The limits of our personal experience and the value of statistics

Max Roser at Our World in Data:

It’s tempting to believe that we can simply rely on personal experience to develop our understanding of the world. But that’s a mistake. The world is large, and we can experience only very little of it personally. To see what the world is like, we need to rely on other means: carefully-collected global statistics.

Of course, our personal interactions are part of what informs our worldview. We piece together a picture of the lives of others around us from our interactions with them. Every time we meet people and hear about their lives, we add one more perspective to our worldview. This is a great way to see the world and expand our understanding, I don’t want to suggest otherwise. But I want to remind ourselves how little we can learn about our society through personal interactions alone, and how valuable statistics are in helping us build the rest of the picture.

More here.