do you believe in the stats used by governments and medical associations?
like the number for how many people die from smoking?
yes, I believe the stats used by my country's government. It is being used in numerous fields of study, update and news.
It depends on the methodologies they used in securing those stats. Also, it's important to note if these methodologies have already been used before and which were proven to be reliable and accurate.
why shouldn't you? what other sources do you have? hearsay? anecdotes? fox news?
the only real way to progess is to conduct studies, report the results in peer reviewed journals and proceed to the next question. science is the rational, incremental pursuit of knowledge
the problems come in interpretting the results - journalists have a responsibility to fairly represent the studies conclusions - often they're taken out of context
unfortunately, the american public is getting more and more scientifically illiterate [not helped any by those who think creationism is a science], so more people can be misled. basic statistics should be a part of everyone's education, probably more important for most people than geometry or trig or calculus. critical thinkling is required if we're to havbe an informed populace
and it matters because can vote, serve on a jury, etc, no matter how ignorant [ie, lacking in facts, not stupid]
Statistical data can be swayed and shaped to support almost any perspective from whatever angle you want it support simply by including and excluding certain aspect of the data. For example, my local police department might inform the local citizentry that it cost $420 every time a false burglar alarm response is made. Now I am not saying they are lying about the number, I am simply saying that the math they use divides the existing cost of the police department infrastructure by the number of false alarms to arrive at the figure. it ignores the fact that the infrastructure is there in the first place and will exist with or without false calls. By using the statistic, the city council then gains legs to turn around and charge everyone in town an annual $50 fee to "license and register" their alarm system. The police say that the homeowner should provide for security in order to deter would be thieves. The city in turn passes an ordinance to in effect punish those who would seek an alarm system while letting those go who have no security or alarms scott free...there is no penalty for carelessness. Forge the rationale, the truth of the matter as already figured out by the city council is there is more money is charging people with alarms than there is in charging fees for those without alarms. There is no cost associated with a potential burglary call at a location where there is no alarm sounding...there's a statistic for ya! WB
I am a heavy user of statistics, but I try to apply common sense and rational thinking when evaluating any type of data.
For instance, if I hear a statistic about how many people die from smoking, my first question is, "how many people die from all causes?" Next, I ask what were the numbers like say, 10 or 20 years ago? Perhaps nexts, "How do these numbers compare to other countries?" By gathering context and looking at the data critically, the numbers are more likely to make sense or reveal themselves as suspect.
I find that many times, these stats are manipulated or "obtained from" biased observations or studies. Usually in favor of some other hidden agenda and/or funding.
I find it incredibly convenient how you will always find statistical data to be a whole number 61% and 39%, rather than a fraction like 61.3456 % of the population said etc etc.
When it comes to the statistics, I would not believe the exact figure but I do believe that the estimate is quite about right for most of the part.
I believe stats exist but they can be manipulated. For example one SUV driving one hour puts off more CO2 that most smokers put into the air in one year, yet many states want to pass a no smoking in public ban because of second hand smoke but no one wants to ban driving in any state.
It's a better way than rolling dice.
Stats have there problems but are better than making decisions on blind faith, hopefully.
"I could statistically prove God"... George Gallup.
I do have an accounting degree.
"Statistics" mean , manipulated numbers.
Manipulated.........look it up.
Stats and percentages have little worth. They confuse the masses, and those with slower mathimatical abilities. I would never, ever, rely on stats or percentages as my decision makers.
I recommend that no one does. Take time, and work the numbers..........Certainly, I would not advise that anyone blindly trust the government.......not matter who or what party is seeminly in charge. At the end of the day, they are just a group of confused minds.
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