Nine out of 10 people reading this blog know that statistics can be tweaked to say anything the researcher wants to support. The other one is obviously misinformed.
In college I took a statistics class as part of my master’s degree requirement. The professor taught us the value of complete data analysis, and I’ve since employed that knowledge on a regular basis when looking at percentages and so-called statistics.
This January I’ve received a number of fitness and health magazines soliciting subscriptions. They contain many confusing monetary teasers offering such things as half off if you sign up for two years, or two years for the price of one, or second year free when you pay for the first one.
They also include a sampling of material included in the regular magazine. I’m naturally curious, so I perused the enclosed literature. Blueberries are filled with anti-oxidants, fish is packed with omega-3s, and raspberries have a great deal of soluble fiber. Nothing new there. But I laughed aloud when I read that 30 minutes of vigorous swimming burns off a little less than six Oreos.
What really caught my attention, though, was a little filler item claiming that given the choice, 42% of women would pick guilt-free snacks over great sex!
My first thoughts, in this order, were: Who are these women? How old are they? What is their current relationship status? Did the polled population include nuns? Have any of these women ever experienced great sex?
I was still shaking my head when the teachings of my college professor pushed forward in my thoughts and I reread the data with a more discerning eye. If 42% of an undetermined population of women chose the snacks, then a full 58% chose the sex. Ah-ha! That’s more like it! Whew! The cup is still more than half full after all.
Based on the presentation of the magazine’s skewed information reporting, however, I can unequivocally say there’s a 100% certainty I won’t be subscribing.