Monday, May 03, 2010

Argument From Final Consequences

Today's logic fallacy comes to us courtesy of Rush Limbaugh. The Argument From Final Consequences is when someone attempt to prove that whoever benefited from something must have caused it. Not long after the terrorists attacks of 9-11-2001 several conspiracy theorists noticed that many of the civilian contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan were going to Haliburton. Dick Cheney had financial interest in this company. Therefore, without any other evidence the conspiracy theorists concluded that Dick Cheney caused the attacks on the World Trade Center. It's ridiculous.
Now sure it may look suspicious if a man dies a few days after his wife takes out a larger life insurance policy. And that is definitely a red flag that should be investigated. But the timing of the benefit alone is not enough to prove anything.
Well today Rush Limbaugh is claiming that extremist environmentalists blew up the BP drilling rig in order to affect the upcoming vote on energy policy. Sure the timing is suspicious and if there is any evidence supporting it it should be seriously looked into. But the timing alone is not proof.
The logic is fallacious when it's left wing conspiracy theorists attacking Cheney. It's just as fallacious when it's Limbaugh attacking environmentalists.


  1. Rush is a fallacy all to himself.

  2. I never intentionally listen to Rush or Hannity anymore. However occasionally I'll get in one of the motor pool cars at work and they will be left on the radio. In the spirit of staying open-minded I give them the benefit of a doubt. I wait until they have a blatantlly fallaciuos argument, not just a difference of opinion, before I change the channel. I rarely get out of the parking lot before I've changed the channel.