Jordan~ wrote:The normal distribution that you refer to is grossly skewed in favour of Western Europeans in the last 250 years. It is not a normal distribution at all, it is a treatment of global history as if it consisted exclusively of French and British history from 1750 to the present day. The title "The Road to Serfdom" says it all: there is a clear and explicit concern to link the definitive political dichotomy of late modernity to that of all pre-modern eras (i.e. the vast majority, by literally a hundred thousand years, of the human past).

I wrote a lengthy reply under the assumption that the above is not an exquisite non-sequitur--as I have confidence in you presenting a rational front while I am your audience and we remain discussing certain subjects. I had the thought about the normal distribution and human behavior the day I posted it, but have not been happy with that asserted connection. Let me state, for the moment, that I do believe in "human nature" properly defined, though you may convince me that it is chimerical--if that's not too much exaggeration.

I did not refer to anything relating to "a treatment of global history". If someone has misused the statistical concept, then it is a separate subject, which I will be happy to have you explain to me. To what did I refer that is grossly skewed? I referred to a statistical method. As I mentioned above, I'm going back-off on my assertion that it demonstrates general predictions of human behavior and, for this post, want to address the statistical concept.

Based on my experience of people who mis-perceive and mis-define the word "normal", an explanation is indicated.

Normal Distribution

I took two semesters of Probability and Statistics. My experience in those two semesters was devoid of politics. I haven't the slightest idea of what you assert regarding a or the normal distribution. I doubt that you don't know about the statistical concept. Look at your OP: "On average, we're basically communists!" Your message is that, given a random sample of Newsom fans, it is normal to be "basically communist". Easy as counting.

"The" normal distribution is a type of statistical distribution (easy as counting) where, after the data is put to graph, 95% of the data are grouped symmetrically (distributed) 2 standard deviations around the mean (mode, median); half the remainder are grouped on the left and the other half to the right.

Note that assuming or concluding a result to be a normal distribution is valid only when a random sampling of the population can be accomplished or assumed (safely) or a compensation can be made; and the sample-size must not be too small . For example, if your link's population is confined to the UK, then it may be wreckless to assume that UK respondents are representative of the rest of the fan population.

If you accuse a statistician or writer of creating a "skewed" result in the sample selection and data accumulation phases, then it is a problem of ethics not statistics. I will add with complete confidence that if there is a predictable human nature, then statistical methods on a proper sampling will reveal the predictability.

I have encountered countless people who deny the existence of "normal", which I doubt they mean to be the statistical normal: I use the word "deny" as it is a form of denial. I've never asked anybody to defend the "there is no normal" belief as there can be no refutation of statistical normal, provided the data collection is legitimate and the sample is large-enough and representative of the whole, which is not always easy to accomplish. Further, asking someone to defend "there is no normal" would require me to reveal a person's lack of knowledge of rudimentary statistics.

Does anyone get upset at the statement, "Being seven feet tall is not normal"--other than neurotics?

Similarly for the statement, "If everyone in a defined population has some measure of social discomfort, then social discomfort is normal for that population."