The whole idea of this drove me nuts and my teacher could tell. Being a good teacher she quickly figured out how to get me excited.
“Do you hate the idea of researching statistics?”
I said, “yeah, what could be more boring than statistics?”.
She then planted a seed.
“Why don’t you do a study that explains how statistics can be used to lie in studies?”
I now visualize my left eyebrow-raising like The Rock’s does.
“Tell me more?” I said.
“Well, every study has an agenda. The person doing the study is trying to prove their theory. Many times the stats can be twisted to prove that point.”
I was hooked!
I couldn’t believe I had permission to prove this whole project the class was doing was pointless. All of their studies were flawed!
Well, that’s not how it ended. But that project was one of my favorites, and it taught me something important.
Every study, presenter, media, politician, and every human has an agenda. They are going to use stats to prove their point. Some will cherry-pick, distort, fix, or lie about the stats to accomplish their agenda.
So when people show “the facts” it raises a lot of questions for me. Who did the study? Was it independent of the person with the agenda? Was it a fair study? Who or what was studied for the stats?
Now that you know a little about me and my thoughts on stats, here is an interesting blog written by Bill Gates on the subject matter and a book he recommends.
Also, keep in mind, he’s using all sorts of stats to prove his points these days. But I’m sure they’re not twisted, manipulated, or tweaked at all to suit his agenda.
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