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Old 05-27-2009, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,487,344 times
Reputation: 4104

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It is a subjective question, everyone's decision is their own, but you see people who pick up the newspaper each day and read these horrible studies...then change their lives and argue a point with utter conviction because of a misinterpretation of a journalist. Never once going back to look at the "Why".

I always thought it was drinking that lead to 90% of all made up statistics...50% online, and 50% in the bar?
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
Reputation: 35864
Looking around does not always yield the truth. If you go to a party where there are 25 people, it is likely that two will have the same birthday. That is not something you can find out by looking around, unless you spend an awful lot of time at parties being a complete bore.

If you walk into a room and somebody tells you, "Look I just flipped a coin ten times, and it came up heads ten times in a row." Do you think Tails are "overdue"? Or do you think itll probably be heads the next time, too.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:56 PM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,421 posts, read 16,681,935 times
Reputation: 16420
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
The classic example was then the Wisconsin Works program gathered up a bunch of derelicts and trained them to do things like phone you at supper time and sell you condos. The followed up by doing a survey of "graduates" to see how well they were doing. They released the statistical data that a huge majority were on their feet and self supporting. They conducted the survey by TELEPHONE. Which means the entire survey sample consisted the people for whom it had worked so well, they had homes with landlines installed. They didn't ask the telephoneless "retrainee" who slept on a piece of cardboard under an overpass how he doing, because that would have corrupted the desired effect of doing the survey in the first place.

In a rare moment of journailistic investigative inspiration, the Madison Capital Times pointed this fact out, and was, I think, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for it.
During the election it was noted that since all the polls are done via landline many *young* people were left out since most have cell phones only. I had to laugh at this. Most of the adults I know also have no landlines. But this observation was about how the unknown factor was the views of young people. So all those 40 plus people who dumped the landline got ignored.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:15 PM
 
604 posts, read 1,050,556 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by elamigo View Post
......Stats are something like theory I guess. You have to try to prove if the theory is wright or wrong......
Not quite. A theory by definition is falsifiable. Once you prove it, it's no longer a theory, it's a fact.

People are talking about comparing this stat with that stat and stats on tv and stats on the news.......no wonder it's such a challenge for most people.

No one has mentioned variables or confounding variables or statistical significance or tests and measurements.

But at least some people get the difference between the median and the mean.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Nova Scotia
458 posts, read 1,136,391 times
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I don't and I will tell you one reason why. Canada AM did a "study" on something recently and it did not add up. They were one shy from 100%. To me if it was a proper study it would add up. But having it off just by one made me think "hmmm the person making up this study was off on their math today" It has happened many times on others studies by different people. I simply do not believe in the out come.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbledeez View Post
Not quite. A theory by definition is falsifiable. Once you prove it, it's no longer a theory, it's a fact.

Using your analogy, it would be impossible to prove that meteors exist. We can only examine meteorites and infer that they were once meteors.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,115,151 times
Reputation: 9523
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogandtoad View Post
It has been proven that smoking is the leading cause of statistics.
Smoking what?
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:27 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,136 posts, read 21,125,167 times
Reputation: 23163
My son got out of the Navy at a time too early to go to college for the regular semester and took a course in a local community college. A professor told his class to make up any statistics they needed for the article they were writing, because most people never check to see if the statistics are correct. You will notice on these threads that I am never impressed with statistics. I don't listen to anything people say snopes says either. And it just about make me roll in the floor laughing when someone wants to know the source.

I worked as a librarian for 28 years and one of the first things I learned is that just because it is in print does not make it true. Look in several different sources for the square miles in the state you live in and see how many different answers you get. I remember one time a confused student showed me where he had found three different figures for the square miles in the state he was reporting on.
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
Reputation: 35864
The area of states includes water area, and this is often (but not always) shown parenthetically in connection with the overall area. Hence, a given area may or may not include the water area. The area of some states changes over time, notably Louisiana. Area can be defined in two different ways, depending on whether you are counting the actual surface, or the map-projection area as it might be seen from space. If you look straight down on an area that seems to be a millin square feet, it would take more than a million one-square-foot tiles to cover it if is sloped steeply. Just as a 1,000 square-foot house would require more than 1,000 square feet of shingle surface to cover the steeply sloping roof. If you had a sod roof and your lambs grazed up there, which figure do you count as the "surface area"? I won't even go into the point that on the surface of a sphere, it is possible to calculate the "size" of an area in several different ways, and each one would yield a different answer. If you look at ten different maps of the USA, each one from a different cartographic projection, Colorado will be ten different shapes. None of them will have parallel eastern and western borders, nor straight lines along the north and south borders. A straight line is impossible to draw on the surface of a sphere.

Last edited by jtur88; 05-30-2009 at 08:40 AM..
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
1,989 posts, read 4,467,007 times
Reputation: 2733
While I think it's too much to expect the average citizen to develop a deep understanding of research methods and data analysis, a simple understanding that correlation does not equal causation should be taught to everyone.
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