If you want to know how many left-handed, blue-eyed, young adults live in a particular zip code, there is a poll that can tell you. Are you interested in the flavor of ice cream preferred by bald-headed men over the age of 65 (Butter Pecan for me)? There is a survey that can give you that information. Looking for the shampoo that gives you healthy full bodied hair (I am)? Marketing analysts will be glad to guide you.

We have come to rely on surveys, polls, and prognosticators to tell us what is popular or pricey. And usually the two go together. The cars we buy, the television shows we watch, the places we go on vacation depend a lot on this kind of data.

Before the election last week, virtually all polls told us that certain political races were “too close to call.” The numbers suggested that it would probably take a while to determine the outcome of some pivotal positions and some would be determined by a run-off.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the polls showed “the two top races in Georgia were so excruciatingly close that both might have to be decided by runoffs.” But the outcomes were very different.

According to one news story, some prognosticators “didn’t take into account caveats, like margins of error and undecided voters, that swung the numbers.” And “some earlier surveys were simply imprecise. They relied on automated calling and Internet surveys, cheaper methods scorned by more established pollsters.”

In other words, the polls were wrong!

Just a few days ago news media reported that former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young had been scheduled to be aboard a plane that crashed in the Bahamas but he backed out at the last moment because of concerns about weather conditions. This information was attributed to a family friend or a spokesman “who didn’t want to be named.”

However, the day after the deadly crash Young said he was not scheduled to be on that flight. “Any reports to the contrary are incorrect,” he said. His wife, Carolyn, said people knew that her husband was in the Bahamas for a conference and were not able to reach him. So they “put two and two together and got nine.”

Sometimes people just come to wrong conclusions but when they express them, others accept them as factual and true. Rumors get started and before you know it they take on a life of their own. Many people believe what they hear without any reliable third party verification or critical assessment.

I watch and listen to news reports on radio, television, and the internet. I am one of a dying breed of people who still read the daily newspaper. I learn a lot and I think I am reasonably well informed. But I realize that everything I hear and read is not always totally true.

However, there is one source that I have found to be completely reliable. I do not always understand all that it provides and sometimes I question what I read. It does not tell me everything I want or need to know and there are certainly different opinions about what some of it means. Nevertheless it has never misled me and I have never found it to be untrue. It offers an unlimited source of knowledge and guidance.

I am talking about the Bible and I commend it to you.

Jamie Jenkins