Blogue : A false positive

Date de publication : 2017-10-21

In a lost debate, I do not know where or when, I heard this beautiful phrase "A false positive". The context ... the origin of beliefs, gods, divinities and superstitions.

We speak of false positive (positive test wrongly) or false negative (negative test wrongly) when the test result is contrary to reality / truth. A false positive is the result of decision-making in a choice with two possibilities (positive and negative), declared positive, where it is actually negative. (Source: Wikipedia).

To understand the relationship between a concept of statistics and the supernatural one must put all this in perspective. Imagine about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago ... small group of fewer than a dozen walkers gatherers, you are looking for food and a temporary site for the night. You have with you all that you have most precious. Night falls, you hide in the tops of trees a child in arms. You have already learned the notion of death, you have learned to make the first funerary artefacts. There you wait in silence. Under the cover of stars, at once half-astonished, half-asleep, you are on the lookout for the smallest noise, sign of danger ... Then suddenly, a crack in the night. Is it a wild beast, a mortal enemy approaching? You cannot move, you have the first reflex to pray in silence. To invoke the sun or the white clouds. You say to yourself whether you and your loved ones will escape, it will be thanks to a supernatural force ... a benevolent divinity, which answers your prayers, your offerings ....

The day rises and you are safe. You thank the gods for protecting you from danger ... All in all, your fears in this specific case were ill-founded ... hello false positive.

We are far from the scientific method: observation => formulation of hypotheses and a theory => prediction and experimentation, etc.

On the other hand, in each of us, there is always this fear of death, fear of the unknown ... If there is one thing that humans have in common, it is certainly this fear. As Voltaire says: "If God did not exist, it would have to be invented." In other words, it seems that men need the gods to live.

For me, the origin, existence and development of structured religions (in a competitive environment) certainly meet social and economic needs and functions. Indeed, religions are certainly not a tool for social change. Putin is the latest example of a profitable use of the religious apparatus for political purposes. The same can be said of the American political structure in which the religious authorities of the "Bible Belt" are courted with Swiss effectiveness. We must not minimize the negative externalities of this symbiosis between political power and religious bodies, including the rejection of the teaching of Darwin's theories of evolution for a ridiculous creationism; a pro-life lobby that restricts access to condoms and health care for women among others ...

My subject brings me a bit far from the data analysis. I come to my final point. So I decided to test the gods. To see and measure whether this need is more powerful than reason. On my last blog, I was pretty impressed with the number of visitors. As a reminder, I have put on line a small module that allows to infer the average age of a French national. This time, I put on line a module that allows to generate an "esoteric or divinatory" profile according to the definitions. For purists, I followed the methodology to the letter. The test is ready, how many people will go to consult their numerological profiles?

Will you try it? Here is the Numerology link Numerology. I will return in the next article with the count as to the number of visitors! My prediction, this will generate more visitors than my previous module on cohorts of ages and middle age by first name ...

Result of the latest compilation: The numerology module ranks first as to its popularity! In sum, for 300,000 years we have not changed as much as we believe. Fear and hope inhabit us in silence and always guide our choices ...