Your favorite outrageous statistic

  • Thread starter Loren Booda
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In summary: Arpian's' view that a set of 6 (or is it 8?) quasars 'near' (on the sky) an NGC spiral is, in fact, a highly statistically significant demonstration of "pi writ large on the cosmos".I particularly like the latter - it took me only ~1 hour, yet the numbers were truly astonishing.
  • #1
Loren Booda
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What do you consider to be the most misleading statistic you have come across or can contrive?
 
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  • #2
I find many statistics wrt health very misleading. When news reports tell that certain practices increase your chances of so and so by 50%, or even 500%, what is ignored is that this increased risk is often still statistically small, or even insignificant, as compared to other risks that we take every day without giving it a second thought.
 
  • #4
"Human DNA only differs from Chimpanzee DNA by 0.7%"
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking said:
I find many statistics wrt health very misleading. When news reports tell that certain practices increase your chances of so and so by 50%, or even 500%, what is ignored is that this increased risk is often still statistically small, or even insignificant, as compared to other risks that we take every day without giving it a second thought.
In addition, much so-called "research" in social medicine seems extremely suspect, in that (for example) one may well wonder whether sufficient controls have been developed.
 
  • #6
http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/images/figspm-1.gif
 
  • #7
Parasites account for 0.01% of your body weight.
37.43% of statistics are made up on the spot.
 
  • #8
My old favorite was one that was brought up around holidays. It went like:

"Seventy percent of all auto accidents (don't remember the exact number) occur within thirty miles of home, so be especially careful when - - - - "

This would seem to imply that if we do ninety percent of our driving within that thirty miles, this is the 'safest' place to drive? Is that what the people who made the statement wanted to convey?

KM
 
  • #9
Kenneth Mann said:
My old favorite was one that was brought up around holidays. It went like:

"Seventy percent of all auto accidents (don't remember the exact number) occur within thirty miles of home, so be especially careful when - - - - "

This would seem to imply that if we do ninety percent of our driving within that thirty miles, this is the 'safest' place to drive? Is that what the people who made the statement wanted to convey?

KM
No, they're saying within 30 miles is the most likely for an accident.
 
  • #10
Kenneth Mann said:
My old favorite was one that was brought up around holidays. It went like:

"Seventy percent of all auto accidents (don't remember the exact number) occur within thirty miles of home, so be especially careful when - - - - "

This would seem to imply that if we do ninety percent of our driving within that thirty miles, this is the 'safest' place to drive? Is that what the people who made the statement wanted to convey?

KM

LOL! That's always been my favorite! The statement they are trying to make is soundly and conclusively disproved by the supporting evidence they themselves provide.

I'm also quite fond of "four out of five dentists serveyed..."; they never do make clear the screening process by which they determine what dentists they will servey.
 
  • #11
I just bought my first electric toothbrush. While checking into this I found that one brand is most preferred by dentists, and the other is the most preferred by dental professionals.
 
  • #12
My own creations - deliberately as absurd as I could make them:
- the GDP of the US and the RA of Pluto are correlated ... r^2 is something like 0.99
- the 'Arpian's' view that a set of 6 (or is it 8?) quasars 'near' (on the sky) an NGC spiral is, in fact, a highly statistically significant demonstration of "pi writ large on the cosmos".

I particularly like the latter - it took me only ~1 hour, yet the numbers were truly astonishing.

(if anyone is really interested, I'll dig up the PF post links)
 
  • #13
Not really a statistic as such...but the Law of Averages is probably the most misinterpreted and misused statistical principle. :rolleyes:
 
  • #14
Number of US States that report "above average" high school scores : 50
 
  • #15
Reminds me of Lake Wobegone! ". . . that's the news from Lake Wobegone, where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all of the children are well above average." I've only had a chance to listen to the show a few times, but this line really cracked me up.
 
  • #16
Nereid said:
Reminds me of Lake Wobegone! ". . . that's the news from Lake Wobegone, where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all of the children are well above average." I've only had a chance to listen to the show a few times, but this line really cracked me up.

This could be a true statement, if all the men were weak, the women were horrible looking, and the children were averaged against the men and women (who are all retarded).
 
  • #17
Nereid said:
My own creations - deliberately as absurd as I could make them:
- the GDP of the US and the RA of Pluto are correlated ... r^2 is something like 0.99
- the 'Arpian's' view that a set of 6 (or is it 8?) quasars 'near' (on the sky) an NGC spiral is, in fact, a highly statistically significant demonstration of "pi writ large on the cosmos".

I particularly like the latter - it took me only ~1 hour, yet the numbers were truly astonishing.

(if anyone is really interested, I'll dig up the PF post links)
Enlightening. Does the May 03 entry on Sean Carrolls blog remind you of any PF discussions?
http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/
 
  • #18
This isn't really a statistic but more of an annoying thing people say. "It defies the laws of physics".
 
  • #19
On all the shampoo & conditioner adverts: now with 70% less frizz, 90% less breakage, and 50% more shine!
I wasn't aware that there was a measurement of frizz that allowed it to be expressed as a percentage.

On foods- 90% fat free!
ok, so 10% fat, doesn't sound too good now, does it? And isn't the amount of sugar that's in it being downplayed somewhat?
 
  • #20
haha oh man now you brought up a whole line of sayings!
"Twice the flavor"

Ive always wondered if these car dealers that go "99% approved!" are really telling the truth..
 
  • #21
Personnally, I always wanted to release a product and market it like so:
Instead of saying "50% less fat"
say the old product had "100% more fat"


You're naive buyer will assume fat free!
 
  • #22
Alkatran said:
This could be a true statement, if all the men were weak, the women were horrible looking, and the children were averaged against the men and women (who are all retarded).
But only if none of the children were men or women :wink:

Of course, it is literally true that 'all the children are well above average' if the variable is 'seniority-1'!
 
  • #23
Nereid said:
But only if none of the children were men or women :wink:

Of course, it is literally true that 'all the children are well above average' if the variable is 'seniority-1'!

Well, they could either A) have genetic problems or B) not be considered "men" or "women" because those usuallt refer to grown ups.
 
  • #24
There is a direct corellation between rising global temperatures and falling numbers of pirates, ergo pirates require low temperatures.
 
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  • #25
ROFL matt that's awesome. I want to organize a march on the capitol to protest Bush's environemtal policy on behalf of all pirates around the world.

BTW 9 out of 10 doctors think 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot.
 
  • #26
You can march by me and my penguins! We hate the idea of global warming
 
  • #27
This is almost a statistical statement;

A hundread billion flies eat dung. How can 100 B flies ALL be wrong?
 
  • #28
mine is Russ's Waters statistics how most muslims support terrorism.
 
  • #29
From Australian newspaper 'The Age'
Jesus story 'gets it 97% right'
By Barney Zwartz
Religion Editor
July 19, 2005

It is 97 per cent certain that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead - based on sheer logic and mathematics, not faith - according to Oxford professor Richard Swinburne.

"New Testament scholars say the only evidence is witnesses in the four gospels. That's only 5 per cent of the evidence," Professor Swinburne, one of the world's leading philosophers of religion, said last night.

"We can't judge the question of the resurrection unless we ask first whether there's reason to suppose there is a God, second if we have reason to suppose he would become incarnate and third, if he did, whether he would live the sort of life Jesus did."

Professor Swinburne, in Melbourne to give several seminars and a public lecture at the Australian Catholic University last night, said the mathematics showed a probability of 97 per cent.

This conclusion was reached after a complex series of calculations. In simplified terms, it began with a single proposition: the probability was one in two that God exists.

Next, if God exists, the probability was one in two that he became incarnate. Further, there was a one in 10 probability that the gospels would report the life and resurrection of Jesus in the form they do.

Finally, the clincher: the probability that we would have all this evidence if it wasn't true was one in 1000.

He argued that any evidence for the existence of God was an argument for the resurrection, and any evidence against the existence of God was an argument against the resurrection.

"Does he have reason to become incarnate? Yes, to make atonement, identify with our suffering and to teach us things, " Professor Swinburne said.

Even Jesus' life is not enough proof, he said. God's signature was needed, which the resurrection was, showing his approval of Jesus' teaching.

The mathematical equations appear in the professor's book, The Resurrection of God Incarnate (OUP, 2003).

Click here if you want to see the #1 cause of death in the U.S.
deathinus.jpg
 
  • #30
A phrase I've heard thrown about a bit is "You are more likely to die getting out of the bath than taking ecstacy."

I've never seen it backed up with figures, so if it has any factual basis at all, I seriously doubt that it takes into accont the amount of baths taken V the amount of ecstacy pills taken, and how many of the people who die in bath related incidents are old/infirm.
 
  • #31
Have you guys seen those "What's really stupid?" cigarette commercials?

I don't like them. They use faulty statistics. "Well if I stand here in this field with a big metal pole, I won't die because it's statisticly rare for people to die by lightning strike!"

Well DUH! That's because people don't stand in the middle of a field with a big metal pole!
 
  • #32
Alkatran said:
Have you guys seen those "What's really stupid?" cigarette commercials?

I don't like them. They use faulty statistics. "Well if I stand here in this field with a big metal pole, I won't die because it's statisticly rare for people to die by lightning strike!"

Well DUH! That's because people don't stand in the middle of a field with a big metal pole!

I absolutely hate those commercials as well. One of them went something like:
"you are more likely to die from smoking cigarettes than you are of being electrocuted in the bathtub by an electrical appliance" and they show a guy with in a bathtub with a toaster on the side.

I do not know how they can misrepresent statistics like that and take themselves seriously.

If someone takes a bath with a toaster sitting precariously close to the edge every day, their life expectancy is going to be much lower than someone who smokes everyday
 
  • #33
Ivan Seeking said:
I just bought my first electric toothbrush. While checking into this I found that one brand is most preferred by dentists, and the other is the most preferred by dental professionals.

Or those commercials that say "4 out of 5 dentists recommend x product."

They were probably talking about a specific group of 4 out of 5 dentists and not the overall majority of dentists out there.

"Well yeah, we interviewed 5 dentists. 4 of them recommended our product."

(and even then, perhaps they were influenced by that bag of money that the company was handing to them :rolleyes:)
 
  • #34
Alkatran said:
Have you guys seen those "What's really stupid?" cigarette commercials?

I don't like them. They use faulty statistics. "Well if I stand here in this field with a big metal pole, I won't die because it's statisticly rare for people to die by lightning strike!"

Well DUH! That's because people don't stand in the middle of a field with a big metal pole!
Yeah.. That's they're point isn't it? But if they weren't doing that it wouldn't be 'stupid', so they couldn't use the 'you think this is stupid' line.
 
  • #35
4 out of 5 smurfs are gay.

Outrageous, when has anyone seen a straight smurf.
 

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