Confusing an Explanation with an Excuse

Description: Treating an explanation of a fact as if it were a justification of the fact, a valid reason for the fact, or evidence for the fact.

Logical Form:

Person 1 asks that claim X be justified.

Person 2 explains claim X in detail.

Therefore, claim X is justified / true.

Example #1:

Mrs. Crabtree: Your child, Mrs. Martin, is rude to me and shows me no respect.

Mrs. Martin: That’s because he thinks you are a “poo-poo faced bag lady who hates little kids”.

Mrs. Crabtree: That is no excuse for his behavior!

Mrs. Martin: No, it’s just a fact.

Explanation: In this case, Mrs. Crabtree committed the fallacy by incorrectly thinking Mrs. Martin’s fact was meant to be a justification when it was not.

Example #2:

Virgil: How do you justify the claim that Bigfoot is the missing link between the great apes and humans?

Marshall: Well, a "missing link" is the intermediary species between the two in the evolutionary process.

Explanation: Marshall simply explained what a missing link is; he did not give a valid reason for why he believes that Bigfoot is the missing link.

Exception: If it is clear to both parties that no justification attempt is being made, but rather just stating a fact, then this fallacy is not being committed.

Tip: If you are unsure if someone is trying to make an excuse or simply stating a fact, ask them.  Don’t assume.


This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.

Questions about this fallacy? Ask our community!

Grow Intellectually by Taking Dr. Bo's Online Courses

Dr. Bo is creating online courses in the area of critical thinking, reason, science, psychology, philosophy, and well-being. These courses are self-paced and presented in small, easy-to-digest nuggets of information. Use the code FALLACYFRIENDS to get 25% off any or all of Dr. Bo's courses.

View All Dr. Bo's Courses