Truth from Lies; How Statistics are Misrepresented by Pretty Much Everyon

Statistics are usually misrepresented in most of the media when sending or relaying their information, especially in television and newspapers. For example a television show might ask the audience to vote on some issue. Usually the ones who vote are not the people who watch that particular show, but only those who are motivated enough. This will lead to a response bias because the average number of people who vote might have different opinions from those who didn’t do it. On the other hand, the newspapers are considered to represent true but misleading results in most cases. For instance, the quote from the video ‘statistics show that teen pregnancies drop off after the age of twenty five’ represents how the newspapers use statistics to relay the contradicting information. This information can be technically true, but the statistical facts are misleading.

The forms of bad statistics mentioned in the video include: ‘statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off after the age of twenty five’, ‘statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write’, and ‘arsenic in the city water is nothing to worry about’. All the facts mentioned by the statistics are important, but the information portrayed from a different perspective can be considered to be misleading. For example, one can argue that the pregnancy in twenties can be considered teen pregnancy, which isn’t true. This shows that the leading question in the statistics can lead to misleading information understanding. Another case is where the statistics ‘arsenic in the city water is nothing to worry’, yet from the health perspective, we understand that arsenic consumption is dangerous to human health. This shows that the misuse of leading words in statistical interpretation can lead to misleading results.

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People cite such results and consider them to be a substantial proof of something. Although nearly all statistical figures are considered to report the outcome and exposure accurately, the important information is considered to be missing in most of them. With the advent of technology use, statistics have become dominant in most of the disciplines. For example, one can take the data, heave it into a computer and come out with tables and graphs. Such practices have led to the increase in the misuse of statistics.

Comparing ‘Michael Jordan fallacy’ and the video, statistics in both scenarios are considered to be misused. Hence, the fallacy of the statistics can be easily misinterpreted. Most people read the headlines, without taking into consideration the relevance of the statistics. This problem can be corrected by the use of proper leading questions, data, and suitable words to relay information. Substantial analysis should also be done to ensure that a wider information and understanding is captured in the statistics.

The statistical values not only give the valuable information but also insight of where the information can be extracted. It is the insights and information that help individuals have a competitive edge and make enhanced decisions. Statistical information should be easily interpretable and show the substantial relevance. Many people should realize that there is a big difference between the statistical values and information. While we consider the data to give substantial information, the fallacy of big data doesn’t proportionately imply more of it. Thus, the information from the big data can be overrated. While we can consider statistics in most instances to be misleading, we should always understand its importance. Hence, the use of statistics helps us to get an accurate understanding and a bigger picture of what we want. Faulty statistics are considered to arise from poorly collected data. This is majorly attributed to the problems encountered in gathering the statistics.


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