Typically my posts are on Providence and how it relates to me but hopefully could be related to you, the readers. Occasionally I make some type of political comment. This one isn't exactly political, but it certainly isn't Providential.
This morning I was thinking about statistics and more importantly the fact that most don't know what goes into statistics. The common perception is that you can lie with statistics though it is really more accurate to say that you can manipulate the inputs to make the statistics say what you want them to say. What goes into the statistics is as important as the numbers.
A few years back great importance was placed in the media on the fact that the FAA wouldn't release information on wildlife strikes with aircraft. This was assumed to be because they didn't want to show that bird strikes are more common now then they have ever been. The reality is two-fold, first is that they are more common. We have more airplanes flying so more opportunities. More important (as it relates to statistics) is that now it is easier to report a bird strike, so more are reported. The actual percentage of strikes related to traffic isn't necessarily increasing it is just being better reported. Without enough data a better determination cannot be made.
Thinking along this train of thought, Mississippi, Alabama, and many other states in the Bible Belt are high on the teenage pregnancy lists. A list they are lower on would be abortions. Shouldn't those two really be looked at together if you want to evaluate the promiscuity of teens?