[ Updated 2nd time with information I happened to find interesting in the marriage report I checked for stats]
1: originating in or based on observation or experience
2: relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory
3: capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment
4: of or relating to empiricism
So, what to say about a rather silly book Do-Gooders by Mona Charen (hmm, my Amazon Associates link function hasn't been working, this is annoying, not that I think anyone would want to buy this thing, but I like linking to the edition I read). This is my first experience reading a book from the right wing rage machine (the left has one too, but they are more prone to documentaries). I don't think anyone is expecting much factual accuracy from this kind of work so I'll only go into things moderately. What does jump out at me though is this quote from the book, "Conservatives tend to underestimate the worth of their own principles-freedom, self0reliance, tough mindedness, empiricism- and seem to accept the idea that liberal values-compassion, soft-heartedness (soft-headedness?), and equality- are superior." I can accept most of this as what I would expect from a political polemic, fair game for this genera. This book displays all these qualities and attributes the qualities with liberals it claims to. With one exception, there is nothing empirical about this book. It quotes a lot of numbers but it does not seriously rely on observation, it makes a great deal out of system and theory rather than experience and observation, and it doesn't follow any kind of systematic method for collection or use of data. The author jumps around between rates and absolute numbers with no regard for which is appropriate. The author pays no attention to base rates, quoting statistics to prove her point without acknowledging underlying trends. Most evidence presented is in the form or quotations and anecdotes, the fundamental attribution error (ascribing observations to human action rather than to situational factors) is rampant.