viagra uk boots buy tengo 9 semanas de embarazo puedo usar cytotec 1200 mg zithromax chlamydia benproperine 20 mg prednisone can take 1500 mg metformin once finasteride india 1mg does 1 mg of propecia work reviews of doxycycline finasteride causes acne clomid male dose glucophage y embarazo acquisto viagra generico in contrassegno assicurazione purchase diflucan online no prescription vector ampicillin resistance us generic viagra online danger of using generic viagra diflucan thrush in adults dutasteride with finasteride how many days is it safe to take prednisone best way to use a viagra comprar viagra en guadalajara julphamox 125 mg zoloft where to buy cheap cialis in uae donde puedo comprar cytotec en colima cialis diario generico onde comprar cialis viagra over counter can clomid help with weight gain in men how much does accutane cost the nhs viagra 50mg wirkung zovirax tablets in dublin how to tell fake viagra from real imovane 7 5 mg bivirkninger prednisolone where to buy viagra in hong kong only assistance in paying for cialis brand name of cipla viagra generic viagra usa sildenafil citrate rogaine and propecia purchase zoloft safe early pregnancy where to buy viagra in barbados purchase ciprofloxacin eciwlcodkedefe is generic viagra available in u.s. can you take advil on clomid dog drooling excessive in prednisone cipro numbness in arms buy cialis soft generic doxycycline 100mg thuoc gi tolerance to cialis low dose accutane 20 mg ciprohexal 250mg google uk fertility pills online clomid azithromycin generic for zithromax viagra generic 100mg reviews does generic viagra the same canada viagra online prescription generic viagra from india generic viagra from india fifa 13 pre order cheapest viagra is cialis safe in someone without ed viagra home office in toronto best dosage for daily cialis high st sildenafil cost cenforce professional sildenafil review best price propecia in uk jason stackhouse viagra advice in buying cialis in bali correct dose of cialis metformina clorhidrato 850 mg indicaciones costo de cialis en panama nozinan 5 mg bivirkninger prednisolone can i take clomid during cycle what does cialis cost per pill pde 5 hemmer viagra online 100 mg pfizer viagra no prescription i need to buy clomid online uk le prix de roaccutane au maroc private prescription cost cialis 150 mg.sildenafil.citrate.is.it.recommended.for.ed what is the use of metformin 500 mg who can prescribe cialis in canada buy cipro online review much does prescription zoloft cost propecia results by users india can you buy viagra at a store metformin hydrochloride drug bank where to get cialis in mexico lasix is used to treat google run buy cialis online come usare il nolvadex ciprofloxacine mylan 500 mg posologie cialis 10mg nebenwirkungen can you take viagra under tongue cialis online rischi best diet while metformin zits after accutane buy brand viagra no prescription canada cialis generico farmacia europea brand names for tadalafil buy propranolol er online metformin 500 mg tab zyd is female viagra real doxycycline clarithromycin together generic viagra overseas metformin is it safe for pregnancy cialis tadalafil 5mg in grimsby uk cost of 12.5mg lasix from vet ana e os 7 generico de cialis zoloft pill stuck in throat burning after vomiting prices viagra dubai cialis black online mastercard canada av reciprocating tachycardia svt in infant usage of metformin hydrochloride cheap zovirax cream uk prednisone 2 mg days is it safe to drink while on doxycycline nolvadex 20 mg generic viagra prix au canada atibax ciprofloxacina 500 mg para que sirve can cialis be dissolved in a drink monthly costs propecia walmart 25 mg viagra how can use of viagra viagra and testosterone treatment how to take ciprofloxacin 500 mg donde comprar propecia en argentina finasteride 1 mg mecanismo de accion tadalafil 10 mg from india bula do cialis 50mg viagra buying online cialis in amsterdam kaufen success in pregnancy with metformin can i take doxycycline for years cialis 5mg se puede usar con doxyciclene costa del cytotec drug is it bad to take viagra everyday a history of european socialism was written by cialis 20 mg vs doxycycline 100mg capsule image cialis in 20s can you buy sildenafil can you take acetaminophen with doxycycline comprar cytotec para abortar online en new york best way get pregnant using clomid role of propranolol in anxiety prix cialis 20 cipro 500 mg precio en mexico viagra buy singapore condo how can i buy viagra without seeing a doctor viagra online prescription required pharmacy is it safe to eat grapefruit while taking metformin which cost more viagra or cialis is it allowed to buy viagra in istanbul viagra for men south africa price prednisone weight gain 10 mg how to buy nolvadex without being ripped off good viagra online zithromax 1 gram dose buy online prix viagra pharmacie maroc proper liquid cialis dosage cialis generic 5 mg should i take nolvadex and clomid how much is for real viagra ciprofloxacino capsulas 500 mg para que sirve ritemed metformin 500 mg propecia 1mg ireland viagra oder cialis how many mg of zoloft for anxiety what is ampicillin used for in humans deprax 100 mg 60 comprimidos viagra how long before zoloft kicks in for anxiety best age to take propecia milk of magnesia inactive ingredients in metformin metformin ukparks generic viagras vs real viagra where to purchase menarini dapoxetine in sg prednisolone liquid inactive ingredients in prilosec hard sell the evolution of a viagra salesman. viagra pill splitters at walmart vitamins to take with clomid is metformin in liquid form propecia 1 mg achat best lip balm with accutane viagra generico in farmacia quando hubs can you dilute viagra in water cheapest viagra in za accutane best dose usa viagra china zoloft and 100 mg how long how much mg of viagra should i take discus the difference between cialis and generic cialis cialis reduced prices why take lasix and aldactone together generic forms metformin viagra erection review cheap viagra 100 ml for .80 cents sildenafil citrate tablets kaufen provigil viagra for the brain clomid 100mg and trigger shot cost viagra london soho house where can i get viagra in cape town pomada talsutin generico do viagra lasix in radiology cialis street price ciprofloxacin 500 mg 100 count bottle rocket metformin 500 mg dan kehamilan how to take doxycycline for lyme disease does doxycycline cause hot flushes generic viagra no prescription using mastercard prednisone use in breastfeeding doxycycline 100 price metformin 850 mg tablets diabetes medication cytotec generico intercambiable is it safe to chew viagra uk finasteride dr singh viagra 100 mg for masturbation cozumel pahrmacies price viagra can clomid cause bad breath nolvadex tabs price do parlodel and clomid work well together cytotec buy now in bronx pilule viagra prix fixe que causa la ciprofloxacina generic zoloft versus name brand ampicillin bio basic canada order viagra online australian 250 mg viagra on line free viagra with every order retina specialist in vermont health buy england finasteride can i cut ic metformin hcl er in half cheap generic tadalafil cipro dosage for uti in elderly si joint orthopedic specialist in dallas filinar generico de cialis buying viagra in camden cuanto vale cialis 20 mg prednisone mg 10 how do you get doxycycline lb agar ampicillin concentration in agar price of viagra in costa rica para se usa metformin 500 mg cheap generic black cialis propranolol 40 mg en espanol tadalafil 60 mg erfahrungen smart ganfort colirio generico de cialis is 100mg clomid better than 50mg battery operated reciprocating saw review is viagra safe for diabetes wo kann man sildenafil rezeptfrei kaufen drinking on clomid clomid uk boots shoes trade name of doxycycline in india how much is viagra in gnc sildenafil como usar cialis viagra generic. paypal walmart price viagra does viagra increase libido in women axapharm viagra kaufen china buy viagras uk vibramycin safe during pregnancy starnoc 20 mg cialis is 20 mg of cialis enough changing finasteride brands if you take a 20 mg of cialis how long does it last viagra fucking timming medicine in urdu translate can you take a viagra and cialis together ampicillin 500 mg what is it for buy generic viagra online europe best foundation with accutane cialis similar drugs why increase clomid dosage viagra capital uk cialis case marketing best over the counter viagra substitute australia will propecia counter testosterone levels cheap generic viagra from australia viagra einnahme tipps name brand cialis discount from where i can buy viagra in karachi sito affidabile cialis generico where to find over the counter viagra guisantes secos donde comprar viagra buy viagra uk yahoo fantasy when during your cycle do you take clomid cialis brand name prices man viagra pills zoloft and diovan price of viagra in korea buy for birds doxycycline no prescription buy viagra generic uk viagra retail shop list in hyderabad is viagra safe after open heart surgery how much does cialis cost after insurance prednisone price list what days are best to take clomid for twins generic brands of propecia cefdinir vs zithromax generic viagra stomach problems propecia sales uk buy viagra online with cash metformin and weight loss is anyone selling clomid in calgary xusal saft beipackzettel ciprofloxacin metformin in pcos dose safe use of cialis can i take viagra with yohimbe how should 4 500 mg er metformin be taken where to buy priligy in singapore come acquistare viagra senza ricetta in farmacia vgs pharmacy viagra prices which is stronger cialis or viagra donde puedo comprar cytotec caracas cialis price vs viagra discount viagra perscription drug nose bleeds on accutane sildenafil citrate 100mg made in india who makes zoloft generic dapoxetine available in the us strodival mr kaufen rezeptfrei viagra how often should i take 10 mg of cialis medguideindia find brand by generic cialis brandalley kuwas viagra medicamento nolvadex 20 mg pct nolvadex clomid dosage extended release metformin in pregnancy what is the age limit for buying viagra viagra availability in kuwait metformin axcount 1000 mg filmtabletten whats in redbull viagra local viagra in kolkata illegal use of viagra blood in sperm after taking viagra canadian pharmacy cialis cost cheapest kamagra and cialis uk finasteride pricing walmart zoloft vs celexa diffrence in medication tadalafil 5 mg without a prescription tesco tadalafil 10mg prices buy 40 mg cialis propranolol 60 mg cause acne cialis prescription or over the counter finasteride australia generic viagra bestellen zonder recept prednisone 5 day 20 mg tadalafil in the us mifegyne sans cytotec online amlor 10 mg prednisone whats the price for ciprofloxacin hcl pastillas cytotec como se usan las inyecciones cialis in skopje herbal cialis usa minimum effective dose of cialis where can i find generic viagra 50 mg zoloft withdrawal time prednisone tapering ogg 7 mg ibumol 200 mg of zoloft cialis does not work first time order cialis 20mg 20 tabs viagra sale high street generico do viagra ultrafarma bh scared 80 mg accutane 4 months stunt growth viagra 100 vs cialis 20 uses of ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg cialis 20mg used for cialis pro uk four courses of accutane reviews can u take cialis and viagra what is cipro 750 mg best place to buy nolvadex in uk como se deben de usar las pastillas cytotec buy cialis 5mg online in australia propranolol 80 mg sr capsules sizes buy doxycycline tablets online cialis 5 mg boite 28 prix much tramadol safe take zoloft clomid uk boots size viagra substitute australia does doxycycline cause infertility how to have viagra in new zealand how do i know if he uses viagra generic viagra penegra tablets kuwait buying viagra 6generic propecia canada price doxycycline without insurance propranolol prescription uk rx cialis 20 mg tablet can you use differin while on accutane bay generic cialis online ratiopharm sildenafil kaufen bei will doxycycline treat sore throat viagra indian manufacturers of pentachlorophenol buy online female viagra in bangalore india metformin and triamterene wirkung viagra nach samenerguss in der is cialis a prescription drug in us priligy price nz can get accutane online how to get propecia in canada vibramycin 200 mg tabletten zum is it safe to stop taking finasteride nolvadex clomid together zoloft and imitrex propranolol 20 mg capsule viagra one tablet price in chennai safe sites order viagra can i bring propecia into australia how to buy viagra over the counter edmonton pidana 1 5 mg nebenwirkungen viagra sildenafil ukash blood pressure tablets counteracts cialis alendronate 10 mg bijsluiter nolvadex who sells cialis 2.5 mg cytotec price in mercury drugstore philippines hiring can i get priligy on the nhs is novo prednisone 50 mg safe for back pain prepress equipment for sale in uk zithromax propecia generic date 2013 100 mg clomid werkt niet cialis sell in mexico propranolol 80 mg er capsules size is it fine to take cialis 20 mg for the first time ttc clomid 100mg online buy cialis manchester is it allowed to take 40 mg cialis boots price cialis uk 10mg will generic viagra come out how much does propecia cost at walmart in canada what is normal dose of accutane prednisone 10mg dose pack poison ivy costumes farmacia online viagra argentina flag buy lasix overnight efeitos do viagra 50mg what does viagra cost at wal mart finasteride 5 mg for women hair loss studies viagra generic 20 cents from india buy accutane online for cheap viagra asda prices generic sildenafil troches sebaceous hyperplasia accutane how much does cialis cost from a pharmacy is doxycycline from india safe clomid causes depression buy generic viagra professional can amoxil treat urinary tract infection ciprofloxacin ear drops cost uk purchase research chemicals tadalafil pills why viagra do not work in the day for me figueira da india comprimidos viagra 20 mg prozac vs 50 mg zoloft errore stampante generico de cialis glucophage retail price nasal spray viagra buy brand cialis 5 mg donde comprar cialis tenerife comprimidos cialis 5 mg viagra cost of tablet en donde comprar viagra en mexico mild acne accutane results reviews varidasa generico de cialis safe cialis for sale herbal viagra birmingham over the counter not ovulating on clomid 150mg stanza in affitto zona cipro proper dosage of propecia doxycycline 50mg tabets for sale clomid effect in men zoloft drug reviews an you buy over the counter cialis indikasi propranolol 40 mg emesafene zetpillen bijwerkingen cialis how to buy zovirax cream cialis plus modo de usar como usar cytotec chile para sirve medicamento sildenafil 50 mg citrato de sildenafil viagra online boot store coupon using clomid and femara together taking doxycycline in early pregnancy europe generic cialis canadian diabetes guidelines metformin buy 20 mg accutane finasteride now available as a generic can you take doxycycline with acyclovir doxycycline for birds price mercury drug ontario physician specialized in prednisone withdrawel is clomid safe for 45 year olds diflucan in infant glimepiride metformin hydrochloride tablets sibuslim 20 mg cialis can i take spironolactone and doxycycline together what is thw work of sildenafil tablet 120 mg prednisone duration of action do they sale viagra what is metformin 500 mg for viagra cost best price viagra differenze tra viagra generico e originale prednisolone ampullen kaufen und cialis generico sicuro online viagra edmonton canada zoloft 50 mg prise poids uses of clomid medicine using clomid in the early trimester Kiwipolitico » Argument
Posts Tagged ‘Argument’

False Dichotomies and Binary Simplification.

datePosted on 16:46, February 22nd, 2013 by Pablo

One of the most useful analytic constructs in social science is the so-called “great dichotomy.” The idea is to distill an argument into a series of either/or propositions for the purposes of explanatory clarity. The point is not to see the world in binary fashion, as if all matters of social import can be reduced to good/evil, black/white propositions. Instead, the idea is to break down the logical and epistemological sequence embedded as component parts in any particular argument, particularly those of a normative nature. One can then deduce the overall strength of the case being made based on the logical consistency of those parts.

Scholars understand that complex realities are not reducible to mere dichotomies. But using the great dichotomy as part of a methodological approach to social science helps separate that which is relatively binary in nature and that which is a bit more complex. For example, X kills B. One dichotomous question, answerable with a simple yes or no, would be “was X drunk at the time?” That in turn can help illuminate the question as to why X chose to kill, as in “X killed Y after he caught Y in bed with his partner after being out on the piss all night.” The follow-up question would then be “would he have killed if he was not drunk?” If the answer is “yes,” then alcohol is not a significant contributing or mitigating factor. Although there is more to that sorry tale, the use of a dichotomous approach allows focus to narrow on its more complex aspects. That is the stuff of social science explanation. The key is to understand that dichotomous approaches are analytic tools designed to get to the gist of an issue, but are not meant to accurately represent or explain by themselves a larger and more complex question. They help remove extraneous clutter and provide better backdrop clarity on a given issue.

In contrast, binary or dyadic simplification is the practice of reducing explanations of social phenomena to an either/or, good/bad, black/white proposition. Not only is this a practice that deviates from the original mathematical use. It is one that ignore complex realities and which can lead to the construction of false dichotomies that impede clear and rational understanding of the subject in question. The danger of binary simplification is that it not only provides easy answers to complex problems for the intellectually lazy or dishonest. It also provides them with easy enemies and scapegoats because it poses the dichotomy as a zero sum proposition: things that are bad in the world or with which they disagree are the result of some other’s actions, and those actions are inimical, dangerous or otherwise contrary to their preferred version of reality. Thus the “other” must be resisted, vilified and in some cases defeated.

The real sad part is that many people, perhaps most people, are prone to accept binary explanations for complex phenomena. Thus we hear things like “guns do not kill people, people do,” “if gays are allowed to marry than marriage means nothing,” “feminism destroyed the family unit and has made men into girly boy eunuchs,” “abortion is murder,” or “you are either with us or against us.” These are one-line explanations for multi-volume problems or, said differently, comic book answers to complex questions.

I am prompted to write this in light of some stupid remarks in our own comment threads and another one-liner that made the rounds in the aftermath of Mr. Prosser’s cretinous opinions about Muslims. The one-liner, which was bandied about on the comment threads of right-wing blogs as well as those of the NBR goes as follows: “Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.”

I will not dwell on how ignorant that remark is. I will just point out that, among others, the IRA, the Oklahoma City bombers, the Red Army Faction, assorted Latin American guerrilla groups, Greek anarchists, the Tamil Tigers and–dare I say it–a host of non-Muslim governments practice terrorism on a regular and often sustained basis. Yet it is that binary simplification that allows people like Mr. Prosser to believe that actions such as banning Muslim (or presumably Muslim looking, whatever that is) men from boarding planes is the solution to the terrorist problem (and I should point out that the practice of using planes as guided missiles or blowing up commercial airliners did not start with Muslims).

What I find most interesting is that those most prone to adopting binary simplistic approaches to social explanation, to include the construction of false dichotomies in order to make their arguments, tend to inhabit the (dare I say dyadic?) extremes of the ideological spectrum. Those on the Left blame everything on corporate greed while those on the Right blame everything on socialism. White supremacists see evil advancing along racial lines, something that is reciprocated by those who think that only white people can be racist and the plight of non-whites is entirely the fault of white guys, colonial or modern. The arguments on each end blend together depending on the specific subject being addressed (such as arguments in NZ that Pakeha corporate elites or brown dole-bludging treaty troughers are the source of all ruin). In any case, their common bottom line is an absurd reductionism that poses the world in falsely dichotomous, binary terms.

Sadly, people can make a name for themselves by playing the binary simplification game. This is very evident in political blogs and the rhetoric of the ideological extreme. It also is a common tool for politicians of all stripes. The media gravitates to such people because it prefers simple sound bites and one-liners to complex explanations. After all, there is only so much information one can put into a 700 word story or 3 minute video spot. As a result, the practice of binary simplification becomes commonplace and widely accepted as expert commentary or even “truth.”

For a guy who lives in a multivariate universe in which multiple explanations compete for my understanding of what occurs to and around me, it is depressing to think that we are increasingly governed by those who trade in binary simplification and false dichotomies.

Then again, perhaps the beginning of  an explanation for that can itself be posed as a great dichotomy.

 

Although I have enjoyed participating in this weblog collective, I was unprepared to deal with the inability of many commentators to construct a proper argument in the debates about posts. By “inability to construct a proper argument” I do not mean those that  resort to ad hominems and vulgarity (whom we have thankfully excised via moderation). Nor do I refer to those who substitute opinion for fact and make statements or claims on subjects that they clearly know little about.  Instead, I am referring to those otherwise thoughtful commentators who misuse concepts and terms when making their arguments. I refer not to those who deliberately do so to be polemical or provocative, but to those who inadvertently do so. The main problem for the latter is the inability to distinguish between conceptual transfer and conceptual stretching.

Conceptual transfer refers to the process by which a concept or term is taken from its original context and applied to a new situation without appreciable loss of definition or meaning. Conceptual stretching refers to  the distortion of the original concept in order to apply it to a different situation or context. The first is a legitimate argumentative exercise; the second is intellectually dishonest or (most often) lazy.

Let me offer some examples. “Socialism” is a 19th century concept that refers to an economy in which the direct producers of wealth in a society appropriate the common surplus generated by their labours and distribute it according to egalitarian principles rooted in commonly accepted notions of need. Decisions on distribution take into account the need to reproduce the economic form via savings and reinvestment, so current individual allocations are balanced against the common interest in future allocations. This concept can be taken out of its 19th century context and applied, without loss of definition, to 1970s Israeli Kibbutzim, Spanish agricultural cooperatives in the 1990s or post 2002 Argentine worker-owned factories. In all of these instances, the concept was transfered to the new situation without distorting its initial meaning; in each instance workers make democratic allocation decisions about the surpluses they generate. On the other hand, calling the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus package or progressive tax policy “socialist,” or referring to Labour’s macreconomic policies as “socialism,” betrays either profound ignorance of the concept or bad intent on the part of those who make such claims. In the latter cases, the concept has been so badly stretched so has to render it meaningless other than as some type of pejorative.

Take another example: “fascism.” Fascism was a particular inter-war political phenomena. It emerged in response to the Great Depression among the so-called “weak links” of the imperialist chain, former great powers or empires that were being eclipsed by emerging powers. Fascism was characterised by an industrial state capitalist economic project directed by a one party mobilizational authoritarian regime dominated by a charismatic leadership that used inclusionary state corporatist vehicles for mass participation in grand nationalist projects that included the military reassertion of empire. In all cases fascism was a “passive revolution” in that it sought to stave off perceived Marxist-Leninist advances in the countries in which it emerged. European fascism had three variants: Austro-Germanic, in which the core constituency of the national socialist regimes was the lower bourgeoisie; the Italian version, in which the core constituency was the urban working class (Mussolini’s black shirts); and the Spanish version, which grouped monarchists, the agrarian oligarchy and rural peasantry against the urban middle and working classes. In the first two variants, efforts to re-assert their imperial status ended in military defeat. In the Spanish version, the self-recognized inability to re-assert imperial dominance allowed the Franco regime to survive until 1972. As for the Japanese, their version of fascism was an amalgam that had the most cross-class bases of support for monarchism, militarism and imperialism, but without the party mobilizational apparatus used by the European variants.

The point of this extended discussion of the concept of “fascism” is that it was a political form specific to a particular historical moment in the early 20th century, one that can not be replicated simply because the material and political conditions of existence are no longer those that gave it life. The closest parallel to fascism–Latin American populism of the 1940s and 1950s–emulated some but not all of the political features of European fascism and did not have the same economic base. All other recent forms of authoritarianism evidence differences far to great to even remotely call them “fascist.” And yet people do, repeatedly. General Pincohet’s regime in Chile was and is still said to be “fascist” even though his political project was demobilizational and his economic project neoliberal. Commodore Frank Bainarama is called a fascist because he led a coup and rules by fiat in Fiji. Mugabe is a fascist because, well, he is.  What is true is that all of these individuals were and are authoritarians, as are many others, civilian and military alike. But that does not make them “fascist.” To label them as such is to undercut any argument for their removal.

In extending the term “fascist” to other forms of authoritarianism that do not share its structural or political features, the term has been stretched to the point of insignificance. It is now just an insult without intellectual justification. It is, in other words, argumentatively useless.

There are plenty of other concepts that come to mind when the issue of conceptual stretching arises. “Hegemony” and “imperialist” are oft-abused, stretched and distorted concepts. “Nazi” (as in German national socialist) is another popularly distorted term. The list is long, and it appears all to often in the writing/commentary on this blog. I would simply ask that people do their conceptual stretching elsewhere–DPF’s blog is a good start.

Even astute writers can fall prey to conceptual stretching. In his otherwise insightful post on Agenda Setting below, my colleague Lew refers to the likelihood of “a more militaristic, less community-based approaching to policing–in international relations terms, a more strongly realist law enforcement posture” in the aftermath of the Napier shootings and siege. The trouble with his invocation of realism is two-fold: as an international relations theory, realism maintains that the international environment is a Hobbesian state of nature in which anarchy abounds. Absent a Leviathan such as those that exist within nation-states, international actors seek to accumulate and use power in order to a) achieve security and b) pursue national interests. Power in such a view is not simply military might, but includes economic resources, diplomatic influence, moral or ethical leadership–the particular mix of what goes into the notion of “power” is complex and variable, as well as contingent on the objectives being pursued or defended. Power is not exclusively “militaristic” nor is it necessarily anti-community–the formation of alliances and use of supranational organisations for conflict resolution is part and parcel of the realist approach.

Lew’s use of realism to describe a likely police response is doubly flawed because it has been stretched to describe a particularly military approach to law enforcement within a liberal democracy. In other words, both the context and the approach are completely different to those in which realism is applied to international relations.

This is not meant to cast aspersions on Lew. To the contrary, I admire his work and appreciate his insights. Instead, this post is an attempt to point out this very common argumentative flaw among otherwise thoughtful readers and commentators, so that we can avoid repeating them in future debates. In the mean time I shall ponder whether to write about another pet peeve: the inability of people to establish a “chain of causality” between independent, intervening and dependent variables when making their case.