Remembering the Post-hoc Fallacy

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Five years from now, when I'm decaying and decrepit, I think the concept of psychology I'll remember the most will be the post hoc fallacy. The post hoc fallacy is defined in our textbook as a "false assumption that because one event occurred before another event, it must have caused that event". The fallacy goes along with the tried and true claim that correlation does not equal causation, and many events that appear to be related are played upon my multiple factors, and may also be simply coincidental.

I imagine a future situation where it just so happens that a small group of people die from cardiac arrest very closely to each other. Upon further inspection, it is revealed that each of these people shot arrows at archery ranges several times a year until their death. An impulsive mind might suggest that repeated trips to archery ranges can cause cardiac arrest later in life. But, thanks to the post hoc fallacy, I can say that it's highly unlikely that the first event caused the cardiac arrest, and that there must have been several other factors contributing to the coincidence.

Quick use of the post hoc fallacy in pop culture

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This page contains a single entry by Croy Boudreau published on November 28, 2011 11:36 PM.

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