30 Jul 2020

And Then Stats...

My apologies if I’m way behind everyone on this one, but a radio news item yesterday and a resulting phone response created a loud clicking sound in my swede as a light finally came on. I know; you’re thinking, man, is this ever going to start? Okay, let’s start.

The item on the radio show was regarding road traffic accidents and, as the broadcaster breathlessly informed us, ten percent of all those accidents involved alcohol. Shocking. Wot can we do? The folk phoning in seemed to be those anti alcohol types and you could sense the studio nodding along. Then a fellow popped up and it soon became obvious that he must’ve fibbed when being quizzed prior to being allowed to go live.

Wot did he say? He said that if ten percent of all road traffic accidents could be attributed to the use of alcohol, then ninety percent of accidents have nothing to do with alcohol. Shouldn’t minds be concentrating on sorting out the ninety percent rather than hyper ventilating on a mere ten percent? Thought I, well said that man and how true of so many so called stats.

Think that through to all the stuff you’ve heard over the years. Think of this Covid-1984 thingy and the sad eyed, scary death reporting for the UK - forty six thousand dead attributed to the flue!! Sad, but  in the interests of balance, shouldn’t they then put on a happy face and report that, according to ‘official’ stats, that means that sixty-seven million plus folk of all ages, shapes, sizes and gender are still alive an’ kickin’...

Anyhoo, since my head lit-up, I’ll never be able to hear a scary stat that gets wheeled-out without instantly thinking of the unstated opposite stat.

Quote;  William W. Watt.

“Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.”


Ripper said...

I seem to remember that very logic being used some years ago by the commenters on the pro smoking blogs Mac, I think Bucko the Moose was one who was very deft at using it. Its good to know that its stood the test of time - it always knocked the opposition out cold.

Here's some more logic that I think everyone should see... well, it's loosely related to statistics...


Mac said...

Yes, and sad to say I was very slow and late to see through the game. Thanks for the link - up tonight