Friday, May 26, 2017

Texas SharpShooter

Morgan Pommier

There are many fallacies to consider. These fallacies make it interesting to see what people can come up with under the circumstances they are in. The one I am going to discuss is the Texas Sharp Shooter fallacy. This one was interesting to me as I looked further into it. This is an informal fallacy where specific data is ignored. The more differences, the more ignorance to what is different among the two sides. However the similarities are highlighted and brought up more to add distraction to the differences. By doing this, the conclusion is false only because one side is not looked further into. The conclusion is flaw in rhetoric because of the multiple comparisons, and in cognitive psychology because of the tendency by humans to perceive patterns with random data.
The fallacy itself comes from a joke about a Texas. By giving himself the same “sharp shooter” he gave off the impression of having great aim. The aim is so good, he shot at a barn. After making the shot, he proceeded to draw a target around it. Therefore of course the target would be straight on point. However he shot first, drew the target afterwards. In the Texan Shooter eyes, he didn’t focus on what came first, he made a way to make an illusion to certify his name.
When a large amount of data is present, but half is ignored to focus on a small subset of the data, the fallacy has begun. Attempting to key in on some data and not all of the data, but still finding conclusions in the data that only helps the claim would also be considered the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Gathering the data is important, but ignorance soon becomes a bliss as the data that is examined. The only data that will be spoken upon or praised is the information that helps a person’s argument. Whether it is right or wrong, all the information is not presented and because of this the conclusion is hard to accept by any audience that wants the whole story.
One example where this fallacy is evident is the Swedish study of 1992. A connection between power lines and health effects was attempted to be in sync. Researching the area, as well as diseases they study found that leukemia was higher among those who lived closed to these power lines. However the multiple comparisons issue came into play, because the number was so large, that chance may have been the conclusion. There was no direct connection, only a coincidence. Another research was done where a popular gene caused a behavioral trait, by taking a sample of the gene and comparing it to a control group. This one was flaw only because there are too many genes inside the human body.
This is a fallacy that basically shows how easily someone can make up a story, but also force realness, into it. Situations arise, theories come into play, but without proof did it really happen? If someone makes it up based off of a previous situation, and adds onto it, the fallacy is evident.

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