Speak softly and carry a Gatling gun


I’ve been on a TR kick lately and the following episode of Deadliest Warrior held my attention (which is an accomplishment lately):
Full episode here on Spike.

I’ve watched an episode or two of this show, but this was the only one that held my interest all the way to the end. And that was mostly due to me wanting TR to be victorious (no offense intended to the memory of T.E. Lawrence, mind you). When the experts were tallying up the stats to feed into their sim, I was leery of Teddy’s success. However, given that Spike is  the Manly American TV network, I was not surprised with the result.

What I did find highly subjective was the inputs for the simulation. I know they claimed it to run n variants of the scenario, but the rating of weapons and such seemed pretty biased to me. And, it was based off one particular battle. Using this methodology, one could have easily made Lee victor over Grant in the Civil War. And while that may have statistically been possible, the battlefield does not lend it self to statistics.

Using another “battlefield” as an example: Auburn should not be in the National Championship this year (NB: I am an Auburn fan). Statistically, as was pointed out numerous times by announcers during the Alabama and Missouri games, Auburn has no defense, and only has one offensive play with three variants. But they are headed to the BSC National Championship. Had they been run through the Deadliest Warrior sim against Alabama, they would have went down in flames. The sim could not, in any way without factoring in every variable, have accounted for Alabama’s kicker whiffing the field goal attempt to only have Auburn return it for a 109 yard touch down. As my wife can attest (but probably wouldn’t as an Alabama fan), I sarcastically called Auburn by six before the start of the game. Did I know more than the statistics that were in play against Auburn’s chance of success? No, I had the non-statistical, non-sensical aspiration of hope, a variable that no simulation can account for.

And likewise with my desire for TR to win the fight against Lawrence. Both are excellent examples of great men. However, I’m an American, so I wanted to see my guy win. I got the impression from that episode that might have been the desire of the producers, or the anticipated expectation of the audience, as well. The author of this post has also noticed a bias on the part of the series toward Americans. Everybody wants the home team to win, and I can only imagine a British version of the show might have ended differently.

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