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Thursday, April 27, 2006


Eric Schie has a good post about numbers, part of his seminal slide rule series, over at the always excellent Classical Values. He missed the day when numbers were real, when everybody pretty much agreed on a single number.

How many homosexuals are there in the United States? Gay activists claim as high as 10%, while their opponents claim as low as 1%. (Typical numbers debate here.)

But my point is not to argue the merits of Global Warming, immigration, homosexuality, or unemployment. What bothers me is the disappearance of real, unbiased statistics in favor of shrill, ever-more-partisan ones.

Statistics, in my view, are rapidly becoming opinions.

I miss the good old days when they were facts.

It made me think about why I no longer trust the experts...

I think statistics were once believed because the elite were believed to believe in honest, integrity, and ethics, beyond all else. IF that were true then they would report numbers, right or wrong, honestly, at the very least. So you could say they are true so far as the best experts can figure out, which is to say they are true since nobody can legitimately argue otherwise.

Once those values became secondary to social justice, once that end justified any means, the academic elite, that was once the pool that made up experts, became nothing more than a recruiting ground for fighting ideologies. It was inevitable then that expertise in a subject would become secondary to the ability to bullshit.

So the quality of academia has consistenly spiraled downward, despite the fact that the pool of talent, those who go to college, has spiraled upward, for the last 50 years.

But where this phenomenon REALLY is obvious, and detrimintal to society, is the media. Thank God for the internet. Or Al Gore, depending on who you believe.


  • At 5:08 PM, Blogger Eric said…

    Al Gore invented the slide rule too. And he did it over 400 years before he was born!

  • At 9:46 AM, Blogger Harkonnendog said…

    I believe he invented both slides and rules, as well.


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