(a.k.a. appeal to possibility)
Another formal fallacy; the idea that simply because something is likely to happen, it therefore will happen. Although something is probabilistic-ally the case, does not mean it is a proven fact. However, one can usually act on statistical information with a relative level of certainty.
Example: 1) X has an 97% chance of happening. 2) X will therefore happen.
Real World Example:
This is a common fallacy in gambling circles. “Sure things” are usually only event with a high probability, and are often assumed to be as good as fact.
Indicator: Scientifically speaking, nothing is ever certain. The sigma scale is a very interesting method physicists have of measuring relative uncertainty; but nothing is ever “written in stone” when it comes to science. However, of all the fallacies I’ve covered so far, this is the one that I find most understandable and even required for day-to-day life, in extreme cases. In a more realistic sense, know that a high probability just means it’s less likely that you’re wrong. And just because someone has answered 45 out of 50 questions correctly, doesn’t mean they will get those last 5 right too.
Next week: Slippery Slope
Last week: Misleading Vividness