They’re Logically Fallacious! Appeal To Probability

Riley Sproul Ideas, Logical Fallacies Leave a Comment

Appeal To Probability:

(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

All previously explored fallacies!

Riley Sproul has a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in PreMed, and a Chemistry Minor, from the University of Toledo. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with in the next 4-5 years. His interests include sci-fi, PC-gaming, playing guitar, and a variety of other hobbies.
They’re Logically Fallacious! Appeal To Probability was last modified: May 27th, 2015 by Riley Sproul