Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Texas Sharp Shooter Fallacy

Texas Sharp Shooter Fallacy

The Texas sharp shooter fallacy is a fallacy I had never heard of before, but one that is extremely prevent in today’s society. Essential the Texas sharp shooter fallacy is when differences (specifically in data or quantifiable sums) are ignored, yes the similarities are greatly stressed. The name of this fallacy comes form a legend/myth that a Texan fires gunshots into the side of a barn, and painted the middle of the target where most of the bullet holes clustered. He called himself a sharpshooter because it appears as if he is a good shooter, although he manipulated the process and painted the target after he had already shot the gun, creating a facade/lie.

Essentially, this fallacy talks about choosing to focus on the small set of data  proving your point or assumption, instead of the larger set of data against it. There are many areas of life where this is applicable. In my own life, I have seen this in research projects for my advertising classes. I have been in many upper lever advertising classes where we spend about 2 months alone researching ideas for our target audience and what appeals to them. When a group member thinks they have a good idea to adversities the project, they are stuck on it. They cannot see past their idea to the data that might disprove their idea. So they will research their specific idea to prove that it is the right thing to do for the campaign. 

For example, imagine you are in a group is trying to advertise a product towards women across the country and one group member is passionate about radio advertisements. The data that specific group member finds might say that you can reach many women in the United states with TV ads, but commercial ads reach more local women. The group member, using the Texas sharp shooter fallacy would say radio would be the best, because you reach more women.

Another example of the Texas sharp shooter fallacy would be if a certain grocery store had the most stores in the six of the top ten healthiest states. Using the Texas sharp shooter fallacy, they would say that they are a health conscious grocery store. The problem with this fallacy is easily seen in the previous examples. People in these fallacies are clearly making false statements and presenting false facts based on their preference and what they want people to see. As great as it would be to always be right and have every point of data, even outlier clumps prove your point, they cant. To truly be unbiased and use good rhetor that is trustworthy, we as communicators must stay away from this fallacy. Not only is it false in its reasoning, but it is twisting data purposely to prove your point, which is both unethical and create false information. 

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