by Pat Pillar
When collecting data and then analyzing it, you find correlations between and among certain data points. You can use certain mathematical processes to view the strength of your data. If the numbers reach a certain level you can call them factors. This process is called factor analysis.
For example if you gathered two groups of people, for the sake of this argument, one group is heavy alcohol drinkers and the other group is total abstinence, and you gave them a questionnaire. If one group continually responded to a question while the other group did not, you would have a correlation. This correlation would be between the one group and a certain question.
Let’s say the alcoholic group liked the color orange while the non alcoholic group liked the color brown. Because you are the experimenter you get to name the factors. You might simply say the brown and the orange group. And you report these simple findings.
The press is looking for articles. They report that alcoholics like this color while non alcoholics like another color. Another article says while alcoholics like orange they dislike brown. (this is not necessarily true but they can use the data and twist it to fit an agenda)
Years ago there was a classic study performed where a group of twelve members, eleven of them were confederates (part of the study) while the one lone subject was being measured. The twelfth member was the subject. The members passed around pictures of lines of various length and they either said they were equal or unequal. The degree of total agreement was very high. Then there came a very significant difference in line length. Anyone could see them as unequal. The eleven confederates agreed the lines were equal and when it came to the twelfth subject they more times than likely agreed with the group.
Occam’s Razor is a statement that says if you have two possible explanations choose the simple or less complex. For example if the choice of out appendix being a vestigial organ or an alien implant, choose the former.
A recent study revealed that if only five percent of a population exhibits vocal protest, the five percent can significantly speak for the remaining percentage.
So we have statistics, media, group pressure , Occam’s Razor and the five percent rule. We will combine them to understand how we think. The addition of money managers and religion will trump any of these. That is another article.
Statistically there are more conservative thinkers in the U.S. than liberal thinkers. The liberal sector is more vocal but the extreme conservatives are even more vocal (I threw religion in here to balance the extreme left) Statistics show that the inner city is heavily Democrat while the rural areas are more Republican. The US Constitution provided for this in the electoral college by balancing the urban v. the rural sectors.
Let’s take a real issue but be clear I show no preference either way but will show how we are forced into a decisions that we really know little about.
Let us look at homosexuality. The liberals tend to openly accept this while the conservatives are less accepting of this. So if I need statistics to support an agenda I need to poll groups, sections, areas that will support my agenda. At some point the numbers have no meaning because of the skewing of the data and what gets reported. The best example is the current US unemployment rate
Homosexual groups are extremely vocal. Their voice has riled the extreme right, exposing the beliefs of the extreme right to reflect on the whole of the conservative thinkers. (My thoughts are not important to this discussion but I need to express that I believe that I must show my cards here. I believe that the US voting is rigged but not by who the media suggests. I really don’t think your vote counts but I digress). In my readings I learned that the Republican party overcame the Democrat party in the civil rights vote giving these rights to the blacks. Then how is it the blacks are in the party that voted against them?
There is a misplaced focus at work. As the groups battle these issues out another group (of foreigners) will solve the homosexuality issue by extrication, death and example. This group will scare even the far right.
So I decided to use research to defend my beliefs on homosexuality. I found that using real scientific data I could not support my beliefs. I simple think our technology is not there yet. Regardless I wanted to know how I came to believe that science supported my beliefs. The mathematical differences between male and female homosexuality suggests a future issue. But I know how they will use the five percent rule, the group pressure and the media agenda and the exclusion of Occam’s Razor to get their ideology across.
My point is simple. My world has been changed with the understanding of how my thoughts have been manipulated. By whom? I don’t know but they are good. at that task.