Alberto 2007 Reading Response #1: Telling the Truth
Alberto RealesReales 1 Ms. Miriam Konrad Introduction To Sociology, TTH Class 30 August 2007 Reading Response #1: Telling the Truth About Damned Lies and Statistics It’s been made clear by the author, that the average American citizen does not possess an optimal knowledge on mathematics. Assuming that his words reflect the truth, naturally. The sole fact that society has converted the incapacity of an adult to perform basic mental processes into a laughing matter, reveals the alarming condition of the country’s masses.
Therefore, without any developed mathematical skills, it wouldn’t be too implausible to believe that a standard individual is unable to tell, or at least estimate, the consistency of any given statistic. Nonetheless, Joel Best’s goal is not to prove the inefficiency of the education system, but the credulity and lack of judgment of the general public. Best’s article is not really about the general ability to measure exponential increase; it’s about how society is continuously fed by sensationalism and drama. Who wouldn’t want to believe that one of five children around the world enjoy at least two healthy meals a day?Or who would object to a newspaper stating that every five minutes there’s one murder in Colombia? The media runs on society’s gullibility, using statistics as the oil that makes everything function smoothly. Which is alas, ultimately considered Reales 2 (by the author of this response, that is) as a possible explanation to a very common, yet unspoken, universal premise: every word that’s been printed, is unquestionably the truth and just the absolute truth.
And as good representatives of humanity, present day society usually finds that the easy way out, is frequently the option favored.Even if that means ideological opium for families around the world, or the hyperbole of a military conflict in the north of South America. Yet, it’s just another consequence of living in such advanced and agitated times. For instance, even if an individual tried to verify every piece of information thrown to him/her by the media, it can’t be denied that it would consume both energy and time, which in contemporary culture, means money. Along with this, it can also be said that any statement that has any kind of mathematical back up, or evidence of validation, is bound to be taken more seriously than the rest. Then, why doubt statistics?They are clear, standardized and presumably confirmed facts that illustrate results in graphic and easy to understand manner.
Except, not. Best implies throughout his article, that at the very moment society considers statistics as an expression of absolute truth; we, individuals who serve as an active part of a whole, surrender to the will of politics and economy. To the will of higher minds that seek not the diffusion of truth but the collection of wealth. Is there any particular reason that can explain the nature of the headline, “Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled”, cited by Best?Apart from manipulating Reales 3 ideas in order to generate expectancy among readers; and with an ultimate purpose of selling more copies? Probably not. Can’t help but to recall a notable Roman emperor, who once said “To the people, bread and circuses”.
The author’s discontent is not towards statistics, which at some point recognizes to be useful and necessary as long as they are decontaminated of the capitalist toxin. His grudge is held towards society as a mass, for being conformist, lodged to the mediocrity of just believing.