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Frank Hovis

More or less - misuse of statistics

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There is an excellent programme on Radio 4 - and yes, I know that these days that sounds like an oxymoron - called More or Less, on 4.30pm Fridays repeated Sundays 8pm.  The chap who runs and presents it, Tim Harford, isn't a BBC staffer but an economist and journalist who writes for the FT.  This explains its lack of political correctness and dumbing down.

It takes quoted statistics suggested by listeners from reports in the press and analyses them for source and accuracy.

A recent claim was that there are more statues of goats in the UK than of non-royal non-mythological women quoted on a feminist campaigning website.  This isn't remotely true and when the website was contacted for source they said that they heard it at a conference.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd

Anyway in tribute to More or Less I thought this thread would be useful for examples of statistics that are either clealry wrong, ludicrous, or so mangled that they don't at all support the argument that they're being used to support.

 

Here's one from (and my sincere apologies for this) The Guardian.

I take it as read that the stories the usual Guardian drivel, and I'm not trying to discuss that, but what jumped out is this criminal misuse of survey data:

 

Quote

 

“More than half of those aged 13 to 21 have felt unsafe walking home alone, experienced harassment or know someone who has, and nearly half feel unsafe using public transport,” the survey states.

This is an astonishing statistic.

 

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/of-course-girls-feel-miserable-they-can’t-move-freely-in-the-world/ar-BBNzdcI?ocid=spartandhp

 

Right - now did anybody here, man or woman, during the ages of 13 and 21 not feel at least once "unsafe walking home alone" or "unsafe using public transport"?  I did.

And does anybody here not know somebody whne between teh ages of 13 and 21 who has "experienced harrassment". I did.

 

What is astonishing to me about that statistic is that it isn't 100% given quite how ludicrously wide the definition of "unsafe" has been drawn.

 

It is useless and you cannot conclude anything from it so throw it away rather than using it as if it were a meaningful statistic.

 

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Quote

“More than half of those aged 13 to 21 have felt unsafe walking home alone, experienced harassment or know someone who has

100% of readers of this thread now know someone who has ...

 

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Yes, I once felt  "unsafe walking home alone" . It was cold and dark, the pavement was covered in melted snow that had refrozen back into ice. It felt very unsafe, I could have easily suffered a serious injury.

Please let me know who I should report this non crime to.

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

A recent claim was that there are more statues of goats in the UK than of non-royal non-mythological women quoted on a feminist campaigning website.  This isn't remotely true and when the website was contacted for source they said that they heard it at a conference.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd

 

 

 

Yep, that's on the list -

A repost of the how to spot a SJW list:

- Ignore difficult questions

- Make unfounded claims

- Claim any source of information that goes against their ideology is bias or fake news

- Will then use a well known bias source of information as if it is gospel

- Are bigoted

- Get shouty/agressive and make large numbers of posts (I have no idea how they find the time!)

- Use reversal, e.g. you expose their bigotry and then they claim you are the bigot. You prove them wrong but they claim the opposite.

- Will call people names and use derogatory terms (I don't have a problem with this but it shows the level they are at)

- Are aware of Godwins law so try to avoid it by using terms such as white supremist or fascist

- Are very intolerant and problably the closest to being fascist I have seen in recent times

- Treat their ideology more like a religion and it's almost like an atheist trying to argue with the Pope that God does not exist

- Make ad hominem attacks

- Present assumptions and/or personal views as fact

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The lie about goats is out there and has become the new truth, top two search results on duckduckgo:

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/there-are-more-statues-of-goats-than-real-women-in/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-women-culture/outnumbered-by-men-and-goats-more-women-to-be-celebrated-in-uk-statues-idUSKBN1KK27Q

 

That's the issue with fake news that supports an agenda, once it is out there plenty of people are happy to accept it as true if it aligns with their views.

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must be the same feminists (stella creasy) who think there has never been a female face on a banknote.

 

Is it really worth arguing with feminists, though? There are lefty groups who have certain agendas, but IMO feminists just dont 'do' logic. If they feel a certain way, that is reality, regardless of what the actual reality is. 

Edited by PatronizingGit

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28 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I"m thinking occasional thread; as a regular listener I can give loads of examples but threw in the goats as a particular silly one.

The local rag that boasts a readership of between 1 and 2 million.

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A classic misuse of statistics is the government trick in hiding the real unemployment figures.

In government speak JSA claimants = the actual number of people who are unemployed.

In an ideal world we would have government reports on the real number of unemployed people and their proposals to rectify the problem. xD. No chance of that happening!

 

 

Edited by Van Lady

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2 hours ago, Frank Hovis said:

A recent claim was that there are more statues of goats in the UK than of non-royal non-mythological women quoted on a feminist campaigning website.  This isn't remotely true and when the website was contacted for source they said that they heard it at a conference.

I am sure it has been said but it is worth noting that this could be a prediction as it may be likely that those in power in the UK in the future put up a statue to their favourite goat.

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2 hours ago, Frank Hovis said:

There is an excellent programme on Radio 4 - and yes, I know that these days that sounds like an oxymoron - called More or Less, on 4.30pm Fridays repeated Sundays 8pm.  The chap who runs and presents it, Tim Harford, isn't a BBC staffer but an economist and journalist who writes for the FT.  This explains its lack of political correctness and dumbing down.

I really like this show and that it doesn't have a BBC agenda; only one I make the effort to listen to on iplayer when I remember. I quite liked his book too, the undercover economist. The chapter on how the singaporean govt decided on their healthcare system shows how things could be done if only our politicians were capable of using evidence and thinking through consequences.

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