Non sequitur

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Adapted from a discussion on CreationWiki, which is under GNU Free Documentation License--TerryH 23:46, 5 March 2007 (EST)

Non sequitur is a Latin word meaning "It does not follow". It is argument which moves from a premise to a conclusion with insufficient or no connection between the two.

The most common example of non sequitur is any attempt to infer causation from correlation alone. An argument of causality--that is, that X caused Y--is always subject to weakening if one can show that:

  1. Y could have occurred with or without X.
  2. Another event, Z, actually caused Y.
  3. Y caused X rather than X causing Y.

The usual way to weaken a non sequitur is simply to show that two facts, that might happen to correlate, are in fact not mutually relevant. Of course, showing that the chain of implication is reversed--meaning that the first named fact actually follows from the second, rather than the second from the first--will cast even more serious doubt on the argument.

See Also

Use the {{fallacy|Non sequitur}} template to insert the above warning on a page containing a Non sequitur. The template links the warning label to this page.