Confusing Statistics Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Education - Mathematics Type: Essay Paper: #61879447 Related Topics: Statistics, Oprah Winfrey, Mathematics, Mark Twain
Excerpt from Essay :

Statistics in Relationships

It is important to understand the limitations of mathematics, number and statistics. Stats and numbers play a larger role in assigning value to things in today's society. The entire monetary system is based in this statistical mire. The idea of stats being viewed as only a tool or artifact of technology can prevent the misuse of this concept. The following will address several of these examples to demonstrate the essence and true value of statistics as merely an extension of the individual who is applying this type of numeric manipulation.

The famous author Mark Twain once described statistics being more confusing than actual lying and lies. Bad statistics are found everywhere and there are many examples of how things can be confused for the truth. Bayes Theorem describes the incidents of conditional probability. But inherent in this model, the original probability is assumed to be known. If this error was discovered by doctors, the incidence of false positives in cancer would soon skyrocket and actual cancer rates would be significantly reduced.

Compounding interest rates applied to credit cards and loans seem to be a misuse of statistics. Percentage rates seem very low, but when mathematical statistical modeling is applied, the extent of the fraud is glaring. Stats are mostly wrong in the first

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In 2011, for example, the average income of the 7,878 households in Steubenville, Ohio, was $46,341. But if just two people, Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey, relocated to that city, the average household income in Steubenville would rise 62% overnight, to $75,263 per household." This examples highlights simply how averages can be used to mislead into a certain argument.

Stats are often used too often in determining winners and losers in sports as well. The win loss records are the only stats that matter in deciding who is a champion. Sometimes theses stats overshadow the very purpose of competition in the first place. Hitting a home run means nothing if the team loses the game in the long run.

Stats are often misused in the legal arena as well. Life and death is…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Altman, D.G. (1980). Statistics and ethics in medical research. Misuse of statistics is unethical. BMJ, 281(6249), 1182-1184.

Coontz, S. (2013). When Numbers Mislead. The New York Times, 25 May 2013. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/opinion/sunday/when-numbers-mislead.html

Lewis, D.D. (1998). Naive (Bayes) at forty: The independence assumption in information retrieval. In Machine learning: ECML-98 (pp. 4-15). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.


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