I hope all of my readers are sophisticated enough to be familiar with Hank the Cowdog, protagonist of more than 40 novels (short novels) by John R. Erickson, many of which are also available as books on tape. We were listening to one the other day (The Saddle House Robbery), in which the humor of the first major section all revolved around a single logical fallacy.
First, Hank himself decided to bark up the sun a half hour earlier one morning. In this attempt, he unwittingly entered into a game of "talk-back bark" with the nefarious coyote brothers, Rip and Snort. Hank only eluded a fight by convincing the brothers to join him in barking up the sun. They failed. Finally, the ranch's rooster, J.T. Cluck, came out and did the job.
We all smile at this, because we know that all of them--Hank, Rip and Snort, and J.T. Cluck--are guilty of fallacious thinking. We know that their barking, howling, and crowing does not in fact cause the sun to come up. And there is (of course) a name for the logical fallacy involved here.
It's called "post hoc, ergo procter hoc," which means simply, "after this, therefore because of this." This particular fallacy is an error that is common to much scientific thinking. This is because science frequently involves inductive reasoning (which, unlike deductive reasoning, means arguing from particular to general and from effect to cause). In observing an effect and seeking its cause, it can be easy to snatch at antecedents (prior events) as the cause when they are not actually the cause.
The only thing is, when modern scientists are guilty of this fallacy, it's not always as obvious as when it trips up the talking animals of the Texas Panhandle in Erickson's uproarious books.