Friday, July 01, 2005

Stephen (Mr. Freakonomics) Levitt on Pat Robertson

I've been watching the Feakonomics blog since Levitt made the scene a few weeks ago. Whatever else he may be, he knows how to get the word out about a hot book.
Pretty smooth, if you ask me.

Robertson asked the questions. Levitt gave the answers.

ROBERTSON: Well, the gun control advocates think that having a nine millimeter or a 45 in your dresser drawer with kids around is a pretty dangerous thing, and a nice outdoor swimming pool is a nice thing for kid to play in, in the hot summer. What were your findings on that one?

LEVITT: The numbers show that if you have a swimming pool in your backyard and a gun in the house, the swimming pool is 100 times more likely to kill your child than your gun. Now, I am not a complete defender of guns, but people respect guns and treat them with respect. And they know the dangers. But people don't always treat swimming pools with respect. They don't realize what great dangers they pose to children.


The author has nothing but high praise for his host:

I appeared on the 700 Club this morning with Pat Robertson, in an interview that a blogger anticipated would be the "must-Tivo event of the summer." Conventional wisdom suggested this would be a bloodbath - that the Freakonomics perspective on the abortion question would enrage Robertson and a shouting match would ensue. (Indeed, my publicist was planning on turning down the 700 Club's invitation to appear without even asking me, but decided she should at least ask.)

As so often is the case, conventional wisdom turned out to be wrong. The folks from the 700 Club could not have been kinder or more gracious, believe it or not. Pat Robertson knew the book quite well, asked all the right questions, and heaped enough praise on me to make me blush. We even talked about the abortion issue without incident. And the time and effort that the crew had taken in assembling footage and clips for a lead-in surpassed any other TV show I've done.

I'm not quite sure what to do with this one.
This guy has uncovered a bunch of unexpected statistics and comes to a lot of very unexpected conclusions.

Still watching.
As they say, I report, you decide.
In this case he reports, I copy, and none of us can decide.

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