Saturday, March 26, 2011

The One Good Apple Fallacy

The "one good apple" fallacy references the old adage "one bad apple spoils the whole bushel", except that it works in reverse. It is a fallacy that argues that because someone can point to some counter examples in a group, the group as a whole is insulated from criticism. Example: The Democrat Party is not Anti-Christ because there are a lot of Christians who are Democrats. This argument is fallacious because if a group is organized around stated ideals A and B, the fact that some members of that group claim to be opposed to A and B does not change the groups stated ideals.

Of course this is a fallacy that can be switched on and off as it suits one's needs in persuasion. The very next argument could be that one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch. An example: "The Republican party is immoral, just look at republicans Tom Foley and Larry Craig." Again, this argument ignores the groups stance, and its response according to that stance.

4 comments:

4simpsons said...

Good distinction, I need to remember to use that.

Dan said...

I'm glad you like it Neil. I just coined the name this morning. My hope is that if this fallacy is already known by another name someone would point it out to me.

Joe said...

I don't know whether it has a name, but yours seems pretty good to me.

Dan said...

Hi Joe, good to see you around.