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McNamara Fallacy

 

McNamara Fallacy

The McNamara Fallacy occurs when a conclusion is made based solely on quantitative observations and ignoring all others. The reason given is often that these other observations cannot be proven.

“The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is suicide.” Daniel Yankelovich

What Makes this a Fallacy?

Every fallacy is either a method of making a bare assertion or a method of hiding a bare assertion. The McNamara Fallacy is a method of making a bare assertion in a way that makes the bare assertion seem to be based on sound reasoning.

Examples of the McNamara Fallacy

In clinical trials of treatments of certain tumors, the length of time during treatment when patients don’t get worse is easy to measure but not very meaningful. Overall survival and quality of life after treatment are more meaningful but harder to measure. When the easy measurement is taken and the harder measurements are ignored, this is an example of the McNamara fallacy.

Young girls are told that if they are normal they will be happy. It has become normal for young women to get romantically involved with young men in temporary relationships. The things that are easily measured are taken into account. On the level of the physical, what is not taken into account is that a cuddle or a kiss releases oxytocin into the young woman's system. "By design, oxytocin promotes trust and serves to bond a woman to the man she is with." On the level of the soul and spirit, there are elements that God has not yet revealed. God does reveal that He has set an order for various aspects of life, the Church, the home, personal relationships, business relationships, etc. For instance, intimacy between a man and woman are reserved for marriage. In marriage, the man is to love the woman as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for the Church. The woman is to reverence and obey her husband. Distorting these ordinances cannot produce long-term success and happiness. A young woman is going to be unhappy if she lives a lifestyle that is in conflict with everything that God designed her to be. (If I'm so Normal, Why Am I so Unhappy?)



Author/Compiler
Last updated: Sep, 2014
 
 




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Logical Fallacy of Stacking the Deck / Cherry Picking / Cherry Picking Data / Suppressed Evidence / Fallacy of Incomplete Evidence / Argument from Selective Observation / Argument by Half-Truth / Card Staking / Fallacy of Exclusion

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McNamara Fallacy

Head in the Sand / Ostrich Fallacy

Suppression of the Agent Fallacy

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"What I Don't Know Is Not Important" / Unteachable Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Selective Refutation

Logical Fallacy of A-Priorism

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Error of Ignoring Historical Example

Logical Fallacy of Overlooking Secondary Consequences

Uncontrolled Factors Fallacy

Missing Link Fallacy

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