The Use of Statistics

We are often faced with statistics that seem unbelievable, simply too strange to be true. Yet we find ourselves believing them because we don't understand the problems in how people came up with those numbers.  There's three reasons why statistics can often be badly misleading.

  1. The people being asked for their opinion weren't honest.
    • You can't always believe people. According to one survey, 15% of those polled admit lying to pollsters. Does that make sense?  Maybe the people were lying about whether they lied.
    • 20,000 Jedi Canadians
  2. We don't want to look stupid because we don't know the answer.

  3. "Correlation does not necessarily imply causation." Just because two items are linked doesn't mean that one causes the other. Notice in the examples below that all the facts are true but the conclusion drawn is ridiculous.


Ignore the rule that because two things are connected, that doesn't necessarily mean one caused the other. Come up with 10 statistics that "prove" a ridiculous conclusion. Write them down. Hand them in.

You may work alone or with one partner.