Many people claim that logical fallacies do not apply to them. They believe that their memories are perfect or that they honestly believe that chance is constant. These people, however, are wrong. All people can be victims of three very common logical fallacies. These fallacies are the reasons for many mishaps that people have. These mishaps could be crucial, like forgetting the day of an important interview. On the other hand, these fallacies could have harmful results like winning a one dollar bet off of a coin flip. Either way, three especially common logical fallacies pose significant problems for all human beings.
The first error in thinking that most often causes problems for people is having faulty memories. The first example that proves this fact is that surveys indicate that most Americans hold the view that hypnosis can retrieve memory. The belief that memory is retrievable has led people to have “fake” memories that can sometimes have traumatic repercussions. In some cases, these forgotten events can have a chain reaction. For example, an altered perspective of an occurrence can affect your feelings toward someone, which can, therefore, affect how they feel about you. Another fact that proves the significance of this error is that it is proven that people do not possess the ability to remember everything. It is physically impossible to have a recollection of every occurrence, and therefore it is detrimental to believe so. If someone thinks that they can recollect infinite information, they will put themselves in positions in which they need to remember many different happenings. Putting yourself in this situation can result in that person being very stressed, and therefore has negative consequences. The final impact of faulty memories results in the fact that memory is better described as a reconstruction of the past rather than a 100% accurate recollection. This fallacy has been displayed in many different scenarios. One example would be false witness testimonies that lead to the wrong person being accused of a crime. Another scenario displaying this fallacy would be when people incorrectly describe a suspect in a crime that they had witnessed to the police. This is just one example of a harmful yet common logical fallacy out of many that negatively affect people.
Another error in thinking that often causes problems is preferring stories to statistics. One example that proves this is the fact that as humans, we have evolved as storytellers. Stories about our past, like the history of our country, have been passed down through generations. Stories that recollect events; however, are never more accurate than actual statistics. Straying away from these facts results in a less educated population. Another fact that proves the significance of this fallacy is the fact that ignoring statistics can result in disregarding relative information. Important statistics are present everywhere, yet are constantly ignored. Ignoring statistics about a car, for example, and buying it because a close friend told you to could result in making a purchase that is not suitable or safe enough for your needs. Facts like these are disregarded too often and are why this fallacy is detrimental. Another example of preferring stories to statistics is when Dwight Eisenhower ignored the true meaning of education statistics. He interpreted ½ of kids below average in education as a negative thing when in reality it is normal. This misconception led him to make unnecessary claims about improving education. If people tended to use statistics more often, misconceptions like these would occur less. These are just a few examples of how this fallacy affects our population.
A final error in thinking that causes inconvenience is that we rarely appreciate the role of coincidence in life. The first example of how we commonly mistake coincidence is that the long-term performance of mutual funds, is similar to flipping a coin. Just because it is successful, does not mean it will stay that way. Investing in something that seems successful is taking a chance. When people give it a reason, they are risking what could be a large amount of money. Another example that proves this is is the fact that as humans, we want to believe that everything happens for a reason. Even if something happens due to complete luck, our brains automatically find a distinct reason. This can be harmful, like when losing money on an investment, and is why this fallacy can be detrimental to people in general. As our interpretation of chance decreases, the amount of risk we involve ourselves in increases. The final example of underestimating coincidence is that people overapply causes to occurrences that did not have reasons to have happened. When we provide reasons for what is a coincidence, we base our bad judgments from that misconception from then on. For example, if it storms when someone walks in, that does not mean that they are evil. It could potentially just be a coincidence. This misconception could lead to a bad relationship with someone who could be very nice.
Therefore, logical fallacies prove to be an issue that can lead to horrific events. False testimonies, losing money, or ignoring crucial facts are just a few examples of negative outcomes. A key player that leads to these fallacies is disregarding that they exist. If we submit to the truth of their existence in our everyday lives, they could potentially occur less often. Although we can decrease the amount in which they occur, we can never eliminate them as they are a part of our lives as humans. This fact alone completely shows how truly detrimental they are to people every day. Because of this, we must recognize the significance of these fallacies. If we do not, these three common logical fallacies will continue to cause problems for all people.