Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Black or White Fallacy


In a debate, it sometimes happens that

  • Alice claims A,
  • Bob claims B,
  • Alice provides arguments B and then believes that this supports per own claim A,
  • Bob provides arguments A and then believes that this supports per own claim B,

I think that in the case that B is in fact the contrary of A, this would make sense. But often, there are plenty of alternative claims. Providing arguments against A (or B) does not reinforce only the claim B (or A), but also all the alternatives.

Actually, it looks a bit like the scientific method, where we rather try to reject hypothesis than support them and the hypothesis that resists the better wins. In that fallacy, this is not exactly what happens, because instead of finding the hypothesis that resists the better to refutation, actors fall into the confirmation bias and think that finding a refutation for the other claim is enough to support theirs (scientific method fallacy).

Therefore, when people don’t provide arguments that support their claims but provide instead arguments that attack other claims, I think it is a good idea to pause the debate to make sure that those claims are indeed the only two possibilities.


Notes linking here