Saturday, August 18, 2012

“We’re number one!” and other fallacies

Just as there are five Olympic rings, there were five big winners in the London 2012 Olympics medal race:

United States - 104 medals (46 gold, 29 silver, 29 bronze)
China - 87 medals (38 gold, 27 silver, 22 bronze)
Russia - 82 medals (24 gold, 25 silver, 33 bronze)
Great Britain - 65 medals (29 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze)
Germany - 44 medals (11 gold, 19 silver, 14 bronze)

Obviously, we (collectively) are the best!


Ya think?

If you consider gold medals only, the list is slightly different:

United States - 46
China - 38
Great Britain - 29
Russia - 24
Korea - 13

Again, we (collectively) are the best!

But for a completely different (and perhaps more accurate) perspective on the London 2012 Olympics, maybe we should consider this chart showing medals per capita.

Moving right along to the subject of taxation, with or without representation, consider this statement by Thomas Sowell:


  1. Be careful Bob! If the Un-American Activities Committee is re-formed, you'll surely be on the list. Your anti-Obama sentiments may also be cited. Mind you, perhaps you fancy a long holiday at scenic Guantanamo Bay!

  2. i read your profile view and i guess i have a different mind, but when you said about your likes and dislikes that quote" i like to sit by a roaring fire", i thought to myself a roaring fire without a fireplace

  3. It is odd the way the medals table is structured, ie on number of gold medals won, rather than say a points system with three for gold, two for silver and one for bronze.

    Someone I know used the per head of population argument until I pointed out that this would would put Jamaica way ahead. (This was before Kirani James' gold for Grenada.)

    There are so many ways to cut this particular cake - cost per gold in sports investment, by GDP etc.

    Personally, I always thought that it was about athletes as individuals. After all, they do do it for themselves. The medals table simply reinforces nationalism which isn't really the Olympic ideal.

  4. I have decided to direct my comment to Shooting Parrots only as Yorkshire Pudding's comment is too partisan and Putz's comment is too irrelevant (Note to self: Find out whether there can be degrees of irrelevance):

    Shooting Parrots, your second paragraph strikes me as very strange. Per head of population, as you call it, is not an argument, it is a fact. And why would the person you know stop when you pointed out "that this would put Jamaica way ahead." Does that change the fact that looked at in that particular way Jamaica was way ahead? This is an example of chauvinism at its worst, or at least a case of "don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up." At the London 2012 Olympics Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, and lots of other countries were all way ahead of the U.K. and the U.S. in medals per head of population, as you put it. Live with it: the U.K. was 23rd and the U.S. was 49th. It is what it is. You are still out front when it comes to annoying pop music.

  5. Katherine in Bay of Plenty, I was hoping you would make your presence known!