4.2 OCC The Skeptical Caveman Ep #0 “Pilot”

Why does Cooter’s reasoning that peeing on the fire would make animals easier to catch commit the fallacy of post hoc propter ergo hoc?

  • Occ has scientific evidence to show that peeing on the fire makes animals harder to catch.
  • Since Cooter has never peed on a fire before hunting in the past, he has no reason to believe that it would increase his chances of success.
  • Just because the events of peeing in the fire and successfully hunting were correlated, that doesn’t mean one caused the other.
  • When Cooter peed on the fire and then went hunting in the past, he actually hunted fewer animals.

Correct. Cooter is committing the fallacy of post hoc propter ergo hoc here, where he assumes that just because he peed in the fire before his successful hunt, the peeing in the fire must have caused the successful hunt.

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Multiple Choice Question

After Cooter explains his reasoning for why fire is orange and Occ asks him how he could possibly know whether any of it is true, Cooter responds, “How do you know it ain’t?” Which fallacy is Cooter committing here?

  • post hoc ergo propter hoc
  • appeal to popularity
  • begging the question
  • appeal to ignorance

Correct. Cooter is committing the fallacy of appealing to ignorance, because instead of proving to Occ why his explanation is true, he shifts the burden of proof and asks Occ to prove why it isn’t true.

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Multiple Choice Question

Cooter makes an appeal to popularity when he claims that he knows his fire theory is true because he and his friends voted on it, and since everyone believes it is true, it must be true. What problem does Occ identify in this reasoning?

  • The laws of nature simply exist, regardless of the consensus opinion.
  • Cooter’s friends aren’t intelligent, so their opinions are irrelevant.
  • There is no way the handful of people who voted with Cooter is representative of the opinions of everyone in the world.
  • Cooter is unable to present any evidence that his friends did indeed vote in agreement with him.

Short Answer Question

Occ accuses Cooter of falling prey to confirmation bias when Cooter argues that peeing in the fire helped him bag more deer because it “worked every time, except for the few times it didn’t.” Explain why this is confirmation bias.

Because Cooter is interpreting the information contained in his experience in a way that it confirms his own preconception of “peeing in the fire helping bag more deer”.

 

 

While Cooter’s theories about fire and hunting are clearly absurd, what contemporary beliefs do you think this video might be implicitly criticizing?

This video is criticizing the common believes of people wanting to present their own believes as facts and if someone argue against, they want proofs to disprove their believes while they were not established to be facts at the first place.