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Your favorite outrageous statistic

  1. May 12, 2005 #1
    What do you consider to be the most misleading statistic you have come across or can contrive?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    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. May 13, 2005 #3

    matthyaouw

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  5. May 13, 2005 #4

    selfAdjoint

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    Dearly Missed

    "Human DNA only differs from Chimpanzee DNA by 0.7%"
     
  6. May 13, 2005 #5

    arildno

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    Dearly Missed

    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.
     
  7. May 13, 2005 #6
  8. May 14, 2005 #7

    Chronos

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    Parasites account for 0.01% of your body weight.
    37.43% of statistics are made up on the spot.
     
  9. May 16, 2005 #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
     
  10. May 16, 2005 #9

    Evo

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    No, they're saying within 30 miles is the most likely for an accident.
     
  11. May 16, 2005 #10

    LURCH

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    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.
     
  12. May 16, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.
     
  13. May 16, 2005 #12

    Nereid

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    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)
     
  14. May 16, 2005 #13

    Gokul43201

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    Not really a statistic as such...but the Law of Averages is probably the most misinterpreted and misused statistical principle. :rolleyes:
     
  15. May 16, 2005 #14

    Gokul43201

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    Number of US States that report "above average" high school scores : 50
     
  16. May 16, 2005 #15

    Nereid

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    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.
     
  17. May 16, 2005 #16

    Alkatran

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    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).
     
  18. May 17, 2005 #17

    Chronos

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    Enlightening. Does the May 03 entry on Sean Carrolls blog remind you of any PF discussions?
    http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/
     
  19. May 17, 2005 #18

    Pengwuino

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    This isnt really a statistic but more of an annoying thing people say. "It defies the laws of physics".
     
  20. May 17, 2005 #19

    matthyaouw

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    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 thats in it being downplayed somewhat?
     
  21. May 17, 2005 #20

    Pengwuino

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    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..
     
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