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Thursday, February 22, 2024

99.7% of Agenda-Driven Statistics Are Bogus

 From the linked item at Don Surber's substack -- 
ITEM 4: The LA Times reported, “It was a decade ago when California became the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags, ushering in a wave of anti-plastic legislation from coast to coast.

The story also said, “According to a report by the consumer advocacy group CALPIRG, 157,385 tons of plastic bag waste was discarded in California the year the law was passed. By 2022, however, the tonnage of discarded plastic bags had skyrocketed to 231,072 — a 47% jump. Even accounting for an increase in population, the number rose from 4.08 tons per 1,000 people in 2014 to 5.89 tons per 1,000 people in 2022."

That works out to 11 pounds of plastic bags per person. 200 single-use grocery bags weigh 240 grams — a little more than half a pound. That means the average Californian goes through 4,157 grocery bags a year.

No wonder Californians are weird. They are addicted to grocery bags.

Do you *really* believe that even Californians go through 4,157 single-use grocery bags per person per year and/or the equivalent weight in reusable plastic grocery bags (which is where the "environmentalist" claim is headed)?  Is it *really* credible that this "statistic" is even remotely on the same planet as the truth?  Of course not!

Note: Don Surber calculated from "11 pounds of plastic bags per person".  But 5.89 tons per 1000 people is actually 11.78 pounds per person, which, according to the weight per bag that Don Surber used, works out to the weight equivalent of 4453 single-use plastic bags per person in 2022.

Here is the calculation -- 11.78 pounds * 453.592 (i.e. conversion factor) = 5343.31376 grams total weight;  5343.31376 grams / 240 (i.e. the weight of 200 bags) = 22.263807333... "bundles" of 200 bags;  22.263807333... "bundles" of 200 bags * 200 bags = 4452.7614666... individual bags.

Don Surber's link/claim is that a typical single-use plastic grocery bag weighs 1.2 grams (at the link he used, I did't see a weight given for those 200 bags).  Other claims I found on the internet are that a typical single-use plastic grocery bag weighs 5-10 grams.  

So, just to make the math easier -- and to give all the benefit of the doubt to the "consumer advocacy group" -- let us say that the average single-use plastic grocery bag weighs 12 grams, that is 10 times the weight which Don Surber had used in his calculation; or, in other words, that roughly 38 typical single-use plastic grocery bags weighs a pound.  By that (obviously inflated) weight, the claim of the "consumer advocacy group" *still* works out to the assertion that Californians use the equivalent of 445 single-use plastic grocery bags per person per year.  Is even that number credible?  Is that number credible even given your own personal experience that you yourself end up with more "single-use" plastic grocery bags than you are able to re-use as waste-basket liners and trash-bags, etc?

But, suppose you had only the LA Tines' "reporting" and the "consumer advocacy group" assertions to go by, rather than a per-person break-down of the "statistics" -- you'd almost certainly have said, "Wow!" and believed all the assertions being made, and thus fallen for the agenda being pushed.

Engrave this on your heart as The First Law of Advocacy: Alleged statistics involving very large or very small numbers, made to advance an agenda, are almost always lies; especially when those very large or very small numbers are not put into some relatable context.

Here is another advocacy "statistic" that you have almost certainly encountered: "Every year in the US, 800,000 children 'go missing'" ... with "go missing" left undefined, but implying abducted and not recovered.

But, think about this assertion.

According to the CDC's "Births and Natality" page linked below, there were 3,664,292 births in the US in 2021.  Taking that number as a yearly average of births over the past 18 years (even though it isn't) would give us a total of  65,957,356 children having been born in the US over the last 18 years.  

Now, the advocacy assertion is that *every year in the US alone*, 800,000 children "go missing" -- that is, that during the past 18 years, a total of 14,400,000 children have "gone missing".  In other words, the assertion is that 21.832% of *all* children born in the US over the past 18 years have "gone missing".

Is that *really* credible?  Do you *really* believe that mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, brothers and sisters would not have *noticed* that nearly 22% of their grandchildren, children, and siblings have "gone missing"?