“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Twain’s observation makes me wonder where today’s world is headed. From pitch counts to pandemic infections, statistics are the new scripture, the gospel laid out for daily consumption on every “news” broadcast and talk show. In my experience, statistics exist for no other reason than to prove the point of the person citing them. Perhaps that’s why one statistic I read on the way to writing this post cited that over 73% of lies employ statistics in their telling.
Numbers really don’t lie. 2 always equals 2, πr2 always equals the area of a circle, numbers are objective truth. They neither change nor alter in meaning. The problem is that numbers are like guns. If you do not employ them, they won’t get up on their own and attack you. The evil they are capable of doing rests in the hands of the person(s) employing them.
One of the lines in Paul Simon’s song Kodachrome says, “My lack of education hasn’t hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall. Now, I may not be good at math, but most of the time I can tell when things don’t add up.
Some of my Facebook friends and fellow “conspiracy theorists” are often heard to say things haven’t added up since March of 2020. I will agree the words and numbers official cite don’t agree with what eyesight and reasoning tell us. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t add up. It only means that the purveyors of those statistics have a different problem they are trying to solve.
Human beings are the wild card in reality and have the ability to bend the perception of it to suit personal desire. So powerful is this ability, they can make numbers lie and do so on a regular basis.
In my case, living as I do in make believe worlds, I have grown used to the fact that the narrative is meant to fit the author’s design. As a part-time editor anticipating where the author is taking me and spotting superfluous scripts is part of what I do.
As a result, I have come to the conclusion that many of those I know would take serious issue with. First, we are indeed being led down the garden path to the place where the van with the guy who lost his puppy and has free candy awaits. Since I also believe that God is the sovereign of all, I believe where we are traveling meets with divine approval.
In biblical history, when the masses have reached the point where only disaster will bring them to their senses, God obliges them. God didn’t just allow Nebuchadnezzar to raze Jerusalem; he sent the Babylonian king there for that purpose.
Numbers don’t lie, but the desired outcome generally determines how people go about working the problem.