Logical Fallacy of the Week

Well, being an avid listener of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast I’ve become fascinated with logical fallacies. Once you become aware of them you start to see them everywhere: advertising, news broadcasts, political speech (practically a minefield of logical fallacy), even in my own thoughts. So I decided to share this little fascination I have by trying to post and explain a new logical fallacy every week. So here goes…

This week’s logical fallacy is a classic:

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Translation:

After this, therefore because of this

Description:

Arguments containing this fallacy usually sound like “After I did A, B occured. Therefore A is the cause for B”. The fallacy here is that the person making the argument is assuming a cause and effect relationship between A and B simply because the two things occured one after the other. You will often hear this fallacy used in defending an action lacking in evidence: “I performed a special dance and it started raining, therefore rain dances work” or to associate a predetermined target with a universally agreed negative: “We never had a robbery in the neighborhood before the neighbors moved in”.

Hopefully you will enjoy learning about all the ways we human beings can be wrong in how we think. Thank you for your time.

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1 comment so far

  1. argumentics on

    “Once you become aware of them you start to see them everywhere”, which, your skeptical guides might tell you, does not entail that they really are fallacies. Fallacy police is a tricky business. Make sure you don’t get carried away.


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