Listen to this episode of The Daily Kind on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Audible, Stitcher, Overcast, or on your podcast platform of choice.


Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.

I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's March 3rd, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.

These days, it seems like we're all having a hard time getting to a shared set of facts on many topics. While this still feels strange to me, I'm also aware that throughout time, this has always been a challenge. Today with information flowing faster than ever before, sometimes we need to slow down and evaluate the quality of the information we are processing to be sure that truth was the soil it came from.

"There are three kinds of falsehoods, lies, damned lies and statistics" -Arthur James Balfour

“They say sixty-five percent of all statisticsAre made up right there on the spotEighty-two-point-four percent of people believe 'emWhether they're accurate statistics or not” - Todd Snider

All right. Let's pretend we're on a game show.

DRUM ROLL

Here's a question for you. I have a friend named Bob and he is raising two humans and he tells you that he has at least one girl. What is the probability of the other human he is raising, being another girl?

This seems like a simple question. And the intuitive answer is, well, we know one was a girl, so the chance of the other one being a girl should be a coin toss, 50 50, right?

VO: Oh, I'm sorry. That answer is incorrect.

In statistics there's something called the sample space and that's the collection of all possible outcomes. So let's think about this as a first child and second child. In this example, we can have boy, boy. Boy girl, girl, girl, or boy, girl. So based on this table, we know that boy, boy is not an option because we said that Bob told you he has at least one girl. So the options could be number one, boy, girl, number two, girl, girl, number three, boy, girl. So that's three. So that's one out of three chances. So 33.3%.

This is a little harder to do in a podcast than I thought it would be. But lots of smart people think about questions like this a lot. And even the way the question is phrased can change what the possible outcomes might be based around the idea, if we care what child was born first.

But the point of sharing the story is not to be a lesson in statistics. There are lots of great resources for that. The point here is that even just thinking about sample space and all possible outcomes and statistics and probabilities is not an easy thing to do for many of us.

And I include myself here. And if I messed up this example and you happen to be someone who can explain the idea, clearly, please reach out to me and let me know how I did. I am no data scientist, but like you, I am someone who sees all kinds of numbers coming my way every day. And the news and social feeds and emails from schools, percentages and possibilities are everywhere, and it can be hard to know who we should believe.

Going back to the Todd Snyder quote from his song statistician's blues 82.4% of us will believe them, whether they're accurate statistics or not. And I'm sure his research was solid on this.

So what's the takeaway?

VO: There is a one in six chance this takeaway will have some value.

How can you help the humans you are raising navigate the information that people are sharing with them, especially if that information contains some kind of statistics? Some good questions you can help them ask are; Is there a range say plus or minus some percentage? Or is there a possibility that something else might be causing the situation that the numbers are referring to?

There are many others, but really what you're trying to do is just help them get curious and not take the information at face value. You're helping them learn to question things, and this habit will continue to serve them throughout their life.

For all those number of people out there. Today's date made me smile.

It's three, three. Two one two plus one, three, three, three, three.

I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, drink some water. And remember there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity as our map and a willingness to say. Slow down. Think about the numbers we're seeing, we can be ready for anything.

So good luck. You've got this. I'm rooting for you.

With gratitude,

Kirk