Hasty Generalization Fallacy

The hasty generalization fallacy is sometimes called the over-generalization fallacy. It is basically making a claim based on evidence that it just too small. Essentially, you can’t make a claim and say that something is true if you have only an example or two as evidence.

Example:

Some teenagers in our community recently vandalized the park downtown. Teenagers are so irresponsible and destructive.

You can see Dr. Fallacy in action with this type of fallacy in the comic below.

Hasty Generalization logical fallacy comic with the evil Dr. Fallacy

Hasty Generalization logical fallacy comic with the OWL Superhero

In this example, Dr. Fallacy is making a claim that all teenagers are bad based on the evidence of one incident. Even with the evidence of ten incidences, Dr. Fallacy couldn’t make the claim that all teenagers are problems.

In this instance, the fallacy seems clear, but this kind of fallacious thinking is quite common. People will make claims about all kinds of things based on one or two pieces of evidence, which is not only wrong but can be dangerous. It’s really easy to fall into this kind of thinking, but we must work to avoid it. We must hold ourselves to higher standards when we are making arguments.

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