Category Archives: Gambler’s fallacy

Do you feel lucky?

Courtesy of Scott Horton, we have the following gem from our Dear Leader:

>Iíve met too many wives and husbands whoíve lost their partner in life, too many children whoíll never see their mom or dad again. I owe it to them and to the families who still have loved ones in harmís way, to ensure that their sacrifices are not in vain

See the video here. Scott calls this the “Sunk Costs Fallacy” and he refers to the Skeptics Dictionary’s explanation:

>When one makes a hopeless investment, one sometimes reasons: I canít stop now, otherwise what Iíve invested so far will be lost. This is true, of course, but irrelevant to whether one should continue to invest in the project. Everything one has invested is lost regardless. If there is no hope for success in the future from the investment, then the fact that one has already lost a bundle should lead one to the conclusion that the rational thing to do is to withdraw from the project.

>To continue to invest in a hopeless project is irrational. Such behavior may be a pathetic attempt to delay having to face the consequences of oneís poor judgment. The irrationality is a way to save face, to appear to be knowledgeable, when in fact one is acting like an idiot.Ē

This is really an interesting variety of non-sequitur in that it seems very much like the gambler’s fallacy–If I only keep rolling I’ll come out even! But, unlike the gambler’s fallacy, it doesn’t allege a specious causal connection between past and future gambling events. As a result, we will add this oft-heard non-sequitur to our categories list. The only question is where to put it.