只要事件的一系列实际原因被减少或增加到所谓的原因与实际效果之间不再存在真正的，因果关系的点，就会发生称为过度简化和夸大的因果关系谬误。另一个可能导致过度简化的重要动力是过度使用批判性思维中的一个重要工具：奥卡姆的剃刀。换句话说，多种原因被减少到只有一个或几个（过度简化）或者几个原因被乘以许多（夸大）。也被称为“还原性谬误”，因为它涉及减少原因的数量，过度简化似乎更经常发生，也许是因为有太多表面上很好的理由来简化事物。善意的作家和演说者如果不小心，很容易陷入过度简化的陷阱。简化的一个动力是给所有希望改善写作风格的人提供的基本建议：不要陷入细节之中。良好的写作需要清晰准确，从而帮助人们理解一个问题，而不是让他们更加困惑。然而，在这个过程中，作者可以轻易地遗漏太多细节，省略需要包含的关键信息。这是不假设事件的因素或原因太多而不是必要的原则，并且通常表示“更简单的解释是可取的”。虽然解释应该不是必要的复杂，但必须非常小心，不要构造一个不必要的复杂的解释。阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦（Albert Einstein）的一句名言称：“一切都应尽可能简单，但并不简单。”以下是无神论者经常听到的过度简化的例子：1。自公立学校禁止有组织的祷告以来，学校暴力事件一直在上升，学业成绩也有所下降。因此，应该重新引入祷告，从而改善学业。这一论点显然受到过度简化的影响，因为它假设学校中的问题（暴力增加，学业成绩下降）可归因于一个原因：失去有组织的，国家强制的祈祷。社会中的无数其他因素被完全忽视，好像社会和经济条件没有以任何相关方式改变。在上述例子中揭示问题的一种方法是略微改写：2。学校暴力事件有所上升，学术表现因种族隔离被禁止而下降。因此，应重新引入隔离，从而改善学校。据推测，周围有种族主义者会同意上述内容，但在＃1中提出论证的人中，很少有人会在＃2中提出论点 – 但是，它们在结构上是相同的。这两个过于简单化的例子的原因实际上是另一种因果关系谬误，称为后顽抗谬误。在现实世界中，事件通常具有多个相交的原因，这些原因共同产生我们看到的事件。但是，这种复杂性常常难以理解，甚至更难以改变;不幸的结果是我们简化了事情。有时这不是那么糟糕，但有时它可能是灾难性的。可悲的是，政治是一个过于简单化的领域。这个国家目前缺乏道德标准是由比尔克林顿担任总统时设定的糟糕榜样造成的。当然，克林顿可能没有设定可以想象的最好的例子，但认为他的榜样对整个国家的道德负责是不合理的。再一次，有各种各样的因素可以影响个人和群体的道德。当然，并非所有过度简化的例子都认为是完全不相关的原因：4。今天的教育不像以前那么好 – 显然，我们的老师没有做好自己的工作。自新总统就职以来，经济一直在改善 – 显然他做得很好，对国家来说也是一种资产。尽管＃4是一个相当严厉的陈述，但不能否认教师的表现会影响学生接受的教育质量。因此，如果他们的教育不是很好，那么一个值得关注的地方就是教师的表现。然而，过分简化的谬论是建议教师是唯一甚至是主要原因。
The causation fallacies known as oversimplification and exaggeration occur whenever the series of actual causes for an event is either reduced or multiplied to the point where there is no longer a genuine, causal connection between the alleged causes and the actual effect. Another important impetus which can lead to oversimplification is the overuse of an important tool in critical thinking: Occam’s Razor. In other words, multiple causes are reduced to just one or a few (oversimplification) or a couple of causes are multiplied into many (exaggeration). Also known as the “reductive fallacy” because it involves reducing the number of causes, oversimplification seems to occur more often, perhaps because there are so many ostensibly good reasons for simplifying things. Well-intentioned writers and speakers can readily fall into the trap of oversimplification if they are not careful. One impetus for simplification is the basic advice given to all who want to improve their writing style: don’t get bogged down in details. Good writing needs to be clear and precise, thus helping people to understand an issue rather than confusing them even more. In the process, however, a writer can easily leave out too many details, omitting critical information which needs to be included. This is the principle of not assuming too many factors or causes for an event than are necessary and is often expressed by saying “the simpler explanation is preferable.” Although it is true that an explanation should be no more complicated than necessary, one must be very careful not to construct an explanation which is less complicated than necessary. A famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein states, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Here is an example of oversimplification which atheists often hear: 1. School violence has gone up and academic performance has gone down ever since organized prayer was banned at public schools. Therefore, prayer should be reintroduced, resulting in school improvement. This argument obviously suffers from oversimplification because it assumes that problems in schools (increasing violence, decreasing academic performance) can be attributed to a single cause: the loss of organized, state-mandated prayers. A myriad of other factors in society are completely ignored as if the social and economic conditions haven’t changed in any relevant way. One way to reveal the problem in the above example is to reword it slightly: 2. School violence has gone up and academic performance has gone down ever since racial segregation was banned. Therefore, segregation should be reintroduced, resulting in school improvement. Presumably, there are racists around who would agree with the above, but very few of those who make the argument in #1 will also make the argument in #2 – yet, they are structurally the same. The reasons for both examples of oversimplification is actually another Causation Fallacy, known as Post Hoc Fallacy. In the real world, events typically have multiple, intersecting causes which together produce the events we see. Often, however, such complexities are difficult to understand and even more difficult to change; the unfortunate result is that we simplify things. Sometimes that isn’t so bad, but sometimes it can be disastrous. Sadly, politics is one field where oversimplification occurs more often than not. 3. The nation’s current lack of moral standards was caused by the poor example set by Bill Clinton when he was president. Granted, Clinton may not have set the best example imaginable, but it isn’t reasonable to argue that his example is responsible for the morality of the entire nation. Once again, there is a wide variety of different factors which can influence the morality of individuals and groups. Of course, not all examples of oversimplification identify as the cause something which is completely irrelevant: 4. Education today isn’t as good as it used to be – obviously, our teachers are not doing their jobs. 5. Since the new president took office, the economy has been improving – obviously he is doing a good job and is an asset to the nation. Although #4 is a rather harsh statement, it cannot be denied that teacher performance does impact the quality of education which students receive. Thus, if their education isn’t very good, one place to look is teacher performance. However, it is a fallacy of oversimplification to suggest that teachers are the sole or even primary cause.