Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Texas Sharp Shooter Fallacy

The "Texas sharp shooter fallacy" is when people take certain points of information that have similarities to one another and form false conclusion(s) from their own perceived reasoning. All the while ignoring any differences that are present between the two (or three, etc.).

After doing some research I was surprised to learn that people do this all the time. The "Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy" comes into play every time people try to find meaning in something. I also concluded that spotting Texas Fallacies isn't always that easy and that even though the fallacy(s) may be obvious to you, others may not perceive it the same way without evidence.

By discrediting the fallacy, you call into the question the credibility of the person that formed the argument to begin with.

An example of how we come across different forms of the "Texas sharpshooter fallacy" in our day to day lives are as follows:

Example #1:
My daddy has a really big sugar tooth. My mom and I always tell him that he should have a healthier diet so that he doesn't make his diabetes worse. One day I catch him eating a huge caramel, nut, and chocolate covered apple with sprinkles he got from the store. I confront him, really upset because two days prior, he promised me and my mom that he wouldn't eat as much sugary junk. After raising my voice, he gets upset and says that he is eating something healthy because it is a piece of fruit with nuts. Both of which contain lots of good nutrition and antioxidants for the body.

In that example my dad pulled one of his classic sugar-related "Texas sharpshooter" fallacies. Because he was eating an apple with nuts, he came to the false conclusion that he was taking the step in the right direction of a low-sugar based diet. All the while ignoring the fact that along with nuts, the apple was covered in thick layers of chocolate, caramel, and sprinkles that could easily cause his blood sugar to spike.

The example above is a personal and weekly fallacy my dad tells so that my mom, sister, and I don't question his sugary eating habits. What are yours?

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