I'm trying to think of the name of this fallacy, and it's driving me crazy. The typical situation is this: I make a claim, and list several examples supporting this claim. Someone then discredits one of the examples, focuses on that example, and insinuates that the entire argument is invalid based on this.

Example (I do not want this to turn into a political conversation, so please do not focus on the example topic in your response):

  • Hypothesis: Political campaigns have emboldened racists to be more open with their hate.

  • Evidence: multiple news articles showing examples of political activists acting in hateful ways this week.

  • Counterpoint: one of the articles was later shown to be a hoax.

  • Counter-conclusion: These articles can't be trusted, so your claim is false.

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

  • 3
    We are not logicians here, but you might try Philosophy instead.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 0:22
  • 1
    Kind of like "hasty generalization," logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/100/…, but not quite. You could also try cogsci.stackexchange.com since this is a word request but also you are looking for a specific logical fallacy which may or may not exist and/or be named. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 1:00
  • I feel like there is a term for this out there somewhere. The closest I could come up with is "one bad apple," but it doesn't quite fit. I think this tactic is in the same realm of Internet commenters trying to discredit another commenter based on a grammar error (or misspelling, typo, etc.) in their post.
    – pyobum
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 1:23
  • 1
    Sounds a bit like fallacy fallacy. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 1:33
  • 1
    @SvenYargs - this seems to be more simply Affirming a Disjunct, in which the OP is saying "P or Q or R" is true, where any of P,Q,R being true makes the entire assertion true. The fallacy is when someone finds Q to be false, and claims, fallaciously, that the entire assertion is false because of ~Q.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 18:49

4 Answers 4


You're looking for the Fallacy fallacy. That's when people mistakenly decide a conclusion is false because the argument presented for it is false.


Although "fallacy fallacy" covers the general form of what OP describes, I'd say this is more precisely cherry picking perhaps combined with hasty generalization as applied to the exact form of the argument being targeted.


I think the word "bias" has a definite role in what you are describing. I looked up some stuff relating to this and the term Negativity Bias might fit? It has to do with the one bad apple phrase pyobum mentioned. But here is a link for negativity bias and here is a link for single source bias.


I know this isn't as formal as a "fallacy", but I would just call it ignorant, or something like that. it seems just to be bad practice to ignore something completely because of a single mistake.

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