Guilt by Association Fallacy

A guilt by association fallacy occurs when someone connects an opponent to a demonized group of people or to a bad person in order to discredit his or her argument. The idea is that the person is “guilty” by simply being similar to this “bad” group and, therefore, should not be listened to about anything.

Example:

We cannot have the educational reform that my opponent calls for because Dr. Crazy has also mentioned this kind of educational reform.

See Dr. Fallacy use this fallacy by associating his opponent with someone named Dr. Crazy. Clearly, this person isn’t someone to be associated with. Thankfully, Captain Logic OWL points out this flawed logic to the school board.

Guilt by Association logical fallacy comic with the evil Dr. Fallacy

Guilt by Association logical fallacy comic with the OWL Superhero

Here, we don’t see what issues Dr. Fallacy has with the educational reform plan, as this isn’t addressed in the fallacy. Instead of dealing with the issue, this person tries to just dismiss the point by connecting his or her opponent’s ideas with the ideas of a person who the audience wouldn’t believe.

This is problematic, of course, because we don’t deal with the issue at hand. Plus, just because “Dr. Crazy” thinks the same thing or something similar doesn’t mean we should automatically dismiss it. We need to look more closely at the issue at hand, and it seems like the person using this fallacy doesn’t want us to.

Since Dr. Fallacy is once again thwarted by Captain Logic, this may, indeed, be his last fallacy!

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