choices have been stated, but one or more choices have not been stated. This is a form of false choice in which all the possible choices are not offered. This is a form of cherry picking in which alternatives rather than data are cherry-picked. It is not the same as a false dilemma in that the choices are not necessarily negative, but the choices are negative in a false dilemma. The alternatives are not necessarily implied to be mutually exclusive, so this is not the same as an exclusivity fallacy. In fact, the alternatives may or may not be mutually exclusive when the fallacy of exhaustive hypothesis is committed.
  • Exclusivity Fallacy: occurs when a limited number of options are presented, but the options are not exhaustive (no other options are available), or exclusive (multiple options can’t be chosen together), yet the conclusion would require exhaustive and exclusive options. If the reasoning fails to prove that the list of options is exhaustive or if the reasoning fails to prove that the options are exclusive, then it cannot be asserted that they are exhaustive and exclusive. EXAMPLE Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to eternal life. There is no other. So, declaring Him to be exclusive is simply a statement of reality. We have that by Divine revelation, so it is firm. EXAMPLE The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is not exclusive. It cannot be presented as exclusive without committing this fallacy. EXAMPLE The other problem that can come up can be illustrated with this statement: "We are saved by grace so there is no place for works in the life of a Christian." This statement strikes deep into the heart of a huge misunderstanding of exclusivity. It pits works against grace. However, it doesn't give the choice that there is a difference between human-generated works and God-generated works. The apostle Paul said that he doesn't do the works, but rather it is grace doing the works through Him. Grace does the works of God through Christians. They are not mutually exclusive.
  • False Trilemma Fallacy: occurs when only three of four or more possibilities are presented as the only possibilities. EXAMPLE The Münchhausen Trilemma (sometimes called Agrippa's Trilemma) is an unsolved problem in Secular thinking that goes back to at least the First Century A.D. When the spiritual realm is artificially ommitted by assuming that it doesn't exist, there are only three possilble foundations for thought when trying to prove anything. These three are infinite regression, circular reasoning, and axiomatic thinking. For this reason, For this reason, Secularists, Atheists, Agnostics, Materialists, Naturalists, and any others who assume no spiritual realm cannot speak in terms of truth. When they do, they run into  Agrippa's Trilemma. This trilemma is sometimes called the Münchhausen Trilemma or Albert's Trilemma. Agrippa's Trilemma also invalidates the reasoning of Christians who deny Divine revelation as the foundation for their reasoning. The two missing parts of reality are Divine revelation and demonic influence. God can never lie. Demons give you enough truth mixed with their lies to fool you. This can be confirmed through Divine revelation to anyone willing to seek God in respect and sincerity while reading the Bible.
  • Short Term versus Long Term: occurs when a false dichotomy is presented that we must either address the short-term need or else the long-term need. It may be possible to address both. If this is an either-or, then it may be that neither has to be addressed at all, since one or the other of them could have been pushed off to the future.
  • Logical Fallacy of Magician's Choice / Closer's Choice / Fallacy of False Alternatives / Fallacy of False Choice / The Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis: occurs when a certain number of choices are implied, but either more or less choices are available. You are given limited choices when there are other choices available. 
  • What Else Could Explain it? / TINA / There Is No Alternative: occurs when only one alternative is claimed when other alternatives exist. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "In other words, the explanation provided by Evolution made a prediction, and the prediction’s extraordinary and subtle, but there it is. How else would you explain it?" Here, Bill gives one choice and then asks a rhetorical question as proof. However, there is a very good second choice that makes a lot more sense than a story that violates several scientific laws, requires several ad hoc hypotheses, and requires many assumptions. God created these fish and gave them this ability to adapt. It is built into them by their Creator God. This second option violated no scientific laws and requires no ad hoc hypothesis or assumption. We happen to have absolute evidence that God did create them. We know this by Divine revelation.
  • Alternative Advance / Lose-Lose Situation: occurs when more than one choice is supposedly offered, but the choices offered are actually the same choice. EXAMPLE "Heads I win. Tails, you lose."
  • Morton’s Fork: occurs when different observations lead to the same conclusion. EXAMPLE “If the radiometric dating agrees with our preconceived age for this fossil, then we know that the age of the fossil is exactly what we thought it should be. However, if the radiometric dating methods don’t yield the result we want, then, even though something happened to give a false reading, the age of the fossil is exactly what we thought it should be.”
  • Hobson's Choice: occurs when a choice is offered between one thing and nothing. It is a take it or leave it ultimatum. While this is not necessarily a fallacy, it can be used as a fallacy. EXAMPLE Ravi Zacharias was challenged by a professor on a U.S. campus. The professor insisted that Eastern logic was "both-and," but Ravi was using "either-or" logic. Of course there are many things that are "both-and," and also many that are "either-or." However, this particular professor wanted to convince Ravi that the only option was "both-and" in Eastern logic. After listening to the professor give a long dissertation, Ravi said, “Professor, I think we can resolve this debate very quickly with just one question.” The professor said, "Okay, go ahead." Ravi asked, "Are you saying that when I’m in India, I must use either the ‘both-and' logic or nothing else?” The professor didn't answer, so Ravi asked the question once again. The professor finally answered weakly, “The either-or does seem to emerge, doesn’t it.” Ravi returned, “Yes, even in India we look both ways before we cross the street because it is either me or the bus, not both of us!”
  • Barefoot Fallacy: occurs when an argument is made that only the government can provide a certain product or service. Originally, it was stated as, “If the government doesn’t provide shoes, all but the wealthy will go barefoot.” This is an unsupported assertion in all cases. It certainly is a false choice, giving only one choice when there are other options.
  • Wicked Alternative: occurs when the first position/alternative is denounced in order to support the second when the two positions/alternatives are not opposites. When this fallacy is in play, choosing the second position/alternative would not solve the problems of the first. Just because one thing is bad, some other thing is not automatically good. This may also use false dichotomy, when other options may be available.


Author/Compiler
Last updated: Sep, 2014
 
 


Correlative Based Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Denying the Correlative Conjunction / Denying the Correlative

Logical Fallacy of Suppressing the Correlative / Suppressing the Correlative Conjunction

Illicit Observation / False Dilemma / False Either-Or / Polarization

Logical Fallacy of False Either-Or / Black-and-White Fallacy / Excluded Middle / False Dilemma / False Dichotomy / Fallacy of False Choice / Fallacy of False Alternatives / The Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis / Bifurcation

Logical Fallacy of the False Excluded Middle / No Middle Ground / Polarization Fallacy

All-Or-Nothing Mistake

Logical Fallacy of Limited Alternatives Fallacy / Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis

Exclusivity Fallacy

False Trilemma Fallacy

Fallacy of Short Term versus Long Term

Logical Fallacy of Magician's Choice / Closer's Choice / Fallacy of False Alternatives / Fallacy of False Choice / The Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis / Alternative Advance / Lose-Lose Situation

What Else Could Explain it? / TINA / There Is No Alternative Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Alternative Advance / Lose-Lose Situation

Morton's Fork Fallacy

Hobson's Choice Fallacy

Barefoot Fallacy

Wicked Alternative Fallacy



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