Anecdotes are inherently misleading.

Anecdotal evidence goes like this:

  • X happened before Y
  • Therefore, X caused Y

Besides the obvious logical flaw, this reasoning often ignores all the times X happened but Y did not follow.

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PhilboydStudges avatar Philosophy
5 5

Too mathematical for me...Phil baby.

"I sniffed a chicken nugget, and that night I lost my front tooth"

wary smiliewary smiliewary smilie

So this word means a short true story with a lesson in the end? I haven't bothered with learning what this means before. And I think a story can be shifted intentionally to have a meaning based on what the author wants to say.

@Sunny_the_skeptic So this word means a short true story with a lesson in the end? I haven't bothered with learning what this means...

I hadn't bothered either, and was surprised to learn the definition. It looks like you came to a similar conclusion just the same.

So I did more sleuthing and found something more along the lines of what I was thinking...

Your logical fallacy is anecdotal

You used a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence.

It's often much easier for people to believe someone's testimony as opposed to understanding complex data and variation across a continuum. Quantitative scientific measures are almost always more accurate than personal perceptions and experiences, but our inclination is to believe that which is tangible to us, and/or the word of someone we trust over a more 'abstract' statistical reality.


U.S. Presidents litter their speeches with anecdotes. Here's one from President Obama..

“Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She’d been steadily employed since she was a teenager. She put herself through college. She’d never collected unemployment benefits. In May, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. Last month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off…”

So what are we to conclude? That most people who are losing their jobs and unemployment benefits are self-made, hard-working mothers?

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