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Wrong Direction

The relation between cause and effect is reversed.

  1. Cancer causes smoking.
  2. The increase in AIDS was caused by more sex education. (In fact, the increase in sex education was caused by the spread of AIDS.)

Give a causal argument showing that the relation between cause and effect has been reversed.


On addressing the symptom instead of the disease...

Fallacy of mistaking Sign for Cause. The quack doctor falls into this, when on seeing certain spots on the body he attacks and removes them, thereby, it may be, sending the malady farther into the frame, instead of curing it in its seat. The quack statesman is guilty of the same error, when discovering the existence of ignorance and crime in a country he contents himself with punishing them, instead of trying to remove the deep moral causes from which they spring. Buckle has, as it appears to us, fallen into the fallacy; he traces all civilization to mere intellectual power, excluding moral causes: whereas the intellect in may cases, as in Scotland and the United States, was awakened by moral causes of which the intellectual was, properly speaking, the effect. (McCosh, The Laws of Discursive Thought, p. 194.)