- Michael H Basler, consultant1
The McNamara fallacy is named after Robert McNamara, the US secretary of defence in the 1960s, who was obsessed with quantifying the Vietnam war in a way that has many parallels with medical education today.1 It can be summarised as follows:
1 Measure whatever can be easily measured
2 Disregard that which cannot be measured easily
3 Presume that which cannot be measured easily is not important
4 Presume that which cannot be measured easily does not exist.
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3141
Competing interests: None declared.