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Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science


At work we are trying to find out just how easy it is to read some surveys.  As part of this, we looked up the SMOG index (Simple measure of Gobbleygook) . This is defined by Harry McLaughlan as

SMOG is easy to calculate using an approximate formula — count the words of 3 or more syllables in 3 samples of 10 sentences each, estimate the count’s square root, and add 3.

Now, from that site you can get a link to a calculator that will give you Flesch index, grade averages, and SMOG index. So, naturally, I checked the last four posts….  and the results to not surprise me. I tend to have to work to get clear english, particularly if you use a grade six level (which is what most people recommend for all the measures but SMOG — SMOG generally rates two grades up).

                     (US) Grade Levels
              Coleman-Lui Flesh-Kincaid SMOG
Do not fear   6.8         7.8          10.0
Vaterland     7.4         8.6          9.8
Sod the state 9.3         8.9          10.9
Cowards       7.9         8.2          10.2