‘If just x percent…’

I don’t know if this tends to get cataloged along with the rest of the common argument fallacies, but it should. It’s annoying :-).

You probably can think of a number of times you’ve heard an argument that starts like “If just one percent of these people…”, and ends with some spectacular outcome.

Well, guess what? There are lots of numbers smaller than one percent! For example, in case you don’t believe me, 0.0001% is smaller than 1%. Zero itself is. There is even, some speculate, meaning in what are called ‘negative numbers’. Just because 1% seems ‘small’ when we ponder it disconnected from any real quantity, it doesn’t follow that there’s always 1% of something to be had to realize some particular goal you dream up.

End rant.

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