thought exercises

Why Are Pro-Gay States the Most Likely to Become Even Pro-Gay-er?


Support for gays has seen an increase across all 50 states over the past two decades. No big deal, right? Here’s the big deal: It’s increased the most in states where gay rights were already flowing the most!

Stats whiz FiveThirtyEight suggests this might have something to do with a tipping point (i.e. the more gay people you know, and the more your friends support gays, the more you’re likely to as well) and the effects of not reaching a tipping point (i.e. if you live in a state that’s less gay-friendly, you’re less likely to come out, meaning there are fewer out gays to contribute to actually reaching a tipping point, leaving the state gay-unfriendly … very Catch-22 stuff here).

Malcolm Gladwell sold millions of books discussing this same thing! So let’s take another Gladwell euphemism: Thin-slicing, which suggests we make great (or at least equally good) decisions based on a narrow set of available data rather than complex thought and consideration.

Based on thin-slicing, you could thus conclude the same people who are against same-sex marriage are absolute tools. No need for reasonable debate there!

(Photo, marriage equality by state: NPR)