Liars, damned liars, and all of ‘em statisticians. (yep, just made that up). The best lies ever orchestrated are overflowing with dubious and compounded statistics. In my UofU, Basic Research Methods Course (101), Professor Tufts suggested that the motive and intent of the creator of a study is paramount. He jocularly referred to it as the “sniff test.” In essence, if a study stinks of bias, independant verification is in order. While reviewing the propaganda, my olefactory senses were repeatedly stung by Edelman’s attempts at columny. In fact, the last six paragraphs were the most caustic putrification and adulteration (yes, I’m punny) of information I’ve encountered since Hitler’s typification of Jews.
If Benjamin Edelman (with the collusion of three researchers and complicity of eight consultants) is inclined to craft a study that pretends to assert that prayerful and scripture-studying American citizens are significantly more engaged in pornography (which accusation is patently illogical), I’m compelled to confound his clever complexities with a simple independant verification. Take a few seconds to see how contrived his numbers are and the skew of the press.
He mentioned porntube.dotcom, so let’s go with that one (if you think this is a small sample size, let it be remembered that Edelman only used one company for his analysis – so in his words [and I couldn't agree more], “it is difficult to confirm rigorously that this seller is representative” p.215 ).
He mentioned using Alexa for online data. We’ll try Quantcast’s unbiased stats and inference models.
Ben fingers the educated and affluent as highest subscribers to porn.
Quantcast identifies that it is the less-educated and non-affluent as the highest over-all population of consumers of porn.
The following shows that subscribers to porn are totally different than the population of porn consumers. Almost exactly opposite of what Edelman described.
Edelman made a map displaying payers for porn by percentages.
Quantcast shows a map of the highest populations of non-paying porn participants.
From an economic perspective, it’s pity that Edelman lacked the genius to identify ways to capitalize on the massive market of non-paying porn consumers. Instead, he points out the ridiculously obvious (people with more money [always highly correlated with more educated] are more likely to spend it). Brilliant. Instead he decides to target the variables anathema to the census: religion. Figured out his motive yet?
Ben claims to have included “standard demograpic variables” but omits race. Why? Because that particular truth wouldn’t villainize whom he wanted to smear. Think about it, if he identified Afr.Am. and Hisp. as primary subscribers (as shown above) everyone would say, well, those races aren’t majorities in Utah and Alaska so it appears as though this repugnant, pornography-viewing behavior is confined to a relatively insignificant portion of the population and is therefore irrelevant. But for Edelman’s campaign to take effect, he needed to paint some things with broad strokes and omit color altogether in others.
Edelman has one “anonymous” source for subscription and zip code data. This is highly suspicious. How probable is it that the unmentionable source has a monopoly on smut within the regions he wanted to criticise? It is not unthinkable that organized vice is as territorial as organized crime.
Now, to put this in the proper perspective: If the filth-pettling businessmen who read the Harvard Journal of Economic Perspectives are seeking subscribers that are willing to pay for vice, the more educated, affluent, religious demographic could be their target market. However, if the public wants to know which populations indulge in porn because Edelman and the press have you feeling maligned and grossly misrepresented, now you know their game and have unbiased material evidence that places burden of shame where it belongs.
Please share these findings liberally. Oh, and if you want to be ahead of the curve, apprehend Edelmans creation as a well-credentialed document to be referenced by the proponents of gay marriage. Speaking of, gporntube (“g” is for gay) ranks first in affinity sites.
p.s. If you think this article has nothing to do with economics or finance or the markets – that is exactly what I thought when I read Edelman’s stuff. But it got published in Harvards Journal of Economic Perspectives. I wonder if they’ll publish mine…