Sample Article Review on The Median Isn’t the Message

The article The Median Isn’t the Message by Gould Stephen makes an explorative reflection on misconceptions of statistical median using a medical experience. Built on a self-story, the article looks at a standard example of a stretching truth in numbers. The author argues that statistics has the ability and responsibility to exhibit differences in average and central tendency. The mean gives the assumed average range by adding all items and dividing by the number of shares.

However, Gould picks issues with the median element in relation to the statistical evaluation of the average item. For instance, he uses the example of five kids arranged in order of height where the median occurs to be taller than the first two but shorter than the next two. In reflection of another case of income, neither of the quoted persons give statistics with impassive objectivity. The author argues against the disparity in statistical clarity of median. Being a central element does not necessitate comparability to a group’s mean. Thus, the statistical relevance of such tools in data analysis can be skewed towards unprecedented objective thereby distracting their meaning.

The author also asserts his argument to social interpretation of the difference between heart and mind, or intellect and feelings. As many people fall for “feelings”, intellect remains deserted based on outmoded elitism which makes it “an enemy” in the course of “feeling good”. Therefore, the author makes reference to Hilaire Belloc’s quote that “Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death.”

On statistical reflection, the author makes reference to a July 1982 admission for abdominal mesothelioma. Upon recovery from the surgery, he asked the doctor for medical literature on abdominal mesothelioma worth reading but to his surprise the doctor said none. The author later realized that the “none” response meant the incurability of the illness that only had eight-month mortality after discovery. The author relates his prior feelings and mental perspective to cancer survival. As such, added to Sir Peter Medawar’s response on “a sanguine personality” advice, the author constructs confidence to triumph the illness.

The author connotes the medical attitude on critical matters to creating a statistical understanding of the median. The author associates the medical experience to Bacon’s proverb in understanding the “median mortality of eight months. In his view, the majority of people would interpret the concept as “death by the end of the eight-month”.  However, Gould believes that the concept of attitude matters a lot in the aftermath of the median statistical discovery, just like his abdominal illness. With the burden of Platonic heritage, the author cautions against interpretations that undermine the factual meaning of the eight-month median mortality. According to the author, the Platonic heritage is responsible for the ill perception on statistical measures of central tendency, as reflected in the medical imagery. The situation takes away the real analysis of variations, shadings, and continua. The view depicts the median as the reality that allows statistical calculation as transient and inaccurate measures of unseen polarity. Therefore, his interpretation for “death in eight months” can be viewed otherwise.

Concisely, Gould’s statistical reflection assumes that the doctor’s mortality timeline is not constant. According to the author, many people managed to live above the eight-month median based on their attitude and treatment as conquered in his experience. In addition, the variation’s distribution of the eight-month median is rightly-skewed. This led to the author’s final point on a reflective median which only confirmed a set of circumstances. Thus, in view of statistical reflection, the author finds the trendy acceptance of death as absurd to the dignity of life.