The recent debate has had one side bring up an NTU survey stating that 7 in 10 Singaporeans feels that homosexuality is disgusting. Many people have pointed out its flaws, and it is in the hope that people will learn from it that I blog about this issue.
1. Use a survey only if it is really applicable
A survey should be comprehensive and relevant to your cause. The cause here for those people is to show that it should be illegal for homosexuals to have sex. It is not about criminalizing homosexuality entirely. Whether people feel it is disgusting or not does not matter. There may be people who feel disgusted, yet feel the other way in this debate. In such an instance, is it then credible to quote the NTU survey?
2. A survey should ask relevant and clear questions
What kinds of question should a survey ask to get a clearer picture? One with many options that are clearly different. For example, to find out people’s views on homosexuality, we can ask, “What do you think of homosexuality?”. The options can include “I feel that homosexuals are free to do whatever they want, provided that they do not compromise my own personal space.” or “I feel that liking a member of the same sex is something that I cannot accept.” Instead of asking if its plain disgusting, one can hope to find out more.
3. People can sit on the fence
Yes, the people can decide that they do not want to support the repeal, nor support the other camp. Yet, they might have contributed to the “disgusting” statistics. If we want to quote statistics, we should find out how many are in for the repeal, and how many are out. 7 in 10 may feel disgusting. If we generously assume that all 7 in 10 are not pro-repeal, there may be 4 who sit on the fence,making it a 3 v 3 situation of which it means that Singaporeans are divided. There is no majority to speak of.
Well, I always think that statistics are just empty figures and we cannot rely on it. For example, I have no idea why the Keep377A website must come up, and I guess its simply to show that there are more people who disagree with it? Yet, laws should not be dependent on such figures. The purpose of the repeal website is not to show that they have a large support base, but rather it is a requirement for their petition. The Keep377A website managed to show its numbers, but there is no real point in doing so. Have they submitted anything to parliament? Nobody discussed the Keep377A numbers in parliament.
P.S. Want to know who is the guy who sent that angry letter to NMP Thio? Read all about it here.