Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

            In rhetoric logos is a huge contender in presenting a sound point that will hopefully persuade or uphold beliefs in an audience. Logos uses statements or arguments to bring logic or reason to a situation. Most of the time it uses sound arguments and deductive reasoning to present the information, but sometimes within logos a logical fallacy is used to make a point seem better even though it is very flawed in its reasoning and can be picked apart. Therefore, when using fallacies caution is needed and an understanding of the audience you are presenting the fallacy to is also needed. There are many types of logical fallacies each coined with a specific name, the one in the spotlight in this instance is the Texas sharpshooter fallacy, a fallacy that is often used in today’s media to convey a message.
            The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is when a handpicked set of data points are selected to make a statement appear to be more false or less false. Its name is thought to come from a shooter randomly shooting at the side of a barn, and then after the fact proceeding to the barn painting a bullseye around the place of most destruction, thus making it appear that the shooter was a great shot when in fact they were just randomly shooting with no rhyme or reason.
            An example of this fallacy is often associated with dating cites and people meeting each other. They find all these random commonalities and then associate the matchmaking between the two and the random commonalities. Such as the two find that they both like pizza, adventure movies, and the same cars. How these stipulations may be true it does not really mean that the two may be a good match. The pair may share a whole bunch of commonalities, but it can leave out many other large issues that may exist between the two. Such issues could include where the two live or their careers that could inhibit them being a good match for each other, but due to the fallacy this is not brought up because it hurts the statement that these two are perfect for each other.

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