Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Courts, When Faced With Math

 It has been argued that when debating with a liberal, the last thing you want to bring into your argument is anything having to do with math. Well, it seems that while citing statistics, and other such arcane magic to a liberal is nearly always counter productive, it is also true that not all conservatives are math whizzes either, and will shy away from such stuff.

Here is an article in Reason that describes what the problem is in cases when math of an order higher than balancing a checkbook rears its ugly head. Here's a quote:

For example, when presented with basic statistical evidence of anomalies in the 2019 election of Georgia's lieutenant governor, a Georgia Supreme Court justice said: "We are all lawyers. We are all judges. You are making us shudder with math." Another added, "I am one of many people who went to law school because I was told there would be no math. Yet here it is." It is hardly surprising that after advancing to his position as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts' response to statistical evidence showing Wisconsin's voting districts had been warped by political gerrymandering was to dismiss it as "sociological gobbledygook," when, in fact, it was a conclusion based on basic mathematical methods.

I can sympathize with the judges as one of the books that moved me to tears was "Elementary Differential Equations". My other experience was being subjected to a course in Statistical Analysis of Manufacturing Processes" which crammed a complete course in statistics into 4 days. I would not recommend it to a superior court judge who was presented with an analysis of voting distribution patterns. Far better would be for the judge to find a neutral(!) statistician who could sum up the numbers in a way understandable to a lay person. This sort of innumeracy goes a long way toward explaining why most of the lawsuits about the conduct of the last election have been dismissed. If the judge cannot understand your case, you might as well be presenting it in Klingon.

It also seems that if judges are noticeably light in the math department, at least some of the members of the various legislatures have at least a working comprehension of what's going on. In both Arizona and New Hampshire, the legislatures have ordered a detailed audit of the voting processes having been presented with statistical evidence that at least some of the members are familiar with. A business man when presented with evidence that the recorded inputs and delivered outputs do not match expectations, will immediately want to know why and what to do to fix this. His fellow legislators who do not have this background, would still respect his expertise on this matter and at some point, a majority might well form in favor of investigating. 

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