07-15-2016, 10:20 PM

http://peterturchin.com/blog/2016/07/15/...ami-wages/

Quote:We all have heard the phrase: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” (for its origin, see the entry in Wikipedia). This phrase is a damned lie.

You cannot lie with statistics if they are properly done; that is, if you show both the data and the method you used to analyze the data. Only the innumerate can be lied to with statistics. “Innumeracy” is inability to deal with numbers and quantitative reasoning, just as “illiteracy” is the inability to read. Unfortunately, although only 30 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate, a much, much higher percent are functionally innumerate. However, for important issues, you will always find numerate people on both sides, and thus when one side attempts to lie with statistics, the other side will point out the problems and perform alternative analyses. Numerate public, by spending a little effort to follow the logic of both sides, will immediately see who is right and who is wrong. And that’s why statistics are very different from “damned lies.”

Here’s a good example of how this works in practice, with me a numerate bystander in one very important debate: does massive immigration depress wages of native workers..

http://peterturchin.com/blog/2016/07/15/...ami-wages/