AHA!

While I don't consider myself a dolt, I certainly must play one on TV.

I think I finally understand, and let me summarize. Here, in a nutshell, is what I think Tomeboy is saying. The ALA, in its review process, is biased in the Intelligent Design debate in favor of the critics of ID. That bias trickles down into our individual libraries and is shown by the fact that, on average, the likely hood of any one particular title critical of ID is 3 times more likely to be acquired than any one particular title promoting Intelligent Design. By this method, for every 663 libraries buying a copy of Why Intelligent Design Fails, 214 libraries are buying a copy of Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. This is an average per title, actual numbers per title will vary. Wildly.

Tomeboy is arguing that this 3 to 1 imbalance is strong and convincing evidence of bias against ID. The cause for that bias remains to be discussed. And there are several possibilities. Assuming that there is an agreement that bias exists. Of course. However, and not surprisingly, I think that imbalance is exaggerated and overstated. For a very good reason. The number of titles critical of ID compared to the number of titles available that promote ID is skewed. 21 to 39. Or nearly 2 to1.

Lets say that I want to buy a title critical of ID for my library. I have dumped all the ID titles into a box, and I've decided to pick one at random. Since we have averaged out the number of titles per library, they are at a 1:1 correspondence - or there is one of each title in the box. My chances of picking one particular title out of the box is 1/29, or each title has about a 3.4% chance of being chosen. I go through my day, and I decide, "Hey, that's not fair! We need a title promoting ID as well." I have a different box with all 39 pro-ID titles in it. My chances of picking any one particular title is 1/39, or each title has a 2.5% chance of being chosen. You would expect to have more libraries possessing a title critical of ID because there are fewer titles to chose from. The number of libraries owning a particular title promoting ID is smaller because each title is in competition with a great number of similar titles. Maybe it's the marketplace that is causing bias, and not librarians and the ALA.

Comments

Nots and Dolts

You're not a dolt for grappling with an effort to understand. You're a dolt when you grapple in an effort to not understand.

Tomeboy's argument is one-sided, by the way. He fails, consistently, to take into account that everything in life is a trade off. In this case, a bias that is effectively against Intelligent Design most likely stems from a bias in favour of rationality. The bias he perceives would be prejudicial only if the members of the population downplay this pseudo-religion while promoting the pseudo-religion they agree with. Such an action is called discrimination. It is not prejudicial in the way he appears to be thinking to reject all irrationality indiscriminately.

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