Thursday, November 3, 2011

There's this thing

how I'm taking a statistics class. I'm pretty sure everyone in the world already knows this because that's how many people I've told, but I'm actually quite surprised at how much it differs from my expectations of how it would be. My math skills are much lower than sub par. And math classes have always been my most dreaded subject. So there's no way I could enjoy a statistics class, right? So thought I. But. I was wrong. I don't hate it like I thought I would. I even find it a bit.. shall I go so far as to say.. fascinating. (Feel free to gasp).

Why am I telling you all this? Who knows really, but it seems I'm incapable of telling a story without prefacing it with another. And I also give way more information in the story than people need to know to get what I'm saying. Sorry about that. But now that I've gotten the preface out of the way, I'm going to tell the real story. If you're bored, go ahead and bow out. I won't be offended.

So. In stats class yesterday, we were learning about prediction errors. There are two kinds. Type 1 and type 2. Type 1 error is when you reject H0 (the null hypothesis) when H0 is true. Type 2 error is when you fail to reject H0 when Ha (the alternative hypothesis) is true. For those of you who aren't as into statistics as I currently am, don't worry... a perfect knowledge of these things isn't necessary when I finally get to the point. After learning about the two prediction errors, we were discussing which error is more serious, (and we learned that it just really depends on the situation and what is the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis), but my teacher brought up an interesting scenario where we could decide our own opinion on which error we thought would be more serious. In this scenario, the H0 (which is basically the original hypothesis) is that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Ha (the alternative hypothesis - which one develops in order to disprove H0) is that The Book of Mormon is not the word of God. So, in this case, which error would be more serious? Type 1, where you reject The Book of Mormon as the word of God when it really is? Or type 2, where you fail to reject The Book of Mormon as the word of God when it really isn't? If you believe H0, you would probably say that a type 1 error is more serious. If you don't believe H0, though, you might say that type 2 is more serious. How about with this second scenario though? It's put a little more simply this way. H0: there is a God. Ha: there is not a God. In this case, which error is more serious? Type 1, where you reject the null hypothesis that there is a God and there really is? Or type 2, where you fail to reject the hypothesis that there is a God and there really isn't? It's probably easier to think about it this way... would it be a more serious error to: a) live a good life and do good things and then find out that there is NOT a God when you die, or b) live a life that isn't good and not do good things and then find out there IS a God when you die?

There's a saying that goes around (which the girl I was sitting by brought up in class) that goes something like:
I would rather live my life as if there is God then die and find out there isn't, than to live my life as if there isn't a God then die and find out there is.

And that concludes my food for your thoughts on this day. I am so proud of you if you made it through to the end.

1 comment:

Princess Zelda said...

Excellent thought! I liked it :)