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mollycoddle children, fuel mental illness in teenagers?

From a correspondent: "Of course we want to keep children safe. But exposure to normal stresses and strains is vital for their future wellbeing"

abelard's response is a commentary on the linked news item:

This is certainly an improvement on most of the rubbish posted by the Groaniad.

Nassim Taleb is among a few commentators who have a firm logic foundation.

'Balance' should be more emphasised.

Figures are often unreliable because of reporting shifts.

In a world where people are breeding at less than replacement rates,the individual child becomes far more 'precious'.
This makes parents more anxious than in times when a wastage rate was the general expectation.
Not only are there less children in a family on average, there is far more investment in each child. The Chinese refer to them as young princes.

In a family of three children, one death is 30%. In a family with 10 children, one death is 10%.
Percentages are abused in the article as is habitual with the Groaniad and most politicians.
The 'article' focuses on the 'children', but much of the problems are related to 'adult' foolishness which often leads to spoilt children and adults.

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the web address for the article above is


small lesson on stats for innumeracists - stop worshipping sums

The worship of numbers is a form of idolatry (believing that the are proof, for example).
The absence of numbers indicates sloppy thinking.

What is the average of 49 and 51?
What is the average of 1 and 99?

With Gini numbers,
are you comparing the top 20% with the bottom 20%, or
are you comparing the top 5% with the bottom 5%?

Always ask whether Gini numbers apply to capital (wealth) or income, and
whether government transfers such as pensions, 'free' schools, hospitals, roads, defence etc. are included in income figures.

If there is a greater proportion of billionaires in a country and you use 5%, you are likely to have very different results than if you compare 20%;


all governments lie with stats.

Some even stuff ballot boxes, while others control all the media.

Do you really believe a statistic coming out of China is of the same quality of one coming out of Britain, the USA, or even the EUSSR and, thereby, safely comparable?

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the web address for the article above is



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