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Genetic Fallacy Fallacy

Updated Jan 16, 2023

The Genetic Fallacy Fallacy: Understanding the Pitfalls of Faulty Reasoning


In the realm of logical fallacies, the genetic fallacy is one that often catches people off guard. However, just as there can be fallacies in arguments, there can also be fallacies in how we perceive fallacies. This is where the concept of the genetic fallacy fallacy comes into play. In this article, we will explore the genetic fallacy fallacy, its definition, examples, and how to avoid falling into its trap.

Understanding the Genetic Fallacy

Defining the Genetic Fallacy

The genetic fallacy occurs when someone dismisses an argument or claim based on its origin, rather than on its merits or validity. In essence, it is an error in reasoning that involves judging the worth of an idea solely based on its source or history. However, it is important to note that the genetic fallacy is not always fallacious in itself; it depends on the context and relevance of the origin to the argument at hand.

The Genetic Fallacy Fallacy: Unraveling the Paradox

While the genetic fallacy highlights the error of dismissing an argument based on its origin, the genetic fallacy fallacy is the misconception that identifying the genetic fallacy automatically invalidates the argument. In other words, just because the genetic fallacy is present does not necessarily mean the argument itself is incorrect or flawed. This fallacy fallacy can potentially lead to dismissing valid arguments or missing out on fruitful discussions.

Examples of the Genetic Fallacy Fallacy

To better understand the genetic fallacy fallacy, let's explore a few examples:

Example 1: Dismissing an Idea Based on Personal Bias

Imagine a scenario where a renowned scientist proposes a new theory. However, some individuals dismiss the theory solely because the scientist is known to hold certain political beliefs. While it is important to critically evaluate scientific claims, dismissing the theory solely based on the scientist's personal bias would be committing the genetic fallacy fallacy. The idea should be evaluated based on its own merits and evidence, rather than the personal beliefs of the scientist.

Example 2: Discrediting an Argument Due to Its Origin

Suppose a person argues that a particular medical treatment is ineffective because it was developed by a pharmaceutical company known for unethical practices. While it is crucial to be aware of the ethical conduct of companies, rejecting the effectiveness of the treatment solely based on the company's reputation would be committing the genetic fallacy fallacy. The treatment should be evaluated based on its scientific evidence and clinical trials, irrespective of its origin.

Avoiding the Genetic Fallacy Fallacy

Now that we understand the genetic fallacy fallacy, it is important to know how to avoid falling into its trap:

  1. Evaluate arguments on their own merits: Focus on the content and evidence presented in an argument rather than its origin or the person presenting it.
  2. Consider the relevance of the origin: While the origin of an argument may occasionally be relevant, it should not be the sole determining factor in evaluating its validity.
  3. Be open to diverse perspectives: Engage in productive discussions and consider alternative viewpoints, even if they come from sources with which you may disagree.


In the world of logical fallacies, it is essential to be aware of not only the fallacies themselves but also the misconceptions surrounding them. The genetic fallacy fallacy reminds us of the importance of evaluating arguments based on their own merits, rather than dismissing them solely based on their origin. By avoiding this fallacy fallacy, we can engage in more constructive debates and foster a greater understanding of diverse perspectives.


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