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False dilemma

The logical fallacy of false dilemma (also called false dichotomy or excluded middle) is to set up two alternative points of view as if they were the only options, argue against one of them, and thereby conclude that the other must be true.

As an example of a false dilemma, consider the following argument.

Either creationism must be true or Darwin's theory of evolution must be true. Therefore, if it is shown that Darwin's theory is wrong, then creationism must be true.

This argument is fallacious because it fails to recognize that there are many other possibilities than just Darwin's views and creationism.

False dilemmas are also common in politics. They are often hidden in (rhetorical) questions, and then become akin to the fallacy of many questions, as in Should the USA become a communist dictatorship, or should our party lead the country?


A term coined by Arthur Glasser, the founder of modern missiology, referring to the common Western practice of believing in ethical moral practices and a great God above, but with no interaction between the two levels on a regular basis- i.e. no miracles. Hence there is an "excluded middle" to the spirituality.

See Also

correlative based fallacies



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