Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jiminy Cricket!

They say that one out of a hundred people is a psychopath.

They say that one out of every hundred people is a sociopath.

So one in fifty people is potentially very dangerous...

Personally, I think the number is a lot higher. More like nine out of ten people are dangerous. Perhaps not to the serial killer level -- but just their biases, their prejudices, can be very very dangerous. Take the statistics above. They seem reasonable. We assume they are vetted by reasonable people without agenda. But are one fiftieth of the population as dangerous as the charged words 'psychopath' and 'sociopath' imply? Seems like there should be a lot more murders than there are.

How about this stat: Women hold 65% of the total wealth in the USA [Fortune Magazine]
Now, I know women earn less than men. Or I've seen a statistic. So one assumes the 65% is partly on account of men dying seven years earlier. Is the transfer of 50% of a couples' assets to the survivor considered income? No. What about divorce settlements, are they included? No.

So what is with the Fortune Magazine statistic? Or the other one about income? What is the whole picture? Am I to infer that women earn less money while they are young and then end up with more assets when they are older? Is that the real picture? We also have heard that the top 20% of society has 84% of the wealth. Does that mean that generally working women are even worse off than the stats imply, while at the top there are a disproportionate number of superwealthy women?

The problem is that when we get fed these statistics in this way, piecemeal, we can cite statistics for our own purpose. They seem to imply so much and yet really mean so little. And if I may suggest, that is the agenda. To allow us fragments of truth that without support, entice us into our own prejudices. For and against. Do we know lots of statistics that prove our point of view but can't think of any that disprove it?
Forty-nine out of fifty people (excluding psychopaths and sociopaths) believe their own stories. Who needs a conscience when you have the facts?

Stats are the methamphetamine of prejudice. You seem so much smarter with them, so much more. Pretty soon you use them all the time. Can't you see how right I am? Just look at the damn statistics!

Lies! Lies, damned lies, and statistics!

Mr. Kingfisher