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# There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881).

## There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

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1. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

2. In a student dissertation the writer began by quoting a statistic from a nice, authoritative  professional journal.  The quote was: "Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled." Joel Best, Damned Lies and Statistics Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists quoted in http://rouncefield1.homestead.com/files/read_method_1.htm

3. Misleading Statistics • Survey problems • Choice of sample • Question phrasing • Misleading graphs • Scale • Missing numbers • Pictographs • Correlation vs. Causation • Self-Interest Study • Partial pictures • Deliberate distortions • Mistakes

4. In 1936 Literary Digest magazine sent more than 10 million ballots to readers to get their preferences in the upcoming presidential election between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alfred M. Landon. The returns indicated that Landon, the Republican nominee, would win handily. Roosevelt won in the first great landslide election of the 20th century. He carried all states except Maine and Vermont. Choice of Sample http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-9276570?&query=newspapers&ct=%22ebi%22

5. Choice of Sample In an ABC Nightline poll, 186,000 viewers each paid 50 cents to call a “900” telephone number with their opinion about keeping the United Nations in the United States. The results showed that 67% of those who called were in favor of moving the United Nations out of the United States. Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

6. Choice of Sample The Hawaii State Senate held hearings when it was considering a law requiring that motorcyclists wear helmets. Some motorcyclists testified that they had been in crashes in which helmets would not have been helpful. Which important group was unable to testify? Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

7. Choice of Sample [Triola] received a survey from the investment firm Merrill Lynch. It was designed to gauge his satisfaction as a client, and it had specific questions rating the author’s personal Financial Consultant. The cover letter included this statement: “Your responses are extremely valuable to your Financial Consultant…We will share your name and response with your Financial Consultant.” What is wrong with this survey? Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

8. Choice of SamplePossibility of Lying • “Have you ever used illegal drugs?" • “Do you favor a constitutional admendment that would outlaw most abortions?” • “Have you ever driven a motor vehicle while intoxicated?" http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Echance/teaching_aids/RResponse/RResponse.html

9. Question Phrasing 97% yes: “Should the President have the line item veto to eliminate waste?” 57% yes: “Should the President have the line item veto, or not?” Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

10. Question Phrasing Would you say that traffic contributes more or less to air pollution than industry? 45% blamed traffic, 27% blamed industry Would you say that industry contributes more or less to air pollution than traffic? 24% blamed traffic, 57% blamed industry Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

11. Question Phrasing • “Welfare” vs. “Care for the poor” • “Pro-abortion” vs. “pro-choice” • Others?

12. Misleading Statistics • Survey problems • Choice of sample • Question phrasing • Misleading graphs • Scale • Missing numbers • Pictographs • Correlation vs. Causation • Self-Interest Study • Partial pictures • Deliberate distortions • Mistakes

16. Missing Numbers

17. Pictographs Double the length, width, and height of a cube, and the volume increases by a factor of eight Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

18. Pictographs

19. Misleading Statistics • Survey problems • Choice of sample • Question phrasing • Misleading graphs • Scale • Missing numbers • Pictographs • Correlation vs. Causation • Self-Interest Study • Partial pictures • Deliberate distortions • Mistakes

20. Correlation vs. Causation A study showed that truck drivers weigh more than adults who do not drive trucks. Conclusion: Trucks cause people to gain weight. Taken from Triola, Essentials of Statistics. Addison Wesley.

21. The number of people per television in a country is negatively correlated with the average life expectancy. Can we conclude that one causes the other? http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v2n2/datasets.rossman.html

22. Correlation vs. Causation Ice cream sales and number of drownings are correlated. Does this mean that eating ice cream causes drowning? Or that people eat more ice cream after someone drowns? Taken from Against all Odds. Video on Demand from Annenberg.

23. Misleading Statistics • Survey problems • Choice of sample • Question phrasing • Misleading graphs • Scale • Missing numbers • Pictographs • Correlation vs. Causation • Self-Interest Study • Partial pictures • Deliberate distortions • Mistakes

24. Partial Pictures (or deliberate distortions?) A car insurance company advertises that their new customers saved an average of \$350 by switching to this company’s policy. The Kansas City Star reported on May 25: “In 2005 British publishers released 206,000 new books, compared with the United States’ 172,000 new titles, according to Bowker, a New Jersey company that tracks the industry.

25. Partial Pictures (or deliberate distortions?) http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm

26. Misleading Statistics • Survey problems • Choice of sample • Question phrasing • Misleading graphs • Scale • Missing numbers • Pictographs • Correlation vs. Causation • Self-Interest Study • Partial pictures • Deliberate distortions • Mistakes

27. As reported by CNN and USA Today, the poll found … fewer than one in five – 18 percent – in six of the nine countries believe Arabs carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks. (Three countries wouldn't let Gallup polltakers ask the question.) You won't find those results on Gallup's Web site, however. That's because of one rather big problem: These eye-opening results were "actually the average for the countries surveyed regardless of the size of their populations," the NCPP noted. "Kuwait, with less than 2 million Muslims, was treated the same as Indonesia, which has over 200 million Muslims." Mistakes By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane Washington Post Staff WritersFriday, March 22, 2002

28. Mistakes Using inappropriate averages Using the wrong statistical analysis Generalizing to the wrong population Misinterpreting results Simple numerical errors …

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