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Age and Arbor

It is early Sunday morning. My wife and I are lollygagging about, reading books and drinking coffee. She climbs out of bed and leaves the room to refill her mug, while I continue my book on critical thinking.

The chapter I am reading is all about fallacies: mistakes people make in their arguments and reasoning. The current paragraph states:

The Fallacy of Hasty Generalization: One is guilty of hasty generalization, or jumping to conclusions, when one draws a general conclusion about all things of a certain type on the basis of evidence concerning only a few things of that type.
At this moment my wife re-enters the room and, glancing out the window, says "Wow, our Madrone tree is looking beautiful."

I follow her gaze to the backyard. The Madrone has recently shed its bark, and it now appears youthful and hale. The only bad thing about this tree is that it drops leaves year-round, many of which fall on the the property to the south -- something that perpetually vexes that elderly homeowner. "Yeah, it looks great," I agree. "Too bad the neighbor doesn't like it."

"Oh, you know old people," my wife replies as she clambers back into bed. "They hate trees."

Posted on October 14, 2002 to The Queen