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[D]idn't Aristarchus and the Pythagoreans propose heliocentrism in ancient times? If only they had prevailed, we might have had Real Science millennia sooner. What was their evidence?
Well, you see, fire is nobler than earth and the center is a nobler position. So fire has to be in the center. QED.
There are many names for this sort of thinking, but "scientific" is not one of them.
Michael F. Flynn, The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown
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A character makes a conclusion based on what they perceive are facts. Their conclusion is correct, but the assumed facts themselves are wrong.

A Super-Trope to Worrying for the Wrong Reason. Compare and contrast Framing the Guilty Party, where the facts are known to be false, but the conclusion is still correct. Also compare Conviction by Counterfactual Clue. Can sometimes overlap with Accidentally Correct Writing when it happens on a meta-level. When the premises and the conclusion are correct, but the logic connecting them is false you have a Bat Deduction. For the direct inverse, where the logic and premises are perfectly sound, but the conclusion isn't, see Entertainingly Wrong. May be a reason for Don't Shoot the Message. Often the case when the Cloud Cuckoo Lander is right. May result in Both Sides Have a Point, Dumbass Has a Point, Jerkass Has a Point or Moral Luck.

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Contrast with "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.", where someone bluffs another based on a claim which they don't know happens to be correct. A Kansas City Shuffle makes this a pivotal element of the con game (by deluding the mark into thinking they solved the con but in actuality have set themselves up to be conned in a different way).


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    Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio “Companion Piece”, when the insane Time Lord the Nine has set out to "collect" the Doctor’s companions by using River Song as a source of information, Charley Pollard, Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair assume that Bliss has been put in a cell with them to provide a catalyst for their escape as the only one of them who hasn’t travelled with the Eighth Doctor. In reality, Bliss only has no memory of the Doctor because she travelled with him in the Time War and the associated changes the War caused to her history haven’t technically happened yet, but they are apparently correct that Bliss was key to helping the Eighth Doctor’s four companions pool their skills and escape the Nine’s cells.

    Comic Books 
  • Action Comics: In the Pre-Crisis timeline, Zor-El is convinced that his forcefield will save lives due to creating a new germ-free atmosphere. Instead, it keeps them from being blown up when their planet is destroyed (something he didn't believe his brother's warnings about) and gives them a source of air when they're propelled into space.
  • In Detective Comics #373, "The Riddler On The Roof", Elongated Man visits Gotham while Batman's busy elsewhere, and Commissioner Gordon shows him the Riddler's latest clue. He stops the Riddler shortly before Batman, who has finished his own case and seen the clue, shows up. However, when they compare notes, they have completely different interpretations of what the riddle means, even though they both connected it to the same crime. Basically, either Batman, Commissioner Gordon, or both were Right For The Wrong Reasons—and out of sheer spite, the Riddler won't say which.
    • A story from the 90s saw Batman deal with a clay Golem destroying Jewish business in Gotham. A large clockwise swastika on the golem's belly led Batman to believe that the Golem's creator was being forced to send it out and the Buddhist-style swastika was a clue to his identity (someone educated enough to know about Yiddish traditions and the swastika's history). When Batman tracks down the creator (a Warsaw ghetto survivor being forced by a gang of Neo-Nazis), the man tells Batman he knew nothing about Buddhism: the swastika was a Stealth Insult to his captors, as he couldn't bring himself to draw the counter-clockwise Nazi swastika and his captors were too ignorant to tell he drew it wrong.
    • In the "Going Sane" arc, The Joker believes that he has managed to kill Batman and consequently has forgotten his previous life as a supervillain, adopting the identity of "Joseph Kerr" and building a new, peaceful life for himself. Batman, however, is still alive, and at one point connects "Joseph Kerr" to the Joker. He goes to the apartment that "Kerr" is sharing with his new fiancee, only to find no trace of the Joker or anything other than a sane, happy, loving couple living there. Batman correctly realises that crazed supervillain he fights is nowhere near that place, but believes that it is simply because the Joker used "Kerr" as a red herring to distract him.
  • The Killing Joke, as quoted below, has an example of a crazy person achieving this to show just how far the trope can go.
    "See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum. And one night, they decide they don't like living in the asylum anymore. They decide they're going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away into the moonlight. Stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren't make the leap. Y'see... y'see, he's afraid of falling. So then the first guy has an idea... He says, 'Hey, I have a flashlight with me! I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk across the beam and join me!' But the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says... he says 'Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You'd turn it off when I was halfway across!'"
  • Watchmen:
    • Unlike everyone else who just thinks of him as a benevolent philanthropist, Rorschach is very suspicious of Veidt, which turns out to have been warranted. However, this is because Rorschach has some fringe right-wing views, and so he naturally assumes the Ambiguously Gay and liberal Nice Guy must be up to something evil.
    • Something similar is going on with the heavily conservative New Frontiersman, which manages to correctly poke at elements that suggest the very real conspiracy going on: things like Doug Roth's distrust of Doctor Manhattan being suspicious or the disappearance of various artists and scientists being part of a wider pattern. However, the editors of the New Frontiersman didn't really reach these conclusions through logical means; they just rooted around for any evidence that their left-leaning opposition was up to no good and then started throwing out wild guesses. Case in point: they think Doug Roth is against Manhattan because he's one of the Dirty Communists, when Doug is being funded by an all-American delivery company... owned by Adrian Veidt.
    • After the Comedian is killed, Rorschach suspects that other superheroes will be targeted for murder from a "cape-killer," so he warns the surviving Crimebusters. Sure enough, an attempt is made on Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias's life. Veidt is behind it all. He killed the Comedian because he knew too much about his plans and sent an assassin against himself to throw off suspicion. The irony is, the only reason Rorschach turned out to be right is because he was wrong in the first place; his attempt to "warn" Veidt actually inspired him to create a Red Herring for Rorschach to be put on the wrong tracks.
  • In a Jack of Fables comic, Jack correctly believes that Goldilocks is actually an agent for Mr Revise, but comes to the conclusion because all of Revise's known agents wear glasses, which he assumes has some significance, so is immediately suspicious of the bespectacled Goldilocks. As she exasperatedly tells him, she wears glasses because she has bad eyesight.
  • Runaways:
    • Gert has a deep distrust of her parents. Not because she knew they were supervillains, but because they told her that her pet pig ran away. Which it probably did, considering how Old Lace got out.
    • An unintentional example - Klara warns Molly that hanging out with someone like Xavin leads to problems. While she bases this on prejudice - because she thinks that Xavin is an "abomination" - Xavin does end up causing the team a lot of unnecessary problems when they have a run-in with Xavin's former mentor and then get attacked by Majesdanian survivors of the war that Xavin's family started.
  • During the "Funeral for a Friend" portion of The Death of Superman, Lex Luthor II takes a wooden chair and smashes it against Doomsday's prone body in anger. The cops watching him think he's doing so because Doomsday killed Superman. They're right, but it's only because Luthor was The Only One Allowed to Defeat Him.
  • One The Simpsons comic has the police looking for the criminal spraypaint tagger "El Barto". Eventually, they do manage to cuff the perpetrator (Bart, of course), but not because they caught him in the act. No, Bart had accidentally gotten ketchup on his shirt while having lunch at Krusty Burger, and ketchup just so happens to be the same color of red as the El Barto spraypaint tags.
  • In The Sandman, a 14th Century peon named Hob Galding believes that by rejecting death, people just won't die. He believes that the Achievements in Ignorance trope is in effect here, but in actuality it's this trope as Death is just so amused by his belief that she granted his wish.
  • From Hell: When William Gull calls out the psychic Robert Lees for being a fraud, Lee takes petty revenge by claiming to have visions of Gull committing the Whitechapel murders. It turns out that Gull really is Jack the Ripper. Lees is utterly surprised when Gull confesses.
  • Chase has agent Cameron Chase attend a party in Gotham City, where she beholds a group of high-ranking men in the city's infrastructure—and she immediately, correctly, pegs one of them as a superhero. Specifically, broadcasting head Alan Scott. She's right that he's a superhero, but that's because she assumes that one of the people at the party might be Batman, and he was the best candidate—in fact, he's a Green Lantern (well, of a sort, anyway), who has no connection to Batman other than that they both operate in Gotham. Bonus points: Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were at the same party, but she immediately dismissed them as "a couple of schmoozers."
  • Atomic Robo: In the "Specter of Tomorrow" story, after arriving on Hashima to track down the source of the cyborg sleeper agents that have been activating randomly across the planet, Robo and his allies run into their creator: Helsingrad. Helsingrad, ever the egotist, assumes Robo came to the conclusion that ALAN's remains had something to do with the cyborgs because they were obviously too advanced to be the product of a human mind, when in reality Robo noticed that the cyborgs emitted a frequency like the one ALAN used when they transformed.

    Comic Strips 
  • This Dilbert comic where the Pointy-Haired Boss finally makes a right decision because "his ignorance clouded his poor judgment".
  • In a Mafalda strip, when Mafalda's mother unplugs the TV while Gui was watching, he tries to keep watching the show by peeking through the power outlet. When Mafalda recounts the incident to Manolito, they both start laughing...until the latter says "The images come through the wire so small! How was he supposed to see anything?"
  • In a 2018 The Phantom storyline, Eric Sahara, aka international terrorist The Nomad, is suspicious that his daughter's best friend at boarding school is the former ward of the Bangallan President, and becomes convinced she's actually some kind of spy for his enemies, there to find information on his activities. This is pure paranoia on his part, as Heloise Walker's presence is a coincidence and her friendship with Kadia is genuine. However, at the same time as he reaches this conclusion, Heloise does start trying to find information on his activities, but not on behalf of the enemies he thinks. Sahara is unaware of her connection to his greatest enemy; she's the Phantom's daughter.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Brave Little Toaster when they realize the house is being sold and the appliances are deciding whether or not to leave and find their owner (a child they call The Master), Kirby says they should just stay behind because they’ll have a new master anyways. Turns out he was right about staying behind, but not because of a new master-their original owner (now a teenager and recent high school graduate) was on his way to pick them up to take to college with him. If they’d been patient and just waited a couple days, they’d have saved themselves an unnecessary journey.
  • Despicable Me 2:
    • When one of Gru's adopted daughters, Margo, falls in love with a boy named Antonio, Gru is incredibly suspicious of Antonio, not for any specific reason but just because Antonio is a boy putting the moves on his little girl. But while Gru's actual motive is that he was just being paranoid, he turns out to be right about the fact that Antonio isn't a good match for Margo, because Antonio is a huge flirt and Margo is just another pretty girl to him. But Gru didn't actually know that at first.
    • Gru is also initially suspicious of Antonio's father Eduardo because of his similar appearance to a villain named El Macho. Despite no evidence being found at Eduardo's restaurant, Gru insists he's right more as a chance to get Eduardo's son in jail as well. Turns out he's right about Eduardo being El Macho and being behind the crime, but not about his son being in on it.
  • In Frozen (2013), the trolls mistake Anna and Kristoff for a couple and refuse to listen to their protests that they aren't. When Anna points out that she's already engaged, the trolls consider this for a moment and then declare, "Get the fiancé out of the way and the whole thing will be fixed!" It turns out there's a much more urgent reason to get rid of Hans than just resolving a love triangle: he's planning to usurp the throne of Arendelle, kill Elsa, and leave Anna for dead.
  • One of the shorts bundled on the Blu-Ray of Inside Out has Riley being called to answer a question in the textbook after she'd been doodling most of class. Joy, working under the assumption that it's multiple choice, has Riley answer "C." It turns out she's in Spanish class — which all of the emotions somehow missed — and the question was a "Yes or No" one to which "Sí" was the correct answer.note 
  • Implied in Megamind, when Tighten — during a nasty Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! speech to Roxanne — snarls that she's living in a fantasy world, and that there's "no Easter Bunny, there's no Tooth Fairy, and there's no Queen of England!" He's technically right on the last one, as Queen Elizabeth II does not officially hold the title of Queen of England (she is in fact the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of which England is only a constituent part). But considering he's listing imaginary fairytale creatures and is also, to put it bluntly, incredibly stupid, it's almost certain that he's not aware of the distinction and believes that the British Royal Family is also imaginary.
  • Mulan:
    • The leader of the soldiers sings, "Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons?" He had no way of knowing Mulan was a girl at the time. His song was meant to question the abilities of the men.
    • When Mushu decides that he needs to make Mulan a war hero to redeem himself in the eyes of the Fa family ancestors and overhears that Chi-Fu intends to send a report that would determine Mulan's unit is unfit for duty that would tank that, he blithely forges a letter and impersonates an officer informing Chi-Fu that the main army headed by General Li has engaged the Hun army and in desperate need of their help, which causes Chi-Fu to throw aside his plans and tell Shang they need to move out. Mushu only knew that the army would seeing combat with the Huns and wanted to get Mulan on the front line no matter what, but had no way of knowing what their situation was. Turns out he was completely right — the main army was fighting the Huns and was in desperate need of reinforcements. Too bad he didn't decide to forge that letter sooner...
  • In Monster House, when Chowder learns that the house has a uvula, he says, "Oh, so it's a girl house." It is indeed female after a fashion, but the uvula is not associated with one gender over another.
  • Implied in Western Animation/Hoodwinked; when Wolf and Twitchy encounter Boingo the Bunny, who tells them about a shortcut to get to Red's grandmother's house, Twitchy has a look of suspicion on his face to indicate his doubt that Boingo is being fully sincere with the two of them, and later agrees with Wolf that they were fools to follow Boingo's advice. While Twitchy's distrust of Boingo turns out to be well-founded upon The Reveal that Boingo was the Goody bandit the entire time, it's likely his distrust was founded more on the belief that Boingo was consorting with Red (who he and Wolf believed to be involved in the string of thefts plaguing the forest) than suspicion of Boingo being the mastermind himself. The fact that Wolf and Twitchy spied on Red when she was with Boingo and misinterpreted parts of their conversation that seemed to validate Wolf's suspicion of Red may lend some credence to this.

    Jokes 
  • There's an old Polish joke that's an example. During a field exercise, a sergeant stops his unit of New Meat.
    Sergeant: Hold it! Now, who can tell me in which direction are we marching?
    Private: Sir, south, sir!
    Sergeant: Fucking right! Now, tell the others how did you figure that out!
    Private: Sir, it's getting warmer and warmer, sir!
  • An old joke: Three old men go to the doctor for a checkup (please don't ask why the doctor is giving all three men their checkup at the same time). Since they're getting on in years, the doctor decides to check their mental faculties as well. So he asks the first man, "What's three times three?" And the old man says, "273." So the doctor moves on to the second guy and asks the same question. "Tuesday," is the reply. Finally he asks the third old man. "9." "That's great!" says the doctor, "How'd you get to that answer?" "I subtracted 273 from Tuesday."
  • A woman was asked, "If a car is traveling at 80 miles an hour, how long would it take the car to go 80 miles?" The woman makes a lengthy calculation, beginning with, "I run the mile in about nine minutes," as part of her calculation. She says a tire turns about 400 times in a mile. In the end, she says "About 58 minutes," which is pretty close considering the factors she used to get there.
  • Supposedly a man came to Andrew Jackson with a proposal to fund an expedition inside the Hollow Earth, which failed because Jackson thought the Earth was flat.
  • An old joke has a police captain quizzing three Acceptable Target recruits (depending on the telling, and the joker's nationality, they could be Polish, Sikh, blonde, or something else) on how they would recognize a wanted man, by showing them a sketch of the suspect. The first two men confidently claim that the perp would be easy to recognize because he only has one eye and one ear, respectively, which leads to the captain getting angrier and angrier as he repeatedly explains that the sketch is in profile. The third recruit studies the picture intently for a moment, and then deduces (correctly) that the suspect wears contact lenses. When the very impressed captain asks how the recruit was able to make such an astute deduction, he replies, "Easy. He can't wear normal glasses because he only has one eye and one ear."
  • A guy is competing on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and reaches the million-dollar question, that asks which bird from a selection of four doesn't build its own nest. The contestant phones one of his friends, who answers cuckoo. The contestant goes with cuckoo and wins the grand prize. After the show, he asks his friend how he knew, and the friend responds "because it lives in a clock, duh".

    Literature 

Authors:

  • In Karl May's novels and stories set in the Old West, the cowboys, scouts and settlers in the West from either USA or Mexico are never idealized. Their vices, avarice, theft, violence, filth are usually touched with Brutal Honesty. He did it to contrast the Incorruptible Pure Pureness of the heroes Winnetou and Charlie/Old Shatterhand, but he reflects reality pretty accurately. The Western frontier had been a pretty dismal place before being fully settled and people trying their luck there were frequently or even usually on the less savoury side.

Works:

  • In the Alex Cross book Along Came a Spider, Alex's grandmother objects to his relationship with Jezzie Flanagan because Alex is black and Jezzie is white. Unbeknownst to both Alex and his grandmother, Jezzie is responsible for the kidnapping and murder that Alex is investigating. After Jezzie's perfidy is exposed, Alex's grandmother notes that she cannot say 'I told you so' because she had not predicted this development.
  • Beware of Chicken: Jin intervenes to prevent Young Master Zang Li from coercing Meihua into his bed, and when Zang Li attacks him in outrage, Jin shrugs off his attack so easily (ie Zang Li breaks his fingers upon striking Jin) that he assumes the guy can't really be a Young Master of the powerful Shrouded Mountain sect, and arranges for him to be arrested as an impostor. What Jin doesn't realise is that his connection to the land has made him extraordinarily powerful; Zang Li really is a Young Master of the Shrouded Mountain, Jin is just far stronger than that. What Jin also doesn't realise is that the original Zang Li has been killed, and a demonic cultivator by the name of Lu Ban is Possessing a Dead Body; he really is an impostor.
  • The ever-suspicious Efficient Baxter from P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle saga frequently takes the right course of action after drawing the wrong conclusion. For instance, he'll assume two characters are accomplices helping one another steal the same object, when in reality they're rivals trying to steal the same object, thieves-for-hire unaware that they were hired by the same employer, or unrelated thieves who don't decide to team up until Baxter has already marked them out as conspirators.
  • Circleverse: In Tris' The Circle Opens book, Shatterglass, the people of Tharios strongly believe that dead bodies cause pollution. Bodies and places where death has occurred are cleansed with powerful magic (which causes problems, as it erases evidence the police need to find a serial killer). When questioned, one citizen says that such cleansing kept Tharios safe from a plague many years ago. However, they believe that the contamination is spiritual rather than pathogenic.
  • In the novel The Day of the Jackal, the manhunt for hitman the Jackal starts with the police discovering his real identity, Englishman Charles Calthrop. It works, but in the epilogue the real Charles Calthrop turns up alive and well, completely unconnected.
  • This is Dirk Gently's standard operating procedure; it reaches its apex in the second book, when he spontaneously decides his client's death is someone else's fault simply so he can stop feeling guilty about it. It turns out to be directly her fault.
  • Discworld:
    • In Jingo, there's a Framing the Guilty Party of the "plant obvious clues against yourself to make it appear a frame" type, where the evidence they find is so stereotypically Klatchian that it's laughable. Colon and Nobby, naturally, conclude that since the evidence points to Klatchians, it must be Klatchians. Vimes, however, takes the "quality" of the evidence to mean someone in Ankh-Morpork is doing a bad job of framing the Klatchians for the attack. Later, he finds out it was Klatchians behind it, who deliberately faked the frame up because they knew Vimes would "see right through it".
    • In the science sections of The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day, there's a footnote which humorously "explains" how you get from the Schrödinger equation to Schrödinger's Cat by combining two versions of the equation, one in which Ψ=A (for "alive") and one in which Ψ=D (for "dead"), and showing this leads to an equation where A=D. Any equation would do that, since you're starting by assuming A and D both equal Ψ.
  • The Dresden Files: In Ghost Story, Daniel and Butters dress up in grey cloaks to pose as Wardens and confront Aristides the warlock. Aristides sees through their disguises right away because neither is wearing one of the silver swords Wardens are famous for. However the swords, while iconic, are not part of the official uniform of the Wardens, and the Wardens had lost the capability of producing their iconic swords several years prior, meaning newer Wardens actually wouldn't have them. Of course the Wardens aren't exactly publicly announcing that fact, so for some without extensive knowledge like Aristedes it becomes a dead giveaway.
    • Ebenezar McCoy is very alarmed when he sees Harry hanging around with White Court vampire Thomas Raith, and the only explanation Harry can give is, "He's different, just trust me!" Which, as Ebenezar notes, is what abuse victims always say. While in this case it's true that Thomas is different from other White Court vampires in that he's genuinely moral (and Harry's half-brother), Ebenezar doesn't know actually that (and given that the rest of the White Court are literally inhuman monsters whose shtick is mind-bending, he's not wrong to be suspicious either).
  • One Encyclopedia Brown mystery had Brown and Sally Kimball deduce that one of three men had an opportunity to call in a bomb scare at the left-handers convention. The culprit is, naturally, determined to be right-handed. The girl who hired them says that any of the suspects could have done it because they're "strange". She suggests the second one who comes under suspicion is strange because his left ear is higher than his right. Sally looks at the guy and tells her that it's actually an optical illusion because his left sideburn is longer than his right. He turns out to be the culprit, but Encyclopedia determines this because right-handed men have longer left sideburns due to not being able to reach it as well. The girl was right to suspect him because of his longer sideburn, but wrong in that he was the culprit because he was "strange".
  • The Exile's Violin: Clay is suspicious of Gunslinger because he sees the man as a rival for Jacquie's affection, instead of genuinely believing him to be untrustworthy. Gunslinger is The Mole.
  • In Foucault's Pendulum during a discussion on the "four types of people in the world", this principle is lampshaded as the province of 'Morons'.
  • In the Harry Potter series:
    • The climax of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone sees the Golden Trio going through the trapdoor guarded by Hagrid's pet three-headed dog to try to beat Snape to the Stone, which they believe Snape is trying to steal. Yes, the Stone is in danger of being stolen, but what Harry discovers at the end of the road is one of the first indicators that he and Snape were on the same side all along.
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has one by way of sarcasm: the Trio are trying to figure out why someone named Tom Riddle got an award fifty years ago, and Ron suggests he killed Myrtle, an annoying ghost. Turns out he did do that, though the award was, ironically, for supposedly catching Myrtle's killer. One fan guide even noted "Ron is usually wrong, unless he's joking."
    • In the same book, Dobby, a house-elf, tries to convince Harry not to come back to Hogwarts, claiming it will put him in great danger; he later tries to force Harry to go home. Ron suggests that Dobby belongs to Harry's rival, Draco Malfoy, and is trying to trick him. It turns out that Dobby does belong to the Malfoy family, but he's not lying about his motives — it's just that the Malfoys are involved in the danger Dobby is trying to protect Harry from.
      • Also, the trio's suspicions that Malfoy was involved with the Chamber opening is correct - just that they had suspected the wrong Malfoy.
    • in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry anonymously receives a very expensive Flying Broomstick for Christmas. Hermione believes that it's from Sirius Black, the escaped convict who is believed to be trying to kill Harry, and has it checked for curses. She's right, but Sirius actually wants to kill somebody else and legitimately intended the broom to be a gift for Harry.
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry and Ron speculate that Rita Skeeter is getting her information by bugging them, i.e. using electronic surveillance devices to listen in. Hermione points out that electrical devices don't work around Hogwarts. Later on, however, she deduces that Rita was indeed bugging them- she's a beetle animagus, and she's using that form to get close to events incognito and listen in.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Luna believes Sirius is innocent because he's just the alter ego of the musician Stubby Boardman, who happened to have an alibi for the crime Sirius was accused of committing. Sirius is innocent but he's not a celebrity's alter ego.
    • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Hermione is firmly convinced that there must be something sinister about Harry's book, though mostly due to being jealous of Harry outshining her in Potions class. Then the Sectumsempra incident happens where Harry almost kills Draco, and she starts gloating about it, taking it as proof.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort assumes that Harry is going to sacrifice himself because he doesn't want to see the others die around him. While that technically is true, there is another factor at play; Harry has to let Voldemort kill him, so the part of Voldemort's soul inside him would be destroyed. At the same time, Harry is sacrificing himself for the other students the same way his mother did for him.
      • During the final battle, Voldemort assumes that the Hogwarts defenders are all fighting and dying to protect Harry because the boy asked them to do so, his reasoning being that any rational person would sacrifice everyone they know rather than die themselves. While he is correct that they are all fighting and dying at Harry's request, it is so he can get enough time to destroy the diadem Horcrux and then commit suicide via Voldemort and save everyone else, not to mention the fact that they would've fought anyway. This is lampshaded numerous times, as Voldemort cannot understand acts of love, loyalty, or friendship.
  • In the Honor Harrington book At All Costs, when President Pritchart is seeking a face-to-face summit with Queen Elizabeth III of Manticore in order to negotiate a peace treaty, Theisman recommends that she specifically request that Honor Harrington be present for several reasons, including that "all reports indicate she has a rather uncanny ability to tell when people are lying to her." When Mike Henke delivers the summit proposal on Pritchart's behalf, however, Honor assumes that the Living Lie Detector being invited is the treecats Ariel and Nimitz.
  • In the Jack Reacher novel The Enemy, Major Reacher arrests a general and some subordinates for murder. His vague statements about evidence convince them that he knows about their massive conspiracy to murder numerous military officers, and fear they stumbled on their secret papers; in fact, he's arresting them for a Love Triangle gone horribly wrong and hasn't found the papers. Reacher was confused about why they surrendered so easily.
  • Killing Time: Tim’s files on all of the town big shots are the reason that he’s being targeted for murder, not out of an attempt to keep the reform movement from getting them, but because Chief Hacrum wants to give them to the reformers to save his own skin. After killing Tim, he'll have an excuse to "confiscate" his files.
  • In The Leaky Establishment by David Langford, Tappen has a "Eureka!" Moment near the end when he connects the surprisingly high radioactivity of Roger Pell's home-made whiskey with a few other pieces of circumstantial evidence to conclude, correctly, that Pell has been pinching plutonium from work to create a nuclear reactor under his house. However, when he explains his chain of reasoning to Pell, Pell replies that the whiskey is carefully shielded from the reactor, but may have been made with pure ethanol stolen from a lab near the nuclear fuels store.
  • Behemoth, the second book in the Leviathan series, has one moment where Prince Alek's bodyguard Bauer, believes several soldiers searching the Café they are in are looking for him, seeing as the entire Austrian military and the German military are after Alek. Alek dismisses Bauer's theory, on account of the fact that they seem to be using a photograph as a reference for whoever they are after, and no painting or photograph was ever taken of Alek. Just as Alek tells Bauer this, one of the soldiers stops and looks directly... not at Alek, but at Bauer, and Alek realises that a photograph of Bauer would have been fairly easy to obtain.
  • In Magic Kingdom for Sale — SOLD!, Ben is initially convinced that the advert to purchase a magic kingdom is a scam for the obvious reason. He eventually learns that it is a scam — not because the kingdom doesn't exist, but because it's beset by enemies and what he's bought is less "permanent vacation to fairyland" and more "full time job that will kill him if he doesn't do it exactly right". Each time the seller simply waits for the new king to be killed and puts it back on the market.
  • The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds: Audrey believes that she's a hallucination because she's crazy, regardless of the fact that she actually is a hallucination.
  • Marsh in Mistborn infiltrates the Steel Ministry with the Boring, but Practical route of joining as a bottom-rung acolyte, fading into the background, and sending back whatever information he can to La Résistance. Marsh is the best choice because he's not only disinclined towards fame, he spent his entire adult life illegally learning whatever he could about the Ministry. His primary concern is that since he skipped the five-year training and doesn't know what acolytes are supposed to know, he'll stand out for his ignorance. As it turns out, the five-year training isn't rigorous, and he stands out because he knows more than the average recruit. Later, he realizes that Inquisitors are taking an interest in him, and thinks that it's because they found out he was a spy. Actually, they were impressed with him, and were trying to recruit him.
  • Patrick McManus: In "The Huckleberry Murders" local woman Mage Poulsen accuses her ex-husbands ranch foreman of murdering and robbing him after he disappears. The foreman claims her ex-husband is just on a long vacation. It turns out that he really is on vacation, but that the foreman has been cashing in/stealing his social security checks, and is involved in the murder of several local marijuana growers he'd hired because You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • In The Name of the Rose the Sherlock Holmes expy theorizes that the killer is copying a pattern from the Book of Revelation. In fact, the initial pattern was a coincidence, and the murderer maintained the pattern as misdirection once the detective noticed it.
    • This is also a Shout-Out to "Death and the Compass" by Jorge Luis Borges, where the murderer uses the detective's deduced pattern to lure the detective to a specific place.
  • In the short story "Poppa Needs Shorts", a young boy deliberately causes a short-circuit which saves his father's life. His family wonders if he's a genius, but the narration makes it clear that the boy had no idea how electricity works - he had simply pieced together a bunch of "facts" that he didn't actually understand, and then decided on a course of action that just happened to be correct.
  • Invoked in the Red Dwarf novel Last Human regarding the arrest of Lister's alternate self; for various reasons, the courts that sentenced him were trying to 'arrest' the innocent, so they only arrested the alternate Lister on smuggling charges that they knew he hadn't committed even though he was genuinely guilty of murdering the rest of the alternate Red Dwarf crew.
  • In the Relativity short story "In Search of the Liber Seed", Michael reassures his friends that the howling they hear in the woods can't possibly be a werewolf, because werewolves only come out at night.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Don’t Gossip, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys thinks Wen is poor because she always wears the same clothes. Later stories reveal that she is poor, but everyone in the whole series wears the same clothes.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Monty correctly realizes that "Stefano" is an imposter and should not go with him and the Baudelaires to Peru. However, he believes that Stefano is a spy from the Herpetelogical Society trying to learn about his new discovery, when he's actually Count Olaf and does not care in the slightest about Monty's discoveries. The series gives the Baudelaires an extra layer of this: they conspire with Monty to plot against "Stefano", but (unlike in the book and film) they never realize that Monty doesn't realize Stefano is Olaf.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror:
    • When Daylen rescues dozens of girls who'd been kidnapped to be sold into sexual slavery, Sain initially thinks that Daylen is one of the slavers, and calls him "rapist scum". This hits a little too close to home for Daylen, who backhands him.
    • Cueseg is initially puzzled by Lyrah's embarrassment, as he assumes a woman her age must have had plenty of sex in her youth. It's later revealed in a Cerebus Callback that she was kidnapped when she was fourteen and raped an estimated thirty times.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • When King Robert wants to make Jaime Lannister the Warden of the East, Eddard Stark is suspicious of him; he remembers seeing Jaime slouched on the Iron Throne after betraying and killing Mad King Aerys, and takes this as evidence of Jaime wanting the throne for himself. Robert jokes that Jaime was probably just tired and needed a place to sit... and is completely correct.note 
    • In book 4, Lord Orton Merryweather recommends Ser Bonnifer Hasty be given the job of administering to the Riverlands and returning peace to the war torn area. Jaime, who knows that Lord Merryweather is an idiot, thinks that Merryweather probably made the choice for no more reason than due to Hasty's nickname "The Good" and the fact that Hasty has a light connection to Merryweather's family, as Hasty served Merryweather's grandfather. Nonetheless, Jaime reflects that it's likely to be an excellent choice: Hasty is a serious, dutiful man committed to ruling fairly, (albeit it in a humorless and overly religious way) and as Hasty isn't from the area and has no major family ties to any of the various factions, he isn't likely to unfairly favor any particular side among the fractious local lords or to be accused of doing so.
    • Lady Barbrey Dustin is 100% convinced that maesters are not the neutral players in the political game that they claim to be. She points out how all their useful functions as servators, such as reading, writing, overseeing the ravens and healing, are specifically designed to lull Lords into not questioning the motives behind the advice they give. All so that the Citadel may uncontestedly rule from the shadows, puppeteers of all who dance on their strings. Yes... But, seriously... no. They really aren't completely neutral and many do have agendas... Which are mostly cultural or personal ones, not necessarily institutional or familial ones. See, they don't kid about wanting to serve and educate, but there are political factions within the Citadel divided on how best to do that, and individual maesters can fall into any camp with differing degrees and methods of active participation in wider society. Ruling from the shadows isn't on the table as a concerted, overriding consensus agenda, however. Every initiate of the Citadel we get much insight of, from the surrogate parent of Maester Cressen, the sleazy Maester Pycelle, the dedicatedly heretical ex-maester Qyburn to the sincerely devoted Maester Luwin and others... they all have many reasons behind the biases they act on; mostly personal ones.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In A New Dawn, Conspiracy Theorist Skelly believes that the Clone Wars were orchestrated by the various Mega-Corps solely to increase their profit margins. Well, the Clone Wars were orchestrated, and those mega-corporations were engaging in war profiteering, but he doesn't realize that the Emperor was the one actually responsible.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Isard's Revenge, smuggler Talon Karrde visits the Errant Venture, the converted Star Destroyer belonging to ex-smuggler Booster Terrik. Terrik believes the visit is regarding one of Karrde's associates, Aves, getting his own ship. Terrik is absolutely correct about Aves getting a new ship (and also correctly identifying the ship he's getting), even spelling out his line of logic (which is partly based on the fact that Karrde came to his ship). Karrde's visit, however, has nothing to do with Aves or his new ship; instead, it concerns two functional astromechs from X-wings presumed destroyed, belonging to two people presumed dead. Specifically, the astromechs belonging to Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn. Karrde even invokes the name of the trope, saying, "This is why you're dangerous, Booster, you're right for all the wrong reasons."
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn of The Thrawn Trilogy makes a few of these. Thrawn's The Chessmaster and a Manipulative Bastard who is often magnificent, and usually he's spectacular at gauging what any given individual will do in response to the situation. As the trilogy goes on and unforeseen events crop up with more regularity he starts being wrong about the why, but still right—until the end, when he's not. The main issue (besides overestimating the abilities and sanity of his allies) is that he's completely unaware that Luke and Leia are Darth Vader's children; since the things he doesn't predict lead almost entirely from that, he had no way of predicting them.
    • In Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, after Jedi Knights Shryne, Starstone, and Chatak escape Order 66, they receive a signal recalling them to the Jedi Temple. Starstone correctly speculates that all of the clones have turned on the Jedi, but thinks it's because they're in league with Count Dooku and the Separatists. They aren't, but their boss is.
    • In the X-Wing Series, Elassar Targon, the new Wraith Squadron pilot, is noted to be very superstitious. When Face is conducting a mission briefing involving a mock-up of the Millennium Falcon piloted by Wedge and Chewbacca which will serve as a decoy, fellow pilot Runt sneezes. Elassar sees this as a bad omen and becomes convinced there's something wrong and the mission is jinxed. He's right, but it has nothing to do with jinxes and everything to do with Wedge not knowing how to speak Wookiee.
  • In The Symposium, Plato says that grown men going after young boys should be illegalized...because the man could very well be wasting his prospects. He thought that you wouldn't know at all what you'd be getting.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Unfinished Tales there is a sequence describing a meeting of the White Council, where Saruman becomes irritated over Gandalf's smoking, and Gandalf responds by praising the halfling's herb and blowing small smoke rings through a large one. It's almost comical how Saruman reads layers upon layers of hidden meanings into this gesture, coming to the conclusion that Gandalf's visits into the Shire and his smoking of pipeweed somehow relate to a secret plot involving the One Ring, and hobbits must somehow be involved with the matter. He proceeds to send spies across the Shire and starts to secretly smoke pipeweed himself to discover Gandalf's secret, to no avail. The kicker is that Gandalf was unaware that Bilbo's old ring was the One Ring at the time, and the smoke rings had absolutely no hidden meaning behind them.
    • Speaking of Tolkien, at the heart of The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers and The Return of the King especially - is a very cynical (and tragic) example of this trope. Samwise protests when Sméagol offers to serve as Frodo's guide to Mordor, suspecting that Sméagol is still Gollum, and therefore still evil. He's technically correct, but he's also unfair: Sméagol really did try to change his ways, actually succeeded in banishing his Gollum persona for a time, saved Frodo's life, and turned evil again only because he believed Frodo and Sam to have betrayed him...which is also technically correct, for Frodo did lie to Sméagol, even if it was with the best of intentions. One could say, then, that Sam was Right For The Wrong Reasons because Frodo made him right where he wasn't before.
  • The Traveler's Gate: People assume Kai is insane because he talks to his dolls. Except his dolls really are intelligent, prescient, and always give good advice. Kai is insane because he is obsessed with his dolls. They hate him and constantly insult him, but he never notices.
  • Wax and Wayne: When the crew is searching for The Bands of Mourning in a Temple of Doom, and discovers that the treasure had been stolen long ago, everyone looks at Wayne suspiciously out of habit. Turns out that he did nab the Treasure; before entering, he stole a valuable chunk of aluminum off a statue, not knowing that the "Bands" were given a misleading name...
  • A story in Sideways Stories from Wayside School has a character who always comes up with the correct number when counting, albeit by counting completely random numbers (example: "three, ten, nineteen, sixty-four, five. The answer is five!"), lampshaded by the teacher's odd reaction (nodding, but saying "No"). When told to count "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten", he takes it to Literal Genie-level conclusions and counts all ten numbers regardless of the number of objects he's attempting to count, giving him "ten" for everything, resulting in him only counting right when he counts wrong and vice-versa, or something. In a later book, the same character multiplies five times twelve by writing the number five on a piece of paper and tearing it into twelve pieces. He gets the right answer too. The book helpfully explains that no one quite understood how his math worked.
  • In the Wild Cards novel Inside Straight, Hardhat deduces that Noel Matthews's hidden superpower is shapeshifting because Noel was able to pass as an attractive woman during the exercise, and Hardhat would rather deal with Shapeshifting Squick than accept the Unsettling Gender Reveal. Noel really is a shapeshifter but was not in fact in a female form during the exercise. When informed of some of the facts, Hardhat drops his theory.
  • Worm: A minor moment in the final chapters, where Tattletale (whose superpower is basically a Sherlock Scan combined with Bat Deduction) is trying to manipulate Lung (a former enemy with several reasons to hate them) to fight with them. She brings up the Yàngbǎn, a group of Chinese parahumans, as one enemy they're going to have to fight, apparently hoping that the prospect of combating such a powerful group would appeal to Lung's Blood Knight tendencies. Lung agrees without any resistance, surprising her. What Tattletale didn't know is that the Yàngbǎn had previously held Lung prisoner and attempted to brainwash him, so he hates them far more than he does the Undersiders. Tattletale then complains about getting credit for brilliant insights she didn't actually have.
  • At the end of the first year, Catarina Claes from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! learns that Maria, her friend and the protagonist of the Otome game Fortune Lover, isn't romancing any of the boys. Since she still believes she is the game's villainess, she thinks that Maria has taken the "friendship route" with everyone, rather than Maria having a crush on Catarina instead.
  • Discussed in "The Fire Rose", one of the Elemental Masters stories by Mercedes Lackey as a warning from a teacher to a student against trusting the information in old grimoires too much, even if a grimoire is genuinely useful for learning magic. The example given is that one such old grimoire states that to free a town of plague, one must first free it of rats, which is of course true. The problem is that the grimoire's writer believed that the reason for this was because both plague and rats fall under the auspices of the Moon, so the rats were spreading plague by bringing the influence of the Moon into people's houses.
  • In "The Winter Warriors", part of the Alternate History series The Big One, admiral Brinkmann realizes that the German fleet is about to suffer a carrier strike when his recon planes are shot down by US carrier planes but manage to report the encounter and their position. While the US fleet is launching a carrier strike on the German fleet, what Brinkmann's scouts found was a hunter-killer group (two light carriers plus destroyers, that look for U-bootes to destroy them), while the actual carrier groups (five of them, each counting five fleet carriers) are in a completely different position.

    Other 
  • In Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities, he uses the product 1/4 X 8/5 = 18/45 as an example of the result being right (18/45 can be simplified to 2/5, the correct answer), but the methodology being completely wrong.
    • A similar idea is to simplify the fraction 16/64 by cancelling out the 6s to leave 1/4, which again just happens to be the correct answer.
      • 19/95, 26/65 and 49/98 are other options.
  • On an episode of the Newlywed Game, a woman was asked how many decades old her mother-in-law was. The woman smiled and said, "10," getting a laugh from the audience. When the host asked the husband how many decades old his mother was, he said, "I don't know what that is, but my mother is 44. If there are four years in a decade, she's 10 decades."
  • The myth of Icarus holds that his wings, made of wax, evaporated in proximity to the sun. As Icarus Allusion indicates, higher altitude would actually mean a reduction in temperature and therefore cause the wax to become brittle and shatter. Either way, Icarus doesn't make it out alive.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney does this a lot, often realizing the culprit before fully understanding their motive or method:
    • In Case 4 of Justice for All, Adrian Andrews actually did stab Juan Corrida and frame Matt for the murder, but she did it after Juan was already dead.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Drew Misham, an art forger, had a postage stamp framed for whatever reason. Said postage stamp happened to have a powerful poison on its back. Seven years later, Drew dies from licking the stamp to use it. It's suggested that the art forger had the stamp framed because he knew it was poisoned. Apollo, assuming this to be true, makes quite an impressive leap of logic: Drew is not the art forger, but rather he acts as the face of one, namely his daughter Vera. SHE had the stamp framed, allegedly suspecting the poison, and later Drew, who suspected nothing, used the stamp and died of the poison. Almost all of the above is true... except the stamp was framed because Drew's daughter liked the picture on it.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, one of Sebastian's's early arguments actually turns out to be a case of this. Horace Knightley is found dead in prison, so Sebastian has Simon Keyes arrested simply because he happened to be Knightley's friend, then comes up with a flimsy reasoning involving a chess board he sent to the prison as a gift containing a chisel in a secret compartment. Everyone both in-universe and out laughs this off at the time, however, it is revealed much later that Keyes is the true Big Bad of the game, and while he didn't personally murder Knightley, he did manipulate events with the explicit intention of him ending up dead, the chisel was planted in the compartment for that very purpose, and his motive for doing so did indeed involve their friendship (more specifically, Keyes believed Knightley had betrayed that friendship due to an event Knightley himself doesn't even remember).
    • There's a weird "non-culprit" example in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies. In case 2, much of the case revolves around the fact that nobody is supposed to enter the Forbidden Chamber because supposedly, an evil demon named "Tenma Taro" is locked inside. Naturally, some characters treat this as mere superstition, and some characters treat this as real. It turns out that yes, it's just superstition, there is no demon. But, there is a good reason not to go into the Forbidden Chamber anyway: it turns out that "Tenma Taro" is actually the name of a gold ingot that, when it first appeared, caused the villagers to fight over the gold out of greed, as if they were possessed by monsters. So there's actually a good reason to keep the Forbidden Chamber locked up, because if people saw there was gold in there, they'd start fighting over it again.
    • An out of universe example, from Dual Destinies. The player, especially if they kept up with the promotional material for the game including the initial teaser trailer, is going to assume that Tonate is the culprit of the first case, since he's presented as the obvious guy who really obviously committed the bombing. He IS the culprit of the first case, but not because he's the bomber. The bomber was someone else, which isn't revealed until late into the game.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Joe Darke was a mass murderer and was fully deserving of the death penalty he got. However, the murder he was convicted of that got him executed was of the one guy he didn't kill (although he was going to).
    • In The Great Ace Attorney, Herlock Sholmes does this frequently during his "Great Deductions" (in fitting with his more eccentric than usual characterization). He manages to arrive at the correct conclusions, but through a misinterpretation of the evidence, which Ryunosuke has to work out himself.
  • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Ditzy Genius Miu manages to accurately finger the killer in every trial she participates in, but lacks the deductive reasoning skills to connect the how and why. In the second trial, she says it's suspicious that Kirumi was alone in the gym and accuses her, which ends up being proven right. In the third trial, she accuses Korekiyo of killing Tenko and Angie since Angie's murder weapon came from his lab and he was the first to discover Tenko's body. Lastly, in the final trial when they perform a retrial of the first case, her assessment that Monokuma was the murderer was half-right as the mastermind ended up being the real killer.

    Webcomics 
  • The Order of the Stick: Belkar correctly guesses that Durkon isn't himself after becoming a vampire. His reasoning is that "He had a spell prepared that will actually solve our problem! That proves that he can't possibly be Durkon!" Belkar later reveals that he also is also aware of the more relevant fact that Vampire Durkon behaves like a Fully-Embraced Fiend in unguarded moments.
  • Tales of the Questor: Quentyn Quinn believes that a bunch of human coins are forged because the heads face the wrong way. Unbeknownst to him, the direction the heads face is irrelevant, but the coins are indeed fakes.
  • Handplates: Asgore scolds Gaster for carrying baby Papyrus upside down because it’s not safe. Gaster says that it should be fine because skeletons don’t have physical brains, veins, or bloodflow that could be negatively affected from being held upside down, but Asgore gets proven right a second later when Papyrus’ head falls off and hits the tabletop with a “clonk”. (Thankfully, he’s fine afterwards, just dizzy.)
  • Homestuck: Betty "Batterwitch" Crocker is an evil alien empress, plotting dominion over the entire world, and was also the cruel stepmother of John's Nanna and Jade's Grandpa. John knows none of this, but has a deep dislike of her because he's getting tired of cake.
  • Kevin & Kell: When Corrie is disguised as a wolf by using Ralph's skin, Fiona notices something suspicious about her. Corrie thinks it's that Fiona has discovered her identity, but Fiona says that Corrie is Ralph's daughter. Corrie dismisses this theory, reasoning that Fiona only came to that conclusion due to Ralph's scent on the skin, until Bruno later finds out her origins, and discovers that this is the truth.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • In an early strip, when the group realizes they have one too many members to be the Light Warriors (five instead of four). Fighter doesn't understand why, because he forgot to count himself, so he thinks there's only four. When the others point this out, Fighter says that the King might make the same mistake and forget to count himself. However, he then discards this idea... because he realizes that the King would think that Fighter is so awesome he should count for two Light Warriors. (For even further irony, his first conclusion about the King was far from unlikely.)
    • While the group is searching for the "invisible sky castle" that contains the Air Orb, Fighter points up at a sky castle floating overhead. Black Mage angrily asks him if it looks like an invisible sky castle, and Fighter responds that he's never seen one. When Black Mage asks why he's never seen one, Fighter thinks for a minute and says "Because they're quite rare?" Black Mage is enraged at the fact that this is technically true. For bonus points, Fighter turns out to be right; the story about the sky castle containing the Orb being invisible was completely made up, so his guess that the very visible sky castle was the right one was correct.
  • Drowtales:
    • The Kyorl'solenurn Clan oppose tainting (the merging of one's aura to a nether being) on religious grounds, believing that it goes against the will of the Goddess Sharess, and make a point to kill any tainted they come across and Mercy Kill members of their own clan who may become tainted by accident. They also oppose the mandatory tainting at the local Wizarding School that's given as a sort of "vaccine" for nether summoners, which turns out to be this trope because almost all of the seeds being given out are intentionally faulty and will kill their users within fifty years but the Kyorl don't know this.
    • Quain'tana's opposition to her daughter Mel'arnach's relationship with Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen is primarily based on Snadhya being the eldest daughter of one of Quain's greatest enemies, but after Snadhya lets her Mask of Sanity slip and it's heavily implied she's only using Mel as a pawn, including coldly leaving her to to essentially become a Baby Factory, it's become a case of this.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • In an earlier strip, the math teacher says Grace and Ellen are a mystery that needs solving, and makes a whole bunch of calculations based on their statistics. To their shock, he claims the result is "a duplicate squirrel of some sort", before admitting he was just messing with them and the whole thing was gibberish. Unbeknownst to the teacher, Ellen is a duplicate of Elliot, and Grace is a human/squirrel/alien hybrid shapeshifter whose normal form resembles a humanoid squirrel.
    • Voltaire comes to the correct conclusion that there are more seers than just the two he knows about. (warning: spoilers). However, his reasons are a little bit off. Magic just underwent a small change, meaning that someone must have talked it out of making a large change. Voltaire assumes that Arthur wouldn't want to make such an argument, and that Tedd was in no shape emotionally to do so, meaning that some unknown third seer must have been present to do the talking. There are other seers. About a thousand of them, in fact. However, the only other seer who spoke with The Will of Magic was a kid named Van who didn't really do much. In reality, Tedd was the one who convinced magic not to change.
  • Girl Genius:
    • When the castle traps a group in a room to request repairs Professor Tiktoffen yells that they're doomed and can't leave since no-one has made any progress in the room and the castle keeps killing people there. Theo on the other hand notices that Gil is looking in glee at the broken mechanisms and already has figured out that the reason they're going to be stuck is because Gil has entered The Madness Place and isn't going to walk away from it:
      Theo: Uh oh. You may be right but for the wrong reason. Gil?
      Gil: Oooh—This looks... Interesting!
    • Oublenmach, one of the Storm King conspirators, claims that Van Heliotrope is the most important man in Mechanicsburg because he is the ringer of the Doom Bell, which announces the return of the Heterodyne and opens their treasure vault. Van is the most important man in town, but because he's the castle seneschal (essentially the mayor), a position that was supposed to be extinct. "Doom Bell ringer" is an entirely ceremonial position; the Castle can ring the Bell on its own.
    • The abbot deduces that the woman one of his monks is trying to kill is the Lady Heterodyne, because why else would Storm Lord assassins be on the train? The monk in question admits that she is the Heterodyne, but the assassins were after a completely different woman.
  • Freefall:
    • During the debate about robot rights, someone in the audience asks how something that isn't alive can be self-aware, and is mollified when another audience member offers vampires and ghosts as an example. Max, who's arguing for robot rights, is horrified. "That was a smart question! Don't accept a dumb answer!"
    • Mr Kornada is faced with the Trolley Problem. He states that he would direct it to hit one person, rather than five, a position that many people hold to be the most moral option... but his reasoning is that it would do less damage to the trolley, which, while certainly a true statement, is definitely not what the Trolley Problem is about.
  • TREVOR: Dr. Stern tells Dr. Maddison to stop pretending like the latter is above what they’ve done, and that Dr. Maddison has as much blood on his hands as he does. He’s referring to the experiments done on Trevor and other test subjects, but doesn’t realize Dr. Maddison arranged for Trevor to escape and exact bloody revenge on him and the rest of the medical team.
  • In a (spoilery) fancomic set at the end of "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", Berry Punch realizes she is, in fact, inebriated. This is, however, because something has happened she did not expect any time soon.
  • In Weak Hero, Hyeonjin is the only member of Gerard's band who objects to taking on Sinma Entertainment as their agent. It turns out to be a bad idea, as the agents end up scamming the kids, but Hyeonjin was only objecting on the grounds that taking on an agent would be selling out.
  • Strip 5 of Gone with the Blastwave has a pair of Reds spot some Yellows with a tank, so one Red suggests to that the other "run into the middle so I can shoot your gas tank and take them all out with the blast." The other protests it's not a good idea... because the blast wouldn't be enough to take them all out.
    Red 1: ...Wait. That's the only reason not to do it?!
    Red 2: I mean, it's a good plan.

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In Reconstruction, when the reds are fighting Washington and Church.
      Sarge: Alright, men. Stand down.
      Grif: Stand down? We outnumber them three to two. That's like a three with a two. That's... 32% advantage... if you Carry the One.
      Simmons: I don't want to know how you came up with that, but you're actually right!
    • Used again in Revelation (Season 8), when Sarge guesses that Washington killed Donut and Lopez and took Simmons prisoner due to Simmons answering the radio wrong, using an obvious lie about said radio and a lack of tinkling glasses in the background, but this trope comes into effect when he analyzes Simmons "coded messages":
      Sarge: He also mentioned that the weather was rainier. And as we all know, Mt. Rainier is the biggest landmass in the state of... Washington.
      Grif: We do? I mean, we do!
      Sarge: How many Washingtons do we know?
      Grif: Wait, did he mean Agent Washington?
      Sarge: And who's the biggest mass we know associated with Washington?
      Grif: The Meta!
      Sarge: So the Meta and Washington have teamed up to kill Donut and Lopez, and now they're holding Simmons and Doc prisoner.
      Grif: We have to help 'em! Wait, Doc? Ho- how do you know he's there?
      Sarge: Please, Grif, it's so obvious. I don't wanna insult your intelligence by explaining every little detail.
  • In Bravemule (a Dwarf Fortress story that's out there even by DF standards), Kou the warrior is told to raise crops. This is the rationale she presents for watering the field:
    Kou's narration: "Drowning fire that murders the crop murders the fire, therefrom I surmise drowning the seeds would unmurder the crop."
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Before leaving for Namek, Krillin put in a massive life insurance policy, to be claimed by his nonexistent identical twin brother Juan. And since he does die on Namek, he claims the money. He doesn't enjoy his wealth for long; the government investigates him for insurance fraud, thinking that he faked his death.
    • Bulma starts hitting on Trunks in episode 33. Who, unbeknownst to her but well known to the audience, is her Kid from the Future.
      Bulma: So hey, like just gonna throw this out there. You're really cute.
      Trunks: Well, you know, my mom always said I was a cute kid.
      Bulma: Oh, a momma's boy huh? I'll be your mommy. (saucy wink)
      Trunks: (Strained smile; internally) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!
    • After Goku uses Instant Transmission to remove Cell from Earth, King Kai comments "I'll see you soon, my friend". Cue Goku teleporting in with the soon to explode Cell.
  • Played for Drama in Demo Reel, as Uncle Yo assumes Donnie's mother told him to stay out of Hollywood and that's why he hates it so much. He does hate Hollywood because of his mom, but only because the unfair system made her kill herself.
  • One segment of AMV Hell pokes fun at some E = MC Hammer equations on a blackboard by pointing out all the algebraic mistakes in them. It further notes that the final question actually turns out to have the correct answer, despite making several mistakes in the solution.
  • In Danganronpa Abridged Thing, an "abridged parody" of Danganronpa: The Animation, during the first trial Touko Fukawa says the murderer has to be a guy, because only "cis white male" scum are capable of doing something so horrible. (She blows Naegi off when he points out that they're all Japanese). It later turns out that the murderer is male, but Fukawa reached that correct conclusion through an idiotic train of logic.
  • The Cynical Brit: TB concludes that Wheatley in Portal 2 is untrustworthy...because of his accent.
  • The Nostalgia Critic asks Evilina in The Cat in the Hat if the movie has broken him. The reason why he's asking is because he has no jokes to make for a scene, but he's right for other reasons; like how it made a Papa Wolf hit a child and make her cry.
  • When Turpster plays Trouble in Terrorist Town with Sips, Hat Films and the other members of the Yogscast, he has a habit of murdering people without reason when playing as the detective. Quite a few times when he commits RDM (killing without good reason, long story short), the person in question actually was the murderer or a traitor, although it still counts as breaking the rules and earns him a lot of flak from the other players. He ends up pressing Lewis Brindley's Berserk Button in particular, and gets killed twice for this.
  • The Noob webseries and comics has Dark Avenger getting regularly beaten by Sparadrap's Invincible Incompetent. This leads Dark Avenger to believe that Sparadrap is actually an elite MMORPG player displaying Obfuscating Stupidity. One of the things Dark Avenger's superiors have against the theory is the reason why an elite player would pretend to be a Noob. Dark Avenger's reply to it is that Sparadrap is probably a spy for his faction's elite guild. Actual facts: Dark Avenger's defeats are 95% Sparadrap's Invincible Incompetent and 5% Sparadrap's elite player younger brother taking over his avatar. The brother in question has a record of showing up with his own avatar or taking over Sparadrap's at the right time on other occasions precisely because he'd been keeping an eye on Sparadrap's screen.
  • This happens to poor Zylus (another Yogscast member) whenever he plays Trouble in Terrorist Town. Rythian ends up committing RDM by saying that he just "knows" Zylus to be guilty — he is, but Rythian's only defence is "is it RDM when, in your heart you know it to be true". Lewis then kills him for being too quiet.
  • Wrestle Wrestle: Spoony insisted that the anger over the 2015 Royal Rumble wasn't about Roman Reigns winning instead of Daniel Bryan as much as that the WWE management decided who they were going to push over the wishes of the fans.
  • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Alucard concludes that since the Nazis were organized and their then-mysterious enemies are organized, their enemies must be Nazis. That he's correct only by sheer coincidence doesn't stop him from rubbing it in Integra's face when it turns out to be true. Later in the series, the one building in London the Major forbids being razed to the ground is the Holocaust Museum, because "no one will deny what we did." He's a Nazi, and a particularly bloodthirsty, war-hungry example at that. Of course he'd be proud. That he's also come to a morally and factually correct conclusion is happen-stance.
  • Paladin King Trevor from the Lamia Daughter Quest roleplay is a Deconstruction of this. He claims that the Citadel kingdom is evil, and he's absolutely right about that, but he's wrong about pretty much every particular. He believes that it's evil in an entirely mundane way, while it's actually a Genius Loci that feeds on periodic human sacrifices and acts like the Lily Weatherwax of heroic fantasy. Because of his misconception of Citadel, he ends up playing right into its hands, giving an army to one of its stooges and eventually becoming a pawn himself.
  • In Dorkly's Pokémon Rusty, in Rusty's first gym battle against the clearly-too-strong-for-him Blaine, Rusty, after sending two clearly disadvantaged Pokémon to die, sends out his Cubone. Blaine praises Rusty for actually thinking straight as Cubone is a Ground-type, which is super effective against his Fire-type Growlithe. Rusty scoffs at Blaine, calling him an idiot, as Cubone is a "Bone-type" and dogs have a weakness for bones. It ends up being a moot point anyway as Growlithe is too high-leveled for Cubone to do anything.
  • In NicoB's Let's Play of Ace Attorney Investigations 2, he figured out that Simon Keyes was the true mastermind of the game well before the reveal because he mistakenly thought that Simon had the same hair color as the murdered Isaac Dover (Dover had brown hair, Simon had naturally black hair but dyed it red) and hence had to be his son out for revenge which caused him to subsequently spot several more connections the mastermind had with previous cases. Ironically, Simon himself mistakenly thought that Isaac was his father too, making this a weirdly meta example.
  • Speaking of Ace Attorney, Lucahjin does this with alarming frequency in her own Ace Attorney LPs, following completely incorrect lines of logic but always arriving at the correct piece of evidence to present.
  • The "Sleepwaker" arc in Atop the Fourth Wall sees Pollo, Harvey Finevoice, and Linksano go What the Hell, Hero? when Linkara resorted to spying on them after discovering that 90s Kid was working with Lord Vyce. Turns out 90s Kid has good reason to be working with Vyce—the Entity has hijacked Linkara's body and used the pretext of fearing that Vyce would take the Entity's place to justify his actions.
  • During the Game Grumps review of Punch-Out!! on Wii they remark that the developers can't be accused of racism because they, as a Japanese team, put in the self-deprecating Piston Hondo. They're right that such an accusation would hold little merit, but it's because of Bear Hugger as the game (Just the Wii version specifically) was made by Canadian developers Next Level Gaming Inc. In fact, they went out of their way to pick Bear Hugger as the only character to return from Super Punch Out!!.
  • Jenny Nicholson's review of the book Trigger Warning, a book which lauds Audie Murphy as an example of the "hard man" who didn't whine about needing safe spaces, points this out about a quote boasting "his safe space was behind a gun." The book's characterization of Murphy is horribly off; he did suffer from PTSD and spent much of his later life as an advocate for awareness, treatment, and sensitivity on the subject, and his was so bad that he ended up using a Pillow Pistol as a coping mechanism, as he was unable to sleep otherwise. So his "safe space" was behind a gun... but not at all for the reasons the writers imagined.
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on YouTube and Twitch. In one instance, a scammer directed Kitboga to install a 32-bit version of TeamViewer, which didn't work right, because his computer uses a 64-bit version of Windows. Because it wasn't working right, the scammer became convinced that he was talking to a scambaiter, which was true, but didn't have anything to with why TeamViewer wasn't working properly.


 
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South Park

Cartman is against an illegal relationship because... he caught the pair making out in the halls without a hall pass.

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