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my logical conclusions

IMAO who is usually right and often very funny, writes:

As Opinion Journal pointed out, this poll shows that the average Republican knows more about the Democrat presidential nominees than the average Democrat, even though there ain't a way in God's name we'd ever vote for them. And I remember seeing some article arguing that we're the party of the dumb. It's a fact that, if someone closely follows politics, odds are he or she is a Republican. Draw your own logical conclusion from that.

well, sorry, but the implied argument is not valid.

the implied argument is that paying attention to politics causes people to be Republican, and that we know this because the poll correlated paying attention to politics with being a Republican (and i expect other polls have too).

BTW I happen to think the conclusion is true: I do think paying attention causes people to become Republican. I just don't think we can say this is true *because* of the poll.

the problem is CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION (which i've never ever once had someone even try to disagree with). see, from the poll all we get is correlation. the causation could be something else entirely besides the one IMAO picked. like maybe something about being a Republican in the first place makes you more inclined to watch the news. or maybe Republicans tend to go to Church more, and Churches tend to promote political thinking (erm, maybe not that one). or maybe religious people care more. or it could be any cause, for all the poll tells us.


A) Frank J visited *my blog* (see comments). i belive that makes my blog famous by association, so you should visit more often now, and make your friends visit, and stuff.

B) Frank did not intend the argument I said he implied. My apologies for the error. I think he could have been clearer, but he's right that he didn't actually say anything wrong, I just falsely assumed he meant something bad.

C) I'll leave this up because other, lesser people than Frank J might argue that way on purpose (maybe a liberal) so the correction would be important then.

Elliot Temple on January 14, 2004

Comments (4)

I know all about the scientific process; I said draw your own logical conclusion, which, to me, would be Republicans tend to be more informed on politics, not that following politics makes you a Republican.

Frank J. at 6:27 AM on January 14, 2004 | #308

People are not always clear, but that doesn't justify a misinterpreting them in the *worst possible* ways whenever they write ambiguously!

One should either point out *all* possible interpretations, or at least label them accurately ("this is the worst possible way of interpreting X, which, you never know, could possibly have been the intention, if such-and-such person suddenly started acting like a moron" or whatever).

Making negative *assumptions* about the meaning of the words of people whose ideas you generally agree with, and whose morality and writing you respect, is both irrational and destructive.

In fact, I think doing that is probably immoral. It can certainly be offensive and hurtful (and no doubt that is actually sometimes the intention of people who engage in that kind of pseudo-"criticism").

Alice at 7:36 AM on January 14, 2004 | #309


I'm going to assume your first sentence (which is trivially true) is meant to have the implication that I violated this truth. And by doing so I refute the criticism by showing that sometimes we do have to interpret what other people say when trying to talk (which is also a simple truth).

Pointing out all possible interpretations would exceed my 75 megs of webspace, so that's out.

it's not strange to think Frank might be wrong sometimes even though I usually agree with him, because well, I do think he's wrong sometimes, like about children. also this one time he said something that wasn't funny, so his sense of humour must have a flaw in it.

i know you've taken a liking to calling people immoral, but i'm not sure what this adds to your argument. i already knew this was a moral issue.

Elliot at 7:45 AM on January 14, 2004 | #310

fuck you

grga at 2:56 AM on March 29, 2004 | #311

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)