The role statistics have in our society
I think statistics play an important role in todays society because they are a way to find out what the majority of our world is thinking and what are the most common ideas and actions in todays world. The data that is produced through statistics/polls is usually correct and can be proven trustworthy as many of the participants in the contributing of the data are regular citizens (the most common type of citizens) and the outcome will be the most useful to the majority of people. It is also important for research as the more people that are agreeing on one fact will make the fact more credible. Statistics are also good for trying to prove a point because it is showing the majority of the worlds opinion.
What I learned from the article: http://www.truthpizza.org/logic/stats.htm
I never thought of statistics as being better than personal stories that we have learned and heard from our friends and family but reading this article explains how statistics are a more broad and unspecific way of deciding how we should live our lives rather than listening to the few cases that we have heard all the details of. I think this is a very good point because when there is a poll we will get a more general idea of how we should live our lives rather than just one persons life has been affected. I also learned that news and the media are often portraying things that are generally lower in statistics, stories that are the most interesting vs the more common, because why would we want to watch or read something that we have already lived.
Problems with statistics
I also never thought about how statistics are prone to be more believable than any fact, it makes sense though, when you add a number it makes it sound more accurate rather than made up. This can lead to people making up statistics on the spot which means that they are false leading people to believe that the information that they thought was more accurate then some story they personally heard or read is actually even less accurate. Of course we have to know that when we are reading statistics it is possible that the group of people who were part of contributing to the data are just leaning towards one side more than the other because of their lives personally and we don’t know if each and every person has the same set of circumstances going on at home when they answer the questions therefore this can again lead to inaccuracy. Also as mentioned in the article if they collect data from a specific location all the people in the location generally have that location in common so they all have a similar factor causing them to perhaps lean towards one side more than the other which could also lead to inaccuracy. It mentions “response bias” meaning again that when given the choice to put their personal answer forward to create a statistic, people that chose to all have the same motivation making that again a similar factor meaning that they can on average be leaning the same way. There can also be questions that are worded a certain way to get a certain response out of people. Or, when people state the statistic without giving the full story to add affect. To sum up the article, it is important that when reading statistics you look for the specifics within the fact and not just read the statistic assuming everything is true. It teaches us to look at the words in the statement to see what they truly mean, and to look at the numbers both way not just by their percentage. It is also important that we think of the statement logically and do our research more than once look for more facts and statements as well as statistics so that we don’t assume everything based on the one statistic we heard on the radio or read on our Facebook timeline.
When reading this article personally I asked myself “How can we gather statistics in the most accurate way possible, avoiding as many of these problems.” I thought about it and I think the best way to do this would be to gather information and data from as many different and diverse people with pluralistic beliefs. To go out and seek information from multiple social and wealth classes. People who live different. Because the only way we can truly find an average is by asking more than the average people.