Series on Logic Part 10 – Bifurcation Fallacy

Alright, beloved, this is officially the longest running series I’ve done on Biblical Beginnings. Cue the confetti and balloons! As believers in a world that insists there are absolutely no absolute truths, having a solid foundation in logic is a must. So, today, dear ones, we’re going to briefly discuss the Bifurcation Fallacy, also known as the Either-Or fallacy. This is so common today, particularly with online debates.

The Bifurcation Fallacy states that it’s either A or non-A, giving you only two options. I’ve often heard it used like this “if you don’t believe in evolution you’re a science denier” or “either you believe in evolution or you hate science”. This is fallacious because there are obviously more than just these two options to choose from. For example, in high school I both believed in evolution AND hated science. There are thousands of PhD scientists who do not agree with evolution, none of them are science deniers.

Another way Christians often hear this fallacy put is like this “If you don’t accept my life style you are unloving”. There are so many other options, for example before I became a Christian I accepted anyone else’s lifestyle, couldn’t care less. At the same time I was very unloving, thoughtless, cruel, and extremely self centered. Another option here is that we, like God, do not wish that any should parish but that all should have everlasting life in the Savior Jesus Christ. Thus the most loving thing we can do is warn those whose life styles we disagree with. This makes the statement fallacious, as there are more than A and non-A to pick from.

This is only a fallacy if there are other options, which is important to remember. For example, “you either believe Genesis is accurate or you do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture”. Or “you must put your faith in Jesus Christ alone, He is the only way to the Father, or you’re lost”. You see, in both these statements there is no other possibility, meaning they are not fallacious. Be careful not to falsely accuse anyone of using this fallacy, when they are not. It’s not a fine line, these are clear and obvious truth statements with no alternatives.

I hope these short posts are edifying for you, brothers and sisters. I have to keep reminding you how very important it is for us to argue for the faith with all love, mercy, and kindness. So long as the person you are talking to is reasonable, reason with them. Be encouraged that though we plant and water the seed, only God can bring the increase! Continue to run the race, beloved, with a life of living sacrifice unto the Lord. As always, be good Berean’s dear ones, and study to show yourselves approved.