Advanced search

Lies, damn lies, misrepresentation, misinterpretation and STATISTICS

(104 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Wed 29-May-13 22:44:55

A thread for anyone who is infuriated by and/or enjoys reading about this type of stuff. I love it, but annoyingly at the moment I can't think of any examples, other than dull work-related ones. For example, if you're looking at something as a proportion of the whole, then you can't consider one thing in isolation. For example, as Trills mentioned on another thread, let's assume heart disease is the biggest killer of adults (which I believe it is). Let's assume 10% of deaths to adults in 1950 were of heart disease, compared to 42% now. Shocking rise? Probably not.

Plus I will attempt to explain the Monty Hall (think that's the name) problem to anyone who is interested and who doesn't already know it.

Trills Mon 08-Jul-13 20:02:19

You mentioned me in the OP and didn't PM me to tell me this was here!

I had to find out about it on a lottery thread!

Trills Mon 08-Jul-13 20:04:52

87% of women who were given this product for free said it was "quite nice"

TheDoctrineOfAllan Mon 08-Jul-13 20:36:28

Was it ham, Trills?

rubyanddiamond Mon 08-Jul-13 21:23:38

David Spiegelhalter did an episode of The Life Scientific recently - really interesting if you like this kind of thing:

Debsndan Mon 08-Jul-13 23:31:40

What a great thread. My only contribution is when I was having ivf, I got very interested in the individual success rates of each clinic, including one that actually had a detrimental effect on its patients' fertility. I posted about it on a fertility forum and a woman popped up to say I'd got it all wrong and we all had the same chance of getting pregnant as "it either works or it doesn't, so that's 50/50."
I retreated as my brain had started to hurt a lot and clearly there was no point trying to explain...

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 09-Jul-13 10:26:09

It should be mandatory for any comment on risk to be balanced by any comments on counter risks.

For example: certain types of SSRIs may increase the risk of foetal heart defects from 2 in 1000 to 4 in 1000 (not exact numbers). However, women of childbearing age who stop taking SSRIs for mild to moderate depression without having alternative treatment arranged suffer an x% increased risk of self harm, worsening depression or whatever.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 09-Jul-13 10:27:55

That was an illustrative post but my point was that changing one risk often means changing another, but only one change gets reported.

Azultrailer Mon 26-Aug-13 01:17:19

I love this thread.

meditrina Tue 27-May-14 09:17:34

Old thread, but I thought that anyone who spots it might also like this BBC story on spurious correlations

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 07-Jul-14 02:48:37

Another good BBC article this time on statistics and risk in medicine.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 14-Jul-14 22:30:49


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 14-Jul-14 22:37:47

"Perhaps the most notorious example of patients being misled about risk occurred in October 1995, when the UK's Committee on Safety of Medicines warned doctors that a new, third-generation oral contraceptive pill doubled the risk of thrombosis. Thousands of women came off the pill, even though the risk had merely increased from a one-in-7,000 chance of getting the disease to a two-in-7,000 chance. The following year saw an additional 13,000 abortions in the UK."

Now that might not be direct cause and effect but is close to what I was trying to say above - reducing one risk might often increase another.

Trills Mon 14-Jul-14 22:44:32

Definitely ham.

YonicScrewdriver Mon 26-Jan-15 09:15:38

Sticking in this awesome quote in order to bump the thread.

"Space," says the introduction to The Hitchhiker's Guide, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is." A-a-and so on. It also says that if you hold a lungful of air, you can survive in the total vacuum of space for about 30 seconds. But with space being really big and all, the chances of being picked up within that time are 22,079,460,347 to one against. Strangely, this is also the telephone number of an Islington flat where Arthur Dent went to a fancy dress party, and met a very nice young woman whom he totally blew it with. Though the planet Earth, the Islington flat and the telephone have all now been demolished, it is comforting to reflect that they are all, in some small way, commemorated by the fact that 29 seconds later, Arthur and Ford were, in fact, rescued.

BertieBotts Mon 26-Jan-15 14:52:30

Err why is this showing as a zombie thread? Have I had one of those time slips they were talking about on the spooky thread?

YonicScrewdriver Mon 26-Jan-15 15:00:33

Because the last post before my bump was July 14 Bertie - it should be fully revived now!

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 06-Feb-15 14:53:45

Skepchick did a nice debunk of some charts on measles and vaccinations that've apparently been doing the media rounds in the US:

BertieBotts Fri 06-Feb-15 15:09:49

Oh!! Sorry Yonic smile I thought this was a new thread that had been started in response to posts on the "Things people don't understand" thread.

YonicScrewdriver Sat 07-Feb-15 00:13:50

Thanks Boom.

It's a thread that should live forever, Bertie!

YonicScrewdriver Sun 31-May-15 20:26:30

Yay, More or Less is back, with its dastardly puns!

Leatherfireguard Sat 18-Feb-17 17:11:53

I am bouncing this thread because it is the best ever ever.

StealthPolarBear Sun 09-Apr-17 12:08:21

Just been reminded of this thread a d thought I'd bump for more.
Amazingly I've only just become aware of more or less but watched one about alzheimers which was good. Def want to watch more.

StealthPolarBear Sun 09-Apr-17 12:13:52

How has this been bumped without me spotting? Clearly I need to up my mning

StealthPolarBear Sun 09-Apr-17 14:02:18

Oops sorry @trills

StealthPolarBear Sun 09-Apr-17 15:38:00

Bumping one last time

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now