Bucks Diary

Saturday, April 05, 2008

What's the frequency, Jackie?

Why do people believe so many myths about the game of basketball? One of the reasons may be because many of those we call basketball experts don't know logic from pancakes.

Here's an example. I was watching that awful "Around the Horn" show the other day. Panelist Jackie McMullen, the alleged basketball expert from the Boston Globe opined that the Dallas Mavericks "clearly" made a mistake trading Devin Harris for Jason Kidd (sidebar: Anytime anyone uses the phrase "clearly" in their argument, sound the "its weak" alarm. They're trying to be conclusory, rather than logical. After all, if things were so "clear" the evidence would tell us so, and there would be no need to use the phrase "clearly").

Why? Well, McMullen says that EVERY contender in the West has an "offensive" minded point guard, and since Kidd is not offensive minded, and apparently Devin Harris is, then other teams in the West won't respect Kidd and that disrespect will somehow hurt his teammates productivity.

Okay, first of all, if you've been reading this blog, or any other sensible blog, you're laughing right now. Where is the evidence for this assertion, Jackie? And by the way, isn't an offensive minded point guard known as A SHOOTING GUARD?
But let's put those little flaws in her argument aside for the moment.

There are much better errors down the pipe.

Okay, so, McMullen makes her little conclusory argument. But... another fellow on the show suggests to Ms. McMullen that Houston and Los Angeles lack "offensive minded" point guards.

Here is how she defended her argument against that sensible rebuttal. She pointed out to the simple-minded fellow that Los Angeles does have an offensive minded point guard, and that HOUSTON ISN'T A CONTENDER!

How is this woman employed by a reputable newspaper? She defends against a very good rebuttal by using not one but two kindergarten logical reasoning flaws. Let's highlight them.

Her first reasoning flaw is known as the "ambiguous definition". That is, her argument is premised on the flexible term "offensive minded point guard". Its so flexible, in fact, that if something doesn't fit her argument, she just adjusts the term.

Her second reasoning flaw is the all-time classic, "circular reasoning". In other words, her argument is right because it is correct.

To wit, according to Jackie, every contending team has an offensive minded point guard. Clearly then, if a team doesn't have an offensive minded point guard, they're not a contending team. How do you argue against something like that?

With intellects like hers at work, do you wonder why so many journalists are so threatened by the blogosphere? Because they aren't good at what they do.


At April 5, 2008 at 9:40 AM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

Yeah....she stinks and has done so for two decades. The great part about the blogosphere is that it will expose this mediocrity.


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