The Electric Commentary

Thursday, October 18, 2007

For Your Consideration

A few interesting tidbits:

1. Megan McArdle writes:

According to a study that even the New Republic's Jon Cohn admitted he thought was probably exaggerated, being uninsured killed 18,000 people a year this decade. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, on the other hand, apparently kills 19,000 a year.

2. Some scientists called up peddlers of pseudo-scientific bullshit health products and asked them how their products work. They recorded the conversations, and have produced them in this pamphlet, which is quite fun to read.

3. Man Problems: Be careful, you married, tofu-eaters.

4. If only the Who's down in Who-Ville would have been so well equipped.

5. Finally, young non-Christians think less of Christians than they did a generation ago:

The study shows that 16- to 29-year-olds exhibit a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were at the same stage of life. In fact, in just a decade, many of the Barna measures of the Christian image have shifted substantially downward, fueled in part by a growing sense of disengagement and disillusionment among young people. For instance, a decade ago the vast majority of Americans outside the Christian faith, including young people, felt favorably toward Christianity's role in society. Currently, however, just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a "good impression" of Christianity.


Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is "anti-homosexual." Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a "bigger sin" than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.


  • Why compare the numbers in the first infromation tidbit? Isn't it like comparing apples to rocks? I see what that poster was hinting at, but I don't think he/she was contributing anything of note with just one irrelevant comparison. That is an example of cherry-picking data that hints at an argument but does not really support it. Here is how I would counter such a cherry-picked fact with another one:

    Diabetes killed over 74,000 people in 2002 and contributed to over 224,000 deaths that year. It is also likely that diabetes deaths are severly under-reported. It should also be noted that those who have diabetes are more likely to make lower incomes, and be under the age of 59.


    By Anonymous Bill, at 3:48 PM  

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