Fallacious Arguments Series -Anecdotal Evidence

Common logical fallacies and how to counter them.

Anecdotal Evidence


This takes the form of substituting isolated examples, from one’s own experience, for logical evidence. Relying heavily on anecdotes overlooks the fact that one isolated example isn’t definitive proof. Example:

Albert: Women shouldn’t have to change their behavior to avoid being raped. Rapists have to change their behavior.

Gloria: So many sexual assault allegations are made up.

Albert: The data doesn’t support that.

Gloria: Are you saying it doesn’t happen? My former sister-in-law falsely accused my brother of sexual assault, to get the court to take away his visitation rights.

The Anecdotal Evidence fallacy. Let’s say Gloria’s anecdote is true. It still doesn’t support her argument that “many” accusations are made up.

Albert: I’m sorry that happened to him, but the number of false allegations is statistically small.

Gloria: I just told you it happens all the time. So many men’s lives ruined by vindictive ex-partners!

How would you reply to Gloria?

Compiled and authored by Gabriel Morse, founder of #iamhereAustralia