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Logical Fallacy of Argument from Small Numbers / Small Sample Size Bias

 

Logical Fallacy of Argument from Small Numbers / Small Sample Size Bias

Argument from small numbers is one of the many smokescreens that are used to cover the fact that the reasoning is based on one of the three fallacies of Agrippa's trilemma. Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma. All human thought (without Divine revelation) is based on one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. This problem is known as Agrippa's trilemma. Some have claimed that only logic and math can be known without Divine revelation; however, that is not true. There is no reason to trust either logic or math without Divine revelation. Science is also limited to the pragmatic because of the weakness on human reasoning, which is known as Agrippa's trilemma.

The Logical Fallacy of Argument from Small Numbers / Small Sample Size Bias occurs when a generalization is made from a small sample size. It is a hasty generalization and a statistical fallacy.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Argument from Small Numbers / Small Sample Size Bias

Neanderthal analysis of mitochondrial DNA is hampered by small sample size. Of course, all science that tries to look into the past is a bit iffy because of Agrippa's Trilemma.

Neuroscience tends to use extremely small sample sizes.

Headline: “. . . study shows clothing 70,000 years old."

By this, the story is published that Genesis has an error, since "humans were naked for a million years before they noticed their state of undress," and have since been wearing clothing for at least 70,000 years.

Part of the problem with this statement is that it is based on an incredibly small sample size which has a margin of error between 170,000 years ago an yesterday even given the many assumptions used.

Keeping in mind that by making  a single assumption, you can prove anything you desire to be true, this study assumes the following unspoken assumptions:

  1. Assume that chimpanzees and humans diverged from a common ancestor about five million years ago.
  2. Assume that the differences in genetic codes of modern lice on chimpanzees and humans are due to mutations.Assume that the assumed mutations took place gradually at about the same rate over those assumed five million years (this gives an average of 1 mutation per 30,000 years).
  3. Assume that the differences between head lice and body lice are caused by mutations.
  4. Assume that these mutations also occurred at the exact same rate as the others, i.e. one mutation per 30,000 years. 

And this is called science to then conclude that the body lice colonized human clothes about 72,000 years ago.

 



Author/Compiler
Last updated: Sep, 2014
 
 




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Logical Fallacy of Misused Statistics

Misunderstanding the Nature of Statistics / Innumeracy

Clustering Illusion

Logical Fallacy of Bad Statistical Data

Logical Fallacy of Biased Statistical Method

Logical Fallacy of Biased Statistical Calculation

Logical Fallacy of Biased Conclusion from Statistics

Logical Fallacy of Biased Reporting of Statistics

Logical Fallacy of Biased Statistics / Biased Statistics / Loaded Sample / Prejudiced Statistics / Prejudiced sample / Loaded Statistics / Biased Induction / Biased Generalization / Unrepresentative Sample / Unrepresentative Generalization

Logical Fallacy of Generalizing from a Hypostatization

Logical Fallacy of Error in Sampling

Logical Fallacy of Avoiding Specific Numbers

Logical Fallacy of Fake Precision / Over Precision / False Precision / Misplaced Precision / Spurious Accuracy

Logical Fallacy of Self-Selected Biased Sample

Logical Fallacy of Comparing Two Things Statistically that are not Technically Comparable / Statistical Apples and Oranges

Logical Fallacy of Ludus / Ludic Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Fishing for Data / Data Dredging / Data Fishing / Data Snooping / Equation Fitting

Logical Fallacy of Base Rate Neglect / Base Rate Fallacy / Neglecting Base Rates / Base Rate Bias / Prosecutor's Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Isolated Examples

Logical Fallacy of Hasty Generalization / False Generalization / Glittering Generalities

Logical Fallacy of Argument from Small Numbers / Small Sample Size Bias

General Rule Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Specificity

Logical Fallacy of Overwhelming Exception

Logical Fallacy of Stereotyping

Logical Fallacy of Dicto Simpliciter / Sweeping Generalization

Gambler's Fallacy / The Monte Carlo Fallacy / The Doctrine The Maturity of Chances / Hot Hand Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Possibility / Appeal to Probability

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Infinite Possibilities

Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

Misuse of Averages Fallacy


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