Lies, Damned Lies, or Statistics: How to Tell the Truth with Statistics

A free textbook for a one-semester, undergraduate statistics course. The goal of this book is to help you learn How to Tell the Truth with Statistics and, therefore, how to tell when others are telling the truth, or lies.

**Tag(s):**
Statistics

**Publication date**: 13 May 2017

**ISBN-10**:
n/a

**ISBN-13**:
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**Paperback**:
143 pages

**Views**: 5,861

**Type**: Textbook

**Publisher**:
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**License**:
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

**Post time**: 15 Jun 2017 03:00:00

Lies, Damned Lies, or Statistics: How to Tell the Truth with Statistics

A free textbook for a one-semester, undergraduate statistics course. The goal of this book is to help you learn How to Tell the Truth with Statistics and, therefore, how to tell when others are telling the truth, or lies.

You are free to:

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Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

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Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

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Excerpts from the Preface:

Jonathan A. Poritz wrote:We contend, however, that statistics are not a type of lie, but rather, when used carefully, are an alternative to lying. For this reason, we use “or” in the title of this book, where Twain/Disraeli used “and,” to underline how we are thinking of statistics, correctly applied, as standing in opposition to lies and damned lies.

But why use such a complicated method of telling the truth as statistics, rather than, say, telling a good story or painting a moving picture? The answer, we believe, is simply that there are many concrete, specific questions that humans have about the world which are best answered by carefully collecting some data and using a modest amount of mathematics and a fair bit of logic to analyze them. The thing about the Scientific Method is that it just seems to work. So why not learn how to use it?

Learning better techniques of critical thinking seems particularly important at this moment of history when our politics in the United States (and elsewhere) are so divisive, and different parties cannot agree about the most basic facts. A lot of commentators from all parts of the political spectrum have speculated about the impact of so-called fake news on the outcomes of recent recent elections and other political debates. It is therefore the goal of this book to help you learn How to Tell the Truth with Statistics and, therefore, how to tell when others are telling the truth ... or are faking their “news.”

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About The Author(s)

Jonathan A. Poritz (@poritzj) is Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Physics and Data Analyst in the Center for Teaching and Learning, both at Colorado State University – Pueblo, in Pueblo, Colorado, USA.

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