The less people know, the stronger their opinion. It’s a fine American tradition, and it’s nowhere more in evidence than when people get on their high horses about other peoples’ ethics.

I was reminded of this (again!) when long-time correspondent Mark Eisenberg forwarded an article with this shocking headline: “Survey Shows Unethical Behavior Rampant Inside IT Development Teams” (Scott W. Ambler, Dr. Dobb’s Journal, 5/3/2011).

We’ll dive into the cesspool that is, apparently, IT development team behavior next week. Before that we first have to cover a few regrettably didactic essentials if we’re to avoid the argument-by-assertion pitfall that tends to dominate most exercises in ethical high-horsemanship.