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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Asymmetrical Garbage 

Various people who vehemently supported this war in Iraq are now trying to mitigate their error, but often in the form of some sort of excuse that would make a cat laugh. Jane Galt explains her own posture with a handy analogy (“I” in what follows being the antiwar pansy):

If I say we shouldn't go to dinner downtown because we're going to be robbed, and we don't get robbed but we do get food poisoning, was I "right"? Only in some trivial sense. Food poisoning and robbery are completely unrelated, so my belief that we would regret going to dinner was validated only by random chance. Yet, the incident will probably increase my confidence in my prediction abilities, even though my prediction was 100% wrong.

That's kind of cute. But the problem is that going to war and going out to dinner are two very different propositions, and I'm not convinced that Galt can understand that. In fact, her bad analogy makes her look much stupider than a more pedestrian explanation would.



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