Tuesday morning rant… Tales from times of uncertainty #2

So here is the thing.
I hate stats and the idea that something can be “evidence based”.
I hate the way media and government and institutions use stats and supposedly science based arguements for decision making that is often inhumane rather than admit that most of the time nobody really knows what they are doing or what the best way forwards is.
And it’s not just in these unusual virus-obsessed times. It’s all the time. Data and statistics are used as some sort of objective¬†measure to see if something works or not rather than common sense and sharing stories, experience and knowledge.
You cannot compare. Anything. It’s a myth. You cannot objectively measure anything. It’s a myth.

Any study, academic paper or research project has to state the limitations and problems with the research carried out. Yet we are rarely made aware of these – all we hear is ‘research shows’, ‘the numbers tell us’, ‘the statistics say’ as if a new all knowing god has arrived to take us down the righteous path.

I wish that every time a research paper or statistic is used anywhere we’d also have to listen to a break down of the limitations such as is done in this BBC article.

Everything that happens in this world is a culmnitations of countless factors arriving at a certain point in time and space having followed unknowable routes.

My favourite answer to almost all questions about what to do is ‘It depends’ – the long version being ‘I don’t know because no person or situation is the same and there are so many things we can’t control so whatever we do we don’t know how it’s going to turn out or when or where or what happens after that. Really all we can do is try and keep trying. And even when we get the outcome we wanted it may not be what we really wanted after all. So it depends. On soooooo many things.’

Stats driven science is the new religion and I hope I’ll live to see the day where the human race looks back and laugh an embarrassed laugh at it’s own foolishness and mourns the lives that were lost and the people who were abandoned an ignored because we trusted numbers and graphs more than our common sense and human heart.
Rant over

BBC Reality Check Coronavirus: Why are international comparisons difficult?

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