There is something oddly attractive about statistics. Research seems to fall into three categories– lies, damned lies, statistics.
If it were not for the tedium involved, I might have become a statistician or a researcher. Just look at all the wonderful things that research and resulting statistics bring to humankind.
For example, a new study suggests that excess weight is not so bad for us. What? Isn’t it a fact that the obese have a higher risk of death from heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer.
Obese bad. Skinny good, right? Not so fast. Dig deeper into the numbers and what do you find? More numbers.
Those who are overweight, when compared to what is considered ‘normal weight,’ have a much lower risk of Alzheimers, emphysema, lung cancer, Parkinson’s, or pneumonia.
So, what does that mean? Fat isn’t so bad for you depending on how you prefer to live your life before you die, or how you want to die after you’ve lived your life.
Sometimes it isn’t what’s in the numbers as it is what’s not in the numbers. The same research, and the resulting statistics, show nothing about the quality of life for those overweight.
Research is interesting because if there’s enough of it on a particular subject, then there are plenty of statistics, too. With plenty of statistics, different perspectives grow.
Research isn’t really crazy. The numbers that result from research can seem crazy.
That’s what makes research so much fun. The numbers. We make it crazy depending on how we view the numbers.