Jun 30, 2009

As Kurt has pointed out to me, people are dying everyday. Interesting. According to the CIA World Factbook something on the order of 155,000 people die each day worldwide. Our local paper reported the news today that Fred Travalena has died. If you don't know who Fred is, I assume you haven't watched enough of Hollywood Squares. Here's his photo, it may jog your memory. No help? Anyway, this is a comment that appeared in our local paper in response to the news of Travalena's death. It is from a woman named Christine.

Ed McMahon Farrah Fawcett Michael Jackson

Billy Mays Gale Storm Fred Travalena

I worked in the nursing field for 30 years, the saying was "they always die in 3's". I've been keeping track for years and its fairly accurate.

Unfortunately for Christine, it is not accurate at all. Since Ed McMahon cashed it in on June 23rd, until the 28th when poor Fred bought it, about 750,000 people died if the CIA is to be believed. Christine, like most of us can only name 6. The deaths in threes is an example of confirmation bias. Our brains are programed to confirm what we already believe. On Christine's list I see six names, but she sees two groups of threes. In addition she makes the logical fallacy of appeal to authority in her reference to her years of nursing. Nothing in being a nurse qualifies a person as an expert on demographics. That would be a demographer. Superstitions are interesting, though. Oh, Mrs. Sneed is a nurse and an expert on everything, but she is the exception. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

9 comments:

Megan said...

When I go, I want Mrs. Sneed at my bedside. Just sayin'.

mum said...

Bet if you asked somebody in Bengladesh what Mister Travalena's death says about the state of his or her world, you wouldn't get much of a response. Maybe the woman named Christine watched Hollywood Squares a lot?

Confirmation bias is right on. If the pattern doesn't fit the bias - just fiddle with the pattern till it does.

What's the saying? Never let facts interfere with a solid prejudice?

Annie Ha said...

Mrs. Sneed is quite lovely

Barbara said...

Can we move back to the land of the living? Death is not a companion I want to associate with so much!

Nan Patience said...

Christine is wack.

Steve said...

Confirmation bias -- absolutely!

What about Fayette Pinkney, one of the Three Degrees, who died Saturday? Is she the beginning of a third cycle of threes? Or just a seventh person?

Actually, what's the threshold of fame you need to reach to be part of these trios? The NYT publishes obits of famous people every day!

Kurt said...

Educational. I am a teacher and I can assure you that the earth is flat.

Edlrick W. said...

Hey Sneed – Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Christine’s theory. After all, isn’t 750,000 is divisible by 3?

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