Saturday, December 03, 2005

Whatever happened to the term 'statistically insignificant'?

It was with interest that I heard about a small furore about the presence or absence of Gays in the area of Teignbridge in Devon, as reported by the Mail. It's so funny to watch the public information scouts at the Beeb scurrying to produce absurd lines like this:

'A market research company says it did find gay people living in Teignbridge, contrary to reports.'

Having myself a bit of contact with market researchers, I am reminded of a survey that was done about religious belief in a small region of the Czech Republic. Out of a thousand surveyed, two were Protestants- thus they didn't figure in the report's conclusions; they were considered 'statistically insignificant'. As a Protestant myself I thought that a little harsh, but on reflection perfectly reasonable.

There are other possibilities of course. One is that there were Gays but these ones, reasonably enough, didn't wish to be part of the 'Gay community', hence their fleeing to the wilds of Devon to escape from the miserable platitudes of the Left. I personally don't buy the idea that they feared the rural savages' backlash. Oh, and by the way, maybe Kinsey was wrong 'an all (of course, he was, but a real culture war is still being waged to minimise the extent to which this outrage is understood and the conclusions from it properly drawn).

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