Post Hoc Fallacy

You must think very carefully before concluding that because event A precedes event B, A is the cause of B. This kind of faulty reasoning is known as the post hoc, ergo propter hoc or "after this, therefore because of this" fallacy.

Example: Suppose that early each spring the medicine man of a tribe performs a special dance. A week or so later the trees and grass turn green. Can we safely conclude that event A, the medicine man's dance, has caused event B, the landscape's turning green? Obviously not. The rooster crows before dawn, but that does not mean the rooster is responsible for the sunrise!

A professional football team hires a new coach and the team's record improves. Is the new coach the cause? Maybe. But perhaps the presence of more experienced and talented players or an easier schedule is the true cause.

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