I Love Gellies

Mormonism, Evangelicism and Chaos Theory

Remedial Statistics

Recently, I was able to quite impress a Young Lady (doing statistical biology) by (honestly) stating that statistics should be more required in high school, and college.

Jack’s comment here made me want to make the following comment. The reason people anything like, “Not in my experience” or “not in my ward” is to show that it’s not a mainline or mainstream strain of thought. That is, assume an individual who has been in the church for ten years has been in three wards, each with 200 people in it. Assume next the individual blogging is aware of many of the struggles of those in their wards (either as a leader, or as a member on which the struggling person has turned to for support). Now of course, not everyone knows everything, but large scandals are going to get some attention. That means, even within a stake (of over 2000 people), you’re going to hear about the big scandals, and not just the small stuff. So, usually a blogger can assume that they have some of the shared experience of at least 600 people, and a superficial awareness of large scandals of around some 6000 people. In any case, the number of people required by the central limit theorem is only some 30 people. So, a blogger is justified in believing that most statistics they experience are in some way valid. Therefore, when someone hasn’t experienced something what they’re doing is placing an upper limit on how prevalent that is. What do they end up finding? While the LDS standard deviation is much smaller than the rest of Christendom or American culture, it is still finite. Such lack of experience means that the occurance is very, very rare. Not even a three sigma deviation, but something even more rare. As such a statistical outlier, is it really fair to focus so much time and attention on it? I don’t think so. I mean, regular Christians certainly aren’t fond of liberal lefties equating all Christianity with their statistical outliers, such as abortion clinic bombers, abortion doctor murderers, and other wackos.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, when anyone says, “I’ve never experienced that,” they ARE NOT saying that it’s impossible, or even highly improbable. But rather, the event is very uncommon. This stands in oppostion to those with a psycholociacal need to tear down the LDS church.

As I mentioned before, I’m no inerrantist. I have no psychological need to prove every leader or person on the LDS church as perfect. I have no false faith that no Stake President or Mission President has ever done anything morally depraved. But statistically, I am justified in recognizng that those who visit the post-Mormon boards have less trust than a random stake President or Mission President, and without some other kind of evidence, I’m not likely to be persuaded. I have no need to doubt someone’s honesty or sincerity, but just because someone’s sincere or honest doesn’t make them right. Evidence not just innuendo is how you persuade. In America, someone is innocent until proven guilty, and Gloria has provided no evidence.


October 4, 2009 - Posted by | Religion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: