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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.

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Eat Meat... Or Don't.

Roughly 95% of Americans don’t appear to have an ethical problem with animals being killed for food, yet all of us would have a serious problem with humans being killed for food. What does an animal lack that a human has that justifies killing the animal for food but not the human?

As you start to list properties that the animal lacks to justify eating them, you begin to realize that some humans also lack those properties, yet we don’t eat those humans. Is this logical proof that killing and eating animals for food is immoral? Don’t put away your steak knife just yet.

In Eat Meat… Or Don’t, we examine the moral arguments for and against eating meat with both philosophical and scientific rigor. This book is not about pushing some ideological agenda; it’s ultimately a book about critical thinking.

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