Logical Fallacies: Cause and Effect - SuperThinking
In this lesson, you will learn how to identify cause-and-effect relationships within a text. Let's take a look at some examples of cause-and-effect relationships. May 26, I have never met anyone who purposely set out to be a failure. which a leader meets his own failure will have a significant effect on his future ministry. . all too consciously) consider themselves examples for others to follow. . which is the sole basis of our relationship and forgiveness with God and our. In statistics, many statistical tests calculate correlations between variables and when two variables are found to be correlated, it is tempting to assume that this shows that one variable causes the other. That "correlation proves causation" is considered a questionable cause Determining whether there is an actual cause-and-effect relationship.
Errors of Faulty Logic Contradiction: Information is presented that is in direct opposition to other information within the same argument. If someone stated that schools were overstaffed, then later argued for the necessity of more counselors, that person would be guilty of contradiction. Someone fails to recognize or conceals the fact that an argument is based on an exception to the rule. By using selected scholar-athletes as the norm, one could argue that larger sports programs in schools were vital to improving academic performance of all students.
A temporal order of events is confused with causality; or, someone oversimplifies a complex causal network. Stating that poor performance in schools is caused by poverty; poverty certainly contributes to poor academic performance but it is not the only factor. A person makes a claim then argues for it by advancing grounds whose meaning is simply equivalent to that of the original claim.
This is also called "circular reasoning. Someone argues that schools should continue to have textbooks read from cover to cover because, otherwise, students would not be well-educated.
When asked to define what "well-educated" means, the person says, "knowing what is in the textbooks. Someone sidesteps and issue by changing the topic. When asked to say whether or not the presence of homosexuals in the army could be a disruptive force, a speaker presents examples of homosexuals winning combat medals for bravery.
Someone argues that a claim is justified simply because its opposite cannot be proven. A person argues that voucher programs will not harm schools, since no one has ever proven that vouchers have harmed schools. Composition involves an assertion about a whole that is true of its parts. Division is the opposite: When a school system holds up its above-average scores and claims that its students are superior, it is committing the fallacy of division. Overall scores may be higher but that does not prove all students are performing at that level.
Likewise, when the military points to the promiscuous behavior of some homosexuals, it is committing the fallacy of composition: Errors of Attack Poisoning the Well: Almost every proponent and opponent on the ban on gays in the military commits this error.
A person rejects a claim on the basis of derogatory facts real or alleged about the person making the claim. Someone rejects President Clinton's reasons for lifting the ban on gays in the military because of Mr. Someone uses threats to establish the validity of the claim. Opponents of year-round school threaten to keep their children out of school during the summer months. Errors of Weak Reference Appeal to Authority: Authority is evoked as the last word on an issue.
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Someone uses the Bible as the basis for his arguments against specific school reform issues. Appeal to the People: Someone attempts to justify a claim on the basis of popularity. Opponents of year-round school claim that students would hate it. An emotion-laden "sob" story is used as proof for a claim. A politician uses a sad story of a child being killed in a drive-by shooting to gain support for a year-round school measure.
Noticeable symptoms came later, giving the impression that the lice left before the person got sick.
Five Ways Your Bible Translation Distorts the Original Meaning of the Text
One making an argument based on these two phenomena must however be careful to avoid the fallacy of circular cause and consequence. Poverty is a cause of lack of education, but it is not the sole cause, and vice versa.
Third factor C the common-causal variable causes both A and B[ edit ] Main article: Spurious relationship The third-cause fallacy also known as ignoring a common cause  or questionable cause  is a logical fallacy where a spurious relationship is confused for causation.
It is a variation on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy and a member of the questionable cause group of fallacies. All of these examples deal with a lurking variablewhich is simply a hidden third variable that affects both causes of the correlation. Example 1 Sleeping with one's shoes on is strongly correlated with waking up with a headache.
Therefore, sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache. The above example commits the correlation-implies-causation fallacy, as it prematurely concludes that sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache.
Five Ways Your Bible Translation Distorts the Original Meaning of the Text | HuffPost
A more plausible explanation is that both are caused by a third factor, in this case going to bed drunkwhich thereby gives rise to a correlation. So the conclusion is false. Example 2 Young children who sleep with the light on are much more likely to develop myopia in later life.
Therefore, sleeping with the light on causes myopia. This is a scientific example that resulted from a study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Published in the May 13, issue of Nature the study received much coverage at the time in the popular press.
It did find a strong link between parental myopia and the development of child myopia, also noting that myopic parents were more likely to leave a light on in their children's bedroom. Example 3 As ice cream sales increase, the rate of drowning deaths increases sharply. Therefore, ice cream consumption causes drowning. This example fails to recognize the importance of time of year and temperature to ice cream sales.
Ice cream is sold during the hot summer months at a much greater rate than during colder times, and it is during these hot summer months that people are more likely to engage in activities involving water, such as swimming.
The increased drowning deaths are simply caused by more exposure to water-based activities, not ice cream. The stated conclusion is false.
This suggests a possible "third variable" problem, however, when three such closely related measures are found, it further suggests that each may have bidirectional tendencies see " bidirectional variable ", abovebeing a cluster of correlated values each influencing one another to some extent.
Therefore, the simple conclusion above may be false. Example 5 Since the s, both the atmospheric CO2 level and obesity levels have increased sharply. Hence, atmospheric CO2 causes obesity. Richer populations tend to eat more food and produce more CO2. Example 6 HDL "good" cholesterol is negatively correlated with incidence of heart attack. Therefore, taking medication to raise HDL decreases the chance of having a heart attack.
Further research  has called this conclusion into question. Instead, it may be that other underlying factors, like genes, diet and exercise, affect both HDL levels and the likelihood of having a heart attack; it is possible that medicines may affect the directly measurable factor, HDL levels, without affecting the chance of heart attack.
A causes B, and B causes A[ edit ] Causality is not necessarily one-way; in a predator-prey relationshippredator numbers affect prey numbers, but prey numbers, i. Another well-known example is that cyclists have a lower Body Mass Index than people who do not cycle. This is often explained by assuming that cycling increases physical activity levels and therefore decreases BMI.