Monday, May 16, 2011

The gilded mean

The golden-mean fallacy, otherwise known as the middle-ground fallacy and the appeal to moderation, holds that a middle ground between two extreme positions must be true simply because it is the middle ground. It differs from actually proving that the middle position is the sound one.

Lazy thinkers can use the golden-mean fallacy to discount any position they don't like, without the bother of having to disprove it on its merits. For example, local journalists have been known to pair a pro-LGBT argument with an argument from the American Family Association or some such organization and grandly declare, with no further analysis, that because the truth is in the middle, both sides must be wrong.

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