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The Genetic Fallacy


When someone makes a truth claim or statement, no matter who it came from, this claim must come under the Three Fundamental Laws of Logic. If the claim is true, then the source of the claim is irrelevant and arbitrary. The genetic fallacy ultimately reduces the significance of a claim because of its origins.

For an extreme instance, Adolf Hitler said that smoking cigarettes are unhealthy, and tried to convince those around him to stop smoking. We think of Adolf Hitler as being an evil person and with anything he might have said, we perhaps want to dismiss it as something that is false, or we do not want to give what was said the time of day, so to speak. The problem is, sometimes the truth hurts, not always the claim itself, but where the claim or statement came from. 

If a person does not like the source, no matter if he is usually described as an expletive, or if it is your mother-in-law, or a biker, or a janitor, or the Bible, it has nothing to do with the validity of the truth claim. The thing about this is that we need to remember to try to not be emotionally driven when we have conversations. 

The genetic fallacy is often the first fallacy committed in a conversation. If we let our emotions be our fuel for making our decisions, we will only run into problems (and worse, perhaps believe things that are false). Pay close attention to the claims and statements that are made; pay little attention to the source. When a claim is made, follow the truth where it leads.

 

 

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus  


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