Logical fallacy: Appeal to probability

Abhijeet Modi/ August 28, 2021/ Blog

A logical fallacy is an error in a sentence or argument’s construct that leads to its turning out to be non-reliable evidence. These fallacies are considered while reviewing the research work to ascertain its degree of reliability. There are about 15 types of logical fallacies identified by experts; appeal to probability is one example.

What is an appeal to probability?

Telling that an event A’s possibility to happen is inevitable only because there is a probability of its occurrence is called an appeal to probability. It is explained as drawing a conclusion or assuming a statement to be true only because there is a possibility of it being true.

Mostly, the appeal to probability fallacy happens when people have not seen anything happening in front of their eyes. Still, they depend entirely on the facts or stories fed to them.

This fallacy finds its base in Murphy’s law, stating that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Such an attitude shakes the confidence of a person while doing something crucial and significant. Also, basing an argument only on the probability of its occurrence makes it completely irrelevant.

Why appeal to probability is a logical fallacy?

Appeal to probability just takes into account the possibility of an event happening. It ignores the other critical characteristics of occurrence that include frequency, timescale, and impact. For example, while doing a year-long project, a researcher indicates the possibility of an event to happen is undoubtedly making a wrong statement if the event is likely to occur once in a thousand years. So, assuming it to occur during a project’s term is a faulty argument.

Characteristics of appeal to probability

Here are some essential characteristics that help identify if the appeal to probability logical flaws an argument:

  1. Form: If the statement makes this sense that what is probable to happen will happen, it is an appeal to probability logically flawed argument. Its structure looks like A is probable; A will occur.
  2. Type of argument: Appeal to probability is a deductive logic argument.
  3. Treatment: There is no assured way of saying that an event A will occur, given the probability that it will happen.
  4. Example: A blue moon is a once in a million years event. Today is probably the millionth year when the moon was blue last time. So, today the moon will be blue.

How to use the Appeal to Probability fallacy in management decisions

The correct way to work using the appeal to probability fallacy is to stay prepared when those probable conditions are around. For example, suppose the company reads the researcher’s statement that the inquiries are likely to increase when the festival time is around. In that case, the management should amp up the customer response team to manage the inquiry influx. It will not harm much if the production is increased around the festival times, as it will help meet the expected demand surge.

The appeal to probability can interfere with the quality of research if all arguments are made solely based on probability or possibility. Therefore, it should be avoided to make it a legit work.

Share this Post