Sunday, July 20, 2008

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

I read this moderately moronic column today. Steam immediately issued from my ears. Here is all of it that you need to read:

So far, these Title IX compliance reviews haven’t had much visible impact on campuses beyond inspiring a few complaints from faculty members... But some critics fear that the process could lead to a quota system that could seriously hurt scientific research and do more harm than good for women.

The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s...

Here, can anyone spot the logical flaw? That's right. This entire argument assumes that the system is just fine as it is, and also equitable, and therefore only differences interest can account for the data. Good job, Mr. Tierney! Mooooooron.

(FSP has already eviscerated it quite neatly, as well. See also here.)