# I\’m fascinated by this

Children are to be taught about homosexuality in maths, geography and science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to \”celebrate the gay community\”.

Maths – teaching statistics through census findings about the number of homosexuals in the population,

Because that could be an extremely interesting set of lessons in how careful you\’ve got to be with statistics and definitions.

For there is very definitely a tendency for some to rather over estimate the number of gays in the population: Peter Tatchell has been known to insist upon 10% of the population for example. His definition seems to be anyone who has ever had a same sex sexual experience: a slightly odd definition, given that defining anyone who has ever had an opposite sex (or perhaps these days we\’re supposed to say other sex) experience as heterosexual would probably define Mr. Thatchell as such.

Then there\’s attempts to actually count the people who are what we might call \”really\” homosexual, people who are exclusively pursuing same sex relationships. More like 1-2% of the male population and a little less of the female.

Our statistics lessons could explore these problems of definition, explore how even using the same definitions we find that different methods of counting give us diferent numbers and even, if we were to be trying to actually teach children something useful, why certain sets of numbers are touted by those with one or another political axe to grind, others by others.

Or, as I suspect, just telling the kiddies that there\’s \”lots\” of gays you know.

## 14 thoughts on “I\’m fascinated by this”

1. The bit about ‘studying animal species where the male takes a leading role in raising young’ puzzled me even more.

Because I can’t see what it has to do with homosexuality. Can anyone else?

2. If you want to teach the children stats in this way, perhaps it would be more interesting to examine the proportion of gays in different walks of life (and at what levels within their particular hierarchy) and how certain occupations offer more scope to set the agenda for society as a whole.

The process should be repeated for other special-interest groups – say Guardian readers vs readers of other dailies. And membership of political parties. And advocates of illicit drug-taking, polyamory etc.

Vide Peter Sissons’ recent article in the proscribed samizdat publication D–ly M–l (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349506/Left-wing-bias-Its-written-BBCs-DNA-says-Peter-Sissons.html), and articles passim by licensed jester Peter Hitchens (who I think is used as a pressure vavlve rather than an engine of reform).

This might get some critical thinking going. On the other hand, maybe that is the reason it hasn’t happened.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be submitting this comment. “One must be so careful these days.”

3. First thing I thought of is some of the “nazi maths” I was shown by my History teacher:-

The construction of a lunatic asylum costs 6 million RM. How many houses at 15,000 RM each could have been built for that amount?

4. To call this ‘mathematics’ is to do violence to the language. It’s arithmetic at best and irrelevant preachy cack at worst. This is mathematics: using eigensystem decomposition of the generating matrix of the Fibonacci numbers, show that in the limit the ratio of successive Fibonacci numbers is the Golden Ratio. This is not mathematics: Fred is 2% likely to prefer sticking his willy up George’s bottom instead of Georgina’s front bottom (NTTAWWT).

5. I hope it backfires and a generation of children grow up thinking the State shouldn’t be asking about such things.

6. I am having a Clause 28 moment. I wonder if I lie down whether it will pass?

It is a pity that tolerance is not enough. After all, it requires them to respect us as well as us respecting them. But it seems tolerance is not going to work. So I guess I will have to choose whether I want to stand with the homophobes or with the people who want to teach practical anal intercourse to four year olds.

Not a hard choice.

7. Perhaps there’s some reasonable position in between those two extremes, So Much For Subtlety?

The statistics of sexuality are very difficult technically, because sexuality isn’t a simple binary set. It’s a continuum – see the Kinsey scale, for one attempt to quantify it. The raw data is a mess because of all kinds of practical surveying problems, and even defining the terms in a statistically neutral way is a huge challenge. Society defines what “homosexual” means and that seems to be changing at the moment – it’s certainly changed over the last few centuries.

In short, dumping this on school children is, from a statistics teaching point of view, an awful idea.

8. Matthew – “Perhaps there’s some reasonable position in between those two extremes”

You would think. But the fact that this shit doesn’t go away suggests otherwise. There is a powerful lobby determined that tolerance is not enough.

“The statistics of sexuality are very difficult technically, because sexuality isn’t a simple binary set. It’s a continuum – see the Kinsey scale, for one attempt to quantify it.”

Or so we all assume.

“Society defines what “homosexual” means and that seems to be changing at the moment – it’s certainly changed over the last few centuries.”

That is true. Although we have a binary simple definition of homosexuality at the moment. Even though we also, oddly, tend to accept the continuum argument.

“In short, dumping this on school children is, from a statistics teaching point of view, an awful idea.”

Not only for a statistics point of view.

9. “But the fact that this shit doesn’t go away suggests otherwise. There is a powerful lobby determined that tolerance is not enough.”

Or there isn’t enough tolerance. Gay kids get bullied at a far higher rate than other children, and their suicide rate is higher too.

Incidentally, do you have a source for the “teaching anal intercourse to four year olds” or was it hyperbole?

10. Matthew -“Or there isn’t enough tolerance. Gay kids get bullied at a far higher rate than other children, and their suicide rate is higher too.”

I am not sure that follows. First of all, what is the evidence that gay children are bullied more often than anyone else? How do you know, if it is true, that bullied children aren’t more likely to become gay? How do you know that their suicide rate, assuming it is high, is not a result of something else, like their homosexuality for instance?

But it is possible. It is possible that teaching four year olds about gay tolerance through mathematics will over turn our entire history of evolution, but I doubt it.

11. Well, if one watches British made detective dramas and an episode features the armed services there’s an almost 100% probability the viewer will be left with the impression that at least half the members of of Her Majesty’s Armed Services are tail-gunners.

12. Turning subject under discussion, sadly I suspect that this is just another exercise in social engineering. Any attempt by Blogs Minor to find out what Miss actually means by “gay” will result in him being sent to the school’s diversity coordinator for extended periods of re-education.

13. I feel I should point out , once again, there are other groups more worthy of advancement this way..