Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Star! A Hope!

The Toronto Star found, yesterday, an excellent reason to get behind “race-based” statistics … “To monitor police bias” of course! That is: while race-based statistics can in no way reflect on patterns of behaviour within a given community, they certainly can give us an insight into the deep and terrifying prejudices that characterize the disturbed collective psyche of the Toronto Police Service. But!—the editorial wonders (in, one assumes, tremulous baritone and with glittering eye)—do we have “the will to collect statistics, and the courage to face what the numbers exhume”? Well, we shall simply have to try our Will To Collect Statistics in the terrible fire of Statistics Collecting, and hope that it will be sufficiently steeled against the ensuing ordeal of Exhumation By Numbers, I guess. Keep your fingers crossed.

I hear (one-time) science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem intoning in the distance: “To him who seeks a reason but cannot abide any hypothesis of a design, whether in the form of providence or of the diabolical, there remains the rationalist’s substitute for demonology—statistics.”