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Critical Thinking and Extrasensory Perception - Case Study Example

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Critical Thinking and Extrasensory Perception

Thus, this scenario demonstrates some of the features associated with the fallacy of positive instances. Mike has recalled and relied on a solitary event (the "hit"), in this case a phone call from his old sweetheart, to justify his assertion that he has extrasensory perception. There is no evidence that Mike can accomplish this feat regularly; indeed, there is no evidence that he has ever done this before. The analysis, therefore, must rest on this single occurrence. The second major characteristic of the fallacy of positive instances is also evident; in this case, for instance, Mike seems to ignore or assign as irrelevant the fact that he was incorrect in predicting the identity of many callers in the past ("misses"). In this way, Mike is relying on an extraordinarily selective event to assert a larger truth. In this case, his assertion is not justified because he relies on a single hit to the exclusion of many more misses.
The romantic attractions of extrasensory perception are present in this scenario. That a psychic can appear in an educational setting, adorned with the trappings of intellectual discipline, and then successfully predict that two students will share the same birthday is impressive. A consequent sense of awe is natural. It is natural because of the statistical improbability of the psychic being correct. This scenario, because of this statistical characteristic, demonstrates the fallacy of innumeracy.
The fallacy of innumeracy assumes that individuals may opt to believe that a chance occurrence cannot be explained through any rational means; more particularly, lacking an understanding of statistics or probabilities, people may choose to believe that an event is impossible absent some extrasensory power or insight. This type of fallacy can be applied to this scenario. In this case, there are twenty-four students. The psychic chooses only two students as the basis for the prediction. He doesn't choose three students, two females, or three males. All of these choices affect probabilities and the psychic keeps his prediction as general as possible within the framework of twelve months and 365 days. In this way, it can be argued that the psychic enhanced the opportunity for making a correct guess by improving his odds.
1.3 Scenario Three: Baseball Dream
This scenario would seem to share features of different fallacies; however, given the quest for power and control that a major league baseball player seeks when facing ninety mile an hour fastballs, nasty sliders, demanding fans, and expectations of self, this scenario can best be analyzed using the willingness to suspend disbelief fallacy. The baseball player had a dream and uses it to justify an assertion that he has extrasensory perception. His dream may have reflected a subconscious desire to control his destiny, to succeed rather than to fail, and an aspiration to control the course of his major league baseball career. To be sure, dreaming of a grand slam or a bases-loaded triple is hardly unusual. The baseball player's assertion evinces his willingness to suspend belief in an effort to gain control over his livelihood; this is not to say that such a suspension of belief ...Show more


By citing this type of incident as evidence of his extrasensory perception, Mike is ignoring a couple of important facts. It is true that Mike had been thinking about Lupita. It is also true that she telephoned him while he was thinking about her. What is most telling about this scenario, however, is what information hasn't been provided…
Author : ekeeling
Critical Thinking and Extrasensory Perception essay example
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