Statistics can prove ANYTHING!

The other day I was having a conversation with some of my uncles. Two of them, who are twins, as it happens. Seamus just got out of minimum security prison (apparently that's where they send you if absolutely refuse to stop shoplifting), so he likes to talk quite a bit. Sean is partially retarded, the result of a drinking accident, so he actually likes to talk quite a bit too.
It was Seamus, however, who got us started on the evening's main talking point. We had been telling jokes, and something made him think of a statistic he had heard, which I will pass on to you:
Apparently, scientists recently performed a very large survey on a group of women who had been the victims of domestic abuse -- something like fifty thousand of them.  They did lots of studying, and asked all sorts of questions, in the attempt to find a single common element among these women. And, although Seamus didn't mention the exact period of study, or the final budget, he said that eventually they found the answer: the single common characteristic of these abused women was that "they just wouldn't listen."
Amazing. I don't pretend to fully understand the ramifications of this discovery, or how it might apply to lowering the incidence of abuse, but the very fact that it was found restores hope for me in science and social services. What an undertaking! And think how much more difficult the whole thing must have been made by having fifty thousand subjects that just wouldn't listen!
My uncles were similarily impressed. Seamus started laughing, he was so excited about the research. Sean laughed too, probably because he saw Seamus doing it.
It makes me wonder, also, if the same conclusion could be drawn about children and animals that are abused. I mean, I'd hate to make any generalizations before a sufficient period of research, but it would seem to make sense. I used to have a guinea pig, and I only ever punched him when he wouldn't listen. In my defense, however, it only happened once.

Anyway, science is making the world a better place.

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