Episode 32: Probably Statistics

19 Aug

Understanding statistics and numerical data is important and useful if having accurate beliefs is one of your goals. So listen up!

This is not a podcast about the mathematical side of statistics, so there is no discussion of p-values, Weibull distributions, or lift charts. Rather, we look at some of the ways people can be mislead by statistics and numerical data.

Listen to this episode

Cliff notes:

If you liked this topic, there are lots of great resources to learn more. Check out the following books:


Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Cognitive Bias, New Episode, Rants


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4 responses to “Episode 32: Probably Statistics

  1. Josh

    August 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Good episode! The NYC and Iraq death thing has a lot of other factors as well that confused the death rates. NYC has a lot of young people, but its not as common for people to grow old, retire, and croak in the big apple. So you have a big population where people are inclined to move away before they die, which tips the scales even further.

    • nontheology

      August 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Yeah, there are additional dimensions you can explore with all of these. I don’t know anything about the demographics of New York, but that sounds plausible. Though, as far as tipping scales would go, what you said would swing the numbers in the other direction; if people move out of New York before they die then there will be artificially low death rates.

  2. Kevin

    September 15, 2013 at 12:52 am

    See, I’m writing this on your blog. Yes, a good episode. I could have done with less rant about stupid conservative organizations, and more about the statistic errors. More examples about confounding factors would have been fun!

    • nontheology

      September 25, 2013 at 12:05 am

      Yes, see? I’m responding to your post. Thanks for the compliment and constructive criticism! I like confounding factors a lot, and we might do a big chunk of an episode on that in the future. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open!


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