An explanation is intended to explain who some phenomenon
happens. In this case, there is evidence that the
phenomenon occurred, but it is trumped up,
biased or ad hoc evidence.
- The reason why most bachelors are timid is that their
mothers were domineering.
(This attempts to explain why most bachelors are
timid. However, it is shown that the author bases his
generalization on two bachelors he once knew, both of
whom were timid.)
- The reason why I get four or better on my evaluations
is that my students love me.
(This is a fallacy when evaluations which score four
or less are discarded on the grounds that the students did
not understand the question.)
- The reason why Alberta has the lowest tuition in
Canada is that tuition hikes have lagged behind other
(Lower tuitions in three other provinces - Quebec,
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia - were dismissed as "special
cases" [again this is an actual example])
Identify the phenomenon which is being explained. Show
that the evidence advanced to support the existence of
the phenomenon was manipulated in some way.
Cedarblom and Paulsen: 160
10 August 1996