Posts Tagged “statistics”

We all make assumptions.

Often we don’t even know we are making them. We think that the world is a certain way and that things are as they are. We have been taught things. We have absorbed other things.

Yesterday in class we watched a couple of TED talks from a few years ago. They both address some of the assumptions we make about how the world is.

Hans Rosling talks about what we think versus what the data actually tells us.

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Rosling’s exposure of what the data really tells us has all kinds of implications for how we address some of the huge problems of poverty and disease and drought and famine. I wonder if policy makers have noticed?

One thing I noticed the other day was Rob Bell talking about Galileo.

Picture Galileo, standing there on top of the Tower of Pisa, about to drop two
weights off the top. The weights are the same shape, but one is heavier than
the other. Which will land first?

Obviously the heavier one, because that’s what people had been taught
for 2000 years. How could it be any other way?

And so Galileo drops them, and they land at the same time, because that’s
how the world actually works. This kind of thinking was, of course, radical and
revolutionary and it got Galileo into all sorts of trouble.

The mind blowing part? No one before Galileo had bothered to actually
do the experiment. They just believed what they’d been taught…

Rob gets a lot of stick for asking uncomfortable questions and not always giving answers. I like that about him. I like that he says things and leaves you to think about it. He doesn’t assume that his answer will be your answer.

Which brings us to the next TED talks… Sir Ken Robinson talking about schools and creativity and finding the thing you are passionate about. He also talks about how we are educating children for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.

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Knowledge is provisional. Until Galileo dropped the weights off the tower of Pisa everyone ‘knew’ he was wrong. He also proved that the Earth orbits the Sun. He got in bigger trouble for that.

This week scientists have discovered that ‘dark matter’ isn’t what they thought it might be because a new telescope has helped them see the formation of galaxies and it doesn’t work like they thought it would.

Today (23 Sep) scientists are reporting that they have measured neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light, something thought to be impossible. If it is true then our whole understanding of the universe is pretty much wrong… Again.

How do you live in a world like that? A world where nothing is certain?

It’s odd because that is the world we live in but we are happy to believe that things are certain and fixed and unchanging, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

I wonder how many assumptions we make about our lives, our faith, our church, our relationships, our understanding of how things are and why?

They say that ‘assume’ makes an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

I think they (whoever that is) might be right.

But that might be an assumption… because everything you know is wrong.

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Another brilliant TED talk… this time from Chris Jordan who shows his fantastic art which depicts some shocking statistics.  What I liked most about this talk was his passion about highlighting our lack of a sense of anger and outrage about some of the horrific things happening today.

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