• Fred

Arguing with Science - Using Mathematics


This morning I read an article: "Find Your Passion" is Bad Advice.

Well of course it is, but not for the reason given by Yale and Stanford psychologists. Administering five tests, they measured the effects of fixed versus growth mindsets to determine how our convictions influence learning and resilience.

So the Psychologists' angle as to why finding your passion is bad is based on your specific skill sets and tolerance. That's the wrong angle to take for real world applications and let me explain why.

We're going to use an average, imaginary high school, let's use the name George Washington High School for simple reference. At GWHS there are 100 students, a nice round number, 50 boys and 50 girls.

Out of the 50 boys, and we're being stereotypical here just to move the discussion forward, what do you think their passions are? There are no wrong answers, just spit-ballin'.

Video Games?

Sports?

Money?

What percentage of those boys have real world aspirations?

Now, how many of those same boys have a passion for the janitorial arts?

Let's take the sports example and run some numbers. There are about 1 million boys in the United States playing organized football. There are about 2,000 jobs as players and coaches in the NFL. If you count college football coaching jobs, maybe another couple of thousand jobs? Almost no high school football coaches are full time, so what, maybe 10,000 full time football jobs in America. Now you could argue there's football related jobs, like agents or ticket vendors, but there's not a million football related jobs in America, meaning if all those kids had a passion for their sport, there's a lot of disappointed adults years later. Just the cold numbers of supply and demand.

Jobs that are in high demand can afford to be choosy. Others? Not so much.

The general rule of thumb is that there's lots of competition for good jobs, while there's lots of crappy jobs out there going unfilled.

Again, being stereotypical, how many of those 50 girls at GWHS are following their passions? Ask your Mom if she followed her passions.

Music?

Writing?

Social Media?

Teachers? I knew some girls who wanted to be teachers when they grew up. But not a majority of girls. When you return to that class at George Washington High, do you think a majority of the students dream of being teachers and drivers? (When self-driving cars get here, those boys are in trouble.)

It's not a bad idea for YOU to follow your passion. It's a bad idea for society to have a people following their dreams while every fast food restaurant in the city is hiring.

Top 5 Occupations for Boys: Drivers, Managers, Other Managers, Laborers, and Retail.

Top 5 Occupations for Girls: Teachers, Nurses, Secretaries, Other Health Care, and Customer Service.

If you go by the pure numbers of jobs that need to be filled in America, either lots of people need to let their dreams die, or lots of people need to adjust what their passions are.

[And we haven't even factored in those students whose passions are destructive, like drugs or alcohol.]

I also read the article: We are Most Likely Alone in the Universe.

The article tried to expand on the Fermi Paradox.

My rebuttal will be short, again using math and common sense.

There are around 250 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

There are around 100 billion galaxies in the Universe.

Meaning there could possibly be an OCTILLION stars in the Universe.

If there's an octillion stars, and the chances of life evolving on any given planet is 1 TRILLION to 1....

An Octillion divided by a Trillion equals a QUADRILLION stars that are eligible for life.

How come we haven't found any of the quadrillion yet? Because you are moving backwards in time as you move away from Earth. On Earth, we've only had space travel for around 50 years. If another planet evolved at the same exact pace as us, they'd need to be within 50 light years of us for us to detect their advances.

How many stars qualify under that criteria? 133.

Not 133 million, just 133. Here's the map.

We are apparently looking for planets that've evolved exponentially faster than us, farther back in time than us.

....and that's not a good thing.

This is the Hunt Paradox. There is life on, at least, A MILLION planets. We are too stupid to find it.


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