Amplifying ignorance through technological empowerment

There are numerous reports around the Internet about a supposed fraud. People that has never heard about the Drunkard’s Walk is firing up Excel or SPSS to plot variables and doing correlations, and while some of them actually ask for interpretation from someone else (an expert, preferrably), all of them are quick to state that the election is rigged, even when they lack either the knowledge or the experience to realize that they are wrong. Most arguments are critically flawed, the methodology is just wrong or anything resembling actual math is completely absent.
Some people are amazed when they apply a curve-fitting algorithm to some data and then -OMG!- it actually fits (What the fuck where they expecting?). Some other people find linear correlations in time series that represent percentages. A lot of people -a whole lot- are amazed that the lines in the PREP never crossed and believe that it is impossible. A couple of so-called experts were on the radio today discussing “mathematical irregularities” without providing real -scientific- arguments. AMLO himself has spoken about “mathematical impossibilities”. His cynicism -and the irony of the phrase- is mindboggling.
I have seen this same problem before in another context, and you might be familiar with it too: Someone learns to program using Visual Basic by drawing buttons and filling up code. He’s a programmer, right? Now he fires up VB.NET, learns to draw “web forms” and fills out some more code. Now he’s also a web programmer!
The same thing happens in other circles. For instance, we all know that anyone that can fill up a form in Blogger or LiveJournal is a journalist. Now we can prove that this very same phenomena -technological empowerment amplifying ignorance instead of supressing it- seems to work out with statistical programs -even with spreadsheets .
Hypothesis: If you give them SPSS, everyone is a statistician.
[tags]Mexico, IFE, PAN, PRD, PRI, Mexican Elections 2006, Math, Statistics, Ignorance, Education[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Amplifying ignorance through technological empowerment”

  1. Se puede dividir la respuesta a tu argumento en dos partes:
    1-Si bien es cierto que hay mucha gente como la que describes, tambien es cierto que hay una cantidad de gente seria, versada en matematicas y estadistica, que soporta las conclusiones matematicas a las que aludes. esta muy bien hablar de los ignorantes poderosos, pero pretender que estan incluidos una docena de profesionales de alto nivel de la UNAM y el IPN, por citar solo dos instituciones, es empobrecer el argumento mas alla de toda ayuda.

    2-El argumento matematico del fraude es solo uno. Los grandes eventos como este tienen muchos componentes, cada uno discutible por si mismo pero que juntos forman un patron demasiado evidente y demasiado solido para ignorarse cuando el sentido comun es la base. De hecho, esta muy probado que el gambito fundamental de la “logica” de aquellos que opinan a favor de lo politicamente correcto en Mexico, es compartimentar lo mas posible los eventos a fin de ignorar las tendencias y los patrones. En el caso del asunto electoral, una de las evidencias mas conspicuas es la de un ministro de la SCJN argumentando exactamente lo contrario de lo que una ley muy explicita dice con tal de mantener la opacidad.

    Asi que te sugiero que no te centres tanto en el asunto matematico, por que hay muchisimas mas evidencias que hacen imposible dudar del caso. Como seguramente estaras de acuerdo, conforme se acumulan las coincidencias que requieren explicaciones improbables, el caso se vuelve mas y mas obvio.

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