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# Its authenticity and discussion about statistics

2020-07-16 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Paper范文

Its authenticity and discussion about statistics

There is a lot of data appearing in everybody’s life on a regular basis. However, behind these figures, there is a completely different world. These statistics with the mask of being full of "science" is rampant in human civilization, but is often full of lies,  which was less found out by the people. The article entitled “Telling the Truth About Damned Lies and Statistics” by Joel Best is about this side of statistics, different attitude which is adopting by people and importance of a critical attitude towards it . In this article, it is to have a discussion of what factors leading people to be uncritical towards statistics, and why and how to adopt a proper critical attitude for people towards statistics with a reference to Joel Best’s article “Telling the Truth About Damned Lies and Statistics”.

People tends to be uncritical towards statistics as the function of statistics especially alarming statistics is to surprise their readers and capture their attention, instead of really informing them of certain information and there is in general the credible source of statistics.  First of all, it is related to the people’s attitude towards the statistics. For example, dissertation prospectus used it in order to absorb the eye. Just as Best describes, it is a "grabber" is to capture the reader's attention(Best, paragraph 1). People cited the statistics to make their articles more professional or “authoritative” for a much wider readers or higher possibility of winning attention as the magical effect of figures.  Also, it is because that people who repeat the data from some one else are often using the data without examining it are also surprised by the data themselves.  Just as Best himself once observed, impressed by the statistic, the author repeated it(Best, paragraph 6). When they see number which is too large to exceed people’s expectation a lot, people’s first response of them are the huge emotional shock. It is normal for them to be emotional immersed in the unbelievable data, instead of asking a series of questions of where they come from. Also, the huge difficulties of setting some to reprove and reexamine it from the beginning is indeed out of capacity of a lot of individuals and common people.  It is not common for people to ask questions when they meet statistics(Best, paragraph 6). It is also the result of people’s belief of statistics as fact or observation, which is the objective things from logical induction and scientific collection methods and is used to express the objective things with the raw material and the original data. For example, the statistic of the double number of gun shot children was from the Children's Defense Fund(Best, paragraph5). When the data come from such a well-known organization group for children, this will increase the credibility of such data once again, leading to less people to question it. Joel Best in his article at first presents a picture of people’  not examined used of statistics, which is a result of use statistics for capturing attention, instead of increasing credibility and the credible source of statistics in general.

However, adopting a critical attitude in the encounter with statistics is rather important in the current era as there are full of bad data and people’s bad habit of repeating statistics without any examination at all. As what have been discussed above, people’s use of data nowadays is less and less careful. In order to capture attention, “people repeat bad statistics”(Best, paragraph 8). In many case, the sample on which statistics is based itself is highly controversial, which involves many factors that can not be controlled by the researcher, such as the psychology of the respondents. Also, there are mistakes made by researchers. For example, whether the respondents chosen by are representative and so on can also determined the objectiveness of the final result. The article is a very detailed analysis of the problem of to which limits, extent and range the statistics can be used through the statistic on number of American children died of gun shot. According to a journal published in 1995, the number of American children has doubled every year(Best, paragraph 1). But if this statistic is true, the final number will be too alarming and totally wrong.  It is necessary for people to see the data without clear limit or terms to give a restrict on its applicable scope, in fact has no big significance. In addition, there is some kinds of data which will change its original form during the process of spreading. For example, the C.D.F declared there were twice as many deaths in 1994 as in 1950(Best, paragraph 5). However, when it comes to a journal published in 1995, this figure the number of American children has doubled every year. This is called as mutant statistic by Joel Best(Best, paragraph 7). Thus, there are more and more urgency to adopt a critical attitude in the encounter with statistics.

At last, it is necessary for people to find new ways of thinking that lead people to critical way of thinking when it comes to statistics and statistical arguments. Joel Best once remarked that the answer of bad statistics is “to become better judges” of it(Best, paragraph 13). Given the high rate of statistics are cited and the carelessness of people’s use of data and some mistakes within the data itself, it requires people to form a new way of thinking by realizing those problems of  statistics at the first place. Since the era of digital information has began, people lived in a so developed society with the digital information. In this diverse world, all kinds of statistics are filled with people’s lives,and the number is the only one universal "language" in the global sphere. Only when people realize the significance of bad statistics, they can pay more attention to it. According to Joel Best, the use of statistics is trying to manipulate people( Best, paragraph 11). Thus , people must have an awareness of the purpose of the use of statistics. Just as Best observes, it requires people to understand the role played by statistics in society(Best, paragraph 15).

Based on Joel Best’s article and its citing of a lot of examples of statistics,  there are a lot of factors leading people to be uncritical towards statistics and figures from credible source with the function of statistic as capturing others attention. Thus, adopting a critical attitude in the encounter with statistics by understanding purpose of the use of statistics and their problems is rather important in the current era.

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