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Monday, March 30, 2015

My Facts are Better Than Your Facts! So There! Nyaah!

I never cease to be amazed on how people use facts to support an untruth. As long as it bolsters their cause, there's no need to use context. Facts without context are useless in solving problems, at best. At worst, they turn into tools for outright lies.

Take this yahoo on twitter the other day. (This has been a few days ago now and I keep trying to get back to the blog but life has a way of diverting my attention.)

Ok. This is true. It's also stupid as it leaves out several facts to tell a larger story. For instance, the total population of blacks and whites. According to the FBI statistics, here's the distribution of crimes.

So yes, Whites commit more crimes in total. We are also 225 million vs 38 million as far as total number of population. If you do the math, 2.7% of white population are committing crimes vs. 6.5% of blacks. This means that blacks are more than three as likely to commit a crime as whites. If the populations were the same, the number of black crimes would be over 14 million!  

But wait, I'm still not satisfied with my facts, which clearly tell a different story. First of all, these are just arrests, not convictions. These aren't taking into account multiple arrests. And finally, what if the black population really was the equal of whites? My guess is there would be a greater cross section of economic circumstance and that the number of crimes would still be limited to the poor and inner city. Also whites who commit the greatest number of crimes are the poor so crime isn't just a race problem, it's an economic one. All told, the rate for blacks would probably not be as high.

My point is, that I'm am not just latching on to one fact and justifying it as a reason to close off discourse, I am trying to get as much information as possible. To solve a problem. you can't just use one fact.

Let's take a different scenario. My numbers are made up, but it isn't relevant to the idea I'm trying to convey.  If we look at Apple Ipads and Bob's Tablets, the number of tablets sold are vastly different. If Apple sells a million and 1000 break and have to be returned, that's .1%. If Bob sells 10,000 tablets and 500 break, that's 5%. But in her logic, the Ipad is worse because they have a total number of broken tablets higher than Bob's Tablets.

We'll never get anywhere with these attitudes. "I got my one fact and that's all I need to justify hate." Sounds like the same mindset whites used to have in the 50's.

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