I sometimes encounter a view that only perfect forecasting is really forecasting.

For example, if I claim that I have a model which forecasts election results, people will think I'm making the absurd claim that I can forecast election results with perfect accuracy. When I explain that my forecasts have errors but the errors are, say, 10% smaller than chance would suggest, I am told that I'm "not really" forecasting.

Is there a formal name for this fallacy? I know that this is a special case of a fallacy of equivocation, assuming the word forecast is being used colloquially when it is being used technically. But is there a more specific name?

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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't call not understanding statistics a "fallacy"... $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Jun 28, 2015 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, but I'm asking because of my experience that people are more willing to accept that they are in error when they are told that they are committing a named fallacy, rather than being told that they do not understand something. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2015 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ So make-up some name based on beliving-named-fallacies fallacy you observed... Related: dilbert.com/strip/2008-05-08 $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:11
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    $\begingroup$ And seriously: your clients/audience would learn more if you described them your method and results, rather then throwing some "technical" name that "explains" their lack of understanding. Names do not really solve things. $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:21


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