Logic,  Politics

HQ Awards: Fallacy of the Year

Anne: “I oppose X”
George: “You only oppose X because you are a Y”
A: “No, I oppose X because of reasons A, B, and C.”
G: “You only think A, B, and C because you are a Y.”
A: “No, I really think A, B, and C are true.”
G: “You wouldn’t oppose X if you were a Z”
A: “Maybe, but A, B, and C would still be true if I was a Z and so I ought to oppose X even if I didn’t”
G: “But if you were a Z how would you know about A, B, and C?”
A: “Someone would have to tell me about A, B, and C. This is what I am trying to tell you now.” 
G: “But I am a Z. Therefore, I support X.”
A: “But being a Z isn’t a good reason to support X”
G: “But all the Z’s I know support X. If I didn’t support X, the Z’s would be annoyed.”
A: “Well, you have choice to make don’t you?”
G: “Well, you would say that. You’re a Y.”
…and on it goes… 

The genetic fallacy commits the error of irrelevance by denying or supporting a claim by appealing to the personal history of the proponent or source of the claim.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.