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Statistical Vs Moral Choice

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Even though sample statistics can predict how people are, we don’t know if the next person we meet is an instance of the population or an exception to it. Statistical data tells you only about the collective, not about the individual. It allows us to make a good statistical choice but misleads us morally.


Some have anecdotal evidence while others have statistical. Neither can guide men morally.

First, anecdotal evidence depends on the observer himself. No girl has ever used me for money. As a matter of fact, some have helped me financially. It doesn’t mean that girls are saints but that I’ve never had any money and I have been open about it. However, a rich man is likely to meet a lot of gold diggers. He is likely to disproportionately attract GDs, just like catfood attracts cats or blood attracts sharks. Thus, our experiences are heavily shaped by who we are. There is no such thing an objective experience if it was had subjectively.

Second, even if it was statistically true that women are GDs, we don’t know if a given woman is an instance of the rule or an exception to it. If our null hypothesis is “she is a GD until proven otherwise”, we are prone to treat an innocent girl as a GD. We may obtain regret. If it is “she isn’t a GD until proven so”, we are prone to fall victim to a GD. We may obtain disappointment. As a general rule, it is always better to treat people good and find out that they are full of shit than to treat them like shit and find out they are great. Disappointment you will forget about. Regret you are likely to take it to the grave. Thus, our choice of null should be obvious here.

Racism in the American South

Some of my black friends thought white people were racist. Some had anecdotal evidence while others pulled servery and research data. However, surveys can be rigged to make people think what their leaders want them to think. People driven by statistical data can be controlled by those who produce statistical data. Thus, men should be driven by moral principles not but statistical figures.

First, even if 49% of white population held racist views, the next white person we meet is more likely to be in the 51%. Thus, our null hypothesis when meeting him should be that he's not racist.

Second, even if the majority of white people can be statically proven to be racist, we are clueless about the next white person. We don’t know where he grew up, what religion his family is, and what his ancestry is. In a white-majority nation, it is reasonable to expect great variations in their value systems. Thus, the general rule must be respected here.

Trust Issues

Perhaps, they have been lied to so often that they think that people are untrustworthy. I want you to think of the last 30 people you met (a diverse sample with more than 30 observations starts to approximate the population). Don't count people who belong to the same group because you need a diverse sample. Were more than half of them trustworthy?

If yes, you are statistically more likely to meet someone trustworthy than someone untrustworthy. Thus, you should treat the next person as trustworthy until proven otherwise.

If your answer is no, you still should give the next person the benefit of the doubt. It is always better to trust the untrustworthy than to mistruth the trustworthy. The general rule applies again. By the way, you’re gonna love it when you find the unicorns. One trustworthy man can enhance your life more than 10 untrustworthy men can diminish it. It is worth the effort.

Additionally, the null hypotheses (expectations) we hold shape society. It is well-established in psychology that expectations influence people. If you expect women to be gold diggers or white people to be racists, the word gets manifested. If you expect the positive, those who are guilty feel encouraged to give up greed and ignorance and to embrace truth and trust. Watch Robert Rosenthal's interview on positive expectations.

The moment you implant negative assumptions, you infiltrate the human mind. You have already established injustice. Now, people would treat others unfairly. They would have to compensate for the negative assumptions their neighbors hold of them. They would have to earn one another's trust, which should better be given. Contrary to what people think, justice can’t be done in a court, because moral laws can neither be made nor be repealed there. The legal system is simply a facade. How many bankers, politicians, and bureaucrats ever face the law? Justice is brought about by moral principles and is destroyed by destroying the same. So long people treat each other fairly, justice will spontaneously emerge via unknown means (comparable to Adam Smith's Invisible Hand).

I wonder if you noted that the morally right thing to do remained consistent, regardless of the situation and the statistical reality of the matter. There is a reason why some things are called moral laws. Think about it.

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