Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Monday, September 13, 2010

"Sharpshooter" fallacy

A professor friend noted that its always better to mistake a rock for a bear than a bear for a rock.  The person in the first scenario can laugh about it later, the second cannot.

The problem comes in when people make decisions based on patterns that are not present, such as the assumption that there were German spies in the non-bombed neighborhood during WWII.  The rush to caution is therefore seems to be a good idea, the rush to judgment does not.

(Note: "Sharpshooter" is also known as the Ontological Fallacy.)

(thanks Mark)

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