Telling the Truth About the Damned Lies

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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...
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