We quantify the increasing use of complex mathematics and show that the increase is unique to economics in the social sciences. Donald F. Gordon hypothesized that mathematics in economics would most likely be useful in manipulating long chains of relationships, precisely in the instances where the theory was least likely to be valid. Time bedevils long chains of economic reasoning, because the ceteris paribus assumption requires the stability of all links. We find that the rate of hypothesis testing in articles citing mathematically complex articles is less than 2 percent and summarize a variety of tests and other evidence that supports Gordon’s hypothesis. A major factor in the rise in mathematical complexity may be the decline in comments, replies, and rejoinders debating earlier publications; the decline has been rapid, as editors have become increasingly “hostile” toward perspectives other than the ones they have previously published. We conclude by emphasizing that (1) prominent journals in economics are devoting more space to mathematically complex articles despite their inconsequential operational harvest; (2) the “appropriate” balance between mathematical complexity and operationalism, as well as the relative merits of “stylized facts” versus observational reality, should be considered in editorial decision making; and, finally, (3) the academic debate that addresses empirical replication and verification, the appropriateness of model formulation, and the crucial matters of history and circumstance, which are the measures of all research in the social sciences, is vital.