Apr 11 2012
The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is a logical fallacy in which pieces of information that have no relationship to one another are called out for their similarities, and that similarity is used for claiming the existence of a pattern. This fallacy is the philosophical/rhetorical application of the multiple comparisons problem in statistics, and apophenia in cognitive psychology. It is related to the clustering illusion, which refers to the tendency in human cognition to interpret patterns in randomness where none actually exist.
The name comes from a joke about a Texan who fires some shots at the side of a barn, then paints a target centered on the biggest cluster of hits and claims to be a sharpshooter.