Monday, February 27, 2017

Are You A Sharpshooter?

If you have used the University Housing Roommate Finder Portal, there is a good chance that you are guilty of using the Texas sharpshooter informal fallacy. When looking through the list of potential roommates, you may be drawn to specific individuals who have small similarities when regarding your interests. These similarities could be that you both enjoy pizza, sleeping and binge-watching Netflix. Those may be important qualities that you look for in a roommate, but they aren't necessities. That same person could prefer the room at 65 degrees whereas you sleep better when the temperature is in the mid 70's. Also, that "potential roommate" could possibly be the most introverted person in the world and you could easily be the loudest person in every room.

By definition, the Texas sharpshooter fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when people look at the similarities that data presents rather than looking at the major differences. This fallacy comes from a Texan shooter who was shooting at a barn one day in no particular order or way. Then, the shooter continued by painting a target on the side of the barn centered on the closest cluster of bullet holes and then claimed that he was a "sharpshooter".


This fallacy is a flaw in reasoning because it proves that the world fails to look at all of the information in front of them. We all choose to look at the information that we are drawn to or that we enjoy seeing. In some ways, we as people are so ignorant when it comes to this! Our thoughts get in the way of what is right in front of us and we see only what we want to see.

In 1962, there was a study conducted in Sweden to determine whether or not living close to power lines increases the likelihood developing a childhood disease. After research was collected, studies showed that children who live close to power lines were four times more likely to develop some sort of detrimental disease such as leukemia.

This type of fallacy is committed every single day by numerous amounts of people (without them even knowing it). We all come to too quick of judgements based on the small things that we have an interest in or what our own opinions tell us.

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