QUESTION TEXT: Restaurant manager: In response to requests from…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Our customers would rather not eat potatoes.
REASONING: I gave our vegetarian customers a choice of dishes. No one ordered the potato dish with cheese.
ANALYSIS: This is an awful argument. There are several alternate explanations:
1. The customers didn’t want to eat cheese. This could be because of taste or because it is an animal product (they’re vegetarians).
2. The potato dish isn’t very good.
3. One of the other dishes is incredibly good.
4. The customers like to eat potatoes at home (they’re easy to cook) but prefer to eat something fancier when they go out.
I could go on all day. The manager needs way more evidence, because his evidence is consistent with many alternate explanations.
- An example of this error would be if you have a car accident and lose your job, and you assume it must be because someone is scheming against you. It could just be an unfortunate coincidence. In any case, the manager only mentioned one event.
- There’s no inconsistency: it’s possible that the customers don’t like potatoes. It just isn’t certain.
- This would be if people said they don’t like potatoes and yet many people ordered potatoes. That didn’t happen.
- This would be like saying: Ghosts must exist because most people believe in ghosts. That didn’t happen here.
- CORRECT. There are many other possible reasons that could explain why no vegetarians order potatoes with cheese.
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