Thursday, December 18, 2008

Statistics and bloggery

Elsewhere, I investigate why some Jews have mixed feelings about December 25th. In short, it's because Judaism is, for many, centered around the non-celebration of Christmas.

Which brings up another, unrelated, problem: "many," I wrote, but how many? Which is the same question as arose during the fantastic discussion at Amber's blog about men's chest hair or lack thereof. If chest hair is "back," it must have gone somewhere. But how many men not a) appearing in movies, b) swimming in the Olympics, or c) looking for other men on 8th Avenue ever removed their chest hair to begin with? What can we say about chest hair without this knowledge???

I've occasionally gotten comments here along the lines of, 'You haven't proven that! Where are your numbers? I need more supporting evidence.' It always strikes me as pointless--this is a silly blog I write when taking a break from accumulating 'supporting evidence.' If there's something worth following through on, I will, or someone else should, but it won't be for every post. So, consider this a disclaimer.

5 comments:

Petey said...

"this is a silly blog I write when taking a break from accumulating 'supporting evidence."

Look, do you have any metric whatsoever to prove this to be the case, or are you just assuming this based on anecdotes?

Andrew Stevens said...

I've occasionally gotten comments here along the lines of, 'You haven't proven that! Where are your numbers? I need more supporting evidence.' It always strikes me as pointless--this is a silly blog I write when taking a break from accumulating 'supporting evidence.'

Of course, the point of any comments like those is to point out that you don't have sufficient reasons to think the things you think. It is admittedly a minority view, but there are people who think that opinions should have, you know, actual evidence supporting them, instead of gut feelings or wishful thinking.

Phoebe said...

What are "sufficient reasons" in the context of a blog post? I do tend to provide reasons (or evidence) for why I think whatever it is; if they fail to meet someone's standards for "actual evidence"... oh well. The blog's to start discussions, not to show off research skills.

Daniel said...

"The blog's to start discussions, not to show off research skills."

Wouldn't part of the discussion be, then, talking about why you "think whatever it is" and see if the opinions hold water?

Phoebe said...

It is. And I do provide evidence when relevant. What I don't do is run an academic journal in my spare time.