Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Misuse Of Statistics

The Misuse Of Statistics.......
Statistics, relating to climate science, global warming and climate change, is something we all rely on. However, the collection and interpretation of data can be and often is misused. Consider the following:

There is a general perception that statistical knowledge is all-too-frequently intentionally misused, by finding ways to interpret the data that are favorable to the presenter. A famous quote, variously attributed, but thought to be from Benjamin Disraeli[1] is, "There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics." The well-known book How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff discusses many cases of deceptive uses of statistics, focusing on misleading graphs. By choosing (or rejecting, or modifying) a certain sample, results can be manipulated; throwing out outliers is one means of doing so. This may be the result of outright fraud or of subtle and unintentional bias on the part of the researcher. Thus, Harvard President Lawrence Lowell wrote in 1909 that statistics, "like veal pies, are good if you know the person that made them, and are sure of the ingredients."source:

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