Fun with fallacies 18: Oh you won’t believe how horrible I felt!

The fallacy of misleading vividness is one that I didn’t think I would end up writing about for this series. It used to be quite rare, and the anecdotal fallacy would usually be sufficient to cover most bases on this issue. However, as I’ve been spending way too much time online and following the primary season in the US election, it became very apparent that this fallacy was trending.

The fallacy is in my opinion a form of an anecdotal fallacy, yet it uses strong language and vividness in the description to make it seem as a relatively rare or low probability occurrence is a big problem.

This also seems to be a social justice warrior/third-wave feminist favorite, judging from the high volume of pathos and ethos used in their communications. It also signals a departure from the objective to the subjective wherein the narrative of what is taking place is the major part of what is being communicated, rather than the facts and pure logic that should inform action.

A typical example is the 1/4 women in college will be raped argument, which is not true when statistics from the BJS are involved and show about a 1/40.

[1]http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf

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