We hate math.
Our abhorrence for calculation enables us to mutually agree on statistically dubious metrics with nary a shrug or arched eyebrow.
Consider Nielsen ratings, which are used to determine the popularity of all TV shows and, consequently, how the dozens of billions of dollars in TV advertising is apportioned.
Nielsen ratings have a direct impact on hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. In 2009, there were 1,147,910 households with a TV in metropolitan Charlotte, North Carolina. Of those more than 1 million households, the behavior of just 619 was tracked by Nielsen to determine ratings. A total of 619 families became the unelected representative tastemakers for 1,147,291 other families. That’s not math; that’s folly.