I've heard people say they've had "counter-examples" in a math class and be wrong. Unfortunately I dunno any specific examples, but it's very easy to think you've disproved something that you actually haven't.
Besides that, anecdotal evidence is entirely useless as evidence. Anecdotes aren't totally useless as arguments
, but in the way you see them most of the time, as evidence
, they are complete and total crap.
EDIT: A more thorough explanation, now that I think about it:
There are two types of claims, as far as anecdotal evidence is concerned: Claims that something happens often
, and claims that something happens at all
Anecdotal evidence is totally useless to prove "often" because your anecdote could be entirely true and yet your claim could still be wrong easily; you may well be an anomaly.
It might seem like anecdotal evidence would be useful to prove "at all", but in fact it isn't because things you need to prove happen at all
are things like "ghosts exist" which if they really did happen at all would have much more solid proof than the account of some guy on the internet.
Besides that, with anecdotes there's always the solid chance that the anecdote isn't actually true; not that the person is lying but that they misremember something or they overestimate how often they've heard something or any number of other problems that can happen when you store your information in your brain and nowhere else.
edited 26th Feb '11 7:31:06 PM by BlackHumor
I'm convinced that our modern day analogues to ancient scholars are comedians. -0dd1