Base Rate Fallacy
(also known as: neglecting base rates, base rate neglect, base rate bias [form of], prosecutor’s fallacy [form of])
Description: Ignoring statistical information in favor of using irrelevant information, that one incorrectly believes to be relevant, to make a judgment. This usually stems from the irrational belief that statistics don’t apply in a situation, for one reason or another when, in fact, they do.
“Trump supporters are spray painting nazi signs and attacking pedestrians, Trump supporters are absolutely disgusting”
“I heard a Trump supporter tell people to go back to their countries, his supporters are absolutely nuts”
Out of the 60,526,852 people who voted for Trump, how many are actually out there screaming at people to, “go back where you came from”. Yes, the people who are doing this are disgusting and should be arrested for some sort of hate crime. To create an overall judgment on the supporters would be both morally, statistically and logically wrong.
Let’s Play Your Game
“A democrat told my family that we should be locked up because we support Trump, this is why we would never vote democrat.”
How ridiculous does that sound to you? A single democratic supporter verbally attacked a, as far as we know, a non-democrat, so now they will never vote for the Democratic Party. All because one, out of the millions, said something that they found offensive.
Start analyzing arguments with this in mind and you will find out how common people use the base rate fallacy as their foundation of their argument. One of the most reoccurring arguments this year was over Syrian refugees and the chances of one of them being a so-called “terrorist”. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, yet because there were a handful of attacks due to Islamic extremists, citizens around the global are scared of letting Muslim refugees into their country. For some reason, this fear is leaking into the general Muslim population, not just refugees. Statistically speaking, you have a higher chance being struck by lightning twice.