Become an active member of our fallacy-discussing community (or just become a lurker!)


Description: Unfairly blaming an unpopular person or group of people for a problem or a person or group that is an easy target for such blame.

Logical Form:

Nobody likes or cares about X.

Therefore, X is to blame for Y.

Example #1:

I know I got drunk, slapped the waitress on the behind, then urinated in the parking lot... from inside the restaurant, but that was Satan who had a hold of me.

Explanation: The person is avoiding personal responsibility and blaming “Satan” for his actions.  Satan is an easy target -- he does not show up to defend himself, and a surprising number of people believe he exists and actually does cause immoral behavior.

Example #2:

The reason New Orleans was hit so hard with the hurricane was because of all the immoral people who live there.

Explanation: This was an actual argument seen in the months that followed hurricane Katrina.  Ignoring the validity of the claims being made, the arguer is blaming a natural disaster on a group of people.

Exception: There is no exception when people are being unfairly blamed.

Fun Fact: Scapegoating meets a deep psychological need for justice, or more accurately, the belief that justice has been served.


Douglas, T. (2002). Scapegoats: Transferring Blame. Routledge.

Questions about this fallacy? Ask our community!

Reason: Books I & II

This book is based on the first five years of The Dr. Bo Show, where Bo takes a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter with the goal of educating and entertaining. Every chapter in the book explores a different aspect of reason by using a real-world issue or example.

Part one is about how science works even when the public thinks it doesn't. Part two will certainly ruffle some feathers by offering a reason- and science-based perspective on issues where political correctness has gone awry. Part three provides some data-driven advice for your health and well-being. Part four looks at human behavior and how we can better navigate our social worlds. In part five we put on our skeptical goggles and critically examine a few commonly-held beliefs. In the final section, we look at a few ways how we all can make the world a better place.

Get 20% off this book and all Bo's books*. Use the promotion code: websiteusers

* This is for the author's bookstore only. Applies to autographed hardcover, audiobook, and ebook.

Get the Book