Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Statistics

Statistics are mostly about two things: data about huge number of event or opinion of large number of people. Well Vi would probably disagree but for the purpose of this post this simple definition will suffice. Statistics are also believed by more then 50% of all Canadian to be lies, as in the book title, lies, damn lies and statistics. But you know what, that statistics doesn’t make that opinion true. In fact, what a large number of people thing as very little to do with what is true or not, an example if that most people (I’m betting over 80% but I do not have a reliable statistic) think people in the ancient world though the world to be flat… but if that was really the case how do you explain the status of atlas holding a spherical earth? Or the fact that the Greek calculated the curvature of the earth sometimes before Christ?

The fact his that people will believe a lot of things, and that the question asked will often shape the answers. For example in the 50s the republican and the democrat each performed a survey to see if their view on war where the most popular… guess what both candidate found that his view was the most popular by far. It was simply a question of how the questions where ask, one asked: are you against the war, while the other asked do you want America to appear weak.

My point is always be wary of any person that will go: x percent of people believe that… to prove a point. They are using a peer pressure argument to win you over to their view and might be trying to hide facts that would be detrimental to their wealth. A good example of this is the evolution-ID debate, 60% of American believes that evolution is false but that doesn’t mean it is, or that ID is true.

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