Monday, February 29, 2016

Slothful Induction Fallacy

Slothful Induction

The slothful induction fallacy occurs when a result is attributed to chance, but evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Someone might claim that X is the result of chance, when in reality, evidence shows that X is the result of Y.

In order to more clearly illustrate the slothful induction fallacy, I’ll introduce you to Lacy. Lacy is your typical college student. When Lacy’s teacher announces that class attendance is not required, Lacy deems it unnecessary to attend each week. When the first test rolls around, Lacy doesn’t do very well, prompting her parents to ask why her grades are suffering. Lacy claims that the tests are unreasonably hard, and she just happened to end up in a section of the class with a difficult professor. In reality, the evidence would show that had Lacy attended class each week and gathered notes, she would have done substantially better on the tests.

As a child I tended to use the slothful induction fallacy quite a bit. I would yell down the stairs to my mother asking where a toy or article of clothing was, and when she would say she didn’t know, I would claim that someone must have stolen it. In my mind that was the only valid justification. Evidence would show that my young slobbish self had actually buried it somewhere in my messy room under a pile of clothes or in one of my many junk drawers.

I would dare to dub the slothful induction fallacy as the proud man’s fallacy. It’s much easier to claim that something is a matter of chance than it is to admit that it is completely your fault.  Not many people want to admit that getting in 12 car accidents in one year is their fault; they’d rather claim that they just have bad luck. Athletic supporters would rather claim that the game was assigned poor referees on their side, over accepting a loss.  Many of us use the slothful induction fallacy without even realizing it, so next time you claim that your teacher is out to get you, think back to how much effort you’re actually putting into their class. Maybe its your own fault.

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