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Do the the Medals matter ?

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On May 9, 2004 @ 3:23 pm In Politics,War/Defense | Comments Disabled

This is from February 2004; Go read it.

“‘The] New York Times has an OpEd titled “The Medals Don’t Matter.” It’s by Jake Tapper, who is a well regarded ABC News Correspondent (formerly of Salon). The article reaches the conclusion that voters do not care about the military service of their Presidential candidates.

To reach this feat of logical deduction, Jake focused primarily on the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Presidential elections (and the 2000 GOP primary), and the Military Service of each candidate.

There are many, many analytical errors in his approach, sample size being the most obvious. But let’s focus instead on a very common logic error which seems to catch most people unaware:
Controlling for a single variable instead of many when analyzing complex systems . . .

“People habitually reduce intricate, multifarious issues to simple black and white. It’s most often made within the context of complex, chaotic systems which are in constant flux. Take the stock market as an example. It is a nonlinear, multivariate, dynamic system highly sensitive to initial conditions. Controlling for a single variable is an invitation for trouble.”

It’s not whether the Medals matter or not [1]

http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/02/its_not_the_med.html


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[1] It’s not whether the Medals matter or not: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/02/its_not_the_med.html

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