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Thread: What is the name of this logical fallacy regarding wrongful prediction?

  1. #1 What is the name of this logical fallacy regarding wrongful prediction? 
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    Example 1:
    Look how far and fast technology has advanced, and it is still advancing.
    This is evidence that one day, almost any body can easily get hold of nuclear bombs.

    Example 2:
    A long time ago, people who claimed "future humans will be able to fly in the sky" were laughed at.
    Nowadays, millions of people fly in the sky every day!
    This is evidence that one day, Solar Roadways' solar powered road panels will revolutionize the world.

    I've seen this fallacy being used quite a fair bit and I want to know what this logical fallacy is called.
    Something about "irrationally using historical information to support a prediction".


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman Angelo_Maligno's Avatar
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    I have no idea myself I just want to make my 5 posts so I can put up my loony signature. I'll bump your thread though.


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    Forum Freshman Angelo_Maligno's Avatar
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    Ah there we are. hmmmm.... seems something went wrong.
    Last edited by Angelo_Maligno; October 1st, 2018 at 01:34 AM. Reason: signature not showing
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  5. #4  
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    I was thinking some variant of "correlation is not proof of causation" - but that doesn't quite fit. Probably there is a named fallacy that applies but I don't know it.

    I've encountered lots of people who do assume that technological advancement is unbounded and that a recent history of rapid advancement means further rapid advancement is inevitable and even, by it's nature, accelerating, like it's a natural law. Planes kept getting faster so we should have expected the skies to be dominated by supersonic aircraft by now and sub-orbital flights just, so to speak, over the horizon. Nuclear power would get too cheap to meter. Moore's Law predicting the future of microprocessor capabilities rather than being an observation about the past.

    I'm more of the view that advancements in knowledge and technology are not exponential but follow an S-curve. Being at the steep point on that curve looks very like exponential, but that will ultimately prove illusory. Yes, we can count on more advances, because we are still at such a point and there is a pipeline of backed up possibilities, some of which verge on inevitable certainty. It gets fuzzier the further we try to predict.

    Solar roads - well, they may represent the ultimate expression and possible end game for solar technology's integration into man-made surfaces but there is nothing inevitable about them. Even integration of solar into standardised roofing materials is still lagging - and maybe it is that we are still at the steep point of that curve with respect to photovoltaics, and integration into built surfaces like roads is going to depend on how such tech turns out when it is mature, ie when that S-curve is flattening out and we (hopefully) know how to make them durable enough and cheap enough that including them in such surfaces adds little to overall costs.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman Angelo_Maligno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I was thinking some variant of "correlation is not proof of causation" - but that doesn't quite fit. Probably there is a named fallacy that applies but I don't know it.

    I've encountered lots of people who do assume that technological advancement is unbounded and that a recent history of rapid advancement means further rapid advancement is inevitable and even, by it's nature, accelerating, like it's a natural law. Planes kept getting faster so we should have expected the skies to be dominated by supersonic aircraft by now and sub-orbital flights just, so to speak, over the horizon. Nuclear power would get too cheap to meter. Moore's Law predicting the future of microprocessor capabilities rather than being an observation about the past.

    I'm more of the view that advancements in knowledge and technology are not exponential but follow an S-curve. Being at the steep point on that curve looks very like exponential, but that will ultimately prove illusory. Yes, we can count on more advances, because we are still at such a point and there is a pipeline of backed up possibilities, some of which verge on inevitable certainty. It gets fuzzier the further we try to predict.

    Solar roads - well, they may represent the ultimate expression and possible end game for solar technology's integration into man-made surfaces but there is nothing inevitable about them. Even integration of solar into standardised roofing materials is still lagging - and maybe it is that we are still at the steep point of that curve with respect to photovoltaics, and integration into built surfaces like roads is going to depend on how such tech turns out when it is mature, ie when that S-curve is flattening out and we (hopefully) know how to make them durable enough and cheap enough that including them in such surfaces adds little to overall costs.
    It could be all of these things will eventually happen according to the law of averages. It's just a question of when they will happen. I've been working on something called "Destiny charts" that I'll post just after this. They would be hard to write on a flat surface though as they could become extraordinarily complex. Like I said they won't tell you when something will happen only if it will eventually happen.
    "You will know destiny by the nature of things." - Either My Psychosis Or The Archangel Of Destiny
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    It could be all of these things will eventually happen according to the law of averages.
    Is it a law of averages or bell curves of distribution - where unlikely things lurk in the tails? But no technology exists independent of physical reality - there are "laws" that cannot be circumvented, whether we are aware of them or not - and I think it is a finite exercise to reach a genuine understanding of the underlying physics of everything; we are closer to that than at any time in history. We can wait an eternity and still not expect FTL or artificial gravity or reverse time travel technology for example to arise as some kind of statistical outlier within technological development. At least, not without the actual, true physics of everything including such possibilities. And apart from physical constraints, there are economic and political ones also; supersonic air travel is well within what is physically possible other constraints have prevented it supplanting slower, but safer and less costly air transport.

    Whilst we remain partially ignorant of a full and true understanding of the physics of everything we leave room to imagine that when we do, it might have room for those things - but it will be the true nature of everything that determines it, not our imaginations or hopes.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; October 1st, 2018 at 10:59 PM.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I think it's called a Slippery Slope fallacy, saying what's going to happen in the future when no one can possibly know.
    '
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman Angelo_Maligno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post

    Is it a law of averages or bell curves of distribution - where unlikely things lurk in the tails? But no technology exists independent of physical reality - there are "laws" that cannot be circumvented, whether we are aware of them or not - and I think it is a finite exercise to reach a genuine understanding of the underlying physics of everything; we are closer to that than at any time in history. We can wait an eternity and still not expect FTL or artificial gravity or reverse time travel technology for example to arise as some kind of statistical outlier within technological development. At least, not without the actual, true physics of everything including such possibilities. And apart from physical constraints, there are economic and political ones also; supersonic air travel is well within what is physically possible other constraints have prevented it supplanting slower, but safer and less costly air transport.

    Whilst we remain partially ignorant of a full and true understanding of the physics of everything we leave room to imagine that when we do, it might have room for those things - but it will be the true nature of everything that determines it, not our imaginations or hopes.
    Most of what he stated is theoretically possible. It could just end up like the flying cars we were predicted to have, we invented them but they aren't very practical. The flying car is hard to pilot and hasn't caught on with the general public, possibly because of safety concerns. I'm sure if we just stop investing in roads they might catch on and the increased demand would produce better flying cars though.

    Perhaps I got ahead of myself though. After all the further one tries to peer into the future the more likely one is going to be wrong. We could very well get hit by a large stellar object next week and never invent anything again.
    "You will know destiny by the nature of things." - Either My Psychosis Or The Archangel Of Destiny
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I think it's called a Slippery Slope fallacy, saying what's going to happen in the future when no one can possibly know.
    '
    I was thinking it could be an Inverse Gambler's Fallacy - that a run of dice coming up six raises the likelihood that it will again. (Rather than the ordinary Gambler's Fallacy, where a run of sixes means gamblers think it is less likely to come up again. I suspect these tend invoke some outside agency when used in practice - God or Lady Luck, or just loaded dice or other cheating influencing the outcome)

    Or perhaps it has elements of the Fallacy of a Single Cause - false because it leaves out the complexities.

    Or maybe this kind of thinking doesn't reduce down to a single fallacy and has elements of several.

    Innovation and technological advancements arise out of human behaviours - things like people spending time and effort trying to make them happen, and financiers choosing (or not) to support them in doing so, and referencing market assessments of the potential demand or popularity. The physical limitations on what can work and what can't are intractable, whether we recognise it or not, but the social and economic limitations that operate within those greater limits, are more flexible and unpredictable. Although I suspect that a lot of behavioural impulses will come to be better understood. Still, I suspect this kind of research is being conducted more by psychologists with jobs in advertising and PR, dedicated to influencing what we like and encouraging impulsive behaviours, than by those who work at improving human control over their impulsive and unproductive behaviours.
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