Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Reality Test 9–How has my thinking gone wrong?

Posted by Ann on August 28, 2010

9) If something happens after something else happens that doesn’t mean the two events are connected

Also known as post hoc reasoning. Correlation is not the same as causation, but the world is full of superstitious and magical thinking. If a baseball player carries a rabbit’s foot good luck charm in his pocket and manages to get a home run, although he may be convinced it was the preserved foot of a dead rabbit in his pocket that got it for him, there is no proof of causation.

Post hoc fallacy: A occurred, then B occurred, therefore A caused B. Use of the Socratic method in dialogue is one way to uncover the truth of a belief. By asking a series of questions, we can sometimes be brought around to recognizing fallacious thinking.

What do you mean by_______________?
How did you come to that conclusion?
Why do you believe that you are right?
What is the source of your information?
What assumption has led you to that conclusion?
What happens if you are wrong?
Can you give me two sources who disagree with you and explain why?
Why is this significant?
How do I know you are telling me the truth?
What is an alternate explanation for this phenomenon?

Warning: Socratic reasoning and use of logic is unlikely to convince a person with True Believer Syndrome. It may even strengthen the belief unbelievers are too logical.

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