Is this an example of False Cause?

When the small boy said his prayers at night, he did not wet the bed. However, he forgot to pray one evening and he wet the bed. This must be the reason why this happened.

  • 3
    Without more context, this is not an example of anything. There is never a single cause for an event. If the condition is psychosomatic the prayer might have had a therapeutic effect, and not saying it might have contributed causally. Leaping to such a conclusion on the basis of a single occurrence would be a fallacy, the Latin name is Post hoc ergo propter hoc ("after this, therefore because of this"). However, the prior history gives some corroboration to it, however weak, so it warrants further investigation.
    – Conifold
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 7:24
  • 1
    A fallacy is an argument; your example is simply a coincidence. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 11:11

1 Answer 1


Well correlation does not imply causation. Although the two events - prayer and wetting the bed, or the act of not wetting the bed - are both linked in an ambiguous way, it does not suggest that one causes the other. Just as Conifold already suggested earlier, to propose entailment would be fallacious: the two events must be assumed independent until reasonable doubt, due to logical/mathematical/empirical evidence, has been discovered. A single unusual occurrence, involving the two events, is not enough to conclude that one causes the other; in other words, perhaps it is the child's forgetfulness that caused the bed wetting; or could it be that the child didn't go on their knees, which caused the wetting. As you can see, many events can be suggested of being connected.

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