Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Many people like to divide science into hard and soft. Hard sciences are the ones where you can directly apply the scientific method whereas soft sciences don’t lend themselves well to the scientific method. For example, physics is generally considered a hard science since you can replicate the results of previous experiments with new experiments. Sociology, on the other hand, doesn’t lend itself well to the scientific method because the results of previous experiments often can’t be replicated by new experiments. As if to acknowledge that fact sociologists tend to rely heavily on statistics.

In our modern world where science is the new god you can’t make an argument without somebody demanding to see your scientific evidence. While such demands make perfect sense in debates about, say, physics, they don’t make much sense when it comes to social issues because you can create statistics that prove whatever you want. Case in point, a research project found that one in every 24 kids in the United States has witnessed a shooting. However, the statistic was created through a survey with a question worded in such a way to guarantee a predetermined result:

It all started in 2015, when University of New Hampshire sociology professor David Finkelhor and two colleagues published a study called “Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse.” They gathered data by conducting phone interviews with parents and kids around the country.

The Finkelhor study included a table showing the percentage of kids “witnessing or having indirect exposure” to different kinds of violence in the past year. The figure under “exposure to shooting” was 4 percent.


According to Finkelhor, the actual question the researchers asked was, “At any time in (your child’s/your) life, (was your child/were you) in any place in real life where (he/she/you) could see or hear people being shot, bombs going off, or street riots?”

So the question was about much more than just shootings. But you never would have known from looking at the table.

That survey was then picked up by the Center for Disease Control (CDC( and the University of Texas (UT) who further twisted the research:

Earlier this month, researchers from the CDC and the University of Texas published a nationwide study of gun violence in the journal Pediatrics. They reported that, on average, 7,100 children under 18 were shot each year from 2012 to 2014, and that about 1,300 a year died. No one has questioned those stats.

This is how statistics is often used to create a predetermined result. First a statistic is created, oftentimes via a survey. The first problem with this methodology is that surveys rely on answers given from individuals and there is no way to know whether or not the people being surveyed are being truthful. The second problem is that survey questions can be worded in such a way as to all but guarantee a desired result. Once the results from the survey have been published then other researchers often take them and use them inappropriately to make whatever point they want, which is what happened in the case of the CDC and UT. Finally, you have a bunch of people making arguments based on those questionable statistics used erroneously by organizations that share their agenda.

Socialized Healthcare

Socialists believe that socialized healthcare is the most wondrous invention since concentration camps. Through the wonders of socialized healthcare everybody will receive all of the medical care they need. Unless, of course, the State deems an individual’s medical care to be detrimental to itself. Meet Charlie Gard, an infant who suffers from infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Charlie, in addition to suffering from a very rare disease, was unfortunately born in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK has a socialized healthcare system, which means that the State gets to decide who gets what and it has not only decided that Charlie shouldn’t receive medical care but it has decided that he must die even though his parents have raised enough money to try an experimental procedure through a private medical practice:

For ten months, Charlie has been living in the intensive-care unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In March, his doctors decided that there was nothing more they could do for him, and they recommended that his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, withdraw his ventilator. They refused, on the grounds that an untried experimental treatment was available in the United States. The hospital, in accordance with British law, applied to the courts to forestall further treatment. In April, the High Court found for the doctors and against the parents. In May, the Court of Appeal upheld the initial decision. In early June, the Supreme Court agreed. And this week, the European Court of Human Rights — the last court of jurisdiction — refused to intervene. Charlie’s parents have raised enough money from private donations to fund the experimental treatment, but the court decision prohibits his removal to the U.S. Whenever they see fit to do so, the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital can now remove Charlie’s life support.

Why would a government sentence a child to death even though the parents are able and willing to gund the medical expenses? Most likely because the government has done some longterm calculations and decided that even though the child may be cured of his immediate disease he could end up requiring more medical care throughout his life, which would hurt its bottom line.

The second biggest problem with socialized healthcare (the first being that the system is coercive in nature) is that it’s paid for through the money stolen by the State. Statists like to think that the State is above human greed but in reality it cares just as deeply about profits as any business. Members of the State want to line their pockets and their friends’ pockets with as much tax money as possible. Any money that goes towards healthcare can’t go into their pockets so they’re incentivized to reduce healthcare costs as much as possible. If that means sentencing people to death then people will be sentenced to death.

Stealing a Skyscraper

Civil asset forfeiture is widely used by law enforcers to steal cars, cash, and other valuable items that are easy to transport. Over time law enforcers have become bolder and have now gone so far as to steal an entire skyscraper:

The government can seize a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan that it says is controlled by Iran, a jury concluded on Thursday, allowing federal prosecutors to complete what they called the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in United States history.


The government has agreed to distribute proceeds from the building’s sale, which could bring as much as $1 billion, to the families of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks, including the Sept. 11 attacks. The office tower is highly coveted real estate; Nike recently signed a 15-year deal to rent seven of its 36 floors.

And, of course, the State received a rubber stamp approval from an “impartial” overview committee:

The jury, which deliberated for one day after a month of testimony, found that the Alavi Foundation, which owns 60 percent of the 36-floor skyscraper at 650 Fifth Avenue, violated United States sanctions against Iran and engaged in money laundering through its partnership with Assa Corporation, a shell company for an Iranian state-controlled bank that had owned the remaining 40 percent.

This is what happens when juries are instructed to rule on the letter of the law instead of whether or not the action was just. Civil asset forfeiture law is pretty clear about allowing the State to seize any property that it claims to be associate with a drug crime or terrorism. Because of that any jury ruling on a case involving civil asset forfeiture that is instructed to rule based on the letter of the law is bound to find any act of civil forfeiture, no matter hour absurd, to be legal.

In addition to the skyscraper, the State also seized several bank accounts but that’s pretty par for the course. Unfortunately, this precedent means that more high valued properties are likely to be seized by the State in the coming years. Yet again we see that one cannot own property in the United States.