Thinking about my previous question, I'm starting to think I didn't ask the right question. I'm making this to determine if I did or not. I don't think this is the typical type of question that goes here, but I do need the info for another question, so I'm labeling this 'meta'.

If you need to know, here's a link to the original question:

Is there a procedure for determing what's causing what?

Anyway, what happened is I was playing a puzzle game. I was in a room with lightning bolts being thrown across it. On a platform in front of the shooters was a giant spider ramdomly moving back and forward. On the platform was giant floor buttons (a common feature in the game), which I didn't notice at first. After dying several times, I came to the conclusion that the spider was there to act as a shield for the player. I noticed that the shooters weren't firing when the spider was in front of them (just so we know, the game has grid-based movement, so its not possible for the spider to be half in front of a shooter or half on a tile, it either is or is not, true or false, you get the idea). I was able to use this to help me find a button on the wall in the room which I pressed, but it did nothing (normally such buttons open doors or raise platforms over pits). However, I noticed that the shooters seemed to stop temporarily when I pressed that button, so I assumed that's what it did; temporarily disabled them. After using this for a bit though, this was disproven when the shooters fired right after pressing the button. It is then I noticed the floor buttons on the spider's platform, so I assumed I had to weigh them down. I started throwing objects across to the platform, though the spider got in the way a lot (I noticed it seemed to try and stay between the player and the shooters, probably due to the standard Ai enemies have where they make a beeline to the player, or at least as close as you can get to that in a game with grid-based movement). However, upon doing this, nothing changed, and now I was out of several items, including some arrows (I ran out of stuff to throw due to the spider).

After this, I got fed up with it and went to look online where this door was that the wall button opened. What I found instead however that I was completely mistaken about how the room worked. In reality, the floor buttons triggered the shooters to fire, and the spider was setting them off as it walked back and forth. This is why the interval was inconsistent, and the real reason they didn't fire in the lane with the spider (before I assumed this was something coded into the game just to keep them from killing the spider, since I thought it was meant as a shield). What you're supposed to do was 'simple' according to the guide; kill the spider. That thought didn't cross my mind; I thought that spider was helping me.

I asked a question on here hoping I could find a way to avoid becoming this badly confused in the future. Now however I'm wondering if that was the right question. Did I actually commit some sort of logical fallacy here, or was I simply impatient? I probably would've just tried to kill the spider if nothing else out of frustration. Also, by the time I got to that part I was already sorta upset by the game, due to me dying several times to this stupid puzzle and also having to deal with an earlier puzzle to get to it that had RNG (rng in a puzzle game? wtf?)

So, did I ask the right question the first time, or was I mistaken again? I thought I had simply confused the chain of causation here. Now, I'm thinking I did have enough evidence to figure this out, I simply broke down before it crossed my mind. I had no idea when I looked up the spoiler that I had done anything wrong; I searched the entire level for the door that button opened and could not find it for the life of me, so I went to at least find that thinking that's all I needed out of that room. If I had never done so, I may have never realized that I was horribly mistaken on how this puzzle worked, and how to solve it.

Did I actually commit a fallacy here? Was I simply impatient and gave up too early? Would my prior question actually help me avoid this sort of situation in the future? The latter is mainly what I'm asking. I don't want this to happen again, and so I'm asking here what I should actually be looking into to solve this.

  • 1
    You can probably classify this as faulty generalization and, more specifically, causal neglect, ignoring a possible cause when evidence is compatible with it, see Causal Arguments and Causal Fallacies. However, the word "fallacy" is overused, one may "ignore" a cause simply because they overlook it, and oversight is often not a fallacy. Humans are not created all-seeing and cannot be faulted for that.
    – Conifold
    Jan 17 at 0:23
  • Looking over your second link, I did commit two of these fallacies I believe. For one, I mistakenly believed that the wall button affected the shooters. That was disproven quickly with some experimentation. The second is the major one; I confused causation. I assumed the shooters fired autonomously, and the spider disabled them. In reality, the floor buttons caused them, and the spider was triggering the shooters by stepping on the buttons.
    – user44643
    Jan 17 at 0:54
  • Admittedly though, it wasn't that apparent. The shooters that the spider wasn't standing in front of didn't fire simultaneously; they fired at different times seeming at random. There wasn't the situation where every time the spider moved, all the shooters save for the one it was in front of fired. Of course, its possible the the floor buttons only activated some of the shooters, or that they had cooldowns so they couldn't fire within a set time frame even if their button was pressed. With the spider moving back and forth, its reasonable that they could get out of sync.
    – user44643
    Jan 17 at 0:56
  • Essentially, I neglected a common cause. I assumed the shooters were independent from the spider when in reality they were causally linked through the floor buttons. It is possible that the developers intentionally disguised this (the level is abnormally hard, its actually an optional level that gives you access to a powerful item for fighting monsters like that spider). Maybe I can't be blamed for making such a mistake, but I should still accept blame for looking up a spoiler. Logical fallacy or not, that does not excuse that.
    – user44643
    Jan 17 at 0:59

1 Answer 1


Depends on what you think you were doing.

Like if you thought "wow neat I've observed A and B following at the same time, so A must have caused B" then that would be a fallacy, because there are other options, for example B could have caused A or it might be a coincidence that A and B occur at the same time, or it might not be a coincidence but the result of a different event C.

So to deduce with certainty that from A follows B, is false. But the crucial thing about logical fallacies is, that only this certainty is wrong, that if A is true, B MUST also be true. So the prevalence of a correlation does not inevitably necessitate a causation.

That being said just because a close temporal proximity of A and B doesn't necessarily imply that they are related, if they were related you'd expect a close temporal proximity. So it is no proof of a causation, but it's a possible hint towards one. So it's not unreasonable to ASSUME that there is a casual relation between the two you just need to keep in mind that this is an assumption not a certainty.

So what you're doing is essentially science, you observe, make an educated guess of a relation (correlation is an indicator, even though it's not conclusive evidence) and then test it. Now your test comes out positive so you don't discard your theory (for now). What you'd need to do is to further think about what it means for your situation if your theory were to be true and to test that.

So if the shooting pattern is evenly spaced, while the movement pattern of the spider is irregular, that could hint at the two being unconnected. If they were unconnected and there are lightning bolts everywhere but where the spider is, then maybe they are everywhere and the spider is also hit but immortal (or at least invulnerable to lightning damage). So you could check if you can see that it is also hitting the spider, or you could test your hypothesis if the spider is immortal and attack it.

Also these are puzzles where there are likely limited numbers of clues (or data points) and what you're trying to do is to connect them in a meaningful pattern without knowing what this pattern may look like given that games to not have to comply with real world logic or physics. So classical point and click logic would be to use everything with everything else ... (also called "brute force", which works, but is long and tedious and not as satisfying as figuring out a puzzle).

But if you try to figure out a pattern by connecting the dots there's always the chance that you find a pattern different from what the designer of that puzzle had in mind. Maybe you find it out in time or maybe you get stuck on the wrong path, I mean if you assume RNG and try to beat that by buffing your arcade skills then chances are you miss the puzzle and never figure out that your wrong because you don't make the observation to the contrary. So not a fallacy, just bad luck. And in that case taking a hint might have even been a good idea.

You must log in to answer this question.