Stephen Gould

Decent Essays
Stephen Gould’s article can be interpreted in a variety of different, but mostly positive ways. After discovering that he had a rare form of un-curable cancer, he set out to discover what exactly his “median life expectancy” of eight months meant and where he would fall in this disheartening distribution. After reviewing various medical journals, he found the distribution to look exactly like he imagined: very rightly skewed. But, being that he was young and the cancer had been found early, he determined that he would most likely fall into that rightly skewed distribution, meaning that he would have more than the “average” eight months of life left. While finding this new information and being subject to it, he learned that his perceiving daunting future wasn’t as dreadful as it appeared. With the help of his previous biological knowledge and positive attitude, he came to conclude that his life expectancy, his life clock, wasn’t what mattered most. Gould determined that “median isn’t the message”. Meaning, his life expectancy wasn’t what mattered, it wasn’t even accurate. Statistical data can so easily be misinterpreted because of outliers and medical conditions can vary so radically. So, Gould found that his life clock wasn’t what mattered as much as his…show more content…
In Gould’s case, this meant that he had 50% chance of living past eight months. But another concept prevails in this article regarding median, that being how easily data can be misinterpreted. Gould makes a point to revel this information in the beginning of his article, quoting Hilaire Belloc statement "statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death." This quote implies that statistics, can be quite troubling for those facing its probable outcomes. But, according to Gould, if correctly understood, they can be “profoundly nutrient and
Get Access