Calling for a Moratorium on Statistics in the Mass Media

The article in Fox News is entitled Study: Alcohol-Promoting Teens More Likely to Drink. The article shows an understanding of what the study shows as well. "The study can't say if the merchandise has any affect on drinking or if likely drinkers simply wear the stuff. But for parents there is a clear message."

However, the situation is completely different in the Hindustan Times, which got the article from Asian News International. This article shows up in the same cluster on the front page: 'Alcohol-branded clothes lead to early teen drinking'. Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that there is any possibility that kids who are more likely to drink might just also be more likely to wear alcohol branded clothes. That makes the article essentially a bald faced lie.

I am starting to think perhaps the mainstream media simply shouldn't be allowed to use statistics at all, because it's pretty clear people just don't get it. Almost every single time I see any statistics quoted these days, they're misused or inappropriate. It seems like the odds would be on your side to just say that anyone using statistics is lying. Period.

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I believe it was Will

I believe it was Will Rogers, or perhaps Mark Twain who said:
--Some people use statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination.
Dave

Statistics are not science.

Statistics are not science. I've come to believe that just about every science realated story by the media is completely useless, and frequently amounts to a press release by an activist group.

Whenever you hear "A new study shows that..." you should immediately tune it out. The scientific method is not about a single study... it is about a collection of studies that confirm each other - if the results are not repeatable then science is not taking place - propaganda is.