I could not disagree more. I share your distaste for bad analogies, and for debates about the merits of analogies, but they are an indispensible rhetorical tool.
An apt analogy is often the very best form of argument. I know you do not want to hear about the law, but that is where you find many of the best argument-crafters in this age.
John Roberts, before he became CJ of the Supreme Court, drafted a brief in Alaska v. EPA that the justices allegedly said was the finest the Court ever read. The key point in his argument is an analogy comparing Americans' varied choices in cars to states' discretion in selecting pollution controls. Seriously.
Determining the “best” control technology is like asking different people to pick the “best” car. Mario Andretti may select a Ferrari; a college student may choose a Volkswagen Beetle; a family of six a mini-van. A Minnesotan’s choice will doubtless have four-wheel drive; a Floridian’s might well be a convertible. The choices would turn on how the decisionmaker weighed competing priorities such as cost, mileage, safety, cargo space, speed, handling, and so on. Substituting one decisionmaker for another may yield a different result, but not in any sense a more “correct” one. So too here. Because there is no “correct” BACT determination for any particular source, the EPA cannot conclude that a State failed to include the “correct” BACT limitation in a PSD permit, the way the EPA can conclude, say, that the State failed to require a PSD permit, that the State failed to include a BACT limitation at all in a PSD permit, or that the State issued a permit allowing emissions to exceed available increments.
If that is top-shelf argument for the Supreme Court, I think many of our analogies are good enough for Mgoblog.