Something that has really begun to bother me this past year is the modern use of statistical information as axiomatic truth. Stats are a study of a certain sample size of given information that already exists. It does not base itself in mathematical laws of the universe or study aspects of life like science attempts to do. The information in statistics is important, but it is not truth beyond the context of the sample size and all the determine factors and possible controls within that sample population.
Just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen. It likely has or will happen at some point, just not nearly as often as things that are likely.
I’m going to use myself as an example to shake things up a bit:
I was conceived while my mom was on birth control with the use of a condom. I was shown on the ultrasound as being male, and my parents were certain until they saw me after I was born that I was to be a boy. Yet, I popped out as a healthy baby girl, much to my mom’s disbelief. I also happened to be born on January 1st a about 1:15am and was the first baby born in my hometown in 1992. It was the first and thus far last time that I have been in the newspaper. So far, I shouldn’t have been conceived, I’m the wrong sex and I’ve got a relatively uncommon birthday. That’s just the tip if the iceberg.
My dad was in the military, my mom is a mathematician with a doctorate in statistics. They divorced when I was 8, and both were remarried within two months of eachother to other people when I was in grade 8. I have an older brother, 4 years older, and two half sisters, one is 15 years younger and the other is 16 years younger than me.
In my education, I was tested as gifted, but went to public school. I did the French immersion international baccalaureate program in highschool and went to university in the same city where I’m now studying a double major in linguistics and religious studies. I applied to university because I could and had no actual plan of career choice afterwards. I took 5 years of Saturday school to learn Japanese from grade 8-12. I took two years of Spanish in highschool and took other languages at university. I sing and play the flute. I dance and actually did 4 years of pointe (when you go on your tippy toes in ballet) but I chose not to do competitive dance after the first year of competition. I do every kind of visual art I can get my hand on, but I haven’t taken art classes since grade 8. I learned to sew well enough to wear what I make for costumes and clothes. I have never failed a course. Ever. I’ve gotten crappy marks, but even in my fourth year of uni I have never failed a course.
Medically, I got diagnosed with celiac disease, 3b on the marshes scale of vili atrophy at the age of 20 after two months gluten free. I have no family history of anything related to celiac disease. I gave incredibly dense bones (especially for the little amount of dairy I grew up on) and have a dead tooth from smashing my head against a friend in gym class in grade five. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 21, that I had had undiagnosed from at least 14 years of age. I have a rare kind of migraine aura that is completely debilitating (at its worst I lose fine and gross motor control among many unpleasant effects), for which I’m on preventative medication that still leaves me with visual aura. I was put on birth control at 16 for an irregular menstrual cycle, as I bled too much (at one point there were 8 days between cycles). I have ADHD and dyslexia that I had no idea I had until this year because I’m high functioning. I had mild appendicitis in the fall that did not respond to antibiotics, and the surgeon acted like it was my fault I wasn’t getting better because stats said it should work.
Romantically, I had a girlfriend in grade 9 without much care about the fact that I’m a girl too. I had a highschool sweetheart last nearly four years, that started in grade 11. Then after some short relationships I’ve been single by choice since.
Spiritually, I was born into a Catholic family but wasn’t baptized, researched the crap out of “religion”. I had many spiritual experiences on my own with a strong tie to fairies (also known to some as angels), and found a combination of Zen Buddhism and neopaganism fit best until I actually started looking at true catholic doctrine (that happens to encompass the aspects of both that I like) and am going to be baptized in April…after joining the RCIA program a whole 4 months late.
And these examples are just the big obvious anomalies that make up how I’ve come to become the person that I am today.
My life is unusual in a great many ways, so I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to actually fall into the fallacy of statistics as truth… I never understood what normal meant, and I still don’t. I understand things that are common and not so common, but just because most people experience certain things doesn’t mean that everyone does or will. Life is far more complicated than anyone will ever be able to understand, so people should stop pretending they know everything when they come across something unusual or new!