Wrapped in gaffa

Programming, Art, Music, Philosophy, Politics

Statistics for what they are

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Statistics is a mathematical tool for measuring probability in clean room experiments. We see a lot of statistic surveys in the news all the time, which most often influences the politics of our country. That is fine if they were taken for what they are. These statistical surveys are rarely done in clean room environments, but are being treated as if they were. Take for example something which is very controversial to opponent against – statistics of smoke induced diseases.

Monitoring smokers and determining the probability of that group getting cancer is not done in a clean room environment. If it was to be done in a clean room environment we would need 200 human clones, eating the exact same, breathing the exact same air and so on where 100 of those would be smokers and 100 of them non-smokers. We need the only difference to be the subject we are doing statistics on. If not then I could claim that smokers tend to live their lives less healthy than non-smokers and blame the general lifestyle of smokers or that smokers had an actual gene that would make them both smoke, and die younger. I would not be able to blame the chemical substances of tobacco. What the survey would tell you is that if you are the group of people who smoke you will have a higher probability of getting cancer, but it would not be able to say if tobacco was to blame.

Don’t believe statistics. Understand them.

I’m a smoker and I’m not blind to the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle. I accept them as a side effect of enjoying my life.

Written by gaffa

2007-11-24 at 14:35

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , , , ,

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