Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Would You Like the Data to Say?

Lies, damn lies and statistics.
- Mark Twain

My Uncle sent me an e-mail today that had a break down of this years presidential election.
Here it is:
Some interesting statistics
Some unreported stats about the 2008 election

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul , Minnesota ,
points out some interesting facts concerning the 2008 Presidential election :
-Number of States won by: Democrats: 20; Republicans: 30
-Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000; Republicans: 2,427,000
-Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million; Republicans: 143 million
-Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13.2; Republicans: 2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in rented or government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Statistics are second only to the Bible in justifying a belief system. And before you think I'm pointing a finger at my Uncle, we ALL fall into the Stats Trap. Except me of course ;-)

Let me throw a little light on these "Interesting Facts".
The voting map is also a great representation of population density (except for Wisconsin oddly enough). The land 'won' associated with each party demonstrates this quite well.
I can also infer from these stats that;
1. Republicans are apathetic. If they had a 143 to 127 million majority, they should have won the popular vote. Democrats won by 10 million.
2. The murder rate correlates to population density as expected. I would suspect that our tax dollars spent on social services would follow a similar trend.
3. Again, population density explains land ownership versus renting (throwing in government welfare and public housing is a red herring argument used only to reinforce a current belief system. "Look at this! Our money is going to support those Democrat free-loaders!"
4. The last bit of information also IMPLIES that democrats are dependent on welfare and government hand-outs.

This is all well and good but the favorite thing I learned from this is that Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University didn't write this!!! It's made up!

I was looking for the source of this article and came across his bio page:
Read the disclaimer. The map and stats don't even jibe with this years election.
A Snopes article also can be found at

Bottom line... don't take anything at face value. Especially if it has an agenda. Research and question sources. When you do a search on Google or any other search engine, look at the credibility of the sites.
I recently looked up topics like Rikki Healing and Colon Cleansing. The majority of the top website returns were from sites selling books, training and products. They have an agenda. they want to make money off of the believers so they will tell you what you want to hear.

People always ask "Well then ,why should I believe you?" The answer is you shouldn't. Do what I do, look it up. Get information from multiple sources and check out those sources. Ten minutes of your time in front of a computer will get you closer to the truth and save you from passing along bad information.
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