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TEXAS SHARPSHOOTER FALLACY & FALSE DILEMMA FALLACY

TEXAS SHARPSHOOTER
An informal fallacy, also known as the
Clustering Illusion.
It is committed when one draws a conclusion
and paints over it with supporting arguments
or evidences ex post facto to make it look like
there is a pattern; when there is no specific
hypothesis prior to gathering data or when
hypothesis is formed after data is gathered
and analyzed.
Also occurs when the speaker ignores the
differences (that conflict with their argument),
while focuses on the similarities (that do not
conflict with their argument). This can lead to
an inaccurate conclusion.
Much similar to the gamblers fallacy, it can
give meaning to randomness.
It is fallacious because:
1. Findings may well be the result of
chance, in which case it was not caused
by anything; or
2. Even if the cluster is not the result of
chance, there are other possible reasons
for the clustering, other than the cause
chosen.
You can avoid this fallacy by forming
hypothesis prior to gathering data, and by not
ignoring differences in data.
Example:
Nostradamus correctly predicted nearly 500
years ago the death of President John F.
Kennedy, the French Revolution, the reign of
Hitler, and the 9-11 Attacks. He must be a true
prophet.
This statement is fallacious because it frames
Nostradamus to be a prophet based on a few
predictions he may have gotten right when in
reality he has written almost 1000 other
predictions, most of them too vague or
ambiguous to make sense. When we ignore this
fact, the statement appears to be very convincing.

FALSE DILEMMA FALLACY


An informal fallacy, also known as the False
Dilemma, False Dichotomy, or Fallacy of the
Excluded Middle.
It is committed when one presents two (often
extreme) alternative states as the only
possibilities, when it is not the case; it follows
an either youre with me, or against me
format when there are really more
alternatives.
It is fallacious because it fails to recognize
that in certain situations, it is possible to have
more than two outcomes maybe states
beyond the two or in-between the two, or
even neither or both states.
There are exceptions:
There may be cases when the number of
options really is limited.
There are also the other valid uses of the
or connective.
You can avoid this fallacy by seeing to it that
you are not overlooking alternatives to
choices you have listed. Consider the
following:
Is it possible that there are other options
other than the two? Is there a category in
between the two?
Can both my options be false or both my
options be true?
Are they mutually exclusive of each
other? Are they truly opposites of each
other?
Example:
There are some things money cant buy. For
everything else, theres MASTERCARD.
This slogan was part of a 1997 campaign for
MasterCard. It follows in this statement that
either: (1) things cant be bought with money; or
(2) things can be bought with MasterCard.
Logically, it is fallacious because it presents the
two options as being the only two options when
really there are more than the two.

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