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quidity (1296)

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A relapsing reformed physicist.

Journal of quidity (1296)

Tuesday April 23, 2002
05:52 AM

Lies, dammed lies and (Church) statistics

[ #4386 ]

Two of my favourite books ever, How to lie with statistics and On the graphical display of quantitative information, have a great deal to say about how easy it is to fool people with cleverly constructed statistics or graphics. Now though, it seems that a whole nation can lie to itself without even trying to cover up the truth.

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  • Five minutes after the results were announced, the first thing that was on all TVs was.... more polls.

    Polls have truly helped ruin these elections but it's not their fault. Poll-people asked for polls and provide them. The media then does whatever they want with it. In this case it was telling everyone that the first round was useless.

    Of course, those that believed the polls would be close to reality were being silly or thoughtless. And of course, it'd be a bad idea to blame it on just that.


    -- Robin Berjon []

  • I think you mean The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Tufte, right? Great book.
  • I've not yet read Arianna Huffington's book "How To Overthrow the Government," but one of the things she goes on about is that polls are at best damaging to the policital process. She started a Partnership for a Poll-Free America a few years ago with Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap, The Simpsons). Apparently it hasn't had much effect yet. :-) For years, though, I've despised opinion polls, and I refuse to participate in them, and I -- when I feel up to it -- actively try to invalidate them, in various