Archive for February 2009
I was listening to a WBEN the other day, a local Buffalo news and talk show radio station, when I heard a clip from the morning show hosted by Tom Bowerly. It immediately struck me as insanely illogical.
Bowerly, a typical radio conservative talk show host, sticks to his anti-Democrat, anti-Obama talking points. In this particular clip, Bowerly was commenting on Barak Obama’s Super Bowl Sunday interview, in which he jokingly mused how he was bumped off the cover of a celebrity magazine, and replaced by an overweight Jessica Simpson.
American foreign policy since World War I, and more so following the conclusion of World War II, has maintained one critical element above all else – to secure and preserve American power. The definition of American power takes numerous forms. A short list includes exploiting foreign resources for the benefit of American private industry, eliminating any perceived threats to American global supremacy, and usurping the popular will of foreign populations through puppet governments. The history of American foreign policy is littered with examples, as to the propagation of US power, and doesn’t need to be elucidated here.
There is little indication that the new administration of Barack Obama will pursue a different course. It was put succinctly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speech she gave on her first day in the State Department.
And we will make clear, as we go forward, that diplomacy and development are essential tools in achieving the long-term objectives of the United States.
Chances are if your an adult, you’ve been in a relationship that ended because either yourself, or your significant other, cheated. There is a distinct rationalizing process that occurs on the part of the cheater, both during the affair and when dealing with the aftermath. This should be of interest to anyone who has cheated or been cheated on before.
Cheating is equally defined as forming a close, emotional attachment to another person that has to be actively suppressed(until it reaches a point of irresistibly), and engaging in sexual intercourse with anyone other then your significant other. It can, and has been argued that the former is a far more egregious form of cheating. Regardless, in both instances the fundamental rationalization on the part of the cheater surfaces.
The confusion of supplanting correlation for causation is one of the most common logical fallacies we make. This is the fallacy of correlation. The basic premise is that you will attribute a connection between two experiences as the root cause of one experience being the cause of the other.
While it’s one of the easiest logical fallacies to spot, we continually fall for the trap of the fallacy of correlation. It does require a minor exertion in mental analysis to catch ourselves spiraling down it’s pitfalls, but it’s shouldn’t be too much to ask a person to invest that energy into their own line of thinking. None-the-less, it’s a logical fallacy which pervades everyday thinking, and, regretfully, even scientific research.
As a general schematic, think of the fallacy of correlation to be as follows:
- Event A occurs synchronously or chronologically to Event B‘s occurrence, therefore
- Event A is the cause of Event B.
The possibilities of the relationship between Event A and Event B are too numerous to conclude A caused B. Some of these include:
- A is the cause of B;
- A is the cause of B, and B is the cause of A (or both events sharing a circular causation);
- an unknown Event C is cause for either A or B, or both;
- the incidence of A and B share no relationship other then temporal occurrence.
It is rare for Case 1 to be true, yet far too often we prefer it from the other possible Cases. This is often the outcome when a layer of plausibility exists within our empirical history interconnects two events(Hume’s definition of causation). Plainly stated, if I have been witness to two events occurring in the past, I am likely to make a connection between these two events when the happen again in the future. They are believable.