I put on "Day After Tomorrow" last night because it happens to be hilariously awful. Whenever there's a storm outside, snow delays on NJ Transit, or a weather-related closing of school....you can count on me to reference the movie or break out with a quote from the movie. I start watching it last night and it hit me...the crazy that I laughed at is all too real in the present times when too many fools have podiums and too many fools have their own TV shows. Everything from sports to weather to health to entertainment is chock-full of information that is questionable but still shoved down out throats whenever we want to do something as simple as read a newspaper or catch up on weather. I mean, we've all seen how good the media is at fanning the beginnings of mass hysteria by beating the dead horse-of-the-week with panels of experts, tell-all interviews, recreated events, details at 10, more details at 11, speculation at 12, and irrelevant factoids at 12:30.
I don't know what it is about the world today, but people seem to have lost the ability to simply THINK for themselves before jumping to the same conclusions that are constantly transmitted to them by celebrities, politicians, and media outlets....you name it.
STILL...not all hope is lost.
If you have ever gotten tired about the back and forth of "butter/gluten/soy/eggs/etc are good/bad for you" debates...you are catching on to something. If you have ever found yourself researching the study that is allegedly behind the latest "eat __________ each day to ensure long life" fad...you are catching on to something as well. If you've blocked status updates from that friend that keeps posting those "all you need is (insert unrealistic daily allotment of vegetable X here) to cure cancer," you are on to something too. We are all up to something. We are coming to the realization that the world is out of its mind and that science as well as reason have been hijacked by special interests, fools, or the dangerous combination of fools with special interests.
What can we do to remedy this? We can THINK. We can use our power of reasoning to make the right conclusions...even if they may not match up with the flavor-of-the-week conclusions that seem to have infiltrated the brains of the masses, colleagues, friends, family, those "panels of experts," etc.
How can we start thinking for ourselves? Well, let me to introduce you to Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen....a man who is certainly worth listening to you. In the brief 23 minute clip below, he breaks down just how much we need to think about when we come across that latest statistic that either has everyone locking themselves in a fallout shelter, convincing themselves its the end of the world. He talks about the types of reasoning, the ins and outs of statistics, and different strategies for interpreting statistics in an applicable manner.
Best of all, he brings up the questions you need to ask whenever you interpret a statistic. How many people were sampled? Who funded the study? Who conducted the study? How relevant are these findings? Let me just say from experience that the material in this video is right on target with some of the material discussed in any epidemiology or statistics course that is worth taking.
Sheen is brilliant...absolutely brilliant. With that said, check out the video