Reader Mary H expresses concern about having children in modern society. As an example of how bad things have gotten for parents, she cites the case of New Jersey teenager Rachel Canning, who is suing her parents for college tuition and a monthly stipend. After getting into trouble repeatedly with alcohol, she refused to abide by household rules relating to curfew, chores, and a boyfriend the parents found unacceptable. Four months ago, she moved out and now lives with a friend’s family.
“All her parents must have tried to do is raise her (with rules), and the girl sues them! Because apparently we live in the generation of selfies and entitlement.”
Wise Ana immediately replied:
“A good daughter who pays for her own college education with hard work and thanks parents” doesn’t make the news.
Mary extrapolated from this terrible family feud to conclude that young people today are awful – so awful she is afraid to have children! It’s a common mistake, known as the Exception Fallacy:
The exception fallacy occurs when data about an individual is used to draw conclusions about a group of people.
We are always in a hurry to classify people and groups and, when we have limited data about a group, we will often use what information we have, even if it is not statistically valid — and even if it is a single data point.
We’ve all heard stories that make us wonder “What is wrong with people?” But bloggers often deliberately fuel misimpressions by featuring tabloid stories about people whose lives are a wreck.