At every social meeting, this topic comes up. I might be stuck with it, but I’ve seen so many people that don’t understand it.
Post hoc ego propter hoc
(aka Correlation Doesn’t Imply Causation)
The basic idea is simple:
Because something related to another event happened, it doesn’t mean that it caused it.
From my experience everyone understands and accepts that statement, but when you go and you apply it to actual facts bias take precedence.
A simple traveler’s example that is obvious to everyone is a fallacy: “Right as I arrived in my new apartment a window broke, thus it’s my fault it did.” Whether if you actually look at the cause it might look like: “It was hailing the whole day, the window happened to give in at the moment I arrived.”
Denying the antecedent
This thought causes people to avoid doing whatever they were doing at the time, not to cause it to happen again. Even though they had nothing to do with it and the same thing would have happened if they weren’t doing it.