Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Presumably, the event in 2008 this meme alludes to is the elections that got President Obama into the White House, rather than the Propane Explosion, the Indian lunar research mission, or any of a host of other things that happened that year. There are several issues with it:

  1. Obama did not create the Ebola outbreak. We can argue that the administration should have banned direct travel from infected countries in West Africa, but that wouldn’t be very effective when people can fly here indirectly.
  2. The withdrawal from Iraq could be blamed for ISIS / ISIL / Da3esh / those-crazies-over-there taking over parts of Iraq. It cannot be blamed for them taking over parts of Syria, which allow them to capture people and behead them. There are rumors that the US financed them in the beginning, but there are always rumors of conspiracies in the Arab world. It’s one of the ways their governments avoid blame.
  3. We are talking about dangers that, for Americans, make death from accidental firearm discharge seem like a likely event. We only think about these dangers because they are new, and therefore newsworthy. Traffic accidents and heart disease are so boring.

h/t Luis Cedeno


2 thoughts on “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

  1. The value of this sloppy challenge is not in what it seems to want to imply but in just the sort of thing it spurred in this post: evaluation of the background that led someone to form such a sloppy statement. IF (yes, a big “if”) it led to a discussion of the background of the handling of infectious disease control and response to jihadist behavior, then it would at least have some value. Unfortunately, as is obvious in the spread and “discussion” of these sorts of memes, this is rarely the case.


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