Happy Easter to the readers who share the Christian faith.

Lenten Reflection. I do not hide my faith in writing this blog, but I also do not see it as a blog written solely for Christians. I want it to be a blog written by a Christian for everyone.

Having said that, Easter is a special time for me in my faith walk. In preparation for Easter, during Lent I take the time for serious reflection.

One of the reflections deeply struck me and I want to share the idea for everyone. In reading and thinking I was reminded about the great contrast between what Christ said is important and what many people wanted in a Messiah.

In Jesus time, many people wanted a Messiah who would enable Israel to throw off the shackles of Roman rule. My reading of the Beatitudes and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, my reading of the parables, my reading of the Fruit of the Spirit, together with many other scriptures reminded me –-I am to be more concerned with love, humility, kindness, tolerance, generosity, and a long list of values other than pride and greatness.

The messiness called science. The issues surrounding the COVID crisis made me realize many people do not understand how research works. When COVID research said one thing and then changed, some people lost faith in science. They thought science needed to always be exact. 

Science gives us a lot of clear knowledge, in some ways exact knowledge. What many people do not understand is the messy process that precedes the clear knowledge. The mistakes in data gathering, the trials and errors, the alternative hypotheses, the theories that were disproven and other messiness preceded many ideas we now accept as clear knowledge.

I was reminded of the problem when I read recent articles about COVID related deaths. The evidence in several separate studies is that since the vaccine has been available more COVID related deaths have occurred in counties and states that voted Republican than voted Democrat.

Most scientist would agree that a fact has been established. Now the messiness begins. Some scientist will be looking for confounded variables that are different than political affiliation.  Some will be examining the data gathering procedures to look for faults. Some will be proposing hypotheses to account for the result. Others will be developing counter hypotheses. All hoping to correct or support the research, knowing the messy process leads to better and better knowledge.

In the meantime, people who understand science will make the best possible decision with the available data, clearly understanding the possibility that later research may affect the decision. Below I have listed some studies I ran across. If you have research that is different from these results or if you see a problem with the research, please let me know. My hope is everyone is making decisions based on the best data available. Everyone should read and decide for themselves.

Comparing U.S. COVID deaths by county and 2020 presidential voting preference | Pew Research Center

Death by political party: The relationship between COVID‐19 deaths and political party affiliation in the United States – PMC (nih.gov)

Excess Death Rates for Republican and Democratic Registered Voters in Florida and Ohio During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Public Health | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

The Association Between COVID-19 Mortality And The County-Level Partisan Divide In The United States | Health Affairs

Scientific statistics are useful. If you do not understand the COVID example, then try thinking about how people talk about weather predictions. I know people who dismiss the weatherman or woman because they are not 100 % accurate. The messiness of scientific research means we often have imperfect knowledge, but we know much more about weather today than we did 81 years ago when I was born.  We have learned much about the weather through research.  A weatherperson has limited knowledge and may be wrong sometimes, but he or she is right more often than wrong and getting better.

Weather predictions are more helpful if you understand statistical probabilities. Unfortunately, many people do not understand probabilities and mistrust statistics. They believe anything can be shown with statistics.

 I cannot show anything I want with scientific statistics to someone who understand statistics. However I can fool people by misusing statistics if they do not understand them. I can even lie with statistics, but if I lie, the problem is with the liar and not the statistics.

I can be lied to by people speaking English. That is not a reason to stop using English. Statistical probabilities and the English language are both useful.

Probabilities are very helpful for understanding weather predictions. Knowing probabilies helps make better decisions than making decisions with no knowledge.

This and That

Another demonstrable value of statistical probabilities is standardized testing for college admissions. Several well-known universities dismissed standardized exams for what I would call “progressive” reasoning. Just as some “defund the police” cities have changed and are now strengthening laws and police enforcement, the universities are returning to standardized testing.

Why Highly Selective Colleges Are Reinstating The SAT (forbes.com)

I received some excellent responses to my concerns about the left and right in our political scene. I will take some time to digest them and give them the seriousness they deserve, before I share them.

Good News

Acts of kindness

In The Heart Of Harlem, Grandma’s Place Shines As An Uplifting Oasis For Children (sunnyskyz.com)

Margot Robbie’s Heartwarming Surprise Visit Brightens Lives At Young Care Oz (sunnyskyz.com)

Beach Hero: Melbourne Woman Pulls Three Unconscious Men To Shore (sunnyskyz.com)



Categories: Author Posts


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *