Where We Find the Most Bad Statistics

It’s my impression that the greater the social significance of a topic, the more inaccurate statistics will be created for and used about it. Why? 1) The more significant a topic, the more people will measure it, so there will be more statistics about it anyway. 2) The greater the significance, the more people will have incentive to either create or use misleading statistics that best represent their perspective.

Graphically:

  • http://gruntledcenter.blogspot.com/ Gruntled

    Your graph reminds me of one of my favorite xkcd’s:

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/convincing.png

    • http://www.brewright.com Bradley Wright

      That’s hilarious!

  • ProfYancey

    Maybe this is why so many papers is highly rated journals are on such boring topics. It is easier to be more accurate with your data if no one cares about the results of your work. This is probably sad but true.

    • http://www.brewright.com Bradley Wright

      Interesting… hadn’t thought about that.

  • Alex

    It should be exponential, not linear.

    • http://www.brewright.com Bradley Wright

      You’re right… thank you.


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