What fallacy is this: "The poor worry. The rich don't worry. If you want to be rich, don't worry"


If one were to reason that most poor people worry about money and most UBER-wealthy people don't worry about money, and they want to be UBER-wealthy, than they should simply not worry about money...

I feel like there are two types of processing going on here...

•That they think that 1 thing alone can lead to another
•That they are seeing an effect of a cause and thinking that they can work backwards starting with the effect and get to the cause.

I am interested in what you would call the latter of the two issues I pointed out above... What is this type of faulty reasoning called?

Thankyou, God bless!

Albert Renshaw

Posted 2013-02-26T22:31:26.890

Reputation: 141

This sounds like abduction. Science uses this reasoning all the time. When litmus paper is exposed to acid, it changes color. Litmus paper is dipped in an unknown liquid and changes color. Therefore, the unknown liquid is acid. – None – 2016-01-08T04:00:09.830



If they are wealthy then they don't worry about money
they don't worry about money
Then they are wealthy.

This is "affirming the consequent" fallacy.
1) If P, then Q.
2) Q.
3) Therefore, P.

An argument of this form is invalid, the conclusion can be false even when statements 1 and 2 are true. Since P was never asserted as the only sufficient condition for Q, other factors could account for Q. To put it differently, if P implies Q, the only inference that can be made is non-Q implies non-P.


Posted 2013-02-26T22:31:26.890

Reputation: 3 058

7@AlbertRenshaw It is sometimes called "modus morons". – Dennis – 2013-02-27T02:22:50.700


I wanted to add to this question since I do not agree with how Annotations analysed the argument. I think this is a more accurate representation of the argument, let W='worrying' and R='being rich'.

  1. Not R implies W
  2. R implies not W
  3. Therefore not W implies R.

This is not a fallacy, but a valid argument. 1 being true entails 3 being true as well, while 2 is not needed for the conclusion. There is no logical fallacy being made, if the assumptions are true then so is the conclusion. Instead you have to question the validity of the assumption itself.


Posted 2013-02-26T22:31:26.890

Reputation: 21


There are fallacies galore here.

Number one: Appeal to authority. "The poor worry. The rich don't worry". Says who? This is totally contrary to everything I know about the behaviour of people.

Number two: Not understanding causality. The claim is that there is a 100% correlation between poverty and worries. That doesn't mean that one of them can be changed at will. Actually, it makes it unlikely that one of them can be changed at will. If that correlation were 100% (which it isn't, see number one), we would all suspect that when you are rich, there is nothing that could make you worry, and when you are poor, there is nothing that can stop you from worrying. We wouldn't believe that you could stop worrying at will and become rich that way. We would instead believe that a rich person wasting their money would become poor and start worrying, and that a poor person starting a successful business or winning the lottery would become rich and stop worrying. Not the other way round.

Number three (already pointed out), "affirming the consequent". If we had the two statements given, plus the statement "Everybody is either poor or rich, and everybody either worries or not", then the conclusion would actually be correct, but that isn't the case. But let me add a third statement that is probably more justified than the two original ones: "Dead people don't worry". Now the advice given can be literally fatal: Stop worrying, and you will either become rich or you will die.


Posted 2013-02-26T22:31:26.890

Reputation: 3 297


Correlation does not imply causation, i.e. the fact that Uber-wealthy do not worry about money does not mean that "worry about money" has an inverse relationship with wealth.

(Sales of ice cream correlating with increased violent crime is another example).

immortal squish

Posted 2013-02-26T22:31:26.890

Reputation: 1 423