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1.3 Distrust Of Statistics

It is often said by people that, "statistics can prove anything." There are three types of lies - lies, demand lies and statistics - wicked in the order of their naming. A Paris banker said, "Statistics is like a miniskirt, it covers up essentials but gives you the ideas."

Thus by "distrust of statistics" we mean lack of confidence in statistical statements and methods. The following reasons account for such views about statistics.

  1. Figures are convincing and, therefore people easily believe them.

  2. They can be manipulated in such a manner as to establish foregone conclusions.

  3. The wrong representation of even correct figures can mislead a reader. For example, John earned $ 4000 in 1990 - 1991 and Jem earned $ 5000. Reading this one would form the opinion that Jem is decidedly a better worker than John. However if we carefully examine the statement, we might reach a different conclusion as Jemís earning period is unknown to us. Thus while working with statistics one should not only avoid outright falsehoods but be alert to detect possible distortion of the truth.


Index

1.1 What is Statistics
1.2 Uses
1.3 Distrust of Statistics
1.4 Statistics can be misused
1.5 Types of Statistics
1.6 Common mistakes committed in interpretation of Statistics
1.7 Glossary Of Terms

Chapter 2





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