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Bloated StatisticsPosted by Thinker on October 27, 2006 at 10:03:00
Apart from some general demographical data, almost all data and statistics published by The Children of God / Family International are unscientific and unreliable and have been distorted to promote their agenda. The group generally misprepesents the data to exaggerate their claims to positive results on their endeavors.
Monthly activity reports which are sent in by members are considered top secret material, and the group has not and does not open its books to the scrutiny of third parties.
Fact: The Children of God / Family International's bookkeeping does not factor in repeat buyers, repeat donors, repeat audience; nor break down the difference between potential deliveries and actual deliveries.
Extremely distorted data in mass media outreach
Old MWM scenario: members were asked to promote the group's MWM lo-fi cassette quality radio show. Someone manages to place it on a low-output medium wave station, and it is broadcast once a week for 30 weeks. The group then claims a stunning 15 million people reached through an obscure radio station. What creative bookkeeping did they use to arrive at this figure?
The station's range theoretically covers a geographical area where 500,000 people live.
With no regard to market share factors, repeat listeners or other factors cited below, Berg would typically multiply the number of shows by the population within range of the station: 500,000 x 30 = 15,000,000 and then claim 15 million people were reached with "the message of God's love."
Here are some ignored crucial factors:
- Of these 500,000 people, no more than 250,000 might have access a radio.
- Of these 250,000 people, only 50,000 might be in the right age group or compatible-audience group due to cultural factors; the station would also typically have a low-market share to accept lo-fi free broadcasts of questionable untrendy content such as MWM tapes.
- Of these 50,000, perhaps 4,000 might happen to be tuned in to the right channel at the right time each week during the typically low-peak hour the lo-fi, low-quality & untrendy music is aired.
- Of these 4,000, perhaps 500 are able to understand the language and/or are receptive to the general message.
- Next, it must be factored in that Jesus is seldom mentioned in the show, and only occasionally indirectly referenced to in song—most of the music is about the ambiguous word "love" which the group interprets quite differently from most other cultures, even English-speaking ones.
- The show may be aired 30 times, to a total of no more than 2,000 unique individuals who actually could be said to have received a message of some kind. This would explain why a comparatively low amount of write-in response is generated despite continual plugs on the show.
Unreliable data on literature outreach
In this example scenario, members hit the streets of a new city, standing in locations like busy city street corners, to distribiute literature to crowds of office workers to and from work.
In the the first sales sweep, in the absence of negative publicity, many curious people, or those unprepared for the agressive sellers, buy the literature. The number of repeat buyers then drops off considerably, as the general public becomes aware of the sellers. Those who do choose to buy several pieces of literature on several occasions, usually do so in the belief they are donating to a charity like the Red Cross—members often misrepresent themselves.
This is followed by the inevitable and gradual saturation of the market—those who do not tend to give to charity continue to avoid the sellers. Those who do, might buy anywhere from 1 to 10 items over a period of time.
The population of office workers in the city center might be 150,000. However, litnessing stats might go up to 500,000 sold, due to repeat buyers, while the actual number of unique individuals who bought the literature might be 70,000.
Of these 70,000 the number could be reduced to 40,000 for example, by the fact that some people who buy, do so out of the kindness of their heart. With no intention of reading the literature—they habitually buy it, believing they are doing their civic duty and giving regularly to a charity like the Red cross (members do tend to misrepresent themselves when selling literature).
Without conducting market surveys or customer satisfaction surveys, it cannot be determined what percentage actually read and understand the literature, and how many people habitually discard the literatue without reading it.
Claiming 500,000 pieces of literature sold would be accurate. However, claims that 500,000 people were reached with God's message would then be unreliable. Yet, this is how TFI's statistics are typically compiled and published.