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70% of Statistics

  1. Sep 20, 2004 #1
    70% of statistics are made up on the spot. Really i just want to ask everyone if you think that generally when people bring up statistics in their arguments that they just made it up then and there. I know for one that alot of people make up statistics on the spot, i did it just now.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2004 #2
    Yes, I believe statistics are often inaccurate, especially if the quesion requires a lot of thought.
    I have never believed statistics being accurate. It's just not possible. So many people can make up things on the spot. That's why when I read the newspaper statistics, I never believe them.

    I even make things on the spot. Why? It's easier, it's human nature, something like that... A survey isn't exactly the most exhilirating thing to take, and it doesn't really matter if you put down something wrong, who is going to check?

    Unless the survey has a strict significance to you, people will continue writing random things, or answers that look good (if it's for say, a competition.)
  4. Sep 20, 2004 #3
    Yea, I've told people "73% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and 86% of all people believe it." Only one of them got it.
  5. Sep 20, 2004 #4
    Is your statement in this majority? :wink:

    Of course people use statistics in their arguments, that might also be flawed. But it would be difficult to somehow bypass this fact.
  6. Sep 21, 2004 #5
    I think that too much skepticism in statistics is really stupid. Why should you trust a person any less if they quote a statistic?

    I think the real caution is in finding out exactly how the survey/study was conducted and how it has been spun to favor the quoter. That's the real danger in believing statistics - a number is easy to manipulate, easier than other types of facts.
  7. Sep 21, 2004 #6
    It rather reminds me of those political polls that add up to 104% :biggrin:
  8. Sep 21, 2004 #7
    I think that there's an error with your condemnation of those polls, because you obviously can't guess how they might be conducted to add up to more than 100%. I mean, what if the subjects are required to tick every candidate they would consider voting for? Then, 60% could say they are considering voting for one, and 60% could also say that they were considering voting for the other. They could even be the same 60%
  9. Sep 22, 2004 #8
    There are lies, damn lies, and then statistics. Quantum Mechanics is a statistical science accurate to fourteen decimal places, but it is all lies. Fortunately for us, some lies are more useful than others, statistically speaking of course. :0)
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