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The Misconception: You take randomness into account when determining cause and effect.

The Truth: You tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when you want a random event to have a meaningful cause.

You have just committed the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.

The fallacy gets its name from imagining a cowboy shooting at a barn. Over time, the side of the barn becomes riddled with holes. In some places there are lots of them, in others there are few. If the cowboy later paints a bullseye over a spot where his bullet holes clustered together it looks like he is pretty good with a gun.

By painting a bullseye over a bullet hole the cowboy places artificial order over natural random chance.

If you have a human brain, you do this all of the time. Picking out clusters of coincidence is a predictable malfunction of normal human logic.

(more after the jump)

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