I think I am guilty of this, but when discussing extra-terrestrial evolution our sample size is so small (sample size of 1) we can’t help but do this when we hypothesize. I hope you all know that I am hypothesizing, and that I fully believe that it is statistically improbable that all of my hypotheses will be correct. It’s figuring out which ones will be false that is difficult!
|After a run of red lights, surely a green one is due, or is that a red flag?|
How to recognise this tactic
This happens when you convince yourself, or someone tries to convince you, that some data reveal a significant pattern when really the data are random or meaningless. Some examples: seeing religious symbols in toasted bread or believing you are on a winning streak when gambling.
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