A reader (Sean) of ‘The Dilbert Blog’ posted this in the comments section today as “brain malfunctions”. Quite funny, but I think it hasty to jump to the conclusion that these prototypes of reasoning fallacies are indeed bugs and not features of the workings of the human brain.
Amazingly Bad Analogy
Example: You can train a dog to fetch a stick. Therefore, you can train a potato to dance.
Faulty Cause and Effect
Example: On the basis of my observations, wearing huge trousers makes you fat.
I am the World
Example: I don’t listen to country music. Therefore, country music is not popular.
Generalizing from Self
Example: I’m a liar. Therefore, I don’t believe what you’re saying.
Total Logical Disconnect
Example: I enjoy pasta because my house is made of bricks.
<Judging Things without Comparison to Alternatives
Example: I don’t invest in US Treasury bills. There’s too much risk.
Ignorance of Statistics
Example: I’m putting ALL of my money on the lottery this week because the jackpot is so big.
Example: A hundred dollars is a good price for a toaster, compared to buying a Ferrari.
Incompleteness as Proof of Defect
Example: Your theory of gravity doesn’t address the question of why there are no unicorns, so it must be wrong.
Following the Advice of Known Idiots
Example: Uncle Billy says pork makes you smarter. That’s good enough for me!
Faulty Pattern Recognition
Example: His last six wives were murdered mysteriously. I hope to be wife number seven.
Failure to Recognise What’s Important
Example: My house is on fire! Quick, call the post office and tell them to hold my mail!
Ignoring All Anecdotal Evidence
Example: I always get hives immediately after eating strawberries. But without a scientifically controlled experiment, it’s not reliable data. So I continue to eat strawberries every day, since I can’t tell if they cause hives.
Inability to Understand that Some Things Have Multiple Causes
Example: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: They were good singers.
Judging the Whole by One of it’s Characteristics
Example: The sun causes sunburns. Therefore, the planet would be better off without the sun.
Taking Things to their Illogical Conclusion
Example: If you let your barber cut your hair, the next thing you know he’ll be lopping off your limbs!
Proof by Lack of Evidence
Example: I’ve never seen you drunk, so you must be one of those Amish people.”
Did you feel while reading this that your reasoning patterns are above such speciousness? Do you also believe that you would behave differently from the subjects of the Zimbardo and Milgram experiments, under the conditions of the experiments?