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View Diary: Empirical Evidence That Proves Conservatism is Destroying America (264 comments)

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  •  Only if the inference is deductive (1+ / 0-)
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    And it isn't.  It's ampliative.  So adding or removing information does change the strength of the inference.

    The world does not need billionaires.

    by targetdemographic on Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 12:52:27 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  but what information is being added? (0+ / 0-)

      If the correlation might be spurious, what good does it do to point to other correlations that might be spurious for the same reason?

      I'm not saying that the correlation is spurious, only that piling on more dependent variables isn't a good approach.

      •  Spurious correlation? (1+ / 0-)
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        Not sure what you're driving at here. When outcomes A and B are correlated, either A causes B, B causes A, or third factor C causes both A and B. By adding more examples, we establish a stronger correlation, meaning that one of those three possibilities, whichever is causing the correlation, is more strongly established.

        The problem is that no evidence is explicitly explaining why we choose to explain the correlation as being A causes B instead of B causes A or C causes A and B.

        Best response in IMHO was the comment about cutting healthcare, etc. because it directly addresses this question.

        •  let me try to be clearer (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Geoffrey Williamson

          What we have here, very crudely, is (1) the diarist arguing that Bad Outcomes are correlated with Conservatism and therefore Conservatism causes Bad Outcomes; (2) some commenters retorting that Poverty is correlated with and causes Bad Outcomes, and that while Poverty is correlated with Conservatism*, it is far from obvious or proven that Conservatism causes Poverty.

          *At the state level, anecdotally. The diary doesn't actually provide a measure of conservatism, so we don't exactly know what we're talking about. That adds to the fun. :)

          I'm saying that giving more examples of correlations between Conservatism and Bad Outcomes doesn't in any way address the retort. It may "establish a stronger correlation" (sort of like Robert Putnam tried to do between social capital and Good Outcomes in Bowling Alone), but that doesn't really help much.

          I agree that it's not hard to think of ways in which conservatism could contribute to bad outcomes.

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