Voice of the people: Paul Mack




Trusting numbers


Here are some more of what I think of as facts. After learning of the viral video from South Dakota ER nurse, Jody Doering, I found myself wondering how many others see them as believable?


1. The number of deaths due to coronavirus through 11/18/20: 253,640;



2. The number of deaths due to coronavirus recorded on 11/18/20: 1,962;


3. The number of new coronavirus cases recorded on 11/18/20: 187,833.


These statistics vary slightly from source to source but the numbers do not differ by much -- not enough to matter.


Here's the question -- WHY do we believe the numbers we trust?


I believe the Covid-19 statistics. No, I did not observe all of these instances myself. That would be impossible. But there are other numbers that we all believe that we did not personally observe.


For instance, I am a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. My team finished the regular season this year with a record of 43 wins and 17 losses. I streamed many of these games but I did not personally observe any of them. Same with the postseason which resulted in my team winning the World Series. Same thing -- didn't observe any of them directly.


I still believe the Dodgers are the 2020 champions. Why? The whole thing could have been faked in some fashion or another and presented as actual results. After all, most of those games were played without any spectators. Absurd, you say. Well, why couldn't they have been? I wasn't there.


I do know this. I never distrusted the sports page of the LA Times as a kid. Why should I be suspicious of the results I see on ESPN now -- or ever? They are trustworthy sources -- just as they have always been in the past.


My point? This is no different than any other number we choose to accept as true -- it's the source that matters, not so much the number itself. To use other means to judge -- specifically, that is, to put credence only in numbers that you have been told to or that you are pleased by is completely arbitrary; there is very little in the way of statistics that anyone can observe personally and directly.


But they can trust a source -- especially if that source has been trusted in the past. Like Johns Hopkins University and Medical School.


And also like all these state boards of election - including ones where conservative candidates won close elections.


But decidedly not Rudy Giuliani -- especially after yesterday's unhinged press conference.


Paul Mack






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