Cherry Picking: When People Ignore Evidence that They Dislike - Deepstash

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Cherry picking

Cherry picking

It is a logical fallacy and it happens when we choose and focus only on evidence that supports our views and arguments while ignoring anything that may contradict us.

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The problem with cherry picking

  • It fails to take into consideration all the available information
  • It presents information in a misleading way.
  • It might lead to improper analysis and might cause someone to paint a misleading picture of a certain outcome.

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The principle of total evidence

Also referred to as Bernoulli’s maxim, it states that, when assessing the probability that a certain hypothesis is true, we must take into account all the available information.

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Why we cherry-pick information

  • Intentional: people that use intentionally cherry picking in their arguments because doing so makes their arguments more persuasive.
  • Unintentional: driven by the flawed manner in which humans process information and make decisions.

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How to respond to cherry picking

  • Expose the fallacious reasoning: point out the fact that your opponent is ignoring crucial information which should be taken into account, and explain why this is a problem.
  • Bring omitted information into consideration: discuss the information which was omitted, and show how taking it into account changes the situation at hand.

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How to avoid cherry picking

  • Ask yourself: “Is there any additional evidence or possible interpretations of existing evidence that I should be considering?
  • Avoid forming a hypothesis too early on, before you’ve had a chance to look at all the available information.

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