English: Single Life Expectancy table (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Bob Barney
One of the things that I try to do with The Plain Truth is educate our readers in the tenants of propaganda. We are surrounded by “lies, damn lies and statistics,” as Mark Twain once said, which those who try and control us twist these lies into “facts” in order to change our behavior, tax us, and ultimately control us. I proved this with the argument concerning smoking. We are lied to about the effects of smoking, not because smoking is really bad for us, but rather because our government and elite to control our behavior and TAX us!
So today’s topic is life expectancy. How often have we read or heard an “expert say,“Of course people didn’t live long … the average life expectancy was 40 years?” It’s a lie. A complete lie, a lie that again is propaganda used to control you.Go to a cemetery and look at the grave stones and you might be a bit surprised. Look at a list of our Presidents:
Geo Washington - 67
John Adams - 90
Thomas Jefferson - 83
James Madison - 85
James Monroe - 73
John Quincy Adams - 80
Andrew Jackson - 78
Are you a little shocked? The Plain Truth that is when experts use "average life expectancy" numbers, they are so low because they include the number of babies who die at or just after birth (infant mortality) and the number of children who die very early in their lives (before 5). Infant and early childhood mortality was much higher in earlier centuries and millennia for all races and ethnicities than today for all types of obvious reasons. Also, because of the miracles of modern TRAUMA CARE, accident victims live today when even 25 years ago, those patients would die! The only miracle in medicine really isn’t modern drugs, but rather modern trauma care! We see this in the Iraqi war. The deaths were 5X’s lower than VietNam, but injuries of those who may have died in Vietnam, but through modern trauma care survival rates reached 35,000 by 2010! So potentially, if this war was fought in 1865, 45,000 may have died young in this same war!
By averaging in a much higher infant and early childhood mortality rate, along with those who died in childbirth (much lower today) and war and accidents, we end up with a much lower 'average life expectancy.'
The truth is that if you lived to age 5 in Roman times, and were a man, you didn’t die in a battle somewhere, you probably would live to age 75! If a women, and didn’t die in childbirth, your average life was about 79! I know this isn’t what you have been told, but again, what you are often told is a LIE!
Here are some articles on the facts on life expectancy from other sources:
One of my pet peeves is umpteen articles which state that in year X or civilization Y, "the average life expectancy was only 45."
The wording of these articles leads one to believe that few people in these periods or cultures lived past 40 or 45.
This is not true. Adult humans have always lived about as long as they do now, ie. 60, 70, 80, 90, 100.
The fallacy is best illustrated with turtles. Turtles have extremely high mortality rates at birth and in the days and weeks soon after birth: well over 90 percent. But those few turtles who survive these first few weeks have life expectancies of 30, 50, 100, or 150 years. As with humans, a graph of turtle life expectancy is not linear. There is a massive mortality bottleneck in the first months and then life expectancy skyrockets.
I generally consider myself on the more pro-capitalist side of most issues, but on the issue of healthcare, it had always seemed to me like the apparent dramatic failure of the US healthcare system was a strong indicator that universal healthcare systems were more efficient.
But today, I changed my mind. For a few minutes that is.
I changed my mind because I read David Chan's answer to Medicine and Healthcare: Is average life expectancy the best way to gauge the effectiveness of a given country's healthcare system?, which contains this wonderful table, taken from a Forbes article.
So there you have it. Accounting for fatal injuries, the US has the highest life expectancy in the world. End of story. Move along, there's nothing to see.
And yet... And yet... As someone pointed out in the comments, isn't it weird that removing fatal injuries from the equation would lower the life expectancy of countries like Japan or France? Surely life expectancy should go up for everybody if you remove fatal injuries. I needed to understand how these estimates had been generated.
So I tried to find the initial source of the data, and I found it. It came from a book called The Business of Health, written by two university professors and published by the American Enterprise Institute ("that sounds unbiased", I told myself).
I got my hands on that book and quickly found the part which explained how the data was generated. They had run linear regression on the life expectancy of OECD countries using the logarithm of the GDP per capita as well as the rate of transportation, falls, homicide and suicide fatalities. The data points were for each of the 29 countries and each year between 1980 and 1999. Dummy variables were included to differentiate the years.
The way this was used to generate the life expectancy without fatal injuries is as follows: the data was plugged back in, only with the mean value of the injury data across all OECD countries for all the sample period, giving this equation (i is the country, t is the year):
How long did people live 100 years ago?
“Of course people didn’t live long … the average life expectancy was 40 years”. How often have you heard this quote or something very similar? If you are a watcher of tv documentaries or attended public school anytime in the last 70 years or so you’ve probably heard this several hundred times. Just last night I heard it again while watching Frontier House, the PBS reality show from about 10 years back. The belief that most everyone in the past dropped dead around 40 is common. People with ancestors that lived to be old generally think the members of their family were just exceptionally long lived.
The story goes something like this: Prior to the introduction of antibiotics and vaccines most people succumbed to an infectious disease prior to or around middle age. Children died at a very high rate. Work was hard and cruel. Food was salty, fatty, monotonous, somewhat scarce and just plain bad for you. Life was short and miserable … Survival into old age was a rare miracle.
This is a myth. We’ve been mislead into believing this by a simple trick of statistics. In actuality life expectancy for a modern adult is pretty much the same now as it was back then. You’d expect it would be much better now with modern medicine but the statistics do not bear that out. What was it Mark Twain said?
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Let’s review the evidence then we can know more clearly just how long average people with decent kind of life lived prior to the advent of modern diets and modern medicines.
The Basic Misunderstanding Explained-- Read on Here
In conclusion, DO NOT FALL FOR THE HYPE THAT OUR LEADERS USE TO CONTROL YOU! Wake up, understand that you are being lied to. You have been lied to about GOD, GOVERNMENT, SCIENCE and MONEY! Read your own Bible (or get The Plain Truth's Red Letter Bible and Commentary for only $2.99!!!) and educate yourself from God - who will never lie to you!