For John, BLUF: If you can't accurately describe it, you don't really understand it. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From the web presence Political Calculations we have "The Biggest Math Story of the Year". The sub-headline is "What was the most significant story in mathematics in 2014?".
The rise and fall of the distractingly false claim that "one in five women is sexually assaulted in college" is the biggest math story of the year.Let us be clear. Any rape is wrong. However, exaggerating the numbers for rape does not help us form proper social policy to deal with the problem.
The collapse of the "one in five" claim, and the weakness of the statistics behind it, can be seen in the actions of the President's political supporters in office and in the media, who are now trying to quietly drop their previous touting of the figure from public view.For example, New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped the statistics on sexual assault statistic from her website.
On the other hand, Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., talking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, while indicating that she was not happy about pushback on statistics regarding campus sexual assault, shows her innumeracy.
“Frankly, it is irritating that anybody would be distracted by which statistics are accurate,” McCaskill said.Without the statistics we don't understand the scope of the problem. We may mis-prioritize our actions. In the case of sexual assault we may focus on college campuses and ignore the larger problem for young women who are outside the milieu of education. In the current argot we are "privileging" college women compared to women who do not go to college. That is bad social policy.
Hat tip to the Instapundit.
Regards — Cliff