Author Topic: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc  (Read 704 times)

idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« on: March 05, 2020, 01:21:07 pm »
i produce medical reports explaining why X has caused or has not caused Y.

I come up a lot of illogical arguments. A works at factory B. I have seen lots of people from factory B with Y, ergo factory B caused Y.

I am sure this argument has a name and an easy description of its illogicality.  it would be great to be able to quote from a textbook the name of the fallacy and why it is a fallacy.

Any ideas?

Thank you

Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2020, 01:32:28 pm »
"Cum hoc ergo propter hoc" - a fallacy of causation

FifeingEejit

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2020, 01:43:30 pm »
"You have a neck, a bottle has a neck, you're a bottle." The fallacy of the undistributed middle, IIRC which I probably don't.  When I was a pimply youff I had a chum who liked to drive people crazy with it.

Doesn't quite fit your case, which is a bit more like how the Spanish Flu got its attribution. And pump-handles cause typhoid.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2020, 02:00:36 pm »
Thank you.  I know that individually that argument is partly correlation does not equal causation, partly extrapolation without knowledge of the denominator.

I am looking for a book of all these common poor arguments for when each one raises its head.

rr

Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2020, 02:03:06 pm »
https://www.bookdepository.com/Art-Statistics-David-Spiegelhalter/9780241258767?ref=grid-view&qid=1583416807760&sr=1-2
Is good
Knowing your speciality there is a good change that working on some tasks in some factories does cause the problems you are treating.

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 02:20:15 pm »
I'm pink, therefore I'm Spam.
What duck?

Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 02:50:54 pm »
Isn't that a type of syllogism?

Overly simplistic reasoning. All that can be deduced from that reasoning is that there is a need for more data.
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ElyDave

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2020, 04:11:11 pm »
yebbut, in industrial hygiene/industrial medicine it may be a reasonable argument, and it would be up to the employer to prove otherwise.

There's a viscose rayon plant I used to work at (now razed to the ground), where only men were allowed to work in certain sections because some of the chemicals had mutagenic/teratogenic effects, so exclusion of all women meant no chance of having pregnant women working there.  None of the men working there had sons, only daughters.  Is that causation or correlation? If correlation it's a very low probability.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2020, 09:27:16 pm »
The one I like is that more boys, as a proportion of all babies, are born after a major world war (which is absolutely true).

This seems like nature or $DEITY compensating, but it can be explained as long as you accept the premise that families have a slight inherited son or daughter bias (the latter is why some surnames die out).  Families with more sons are more likely to leave at least one surviving son to breed in the ensuing baby boom.  These are slightly more likely to have sons themselves.  Families with fewer sons are more likely to see them all wiped out in the conflict before they've sired children.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

fuaran

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2020, 09:29:59 pm »
Obligatory xkcd. https://xkcd.com/552/

Gattopardo

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2020, 10:20:14 pm »
Wasn't there a book of statistics that have statistical correlations such as pop song in the charts and advent of deaths from storms at sea.  The correlations were random and funny but statistically accurate.

Mr Larrington

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2020, 01:31:15 pm »
One of the fundamental tenets of Pastafarianism is that global warming is caused by the decline in the number of pirates.
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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2020, 01:52:52 pm »
Jamie Whyte's book Bad Thoughts might be worth a look.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Karla

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2020, 03:48:51 pm »
is that not just this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

... except for when it does.

In other news, absence of evidence can indeed be evidence of absence.

TheLurker

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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2020, 10:03:18 pm »
Quote from: Mr Larrington
One of the fundamental tenets of Pastafarianism is that global warming is caused by the decline in the number of pirates.
Given that a large volume (most) of the world's trade is carried on gurt big boats and most of those with engines burning one of the filthiest fuels human-kind has ever thought to use the Pastafarians may be on to something.  An upswing in piracy may indeed lead to a significant reduction in emissions contributing to climate change.

I'd been wondering what to do as an alternative software development and now I think I have the answer.  Become a pirate.  Oodles of cash and I get to feel (self) righteous (and not a little smug) about actively doing something about climate change.  :)
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Re: idiot textbook on illogical arguments, etc
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2020, 10:13:03 pm »
Jamie Whyte's book Bad Thoughts might be worth a look.

I was thinking about the Ben Goldacre books, Bad Science or Bad Medicine. They may be a bit far towards the popular science rather than the text book of fallacious reasoning or arguments