Monday, August 16, 2010

Confused by Ken Ham Math

Help me out, friends! I used to be good at math, but I've since lost all of my skillz. Let's say I give you this:

Of all the 20 to 29-year-old people who were virgins but no longer are so:

  • 95% were virgins during elementary and middle school years
  • 55% were virgins during high school
  • 11% were still virgins during college


I would be horribly mistaken to say that "11 percent of those who lost their virginity did so during their college years." I would also be completely misreading my data to say, "Almost 90 percent of them lost their virginity in middle school and high school. By the time they got to college their virginity was already gone!" Further, I'd be remiss to state that "about 40 percent are losing their virginity during their elementary and middle school years!"

Why?

Reasoning (equations I'm using in my head):

100% of all virgins
-95% virgins during elementary and middle school
----
5% lost during that time period


95% virgin prior to high school
-55% virgin during high school
----
40% lost during that time period

55% virgin prior to college
-11% virgin during college
----
44% lost during that time period


Right?


So... can someone please explain what Ken Ham is doing on page 31 of "Already Gone"?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

7 comments:

Mrs. C said...

Nevermind the statistics; his entire reasoning is off... It's a huge jump to put a good portion of the blame for people leaving church on Sunday school. I would certainly agree that that stuff is about an inch deep theologically. And I'd have to tell you that I don't send my boys on Sundays; they listen to the sermon. The calibre of most Sunday school programs for children is beyond disappointing.

But more to the point: WHO CARES if someone has doubts? It's what you do with them that counts. I do NOT side with the Christianese that you just have to keep praying and reading scripture etc. (thus brainwashing yourself) but I think doubts can propel you to find out more and figure out what you really believe.

Abe said...

Luke, I suspect that most of the people in the statistics Ken Ham is using stop going to church between high-school and college. That is, they go off to college and never find a church to regularly attend there. The implication is that the commitment to attending church is something that the kids acquire (or don't) before going off to college, and so, in a sense, they're "already gone" even though they are still attending church in high-school. That this is his intended meaning seems to be backed up by the following paragraphs.

On a different note: even though I sympathize with the Young Earth position, I find it a shame that he ties belief in the Bible so closely to the Young Earth position. Although that's to be expected.

Jenny said...

Your calculations are fine. I got the same numbers doing it the less confusing way, imo. Ham just misread his own chart.

Meg_L said...

yea gwads. That's pretty messed up math skills.

John Holzmann said...

I am afraid you have misread Mr. Ham, Luke. (Sorry!)

You wrote:

    100% of all virgins
    -95% virgins during
            elementary and middle school
    ----
      5% lost during that time period


     95% virgin prior to high school
    -55% virgin during high school
    ----
     40% lost during that time period

     55% virgin prior to college
    -11% virgin during college
    ----
     44% lost during that time period

    Right?


Wrong.

The correct analogy to what Mr. Ham wrote is this:

    100% of all virgins
    -95% who are still virgins during
            elementary and middle school
    ----
      5% lost prior to
            elementary or middle school


     95% virgin prior to high school
    -55% who are still virgins during high school
    ----
     40% lost prior to high school

     55% virgin prior to college
    -11% who are still virgins during college
    ----
     44% lost prior to college


Therefore--to continue the direct parallel to what Mr. Ham has said--"only 11 percent of those who have [lost their virginity by the time they are 20 to 29 years old] did so during the college years [or after]. Almost 90 percent of them [lost their virginity] in middle school and high school. By the time they got to college they were already [debauched]! About 40 percent are [being debauched] during elementary and middle school years!"

Assuming his sources are accurate, it appears he has done his math correctly.

Jenny said...

I'd done it with the 100%, but I guess I misread the interpretations. Sorry.

Jenny said...

I'm still confused as to where the cut off dates are. How are we supposed to distinguish who was lost prior and who was lost during? I think that's why I got confused.