Skinner’s magic, myopic little box:

Imagine suggesting that all one needs to know about football is the quarterback’s completion percentage. By counting how many passes and analyzing how many ended as receptions we need look no further into the topic. We are now all football pundits and can make a ton of money on the various sports television networks. After all, using that method we would have known in advance that Denver was going to beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Oops. If you aren’t a football fan, what actually happened had nothing to do with Peyton Manning’s record-setting season throwing completed passes. The day after Manning was selected as the NFL player of the year for the fifth time, Seattle decimated the most powerful offense in NFL history, 43-8, with a little thing called defense. If you think tabulating a single stat is a whacky way to look at a complex sport like football, how much more whacky is it to attempt to pigeon hole all behavior as a single number – how often a pigeon pecks a key or a rat presses a lever. Don’t bet on it.

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