The Middle Ground Fallacy, also known as the Argument to Moderation or the False Compromise, occurs when someone argues that a compromise between two opposing points of view is automatically the correct solution. This fallacy assumes that the middle ground or compromise position is always the right or most reasonable one, which isn’t necessarily true.
Sometimes, one side of an argument may be factually incorrect or morally indefensible, making a compromise between the two sides unreasonable or inappropriate.
Person A: “Climate change is an urgent issue, backed by a strong scientific consensus, and we need to take immediate, substantive action to mitigate its effects.”
Person B: “I don’t think climate change is real. It’s all a hoax.”
Person C: “Well, to be fair, maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Perhaps climate change is real, but it’s not a big deal, and we don’t need to do much about it.”
In this example, Person C is committing the Middle Ground Fallacy by suggesting that the “correct” view is somewhere between Person A’s evidence-based standpoint and Person B’s denial. This ignores the weight of scientific evidence supporting the urgency of climate change. Finding a middle ground in this case falsely equates well-supported facts with unsupported or less credible claims, and suggests that a compromise between the two would be more accurate or reasonable, which is not necessarily true.
So, it’s important to realize that the validity of a position isn’t determined by its being a compromise or middle ground between two extremes. Each position should be evaluated on its own merits, including the evidence and reasoning that support it.