From media, personal experience, or the Internet, identify an example of sources of distortion (faulty causal and/or statistical inference) for the following: A study with questionable...

From media, personal experience, or the Internet, identify an example of sources of distortion (faulty causal and/or statistical inference) for the following:

  1. A study with questionable sponsorship or motives
  2. Reliance on insufficient evidence/hasty generalization
  3. Unbalanced or biased presentation
  4. Unexamined assumptions
  5. Faulty causal reasoning

Asked on by ashuan

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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  1. For many years, cigarette companies would try to cite examples of healthy older smokers as proof that cigarettes did not harm one's health. This is an example of improper use of inductive reasoning.
  2. Many websites promoting dietary supplements (or any number of other products) rely on "testimonials." These are not actual evidence, as they are not statistically valid samples or studies conducted in controlled environments.
  3. A recent example of biased discourse was Donald Trump's categorization of Mexican immigrants as rapists, drug dealers, and criminals. Although a few Mexicans (as well as a few Americans, Canadians, and people of all nations) no doubt are criminals, in actual fact, Mexican migrants are less likely to be criminals than U.S. citizens in general. 
  4. Racial and gender biases were for many centuries unexamined. 
  5. The most common form of faulty causal reasoning is "post hoc ergo propter hoc" which is used in many studies advocating the latest super food fads. For example, people in the United States who eat pomegranates may well be longer lived than those who do not, but this could mean that pomegranates are part of the diet of the middle and upper classes who have access to better medical care than poorer people who cannot afford exotic fruits. 
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