Also Known as: Black & White Thinking, falsified dilemma, false choice, fallacy of the excluded middle, false dichotomy, false correlative, either/or fallacy, and bifurcation
A limited number of options (usually two) is given, while in reality there are more options. A false dilemma is an illegitimate use of the "or" operator. It is often used to obscure the likelihood of one option or to reframe an argument on the user's terms. Putting issues or opinions into "black or white" terms is a common instance of this fallacy.
A False Dilemma is a fallacy in which a person uses the following pattern of "reasoning":
Either claim X is true or claim Y is true (when X and Y could both be false).
This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because if both claims could be false, then it cannot be inferred that one is true because the other is false. That this is the case is made clear by the following example:
Either 1+1=4 or 1+1=12.
In cases in which the two options are, in fact, the only two options, this line of reasoning is not fallacious.
Bill is dead or he is alive.
America: love it or leave it.
Every person is either wholly good or wholly evil.
Senator Sarah: "We'll have to cut education funding this year."
"Look, you are going to have to make up your mind. Either you decide that you can afford this stereo, or you decide you are going to do without music for a while."
Either you're for me or against me.
"Either man was created, as the Bible tells us, or he evolved from inanimate chemicals by pure random chance, as scientists tell us. The latter is incredibly unlikely, so..."
Either support animal testing, or babies will die.