A common fallacy is confusing cause and effect.


Synonyms: wrongful conviction, questionable cause


Situations where the cause and effect fallacy may occur:

(1) event A precedes event B

(2) events A and B occur concurrently


The fallacy occurs if A is assumed to be the cause of B without adequate evidence.



(1) autism secondary to vaccine administration

(2) inflammatory bowel disease following Accutane exposure


Possible alternative explanations that may not have been considered:

(1) both A and B are caused by the same underlying process

(2) A and B are occurring independently


Adequate evidence may include:

(1) plausible mechanism of causation

(2) experimental studies

(3) case control studies


Failure to obtain evidence may be due to:

(1) recall or other form of bias.

(2) ignorance

(3) inability to obtain evidence

(4) afraid of implications associated with other explanations

(5) failure to consider alternative explanations

(6) laziness

(7) greed or economic incentive

(8) anger and frustration


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