The Hasty Generalization

Suppose that a father and son are driving down the road.  The car swerves off the road, hits a tree, and the father is killed.  The boy is rushed by ambulance to a local hospital where he is prepared for surgery.  The surgeon upon seeing him says, “I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my son!”  How can this be?

This apparent paradox is caused by the reader making a hasty generalization.  If the surgeon was the boy’s father, then the statement can’t be true.  The paradox is resolved when it is revealed that the surgeon is a woman.  The boy’s mother.

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