false False Dilemma
I came across this meme today.
It seems that a hunting enthusiast, in his zeal to share the joys of his favorite pastime, didn't not take appropriate time to proofread his post. Let's indulge for a minute-- which would you choose:
1) never hunting again
2) dating supermodels the rest of your life
This is an example of what I would like to call a false False Dilemma. A true False Dilemma is a logical fallacy in which option are unnecessarily limited, or options are erroneously assumed to be mutually exclusive. In a typical "would you rather" type question, the hypothetical scenario assumes the limitation and mutual exclusion to force the dilemma, and for humor's sake, we turn a blind eye to the logically fallacious nature of the would-be False Dilemma. That appears to be what's going on here, but look closer; by the way it is written, option 1 does not preclude dating supermodels, and option 2 does not preclude hunting—in fact it implicitly requires it, since the converse of option 1 would be to hunt at least once in your life. In other words, let's boil it down to a simpler form of the hypothetical—which would you choose:
1) no hunting, no supermodels
2) hunting + supermodels
The humor aspect only kicks in if the two options are either equally desirable or undesirable, presenting a form of false dilemma. So, in reality it is a false False Dilemma. The only instance in which this actually poses any type of dilemma, true or false, is if you are a hunting enthusiast who has a pronounced distain for supermodels—in which case this would be a real Sophie's Choice. Perhaps the author meant this:
"If you had to choose between hunting and dating supermodels the rest of your life...would you hunt with a bow or gun?"
But we wouldn't want to give the false impression of a choice between dating supermodels and hunting supermodels. So, how about this:
"If you had to choose between two options; hunting, and dating supermodels the rest of your life...would you hunt with a bow or a gun?"
problem solved; semi-colon saves the day! Except for that lingering false dilemma, of course. Even a supermodel-dating hunter can see that there are many, many alternative choices than either hunting or dating supermodels-- these options are obviously not two mutually exclusive and exhaustive hypotheses. False dilemmas are everywhere, and pose a serious flaw in logical reasoning and argument---we'll discuss that concept more in the future.