Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sermons and Statistics

I guess this post would more probably belong on a Sunday, but I was listening to a sermon on CD as I drove round today. A friend had lent it to me. And I was trying to work out how I could like the speaking style, the voice, and even the message, but still find myself so frustrated by the words that I wanted to switch off.

It was the logic I guess (or lack thereof) that annoyed me. Maybe it's just a hazard of studying math at college. I can never look a misused statistic in the eye (or hear it in the ear) without my hackles rising. And once those hackles have risen I'm ready to pounce.

Which makes me think how I need to be careful in my writing too, unless I want readers and reviewers pouncing down my throat. If I don't know something, I'd better not pretend, or someone's almost sure to find me out. The trick's to know when imagination strays into the realm of falsehood - just like when statistics stray into misconception.


Helen Ginger said...

I'm no statistician, but it seems like sometimes you have to take a leap from reality to speculation. I have a feeling it happens a lot in thrillers or action/adventure, but those that do it well can convince me that it's true (and I have no way to argue otherwise).

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

Statistically 99% of people don't understand statistics.

70% think American Idol winners are statistically the best singers

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I try to be as correct as possible. I enjoy books that put forward interesting theories concerning historical mysteries. But without logic, everything falls apart.