A Genetic Fallacy is a line of "reasoning" in which a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself. It is also a line of reasoning in which the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence for the claim or thing. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:
- The origin of a claim or thing is presented.
- The claim is true(or false) or the thing is supported (or discredited).
It should be noted that there are some cases in which the origin of a claim is relevant to the truth or falsity of the claim. For example, a claim that comes from a reliable expert is likely to be true (provided it is in her area of expertise).
Examples of Genetic Fallacy
- "The current Chancellor of Germany was in the Hitler Youth at age 3. With that sort of background, his so called 'reform' plan must be a facist program."
- "I was brought up to believe in God, and my parents told me God exists, so He must."
- "Sure, the media claims that Senator Bedfellow was taking kickbacks. But we all know about the media's credibility, don't we."