Alternative Syllogism Fallacy

Assuming that one claim being true makes the other claim false


Sandy Sandbuilder: Either there’s an all-powerful, all-wise, all-good God or there’s suffering. There’s suffering. Therefore, there’s no all-powerful, all-wise, all-good God.

Rocky Rockbuilder: We call that the alternative syllogism fallacy. Your logic fails because both choices are true, but you implied that only one could be true.

In the alternative syllogism fallacy, one of two choices is true, so a thinker concludes the other is false. However, the thinker can’t prove that the two choices are mutually exclusive. If we don’t have enough information to declare that the two choices are mutually exclusive, they may not be mutually exclusive, and both choices might be true. Sometimes, as in the case above, we know that both choices are true.