Home > Solution-Problem > Causality and Reynolds’ Law

Causality and Reynolds’ Law

Causality is a funny thing, isn’t it?  Perhaps one could write a book on it…

In any case, I was struck recently by my first encounter with Reynolds’ Law, which I suppose some of you, dear readers, may be familiar with already.  Named after Glenn Reynolds, known as the Instapundit, I would like to share it with you today:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

Causality (and even conditionality) seem to be too difficult a concept for many.  Substituting the effect for the cause and the required for the merely sufficient are logical errors of the most common sort.  This is perhaps the most practical and succinct statement of these logical fallacies I have seen in quite a long time.

About these ads
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers

%d bloggers like this: