The arguer claims without sufficient evidence that one thing is caused by another.
There are three ways in which this fallacy can be commited.
1. Post hoc fallacy
- Because event A preceded event B
- event A is the cause of event B
2. Mere correlation fallacy
- Because event A and event B are regularly correlated
- A is the cause of B
3. Oversimplified cause fallacy
- Event A is the sole cause of event B
- (when in fact event B has many causes)
This ad against prop 8. ,"The Neighbors" (self-consciously) commits the fallacy of questionable cause, specifically, the sub-variety of questionable cause, post hoc.
The ad features a gay couple. They are in their home on a couch. One man confesses to the other that he feels bad that their marriage caused their neighbors' (straight) marriages to fail. The first man"explains" that their neighbors, once happily married, began watching internet porn and having sex with the baby sitter after the two men got married. "After that day," he says, "You could feel the tension. After we exchanged our vows, their marriage was no longer sacred." "Those poor children are going to grow up without a father all because of us!" he says. The fallacy is clear for all to see here. The ad implies that proponents of Prop. 8 are committing just this fallacy.
Other examples Edit
This segment on the Madden Curse commits the fallacy of questionable cause, specifically, the sub-variety of questionable cause, post hoc.
This segment from the T.V. station G4, talks about the so-called Madden Curse in the NFL: Whenever a player has had a good season and appears on the cover of the newest Madden game will be injured or repeatedly defeated his next season. The segment rehearses the stories of Madden "coverboys" between 1999 and 2008: all were victims of the curse. The segment of course glosses over the fact that football is a sport full of injuries and full of players who have a great season one year and a horrible one the next. Obviously, being on the cover of Madden will not cause a player to be injured or have a bad season.
This television advertisement by Above the Influence, "Shoulders," commits the fallacy of questionable cause, specifically, the sub-variety of questionable cause, mere correlation.
The ad shows us an American teenage boy who has to decide whether or not to smoke marijuana. When the boy is offered marijuana, fictitious representations of people in his life appear on each of his shoulders. One of his shoulders represents his wild side: different characters try to convince him that nothing will happen if he smokes the marijuana. The opposite shoulder represents his good side: the characters on this side try to convince him not to smoke; they point out that people who smoke fail and cause pain to all around them. Just because drug usage sometimes correlates with negative experiences, it does not always mean that negative experiences are caused by drug usage.
This clip from the movie Mean Girls commits the fallacy of questionable cause, specifically, the sub-variety of questionable, oversimplified cause In this clip from the movie "Mean Girls", we are shown a high school coach attempting to educate his students about sex. Abstinence, he says, is the best way to not only avoid getting pregnant but to stay alive. Sex has horrible consequences. Of course, sex is not sufficient to cause pregnancy; in fact, it is no longer even necessary. it is certainly neither sufficient nor necessary to cause death.