The “post hoc ergo propter hoc” Fallacy

I was reading this witty book by the name ‘Plato and a Platypus Walk into A Bar’wherein philosophy has been explained using the medium of jokes.

Herein I came across this philosophy of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” Fallacy.  Quoting from the book:

The phrase describes the error of assuming that because one thing follows another, that thing was caused by the other.

It means ‘After this, therefore because of this.’

We all have encounters with incidents where someone reaches to a wrong deduction by following a wrong path of logic. Here is a joke from the book where this fallacy seems at work.

Every morning, she steps out onto her front stoop and
exclaims, “Let this house be safe from tigers!” Then she goes back
Finally, we said to her, “What’s that all about? There isn’t a tiger
within a thousand miles of here.”
And she said, “See? It works!”

The book is a must read. It brings philosophy, which people take to be something of lesser worth, closer to them. Happy reading 😉

Asimov on Science & Spirituality.

Read it in an article today. He appeared on the David Frost Show and delivered his irreverent wit in full brilliance when badgered with the G-question. The account goes like this:

[Frost] said, with neither warning nor preamble, “Dr. Asimov, do you believe in God?”

“That rather took my breath away. It was a dreadful way of putting a person on the spot. To answer honestly, “No,” with millions of people watching, could arouse a great deal of controversy I didn’t feel much need of. Yet I couldn’t lie, either. I played for time, in order to find a way out.

He said, “Dr. Asimov, do you believe in God?”

And I said, “Whose?”

He said, a little impatiently, “Come, come, Dr. Asimov, you know very well whose. Do you believe in the Western God, the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition?”

Still playing for time, I said, “I haven’t given it much thought.”

Frost said, “I can’t believe that, Dr. Asimov.” He then nailed me to the wall by saying, “Surely a man of your diverse intellectual interests and wide-ranging curiosity must have tried to find God?”

(Eureka! I had it! The very nails had given me my opening!) I said, smiling pleasantly, “God is much more intelligent than I am — let him try to find me.