Damning the Alternatives

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Damning the Alternatives is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone ranks favorably a certain position by selectively choosing just its pros while treats all other alternatives with bias, emphasizing solely their cons. From logical standpoint, one cannot prove that the position A is a better one or superior to others just by showing that there are difficulties with other positions. In extreme case, the alternative views are intentionally ignored completely or even suppressed and their supporters persecuted; and/or, all positive alternatives are denied and only negative is promulgated wrt. certain position.

According to Karl Popper, a noted authority on scientific methodology, whenever a hypothesis appears to a scientist as the only possible one, it should be taken as a sign that he or she have neither understood the hypothesis nor the problem which it was intended to solve. He also urges investigators to construct alternative theories - althernatives even to those theories which appear to one inescapable. Only in that way the theories held could be understood.[1] Having acquainted readers with theory and empirical findings from other studies helps substantiate the reasons behind the specific objectives and hypotheses for one's study.[2] If a theory or point of view is treated, in direct contradiction to Socratic principle, only as a doctrine to be validated and not one to be challenged, it is not regarded as being scientific.[1]

Examples

Antirabies vaccination

For exploring how Pasteur's adversaries adopted Damning the Alternatives fallacy in effort to discredit his method of antirabies vaccination, See: Disturbed character: Science vs. Evolutionism.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Randal Hedtke (2010). Secrets of the Sixth Edition. Master Books, 57, 139. ISBN 978-0-89051-597-6. 
  2. Jane E. Miller (2004). The Chicago Guide To Writing About Numbers. The University of Chicago Press, 225. ISBN 0-226-52631-3. 

See also