Logic Me This

Logic Me This: Hasty Generalization

‘Logic Me This’ is a regular series on Teen Skepchick where we examine various logical fallacies in an attempt to help you think more like a Skeptic.

This week on Logic Me This, we’re going to take a look at the hasty generalization. This logical fallacy is an easy one to commit: if you’ve ever made expectations about a person based on their appearance, or made a decision about what to buy based on your friend’s experience or hearsay, you’ve probably made a hasty generalization. The video below the break is a good example of a hasty generalization.

 

Hasty generalization could be avoided by applying the idea of “not judging a book by its cover.” Drawing conclusions without enough information can lead to small mistakes, like the video above, or much more dangerous ones, like the single weak study that has led to the anti-vaccination movement. Be aware of the hasty generalization; it’ll one of the easiest fallacies to commit, and avoiding it will be hugely beneficial. I’ll leave you now with the full cartoon from above:

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Ali Marie

Ali Marie

Ali Marie is a recent Master's of Education graduate, and is now venturing back into the world of non-traditional education, as an outreach program leader at a children's museum. Her interests vary widely, but include board games, music, dinosaurs, and science as a whole.

You can find Ali on Twitter, @ascientifica.

3 Comments

  1. June 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm —

    I don’t know if the single weak study “led” to the anti-vaxxer movement. It just energized it. But there were other stupid reasons for people to oppose vaccinations long before the bogus crap about autism came in.

    • June 15, 2011 at 8:44 am —

      True, but from everything I’ve read, there wasn’t really an anti-vax *movement* until the Wakefield study came out and he started popularizing it. I could easily be incorrect on this, and if you have more information that I’ve missed, I’d like to see it. I just am not aware of a proper movement before Wakefield and McCarthy made the autism-vaccine link.

      • June 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm —

        Okay, that makes sense. I just know there are people who are anti-vaxxers for other reasons (like the conspiracy theory types) and they were around before, but yeah, I think the whole big movement started with Wakefield. There’s just always been this weird distrust of medicine on both extremes of the political spectrum.

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