McNamara Fallacy – FT#78

McNamara Fallacy – FT#78

Show Notes

The McNamara Fallacy is committed when someone treats something as important because it is easy to measure, or dismisses something as unimportant because it is hard to measure.


We started out by talking about Robert McNamara’s use of Vietnamese death toll as a measure of US success during the Vietnam War, and then this excerpt from Jon Krakauer’s book ‘Where Men Win Glory’:

Then we talked about this clip of Trump when he pulled out of the Paris Accord:

And then we looked at this tweet from Don Jr.:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about the change in Boris Johnson’s approach to Coronavirus, from October 2020 when there were 50,000 new cases per day and Boris said “no responsible prime minister can ignore the message of those figures”, to July 2021 when he said this (at a time when there are 50,000 new cases per day):




Fallacy in the Wild

We talked about this clip from Last Week Tonight:

We followed that up by talking about this clip from Muppet Christmas Carol:

And we finished by talking about this paper on the McNamara Fallacy in medicine.


Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. But we are the majority side by a lot. I believe we are the majority side by far more than anybody would understand. You just have to take a look at what happened in recent elections and add up the right numbers. You will see a majority like you wouldn’t believe because nobody can believe what some of the things that are being said are. Nobody believes that.
  2. Then it was finally revealed that this was most likely the truth. That it came from the lab. And it was a small little story. But when I said it it was like a weapon went off. A major weapon. I won’t use the word weapon, because I never used the word nuclear, but we have to be careful with our leadership because if we don’t have the proper leadership, we’re in a very perilous state. So we don’t use the word nuclear. I never use it. Okay? Never use it. I never said it. That’s called disinformation..
  3. And you’ve got doctors, great doctors and other medical people, getting banned from Twitter and Facebook, and even shadow-banned. They call it shadow-banning. That’s when they let you post but your posts are… nobody can see your posts. And these nurses and doctors, they got banned for talking about a thing we used to hear a lot about, a thing called hydroxychloroquine. And all the most recent tests show very strongly that works.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right again this week, and is currently on 47%


Indictments are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the indictments brought against the Trump Organisation and Allen Weisselberg by the Manhattan DA’s office.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • We recorded our last episode a bit earlier in the week than usual, and by the time we released it, ALL THE NEWS happened.  The DOJ sued Georgia, Giuliani’s law license got suspended and rightwing British news channel GB News lost so many viewers after their first week that their top rated programme was beaten in the ratings by the Welsh language version of Paw Patrol. One of the other newses we missed was the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, who got 22 and a half years for murdering George Floyd, which was simultaneously surprisingly long and nowhere near enough. Following the sentencing Q Anon supporters took a short break from insisting JFK Jr is about to show up any minute at a Trump rally to claim that Chauvin… er… isn’t Chauvin. “Who the fuck is that? That’s not the same guy from the trial”, tweeted one of the fucking nutjobs, while another mental case posted “This Chauvin looks NOTHING like the original!” on Telegram. It seems that Q Anoners, who are absolutely convinced they can interpret the inner workings of a top secret deep state based on the cryptic breadcrumbs left by a shadowy intelligence operative, are utterly fucking bamboozled by a man having a haircut.
  • Early on in the phenomenon of crowd-funding I signed up for a project that musician Neil Young was hawking around as an alternative hi-definition digital pocket music player. Having convinced various established and new musicians that the mp3 format had sold them down the audio river he promised endorsed versions of these so-called Pono players to those who gave enough. As an audiophile it was an attractive idea, if a bit niche. He gathered enough cash, shipped the players, the format wars moved on, phones replaced separate mp3 players and the project was shelved three years later. This seems to be about par for the course timewise for various other things that have caught my eye if not my cash. Up to date 2021 news though, niche-clientele suspended lawyer Rudy Giuliani hopped on the bandwagon and threw himself on the largesse of public opinion to crowdfund his legal defence expenses. If anything is going to tell you how relevant you continue to be is not just that music companies don’t adopt your format ideas, but rather that your crowdfunder closes at 0.1% of your target. Rudy’s dreams of capitalising on the love of the people to raise the $5 million he needs ended when he was rudely awakened to the fact no one loves him enough to actually give him of their pockets as well as their hearts – to date, the closing date, Rudy knows for sure that 92 people actually love him but yeeaaaah not soooo much; only to the tune of $9,600. That’s gotta hurt hey! Bwahahahaha!
  • On the last episode I chose not to cover a story about Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman who looks like if there was a bigger, uglier Wayans Brother who starred in the movie White Chicks instead of Marlon. Anyway, MTG, who has previously said awful things about the holocaust, went to the Holocaust museum, was shown around by someone who managed to convinced her it was a bad thing, and then made a public apology about the things she said. I didn’t cover it, because while it’s fucking ridiculous that a 47 year old woman is just learning the Holocaust was bad, I didn’t want to mock the idea of learning and personal growth, no matter how small and probably disingenuous.  But fuck that, because she’s at it again. Three weeks after her faux contrite, almost certainly Kevin McCarthy mandated apology in which she said there was ‘nothing comparable’ to what the Nazis did, she compared Biden’s proposed door-to-door vaccination programme to ‘medical brownshirts’ forcing people to be a part of a human experiment.
  • Incapable of articulating disapproval of the Proud Boys and let’s face it simply grasp the notion that Nazis were bad, Trump is reported in the new book by Michael Bender called “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” as having said to his then chief of staff John Kelly, “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.” This of course is in the historically satirical tradition of saying at least Mussolini got the trains to run on time, and Attila the Hun was kind to his horses. Except as Kelly discovered in trying to convince Trump that even if they did have nice smart uniforms, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.” Trump had a total disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed. Apart from being a bit shocking it’s no surprise really, as Donnie sees it if it’s not about Trump then it’s not worth a fuck! Shamed and humbled by the revelations in the new book Trump‘s representatives issued an immediate apology calling it “made-up fake news put about by a disgruntled former general or somebody that got fired” well two out of three is not bad I suppose!  
  • The same book also alleges that Trump knew how to deal with the BLM protests that followed the murder of George Floyd, but was prevented from doing so by members of his administration.  Which is pretty lucky, since Trump’s solution was to “beat the fuck out of the protesters. Just shoot them”. When his staff pointed out how fucking crazy that was, he said “Well, shoot them in the leg – or maybe the foot” Holy shit.
  • Okay let‘s play a game – we’re going to set up a new online hub to challenge the “woke tyranny” of Big Tech, cos we’re fed up with them scraping all our personal details and selling them to sinister beings on the Dark Web, we’ll need properly encrypted doodabbers and shiz, oh and you’ve got to play the role of a fuming gammon faced right-winger whilst doing so, okay go. And the winner is longtime Trump apologist Jason Miller who’s set up GETTR (spell it out) – yeeah me neither; Tindr Grindr Gettr? anyway apparently “GETTR is the marketplace of ideas. We will not cancel people for their political opinions, and GETTR offers far more features and better technology than anything else out there.”  Yeah ‘cept it doesn’t; launched on 4th July – immediately hacked in like 20 minutes by @JubaBaghdad who replaced the details of top account holders Mike Pompeo, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and even Jason Miller himself. Scraping their login details, email, date of birth and other personal information, through a glaring hole he pointed out in their API server, to them at GETTR, they weren’t interested. One would be remiss not to mention the extraordinary amount of “furry” porn involving Sonic the Hedgehog that has also flooded Gettr. Salon has verified that the Gettr site is now attempting to ban accounts posting Sonic porn, which has provoked protest from left-wing trolls eager to argue that Miller’s team is violating their own mission statement of free expression. All of which has done nothing to impress Trump, apparently he’s not interested in signing up probably cos he’s got that small orange mammal constantly humping his bald head already.
  • Kevin McCarthy has drawn a line in the sand and announced that there are some things you can do as a Republican Member of Congress that simply cannot stand, and will result in the loss of your committee assignments. No, it’s not helping to incite an insurrection like Mo Brooks, or fundraising alongside holocaust denying white supremacists like Paul Gosar, or sex trafficking minors like Matt Gaetz, or constantly comparing lifesaving measures to Nazi Germany, like Majorie Taylor Greene, or speaking at a Q Anon rally like Louie Gohmert, or covering up sexual abuse like Jim Jordan or… I mean, I could go on, but no. The thing that will result in the loss of your committee assignments is accepting an invitation from Nancy Pelosi to sit on a bipartisan select committee to investigate the January 6th Insurrection.  It’s weird – despite claiming it either wasn’t that bad, or was antifa, or was FBI agents leading the whole thing or was just a normal tourist visit, the GOP seem really really keen to never ever find out the truth.
  • A lot has happened in Sainted Albion since we last spoke and then again not much. Former Health Secretary (oh yes!) and sex policeman (huh) Matt Hancock – sex policeman? Yes, remember when he got enraged at government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson for breaking lockdown rules to visit his mistress and called for his resignation in March 2020? – and Former Health Secretary? Yes indeed Mr Hatt Mancock only got filmed snogging his girlfriend (whom he’d appointed as an adviser at £1,000 a day) in the corridor outside his office slapbang in the middle of the latest lockdown where the rules included no getting anywhere close to anyone outside your immediate family. He of course apologised, Boris of course accepted his apology and called the matter closed. The entire world including the tabloid press – but only cos there was snogging involved – got enraged and for once the press held him to account; the news cycle didn’t wheel past, and Hancock resigned. Boris appointed Sajid Javid the next day – after all much better to have your enemies inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in, and then set about rewriting history implying that he Boris was the one that made Matt leave, and when everyone in the world, and the press, pointed out he had called the matter closed, simply repeated “we had a new man in post the next day” – yeah and…. And how has nothing changed? – well the record goes round again, unlocking too early, cases will rise, there’ll be u-turns and we’ll lock down again, or will we – Boris will do whatever’s popular fuck you and the consequences; and that’s official!. Currently he is claiming England’s soccer squad’s victories in the European Cup and the youngest British player to reach the 4th round of Wimbledon ever as his own. Despite his immigration policies meaning that the squad would consist of only 3 players and Emily Raducanu would have to finish her ‘A’ levels in an offshore detention vessel. Despite his 2020 fortitude and bulldog grit to do everything in his power to send the virus packing he’s telling us now we have to live with it as he can’t be arsed any longer… cos people are associating him with bad things like no holidays, not being able to see gran, and death and stuff. If there is a reductio ad Churchillium fallacy this is it –  it’s like Winston throwing in the towel and surrendering by Xmas 1939 cos the people who voted for him might not do so again as they’re a bit fed up with blackouts and rationing and the blitz and stuff. Churchill was right of course, they didn’t vote him back in, and thus the postwar socialist health, housing and education policies that the Tories have been destroying ever since were born. Plus ça change, plus la même chose!

That’s all for this week, and thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial