A Tiny Rant

Tiny, I promise. Miniscule. But I read this statistic on Facebook today:

"Did you know that more people are attacked by cows rather than sharks."

Okay, let's first parse the bad grammar, which includes an extraneous "that" and "rather" and does not include a question mark. It should read:

"Did you know more people are attacked by cows than sharks?"

But whatever. Because that's not even the point of my rant. First of all, I question the use of "attacked." More people are probably killed by cows, sure. That's not a surprising statistic at all. Because anyone with half a brain who takes time to think about it realizes almost immediately that more people come into contact with cows than with sharks. So by default, more people are going to be killed by cows than by sharks.

What would be incredible is if, even though more people come into contact with cows, sharks were still the greater threat.

People can't seem to wrap their minds around simple logic like this, and I blame the school system. Kids are taught to memorize facts and regurgitate them, not to think, to take data and cast it appropriately.

A statistic like the one posted on Facebook is designed in a way to mislead. Only by thinking about the information does one come to the conclusion it is not at all amazing. Nor are the follow-up facts posted with it:

"A few more animals more likely to kill you than sharks: deer (130 deaths in the US per year), dogs (30-35 deaths in the US per year), and horses (20 deaths in the US per year)."

I assume the numbers are averages. (For cows the number is 22, which again makes perfect sense when compared to horses.) Deer cause more deaths because they're more likely to be the cause of and/or involved in automobile accidents. Do you see how this works?

Anyway, there's my rant. I oppose lazy thinking. I suppose this Facebook post merely wanted to bring to my attention that a shark is not all that likely to kill me, and for that I can't be all that angry. Not that I thought a shark was going to kill me anyway.

I much prefer swimming pools.

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