According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Beware Those Hopeful Stats

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beware Those Hopeful Stats

Here’s a bit of good news - maybe.

According to an article by Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press, our world currently is less violent than it’s ever been. Mr. Borenstein reports that several new books, most prominently one by a Harvard psychologist, says "statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder, and all sorts of mayhem."

Tell that to innocent kids slaughtered in our schools and over there in Norway. Tell that to the people gunned down in that California hair salon. Tell that to the people in the grocery store parking lot who were gunned down with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Tell that to postal employees or Jewish church members gunned down where they work.

Supposedly, the number of people killed in battle has dropped 1,000 fold over the centuries, down from more than 500 per 100,000 people to about three-tenths of a person per 100,000 now. Wonder how the three-tenths feel about that? The Harvard author theorizes that one of the main reasons for the reduction in death and bloody mayhem is that we are smarter than our ancestors and that there are more democracies since WWII. The Harvard prof. writes that his findings are based on "peer-reviewed studies published by other academics using examinations of graveyards, surveys and historical records."

One hopes that the Harvard prof. is right, of course, but statistics can lie. We’ve too often seen how statistics are bent and twisted to prove points of view. Look at how many drugs have been touted as miracle cures only to be panned years later as bad for your liver or your heart, or other parts of your body. Do you remember what Thalidomide did to babies? Statistics supposedly proved that margarine was better for us than butter only to be disproven later. Fortunately, none of the studies done on coffee “proves” that it’s bad for us. Donuts maybe, but I reason donuts are NOT BAD for you when washed down with enough coffee. Sam agrees, don’t you Sam? (He says woof).

Sam and I hope the world is becoming a kinder and gentler place. But sometimes we can’t help conjuring up episodes of shows like Star Trek where bulbous-headed braniacs walk around in flowing diaphanous robes commanding people to step into a killing machine because war is so nasty each nation has been assigned a certain quota of its populace which must die on a regular basis. That process is supposed to be more sophisticated and humane that blowing each other to bits. Blowing someone to bits (which Sam and I don’t at all advocate) is an aphrodisiac for some people though, because they get to feel that incredible kick of power from pulling the trigger on a pistol or rifle of machine gun or bazooka.

Unfortunately, there is a slight bit of a drawback to not slaughtering ourselves like we used to – overcrowding. The world’s population has grown to 7 billion, give or take a few million, which is more than twice as many people as were as recently as 1960. A big nuclear holocaust could take care of the overcrowding, but in spite of the saber-rattling of North Korea and Iran, nuclear kablooy probably isn’t going to happen, which is good. Sam and I can live with a few more people if it means we’re not going to be machine-gunned to death or blown to kingdom come by some nut-job ticked off at his ex-wife or his ex-boss.

No comments:

Post a Comment