I have a theory regarding the importance of metrics, and the responsibility of the well-intentioned person to provide the necessary details to a discussion. In fact, I assert that if you want to see change, a better world, or any outcome for that matter, you must be ready to prove your case and fight the good fight. However, far too often, the wrong people come prepared and leave others babbling in their dust. The echoes proverbial “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”
Here’s my logic:
1) In an argument, the person with metrics wins.
We have all fallen victim to the silencing, but non-verifiable statistic in the midst of a debate. For example, did you know that only 8% of discussions involve statistics that are actually provable? Neither do I. I just made that up. How many illogical Facebook shares will we repost before we realize that we can actually provide real data and prove of the same concepts we feel are necessary in the world?
2) Well-intentioned people often don’t feel they need proof.
We should end poverty. We should provide adequate education for children. We shouldn’t lie, cheat, and steal. Why do I need to prove that?
Far too often, those that value seemingly obvious or necessary positions do not have any way to prove their assertions. In fact, the notion of needing to prove the value of equality and human life seems ludicrous and runs directly counter to sensibilities.
3) People with questionable logic or motives come ready to fight.
If someone knows they need to prove their case to reach an objective, they come prepared with stats and figures. They can play an offensive position knowing that few will be ready to defend.
Therefore, come prepared!
[quote cite=”First Baron Kelvin” ]
When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of science.