The popularity of statistics?

Jennifer pointed me to this site, which states that “white people hate math” but “are fascinated by ‘the power of statistics’ since the math has already been done for them.” I’d like to believe this is true (the part about white people liking statistics, not the part about the math having already be done to them) but I’m skeptical. Everywhere I’ve ever taught, there have been a lot more math majors than stat majors, and I’m pretty sure this is true among the subset of students who are white. But it might be true that the business majors, the poli sci majors, the English majors, etc.–not to mention the people who don’t go to college at all–prefer statistics to mathematics. Actually, I think most of these people should prefer statistics to mathematics. But I fear that a more likely reaction would be something like, “math is cool, statistics is boring.”

P.S. I looked further down, and this “Stuff White People Like” site is just weird. “With few exceptions, white people are actually fond of almost any dictator not named Hitler”?? Huh? I mean, I can see that the site is a parody, but this is just weird.

9 thoughts on “The popularity of statistics?

  1. For what it's worth, the entry in question at SWPL isn't written by the main author of the blog (Christian Lander), but rather by a reader. (Hence the indication "Winner #5" in the title — it's some sort of contest.) The tone of the blog is kind of tricky to get, and I think this entry is not representative of it, because of the different author.

  2. I love that site! There are many better past posts. The more recent ones are part of a competition to win their new book and weren't written by the site's original authors. I think they are vastly inferior to such gems as this or this

  3. That was a competition entry, written by someone other than the usual author, and they are all a bit weird. The normal standard is much higher.

  4. Yeah, that's a dumb entry – but I think what the poster meant wasn't that whites like Statistics, it was that they like "stats" – pseudo-statistical factoids that stand in for real knowledge about the world. Which, if so, would be true for pretty much America, not just whitefolk.

  5. Your misinterpreting "statistics". He's not actually saying white people love statistics. He's saying white people love random little factoids expressed numerically. That is, in fact, what the word "statistics" connotes to the general population, of which you and your peers are an exception subset.

  6. Ubs is right, as is the blog author. 87.51% of white people love little numerical factoids, regardless of the rigor behind them.

    In fact, for 76.22% of the population, the first association of "rigor" is "rigor mortis".

    — On the internet, 88% of statistics are made up, including these ;)

  7. I just can't get over the animated John McCain ad playing on the site at the moment. I wonder who authorized that ad placement?

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