A genetic fallacy is a flawed argument that comes in negative and positive variations. In the negative version a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken as evidence discrediting the claim or thing itself. The positive variation is an error in reasoning in which the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence for the claim or proof that the thing is good. A Demonic Genetic Fallacy is, as would be expected, always negative.
A genetic fallacy, demonic or not, differs from the ad hominem fallacies in that a strictly defined ad hominem always targets an individual while the genetic fallacy can be used to target groups or institutions.
The demonic version of this fallacy involves two steps, the first of which distinguishes the demonic from the normal genetic fallacy.
First, the target, which is the origin of the claim or thing, is demonized. As noted in the first essay on the subject, demonizing is portraying the target as evil, corrupt, dangerous or threatening. This can be done in the usual three ways: selective demonizing, hyperbolic demonizing or fictional demonizing. Selective demonizing is when some true negative fact about the target is focused on to the exclusion of other facts about the target. Hyperbolic demonizing involves greatly exaggerating a negative fact about the target. Fictional demonizing is simply lying about the target. Second, the attack on the origin of the claim or thing is taken to discredit the claim or thing.
The demonic genetic fallacy has the following two forms:
Premise 1. Claim (or argument) C originates from group G.
Premise 2. Group G is demonized.
Conclusion: Therefore, C is false (or the argument fails).
Premise 1. A originated from O.
Premise 2. O is demonized.
Conclusion: A is discredited.
The reason why the demonic genetic fallacy is a fallacy is that demonizing a group or origin has no bearing on the truth of a claim, the quality of an argument or the origin of a thing. In addition to the logical error, a demonic genetic fallacy also suffers from the fact that demonizing, by definition, involves deception. At the very least, demonizing involves taking facts out of context and commonly involves outright falsehoods.
A demonic genetic fallacy can have considerable psychological force since demonizing typically goes beyond the usual attacks in a non-demonic genetic fallacies and thus can trigger strong emotions. A common tactic is to demonize the target using stereotypes the audience already accepts and by appealing to their biases, fears and prejudices. Such an audience will be inclined to accept the demonization as true and their emotional response can lead them to accept the fallacious reasoning.
There are two main defenses against demonizing. One is to be aware of the logical flaw in the fallacy. Even if the demonizing claims were true, the reasoning would still be flawed: true but irrelevant negative claims about the origin of something, no matter how terrible, do not disprove a claim or argument or prove a defect in the thing. The other is to be critical about negative claims and only accept them if they are adequately supported by evidence. One excellent example of the demonic genetic fallacy in the real world is Trumps demonizing of the media.
While Republicans have long attacked the media as having a liberal bias, Donald Trump escalated this attack to full demonization. He has gone far beyond accusing them of bias and has labeled journalist as disgusting, crooked, and dangerous. In terms of full on demonization, he has declared reporters to be “the enemy of the American people.” While Trump does attack individual journalists, this general attack on journalists is intended to discredit the claims Trump dislikes, such as accurate reporting of his lies and misdeeds. While the media certainly does suffer from the usual human biases and some journalists dislike Trump a great deal, his demonizing is generally composed of outright lies