Gaussian or Bell Curve Thinking
Modern revolutions claim to promote individuality against the behemoth state hegemony; however, history does not support this claim. The French Revolution’s claim of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was inherently contradictory since liberty for the individual was suppressed to promote equality of the group; or to put it more simply, mediocrity.
One group, the “common people” were elevated over another group, the aristocrats, as demonstrated by the elimination of the latter group via the guillotine. The ultimate failure of the French Revolution did not quell these impulses which resurfaced in the Communist Revolutions of the 20th century. Equality was enforced on societal scales resulting in massive murders of large segments of the populations involved. Hand-in-hand with the “equality”, or mediocrity, of these revolutionary movements was the simultaneous suppression of the Gospel which condemns mediocrity and thus equality in favor of liberty. How did this thinking arise? I propose that the newly invented statistics was the cause celebre. Statistics has come to dominate and define much of modern man’s worldview.
Statistics began in the 17th century but did not reach significant proportions until the latter 19th and 20th centuries (See Wikipedia-Statistics). Statistics gained in popularity as states (nations) used this methodology to predict trends and budgets based on growing, and changing, population demographics. Daniel J. Boorstein in his book, “The Americas: The Democratic Experience”, devoted an entire chapter to the influence of statistics on modern American societal development, especially in education, the defining of childhood growth and development expectations, and mental health, using statistics to define normal and abnormal (Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 5th Ed.(DSM5)). The Gaussian or Bell Curve is the quintessential hallmark of statistical analysis and herein lies the problem.
The Bell Curve has two flaws! Flaw One: it can only tell you about the past! The collected data (past events) can only develop vague generalities about what has occurred. The assumption is that past performance can predict future performance. This may have some efficacy on generalities but has no bearing on specific future performance events. Thus, the Bell Curve on tells you what has occurred, it cannot tell you what will occur, period. It may predict what might occur, generally, but it cannot tell you how a person will react in a specific circumstance. Even more ominous is the use of the Bell Curve to define Normalcy. Notice the shape of the standard Bell Curve. It is centered about a middle or mean or average mark and slowly tapers at both ends. The majority of the data points, 96%, are centered about the middle. This is used to define normalcy while those who occupy the end points (shaded areas) are considered abnormal. Herein is the problem; modern man uses statistics to define who is normal and who is not normal based on statistics which are not predictive of the individual and uses this data in the DSM5 to determine who is mentally healthy and who is mentally ill solely on the basis of the group. Individuals who are considered abnormal, the shaded end points, are penalized, frequently medicated and stigmatized with pseudo-medical diagnoses. Indeed, the practitioners of this pseudo-science have the legal ability to incarcerate people against their will, forcing them to take medication of questionable efficacy! I am not sure but that the guillotine was less merciful than being entered into a database and thus stigmatized for life.
Black Swan Events
Medieval Europe believed that Black Swans did not exist. Their statement was true until Australia was discovered to contain black swans. All the analysis was disproved in a single stroke! This event became the enduring example of Nassim Taleb in his book, “The Black Swan“. While his thinking is summarized by the preceding graphic, the essence of his thinking is that black swan events cannot be predicted based on past events. The past really tells you nothing about the future which destroys the reason for using statistics to control the future. For example: let us imagine that on August 2001 I proposed putting stronger doors between the cockpit and the passengers on commercial airlines. Question One, would anyone even listen to such a proposal since September 2001 had not yet occurred? Question Two, had the airlines followed my proposal and the events of September 2001 never occurred would I be praised for preparing against an event that had not occurred? If statistics cannot predict the future and protect people from harmful future events then what good is statistics?
Well, statistics are used to define normalcy. By definition the Christian is not normal! Normal people take the “broad path” that leads to destruction (Mt 7:13-14). Using statistics Christians fall into the abnormal, shaded end points; thus, they pose a danger to the general population simply by the fact that they are definably abnormal! The Christian, truly saved person, admittedly walks the narrow pathway, the road less traveled. The values and beliefs of the Christian run counter to the values and beliefs of the lost society. Statistics become the means by which Christians are “proved” to be a danger to society and thus must be either equalized, marginalized or eliminated. Notice that the enduring value of equality is given precedence over the value of liberty which by definition pertains to individuals while equality promotes fraternity based on the tyranny of the majority; that is, “You must be like us or you are against us”! The process by which modern society moves from liberty of the individual to equality for the group is demonstrated by the change of “normal” morality to include more of the broad gate society and exclude the narrow gate Christians. Thus, the change of values or morality is simply the inclusion of more members into the fraternity of mediocrity! It is not that churches are evangelizing less but that churches are rushing to join the mediocrity to prove that they are relevant to society and that they are not abnormal. Thus, the modern revolution begun in France in the 18th century is being accomplished in America without bloodshed in the 21st century with the consent of the majority simply through statistical redefinition. This will not change the future. Christ will return in His time proving the truth of Black Swan events and disproving the veracity of Bell Curve statistical analysis and thinking. The truth of the Scriptures still rings true today as it did when Christ uttered His words: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Are you in the “normal” group, alienated against God or are you in the abnormal group, resting in the bosom of Christ?