God’s blessings to you on this the twelfth day of February in the year of our Lord’s incarnation 2017.
I’m traveling right now and in the hotel I was staying in the bed was too soft and the pillow was too hard. I suppose that means that on average I was quite comfortable.
It’s an old joke, but for a reason. Not everything which can be measured tells you anything when you do. That, of course, is the role of wisdom. To (among other things) distinguish between the things one should apply statistics to and the things one shouldn’t. Not too long ago I saw a fun rant / tweet storm from Nicholas Nassim Taleb about how Nate Silver’s predictions in the presidential race were junk. He couched it in terms of any model with such a high variance approaches a coin flip, but I prefer to look at it as Mr. Silver modeling an alternate reality. I’m not sure which, but it’s one of:
- Outcome if nothing changes between now and the election
- Outcome if the election were held today.
They’re related, of course, but the first is obviously not our world, because things change constantly in our world, especially when two large groups are vying for a prize. The second is obviously not our world because our election has a different date.
And as we’ve seen, these things will have a similar outcome to our world only when they do, and not for any fixed, causal reason.
In fact, the only real purpose to such public polls and public models is entertainment. A 24 hour news cycle needs far more interesting events to happen than typically do in the real world, so news organizations are forced to do much if not most of their reporting about hypothetical worlds. The big difference is how discreetly they do it.
Glory to God in the highest.