Sunday, April 08, 2007

Magic math and murder.

Paul Cameron can be the source of almost endless amusement with his contradictory dishonesty. He writes that gay men are 116 times more likely to be murdered. As you shall see this means that the number of gay men murdered every year exceeds the total number of murders per year. That also would mean that no heterosexuals are murdered in the US. His claims are even more outlandish than that.

TThe average murder rate for males is around 7.6 murders per 100,000 population. Cameron’s rate for gay men would be in the range 879 murders per 100,000 population. That would mean, according to Cameron, that, every twenty years something like one-sixth of all gay men had been murdered.

Take his absurd life span for gay of 51 (his newest estimate). He claims that just under one percent of all gay men are murdered every year (if they are 118 time more likely to be killed this would be the case). So over the life span of 51 years that would come to 44.8% of all gay men are murdered! And no one has noticed. I would think gay men would notice and say something about it!

One day the Religious Right says that gays as victims of violence are overestimated and exaggerated as part of a political strategy for the “gay agenda”. Yet, no one I’ve read has a victim rate anywhere near as high as Cameron. The very idea that almost 1% of gay men are murdered every year is shocking. And it becomes more absurd when you realize that over the lifetime of these men (using Cameron’s own stats) this would mean almost half are murdered.

The total number of murders in the US was 16,900 in 2005. The most reasonable estimate of gay men in the US is 5% of the population. The male population is approximately 150 million in total. so the gay male population would be around 7,500,000. If gay men are 119 times more likely to be killed we have the rate of 879 murders per 100,000 gay men. Over a population of 7,500,000 gay men that is about 65,900 gay men murdered per year! The one big problem with Cameron’s statistic is that it is about 4 times the total number of murders in the United States of all people. This would mean gay men make up 400% of all murder victims every year. And you just can’t go over 100%.

Let us accept for argument’s sake Cameron’s claim that the number of gay men are vastly exaggerated and use that instead. He says the number is closer to 2% of the population. So that means 3 million gay men. And that would mean that about 26,370 are murdered every year. So even with Cameron’s own statistics you end up with the number of gays being murdered exceeding the total number of murders by 10,000.

Of course that is impossible. If 16,900 people in total were murdered in 2005 you can’t have 26,370 gay men murdered as a subset. The subset can’t be larger than the total.

And if you take all the claims that Cameron makes you end up with gays dying at rates that are so astronomical that even his life span estimate is overly optimistic. He says gay men are 24 times more likely to commit suicide. That would mean a suicide rate of 512 per 100,000 gay men per year. He says gay men are 18 times more likely to die in a car accident, that would be 402 per 100,000 gay men. So without thinking about issues like AIDS, cancer, heart disease, etc the death rate among gay men, according to Cameron, for these three causes alone, is around 1,800 per 100,000 or 1.8% per year!

Over a 50 year period, he is claiming that about 92% of all gay men die from homicide, suicide or a car accident. Well, he does say that 9% die of old age. The really amazing thing is that no gay men would be left to die from any other cause. No gay men would die from AIDS, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, or any other illness you can mention. More amazing is that all the murders, and virtually all victims of suicide or traffic accidents are gay! Heterosexuals are apparently immune from murder, suicide and accidents!

You tell me how Cameron can draw these conclusions honestly!

UPDATE: One of our readers has pointed out some common errors I made which I appreciate. In the process he still shows that Cmaeron is absolutely wrong with his analysis. So I urge everyone to read the comments section for that. I am right about Cameron but my stats are not all correct. So I got the general conclusion correct but got some specifics wrong. Read it.

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