It’s hard to collect information without also picking up some misinformation. The open mind has to learn to be discerning as part of being open, and the curious individual needs to be on guard against filling their heads with things that sound plausible but are actually untrue. One would think that we could get accurate information from sources like the news and the government and scientists. Since they deal mostly in information, they must hold truth above all else, right?
Don’t laugh at me; I’m not really that naive.
It’s clear that the news on most channels in America is largely opinion, and it’s only by watching news from other countries that many people here learn what the United States is all about. Even those shows have their opinions, but that’s fine; it can be good to know what the rest of the world thinks of you, as well as how they feel about you. We know that our leaders cook the books to make it look like they are doing a better job than they actually are, and nearly any statistic that they put out there is skewed by that perspective.
For example, more Americans than ever now know that unemployment numbers are not real. Once a worker has not been a worker for eighteen months, they stop being counted. They’re not considered out of work, even if they’ve been looking for a job the whole time; they become a non-entity instead, no longer counted or considered. That makes the numbers go up every time layoffs are permanent, eighteen months after that layoff, and has a lot of people thinking that the situation is getting better when it’s often getting worse.
Think about it: if 350,000 Americans lost their jobs tomorrow, that would be one percent of everyone suddenly out of work. Even if none of those people found jobs in the next eighteen months, the unemployment rate would go right back up to what it was before. We could end up with ten percent American employment at that rate, with only ten percent unemployment rates. If you did it right, you could even end up with both zero percent employment and zero percent unemployment, all at the same time!
Now, that’s some tricky math.
Even more tricky is the math we have to do on polls and studies, to see how accurately they represent the actual population. Most people don’t have time to take polls, and don’t want to subject themselves to being studied. We only get results from a very specific group of people, those with time on their hands and those who don’t mind a little poking and prodding. Every study done on sex has to take into account the fact that they’re studying an even more specific group than other scientists, since very few Americans are comfortable talking about sex openly with a stranger or having one taking notes when they orgasm.
Then, we have to wonder just how honest people are. Answering questions is not always the way to get to the heart of things, since people can say anything they want. Even bodies are bad at telling the truth, since the placebo effect skews a lot of medical studies. It’s hard to recommend your product when sugar pills worked better, so a lot of studies don’t research or include the placebo results.*
It would be a little embarrassing to admit that placebos work better than pills, when pills are such a great way to make big money.
Scientists seldom get paid to pursue humanitarian projects, with all the funding generally going to whatever it takes to make that big money. They even get busted for skewing their results sometimes, but there are plenty of ways to skew results without breaking the rules.
If your first study group doesn’t give you the answers or the results you want, you can always scrap the numbers and get another study group. You can actually do this as many times as it takes, until you can accurately proclaim, “this study shows that whatever I want to say is true.” It takes other studies to disprove it; and if they don’t get the attention that you did, then more people believe what you said.
It’s hard to know what to believe, but it’s also hard not to wonder about some of the things that are being studied. Sometimes experience and observation can teach us more than a scientific journal, as far as learning about life goes.
There will be some numbers in this blog, and a lot of talk about those studies I’ve read or heard about over the years. Although I’m fully aware that it’s difficult to get accurate numbers on much of anything, and that many studies exist only to prove other studies wrong, statistics give us some context for many thoughts that hurt to think. I’ll share what I’ve observed as well, when the subject calls for it.
If science and medicine and government continue to change at such a rapid rate, it’s highly likely that many of the things we believe to be true today will make people a hundred years from now think that we were quite the bunch of bumbling idiots. Statistics say that Americans have more confidence in their education than any other country, despite the fact that we are steadily falling behind many other countries in the actual quality of education provided. Those are statistics based on the actual testing of knowledge, which is a hard thing to skew…but I can’t say for sure…
After all, studies show statistics are wrong!
We won’t be discussing any statistics next week. They hurt the head in a specific way, and we should explore other thoughts that hurt to think in other ways. We’ll be leaning heavily on those scientists that we were talking about earlier, but they don’t have much reason to be lying about next week’s topic. They pretty much all agree on some seriously shocking facts, and this is one of them.
Want to know what it is?
No, really! You see, when the Earth was formed…
Oh, right; that’s next week!
Thanks for reading!
All the best,
*(If they do, they’re generally in small print at the bottom of the page.)