Fallacies of Association

The presence of a single lion does not indicate that sheep are carnivorous, while the sheep do not render the lion herbivorous.Guilt by association fallacy, honor by association fallacy, association fallacies

Association fallacies rely upon the negative implications of "guilt by association" or the positive implications of "honor by association."

These fallacies are based upon the implication that a claim is false or true based upon beliefs held by, or attributed to, the people or organizations that hold the belief. Obviously, the arguments of those with a mission of denying rights to others or of those with anti-expert opinions should be assessed carefully on the basis of their content. Equally, the opinions of experts should be assessed on their merit.

Both sides of the atheism vs religionism debate cite examples of crimes committed in the furtherance of religion or, supposedly, of atheism.

Creationists, in line with the emotional basis for their claims, all too often resort to association fallacies. One example of the "honor by association" fallacy is to point out that scientists and Nobel Prize winners have signed a document against Darwinian theories, as though this lends credence to intelligent [sick] design pseudoscience. Such arguments are also fallacious appeals to authority. The seduction of ageing philosopher, Anthony Flew, to deism, couple with the use of his name on a book written by an apologist, is another example of religionists' attempts to depict creationism as the winner's circle.

Conversely, it is not an association fallacy to state that biologists consider that the scientific evidence is so voluminous as to render biological evolution a fact. It is appropriate to refer to the opinions of credible experts in a field.

Godwin's Law and Desperate Attacks on Darwinism provides an example of unfounded accusations that Darwin's ideas inevitably led to Nazi atrocities, as though this would demote evolution from fact (argumentum ad nazium, reductio ad Hitlerum). Examples of such fallacious accusations include Jeffrey Dahmer's supposed evolution-based devaluation of human life when he was, in fact, raised in a creationist household. Equally irrelevant to the validity of Darwininsm, Finnish teen killer Pekka-Eric Auvinen, dubbed himself the "Natural Selector" and listed "enslaving religions and ideologies" in his 'hate-list'.

Fallacy Files : Guilt by Association :


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