Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Statistic That Seems to Matter

I'm not an engineer or scientist.  Frankly, I'm glad I didn't go off into either such direction as a kid because it'd just be total chaos for me.  But I like both professions greatly today and can appreciate what it takes to be either.  The one key ingredient?  Facts that matter.....numbers that matter.....solid evidence that leads to better conclusions that 'guessing'.

People in the news media and in politics.....come around to tell you things which come mostly out of opinion or just slanted views of life.  I'd prefer facts and statistics....because it might be more truthful.

This week, I noticed a report from the kind folks at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They put up a simple polling question to thirty-four-thousand American adults.

The poll question was: “Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?”

You had five possible answers: straight, lesbian/gay, bisexual, “something else” and “I don’t know the answer.”

Now, you can note here.....the transgender folks weren't mentioned.  I don't know the reasoning, or if it was purposely done, or just that the Center didn't know such people existed.

Here's the thing....out of thirty-four thousand folks.....only 1.6 percent said they were lesbian/gay.  Only .7 percent said they were bisexual.

After that point, the "something else" and "I don't know the answer" crowd ended up with a total of 1.1 percent.

Yeah....roughly ninety-four percent were straight....more or less.

What does this say?  There just isn't a large crowd out there who practice anything beyond straight.  They didn't split this off into men or women.....or age groups.....which have told more of the story.

To put this into leave work this afternoon and go to Wal-Mart.  You walk in and assume there are six hundred customers in the store.  At of those customers are gay/lesbian.  Four are bisexual.  And six folks are "something else".  The other 583 folks are all straight.

The fact is.....there are likely more people in the store who graduated from college with a Master's degree than gay/lesbian.  There's likely more more people in the store who've been to an Indian casino in the last year.....than gay/lesbian.  And there's likely more people in the store who've read War and Peace....than are bisexual.

Now, if you walked across the the gay bar there next to Wal-Mart, and noted the sixty folks in there.....fifty-eight which are gay/lesbian....well, it's a statistic but it's not really a number you can use for a CNN journalist's article or round-table discussion.  

Bottom line?  It might help to work with facts.

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