Monday, October 9, 2018

Hello babies…

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Kurt VonnegutGod Bless You Mr. Rosewater

Conservative statistics

I almost never agree with Bret Stephens, but this piece in the Times in one of his more Trumpian abuses of statistics. He argues that we should take false accusations of sexual misconduct seriously because “…false allegations of rape, while relatively rare, are at least five times as common as false accusations of other types of crime, according to academic literature.” In the context of false accusation of rape, who cares about the rate of false allegation of arson, for example? The relevant statistic here is the difference between the true allegation of rape and the false allegation of rape. And given that rape and attempted rape is known to be under-reported[1], an estimate of total true allegations has to be made. His statistical sleight of hand is sadly typical of conservatives.


  1. Source U.S. Department of Justice data