Author Topic: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up  (Read 5112 times)

pom

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97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« on: June 26, 2013, 02:27:37 AM »
I would like to start a thread where we nominate articles that base their conclusions on shady statistics

Just read a survey in French, the title is "Buyer of luxury real estate still present in France". They come to that conclusion by saying that 50% of wealthy people interviewed think it is the right time to buy a property in France.

But if you continue reading you realize that the wealthty people interviewed are the clients of Lux-Residence.com. I am thinking that of course these guys think it's a good time to buy, that is why they are clients of this agency. That is a classic exemple of "Selection Bias" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_bias .

For those that can read French: http://www.lesechos.fr/patrimoine/immobilier/actu/0202852023521-immobilier-de-prestige-les-acheteurs-presents-malgre-la-crise-579300.php

Any other exemples?

matchewed

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2013, 05:53:15 AM »
Nearly any article by major news organizations covering -
Science
Government reports
Global reports

Am I missing anything?

;)

SwordGuy

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2013, 06:13:19 AM »
Are you missing anything?  All other news articles with a number it it.

Joet

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2013, 08:17:07 AM »
It's always the right time to buy, just ask a realtor

Paul der Krake

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2013, 09:17:30 AM »
The take away from the article is that the luxury market in France is a lot more liquid than in the previous decades. In this particular, I found the moderate use of polling figures actually enhancing the point they were trying to make.

grantmeaname

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2013, 09:33:40 AM »
How about any medical product that's promoted because "x out of x+1 professionals agree it is a good choice for ABC" rather than "clinical trials suggest the product helps x out of x+1 patients with condition ABC"? That one drives me nuts.

Spork

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2013, 10:15:39 AM »
How about any medical product that's promoted because "x out of x+1 professionals agree it is a good choice for ABC" rather than "clinical trials suggest the product helps x out of x+1 patients with condition ABC"? That one drives me nuts.

The corollary to this: Every six months there will be a story that alternates between "coffee makes you live longer" and "coffee: the demon that will kill you"**

**substitute "coffee" for pretty much any other item that exists.

Adventine

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2013, 10:18:38 AM »

The corollary to this: Every six months there will be a story that alternates between "coffee makes you live longer" and "coffee: the demon that will kill you"**

**substitute "coffee" for pretty much any other item that exists.

This drives me up the wall!

Cinder

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2013, 02:46:33 PM »
There are two things that have been bugging me lately..

1) The Match.com adds that say that 'couples that use match.com are 30% more likely to find a partner then people who don't'.  They don't let you know if it's [people who use match.com and are looking for a partner] vs [people who don't use match.com and are looking for a partner], or if it is, as I suspect.. [people who use match.com] vs [everyone else, both looking and not looking for a partner].

2) There is a life insurance add (can't remember the company) that has people put a circle on a billboard in a park asking them what the age of the oldest person they know is.  of COURSE there will be a lot more circles on the 'upper' ages!  you have multiple people who could know the same much older person, inflating the scale upward. 

Spork

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2013, 02:49:44 PM »

2) There is a life insurance add (can't remember the company) that has people put a circle on a billboard in a park asking them what the age of the oldest person they know is.  of COURSE there will be a lot more circles on the 'upper' ages!  you have multiple people who could know the same much older person, inflating the scale upward.

That annoys me too.

That is a lot like the books that cater to "the first born".  They give all these wonderful statistics: More presidents are first born.  More Nobel winners are first born.

um.  yeah.  And more murderers.  And more rapists.

THERE ARE MORE FIRST BORNS OUT THERE DUMBASSES!  And there are more 2nd borns than 3rds.  Heaven help you if you're 5th, there's just no chance of being president!

Cinder

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2013, 07:35:54 AM »
I remember reading an article in my local paper in my middle of nowhere PA town growing up.  It was about a year after they changed the law so you couldn't get your drivers license till 16.5 instead of 16.  It was talking about how the number of accidents by 16 year old drivers driving with their license was about 54% of what it was the year before.. I was like 'No way? They are driving on their own for half the time, and they have about half as many accidents?  I'd say it didn't do anything!'

matchewed

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2013, 07:41:46 AM »

2) There is a life insurance add (can't remember the company) that has people put a circle on a billboard in a park asking them what the age of the oldest person they know is.  of COURSE there will be a lot more circles on the 'upper' ages!  you have multiple people who could know the same much older person, inflating the scale upward.

That annoys me too.

That is a lot like the books that cater to "the first born".  They give all these wonderful statistics: More presidents are first born.  More Nobel winners are first born.

um.  yeah.  And more murderers.  And more rapists.

THERE ARE MORE FIRST BORNS OUT THERE DUMBASSES!  And there are more 2nd borns than 3rds.  Heaven help you if you're 5th, there's just no chance of being president!

/tear running down my face

So I can't be president? :(

Actually wait /dance /cheer

That job looks like it sucks.

spider1204

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2013, 09:31:28 AM »
Quote
It's always the right time to buy, just ask a realtor

Incidentally, it's also always the right time to sell, you know if that's your thing.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 09:57:00 AM by spider1204 »

pom

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2013, 09:47:11 AM »
Yes I saw this in a recent article where they interviewed a realtor. In the same sentence he said that it was the right time for buyers to buy and the right time for sellers to sell.

My rational me was puzzled (was it some tax thing??) but, after asking around, apparently being rational does not generate commissions.

jnik

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2013, 04:02:25 PM »
How about any medical product that's promoted because "x out of x+1 professionals agree it is a good choice for ABC"
Four out of five doctors think the other guy's an idiot.

(I think I first saw this in the context of a toothpaste ad which was something like "4 out of 5 dentists agree that brushing your teeth daily is good." No actual connection to the product, just a hope that the reader would erroneously make the connection.)

Apocalyptica602

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2013, 09:31:02 AM »
How about any medical product that's promoted because "x out of x+1 professionals agree it is a good choice for ABC"
Four out of five doctors think the other guy's an idiot.

(I think I first saw this in the context of a toothpaste ad which was something like "4 out of 5 dentists agree that brushing your teeth daily is good." No actual connection to the product, just a hope that the reader would erroneously make the connection.)

Haha, I'd like to meet the dentist who DIDN'T agree that brushing your teeth daily is good.

ncornilsen

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Re: 97.3% of statistics are totally made up
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2013, 11:35:18 AM »
Daily brushing isn't good...  for the earnings he gets from filling those cavities.  Sounds like he knows his business...