Statistical Science

Lies, Calculations and Constructions: Beyond How to Lie with Statistics

Joel Best

Full-text: Open access

Abstract

Darrell Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics remains the best-known, nontechnical call for critical thinking about statistics. However, drawing a distinction between statistics and lying ignores the process by which statistics are socially constructed. For instance, bad statistics often are disseminated by sincere, albeit innumerate advocates (e.g., inflated estimates for the number of anorexia deaths) or through research findings selectively highlighted to attract media coverage (e.g., a recent study on the extent of bullying). Further, the spread of computers has made the production and dissemination of dubious statistics easier. While critics may agree on the desirability of increasing statistical literacy, it is unclear who might accept this responsibility.

Article information

Source
Statist. Sci. Volume 20, Number 3 (2005), 210-214.

Dates
First available in Project Euclid: 24 August 2005

Permanent link to this document
https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1124891286

Digital Object Identifier
doi:10.1214/088342305000000232

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)
MR2188917

Zentralblatt MATH identifier
1100.62530

Keywords
Darrell Huff social construction statistical literacy

Citation

Best, Joel. Lies, Calculations and Constructions: Beyond How to Lie with Statistics . Statist. Sci. 20 (2005), no. 3, 210--214. doi:10.1214/088342305000000232. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1124891286.


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