You know, this sounds pretty sensible to me:
Quote Originally Posted by nuzzle
Since you've had some exposure to Java already why not stick to it?
This is the point of contention:
Quote Originally Posted by nuzzle
It's still the most popular of the modern general purpose languages,
I do not think that whether Java is the most popular or 20th most popular really matters as to its suitability in itself for a beginner to use for learning, except that... popular languages tend to have better support in terms of material and people with knowledge available for a beginner to learn from, and that it may have good features, library facilities etc that contributed to why it is popular, and that the beginner would have better chances of getting his/her hands dirty by contributing in some small way to a project written in that language. In this, the exact notion of popularity and hence the resulting ranking matters less than the fact that the underlying reasons for "popularity" are the important aspects.

So yeah, I agree with superbonzo: what is the purpose of quoting that statistic? State it and move on. Beyond this, the argument about statistics here is just a distraction. Doubtless we would have found more reasons (and statistics to support them) for Java or to suggest another programming language had the effort been put into that instead of discussing a particular statistic.