Association fallacy

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Association fallacy, or "Guilt by Association", is when two concepts or things are equated, or have equal attributes, due to a common held attribute, when the comparison is not true. This error arises through casual thinking, since by nature, we tend to categorize what we perceive from reality to a high degree. To a degree, it's similar to a "correlation does not equal causation" error. Some examples are:

  • Bob's car is fast. Bob's car is also red. Therefore, my red car is also fast.
  • Fred is smart. Fred is a Christian. Therefore, all smart people are Christian.
  • Chocolate is made from organic compounds, and is tasty. Poop is also made from organic compounds, and is therefore, tasty.

During debates, atheists will hear a number of these examples:

  • Stalin was immoral. Stalin was an atheist. You are an atheist, like Stalin, and therefore are immoral too.
  • Religions are people that get together and discuss common topics. Your atheist community gets together and discusses common topics, and is therefore just another religion.
  • People of faith are fervent in their beliefs. Bob, as an atheist is fervent about his beliefs, and thus has faith too.

v · d Logical fallacies
v · d Formal fallacies
Propositional logic   Affirming a disjunct · Affirming the consequent · Argument from fallacy · False dilemma · Denying the antecedent
Quantificational logic   Existential fallacy · Illicit conversion · Proof by example · Quantifier shift
Syllogistic   Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise · Exclusive premises · Necessity · Four-term Fallacy · Illicit major · Illicit minor · Undistributed middle
v · d Faulty generalisations
General   Begging the question · Gambler's fallacy · Slippery slope · Equivocation · argumentum verbosium
Distribution fallacies   Fallacy of composition · Fallacy of division
Data mining   Cherry picking · Accident fallacy · Spotlight fallacy · Hasty generalization · Special pleading
Causation fallacies   Post hoc ergo propter hoc · Retrospective determinism · Suppressed correlative · Wrong direction
Ontological fallacies   Fallacy of reification · Pathetic fallacy · Loki's Wager
v · d False relevance
Appeals   Appeal to authority · Appeal to consequences · Appeal to emotion · Appeal to motive · Appeal to novelty · Appeal to tradition · Appeal to pity · Appeal to popularity · Appeal to poverty · Appeal to spite · Appeal to wealth · Sentimental fallacy · Argumentum ad baculum
Ad hominem   Ad hominem abusive · Reductio ad Hitlerum · Judgmental language · Straw man · Tu quoque
Genetic Fallacies   Genetic fallacy · Chronological snobbery · Association fallacy · Appeal to tradition · Texas sharpshooter fallacy
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