Posted by: John Vandivier | June 25, 2013

CAE Interpretive Proof – Traditional Marriage (2/2, Left-Handed Proof)

This article will argue that Traditional Marriage is an explaining factor of per capita GDP. This is an example of a left-handed proof using Traditional Marriage. A left-handed proof constitutes half of the CAE Interpretive Proof. While the right-handed proof is a philosophical or theological proof, the left-handed proof is meant as proof based on the scientific method.

I will analyze this in two ways. First we will look at cross country data for a particular year, then we will look at time series data for a particular country. If I wanted to be more stringent and academic I could do both simultaneously, creating a cross country time series comparison, but that is more work than I feel like doing and my purpose here is more to demonstrate how the CAE proof methodology works than to actually convince anyone of anything, yet.

Data for marriage rate across country was found in the United Nations, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, April 2001. Pew Research also noticed relatively consistent downward movement in the marriage rate since 1960 for the US, with 2010 forming a record low. Lastly, OECD and Google were used in calculations involving the EU from 1992 until 2009 as cited inside the Gnumeric document.

How did these correlate with per capita GDP? Find the Gnumeric document I used to execute the regression and other analysis here.

When we held time constant we found a very weak negative correlation between rate of marriage and economic growth. When we held country constant and allowed time to fluctuate we found that the effect over time depended on the country. Some had negative and some had positive GDP growth and marriage rate fluctuations. It should be noted that analysis was not very rigorous. Time series analysis did not include many correction variables such as population growth rate and when we held time constant for a cross-country comparison the data set of 27 data points was too small to be considered a proper normative analysis.

Disregarding the slight lack of rigor in analysis, let’s go ahead and presume that the findings were accurate so that we can analyze the process of CAE, which is our real purpose here. The Right-Hand Proof implied that Traditional Marriage would be a good in the sense that it would result in increased fruit of the spirit, which we proxies in the data as per capita GDP. This is an essential presupposition in caeconomics. It is a economics-specific application of the Invisible Hand Axiom to say that a moral good is also an economic good and therefore prevalence of a certain kind of moral good should lead to a systematic benefit to the economy.

Contrary to our RHP, the LHP suggested no correlation. When the RHP and the LHP agree, as previously discussed, we have succeeded in proving an interpretation using the CAE Interpretive Proof methodology. On the other hand, such as in the case of this Traditional Marriage example, when the LHP and RHP do not agree we say that the proof is incongruous and therefore inconclusive. There are more than one way a CAEIP can be inconclusive and this is one of them.

An interpretation may be incongruous for several reasons:

1 The RHP is erroneous. The RHP can be wrong due to incorrect theology.

2 The LHP is erroneous. The LHP can be wrong due to incorrect hypothesizing, operationalization, measurement, analysis or interpretation of data.

3 The cross-checking methodology is erroneous.

Let’s look for the source of error in our Traditional Marriage example. To begin with it could be that the CAEIP process is flawed (#3). It could also be that our interpretation of Christianity and/or Christianity itself are flawed (#1). It could be that the test hypothesis which we thought was proper was not. A flaw could be an operationalization error, which would mean that we selected variables to measure which did not validly represent the concept we were trying to proxy. We also may have selected the correct variables and simply measured them incorrectly. We also could have incorrectly executed regression or improperly interpreted the results of our calculations.

In this particular case I already noted that the analysis was somewhat erroneous. I could also argue that GDP or even per capita GDP are bad operationalizations for “spirit of the fruit.” In this case it would also be hard to argue that the analysis was poorly interpreted or that the theology is bad. An interesting and particularly effective point to raise in this case would be that “Traditional Marriage” is not what is being measured by the likes of Google, Pew and OECD when they discuss the “marriage rate.” They are merely talking about what the government considers marriage, which is easily shown to be very different from “Traditional Marriage” as we defined it in the RHP. It should be noted that there likely exist many theological concepts which simply can’t be operationalized or falsified. These are two other kinds of situations where a CAEIP will be inconclusive. The LHP can’t be performed under those conditions.

In conclusion, our attempt to prove that Traditional Marriage is advocated by Christianity was inconclusive due to an incongruity between the RHP and the LHP. Upon further analysis it was discovered that the LHP was unreliable and therefore could neither accept nor reject the theology-based hypothesis, and therefore could neither support nor weaken the credibility of the theology of the RHP.

We did, however, get a good look at the process of a CAEIP! Anybody want to try and do one?

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