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Cherry Picking: When People Ignore Evidence that They Dislike

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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Cherry Picking: When People Ignore Evidence that They Dislike

Cherry Picking: When People Ignore Evidence that They Dislike

https://effectiviology.com/cherry-picking/

effectiviology.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Jumping into Conclusions
Jumping to conclusions is a common phenomenon, where people prematurely decide and finalize something, without having sufficient information or choosing not to consider it.
Jumping into Conclusions: Examples
  • Inference-observation confusion: An assumption made that may or may not be correct. Example: Concluding that a guy is rich, based on the car he drives.
  • Fortune-Telling: Assumption of knowing exactly what will happen in the future.
  • Mind Reading: Assuming based on how to have read someone's mind and concluded something which may not be true.
  • Extreme Extrapolation: Finding a minor clue and making something major out of it.
  • Overgeneralization: Copy-pasting a piece of knowledge over something that you think is related, but is not.
  • Labeling: Stereotyping a set of people based on their likes and dislikes.
Why We Jump to Conclusions

The reason people jump to conclusions is the fact that they find it easy.

Fact-checking and 100 percent accuracy on everything they see or observe consume way too much time for a normal person.

Taking mental shortcuts is the path most people choose to jump to conclusions.

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The argument from incredulity

Is a logical fallacy where someone concludes that since they can’t believe that a certain concept is true, then it must be false and vice versa.

Its 2 basic forms:

I c...

Basic structure of an argument from incredulity

Premise 1: I can’t explain or imagine how proposition X can be true.

Premise 2: if a certain proposition is true, then I must be able to explain or imagine how that can be.

Conclusions: proposition X is false.

It’s ok to be incredulous

... and to bring this up as part of an argument. The issue with doing so occurs when this incredulity isn’t justified or supported by concrete information, and when this lack of belief is used in order to assume that a preferred personal explanation must be the right one, despite the lack of proof.

At the same time, it’s also important to remember that it’s possible that the person using the argument from incredulity is right, despite the fact that their reasoning is flawed.

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False equivalence

It is a logical fallacy and it occurs when someone incorrectly asserts that two or more things are equal because they share some characteristics, regardless of the notable differences...

The problem with false equivalence
  • The equivalence exaggerates the degree of similarity. I.e, stating that two people share a specific personality trait, but ignoring that they differ in other aspects of this trait.
  • The equivalence exaggerates the importance of the similarity. I.e, focusing on a personality trait that two people share while ignoring that many other people also share this trait.
  • The equivalence ignores important differences.
  • The equivalence ignores differences in orders of magnitude. 
Responding to a false equivalence
  • Show that the similarities between the things being equated are exaggerated, overemphasized, or oversimplified.
  • Highlight the differences between the things being equated. 
  • Explain why these differences are more significant than related similarities.
  • Provide counterexamples.
  • Ask your opponent to justify why they believe that their equivalence is valid, and then demonstrate the issues with the reasoning they provide.

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