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Old 05-02-2017, 04:13 PM   #19
TwoSwords
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 334
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeezablysoft View Post
Did you know that 62% of all statistics are just randomly made up?
And the rest don't really prove what people claim they do. There's a whole science behind why statistics are not proof of anything.

For one thing, much of the time, statistics are based on drawing a connection between two things. For instance, a high percentage of people with yellow teeth developing lung cancer. It sounds like proof of something, but in reality, we just call this a "correlation," and that doesn't necessarily imply that one is causing the other, nor, even if one is causing the other, does it imply which one is the cause. Yellow teeth don't cause lung cancer, any more than lung cancer causes yellow teeth. The correlation is actually because both are caused by smoking.

Often, the cause of a strange, statistical correlation is another factor, not considered by the statistic. In some cases, it may just be a strange coincidence, and further studies will turn up completely different statistics. This is why statistics are not considered a method of proof. They are, at best, a piece of evidence to be explained by other, better evidence. This is why Mark Twain referred to them as one of the three kinds of lies.

Then there's always the chance a statistic could arise from a biased study, or a simple mistake on the part of the person obtaining it. We're only human, after all.
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