Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies #logic

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A friend shared with me this wonderful visual tool (THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT LOGICAL FALLACIES) that quickly explains common and troublesome logical fallacies.

"Good intentions, bad outcomes" is a common explanation for the forces that drive inappropriate healthcare and I've always maintained that magical thinking and cognitive bias are major contributors to why we conduct too much (or too little) medicine. We need to be aware of these so we can avoid falling into their devious traps!

It is easy to see the influence of emotionality in breast cancer screening, lead time bias in reporting prostate cancer survival, and anecdotal experience which making us think every patient has an exotic 'zebra' disease. As a medical student I loved (and too enthusiastically repeated) the retort against false cause, "correlation is not causation!" or the extreme case to fight against the Naturopathic arguments that natural is better, "yeah, well, arsenic is natural too!" 

I have had a long-cultivated keen interest in logic and thought fallacies, even if I'm not the cleverest at avoiding them; my interest may have begun in high school Debate club (yes, once a nerd always a nerd) or perhaps it was my computer science classes, especially one titled "language and logic" which provided ample opportunity to learn that there is no subjectivity in a digital yes or no. My worry about "the truth" produced in our minds grew stronger in biopsychology lectures, where I learned from Sacks and Ramachandran that the way we experience the world is not the same as the world is. I lost all hope in there being an objective reality in my Philosophy of Mind course, reading Russell and Chalmers until I was pretty sure I didn't exist.

It isn't all that hard. Our minds are flawed and that's a part of why we do dumb things. At least if we know the erroneous ways by which our brains draw conclusions, we can work to avoid continuing to make these thought mistakes. This "THOU SHALT NOT" hilarious and helpful tool reminds us of some of the logical fallacies that lead our arguments astray. This knowledge may allow us to crisply respond to our opponents in advocacy when they fall into the same traps we once did.