Author Topic: Following statistics  (Read 117 times)

xetog

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Following statistics
« on: Sep 20, 2020, 11:21:21 AM »
I can remember a number of times over the years since I have been a member of this forum threads about the failure to read statistics realistically and this has come to the fore with a vengeance during the Covid-19 'crisis'.


You will all no doubt remember the hard winter of '62 when, even in the south snow laid until Easter.  In fact, winters had been pretty bad since about '44 and continued to be bad up until the mid 70's.  Computers were very primitive in those days, but scientists were predicting pretty confidently from that statistics that we were about to enter a new ice age, caused in the main by pollution which was a major driver for early attempts like restrictions on coal fires.


From the mid-70's things began to get hotter, in fact I seem to remember '76 as one of the record years, didn't we have a Minister for Rain appointed?  What about statistics, within a few years, with the help of better computers statisticians were confidently predicting the end of humanity by 2000 (due again to pollution).  In the 80's along with many other engineers I was working on installing new refrigerants with lower GWP's (Global Warming Potential's) and started to hear about methane and carbon dioxide.  Things settled down a bit and we began to hear of the oceans rising by a metre by 2000 instead of extinction.  It didn't happen, so then it was the ice caps totally melted in 10 years, it didn't happen.  Then by 2020 much of the world would be without food, it hasn't happened any more than usual.  All because those in control always believe the loudest and worst predictors.


Now we are up to our necks in Covid-19 statistics, many of which have already been highlighted on PF, so I won't go over them again, but I would like to write a few words on international comparisons.  We have been told every day since the beginning of the pandemic that we were almost the worst for fatalities, but now we find that up to a third of the deaths reported were not due to Covid-19 at all, so where does that leave the international comparison?  Most nations are experiencing a new spike, but deaths have not increased in proportion, but how do they collate their statistics?  If it is not on the same basis as us how relevant is the national everyday dose of sackcloth and ashes?  It looks like the statisticians are getting it wrong again and possibly worsening the effects of the virus.


It's all damn statistics again and unless the world can free itself of the compulsion to believe everything that spews from a computer knowing only too well that it's rubbish in, rubbish out, we could well see the end of civilisation through statistically induced panic.


Mike.X



If you want to control peoples thoughts, first control their words.

Diasi

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Re: Following statistics
« Reply #1 on: Sep 20, 2020, 11:26:48 AM »
That's a fair assessment, but it would be helpful to know the colour of shoes worn by the majority of those who died from Covid-19.

Ooh, hang on, they wouldn't be wearing shoes if they were lying in a bed.
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xetog

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Re: Following statistics
« Reply #2 on: Sep 20, 2020, 11:38:05 AM »
What worries me is after 70-odd years of getting it wrong we may get used to disbelieving them and then when they get it right we may not choose to listen and the consequences will be dreadful.  I think it's called 'crying wolf' and it's getting to be a real danger.


Mike.X
If you want to control peoples thoughts, first control their words.

Michael Rolls

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Re: Following statistics
« Reply #3 on: Sep 20, 2020, 11:43:12 AM »
I am becoming more and more concerned at the way in which the impact of all elements of this crisis are being presented. Cases go up when more tests are carried out - surprise, surprise. Seven in a room is the end of the world - really? Get run down by a bus three months after being tested positive and having had no ill effects - you died of covid-19. And so it goes on and on. Now people who breach these regulations, no matter how illogical any given regulation may be in a particular set of circumstances, face fines of up to 10,000.
The whole is becoming a fantasy - and meanwhile the social and economic life continue to nose dive
 Mike
The older I get, the better I was!

Michael Rolls

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Re: Following statistics
« Reply #4 on: Sep 20, 2020, 11:43:31 AM »
What worries me is after 70-odd years of getting it wrong we may get used to disbelieving them and then when they get it right we may not choose to listen and the consequences will be dreadful.  I think it's called 'crying wolf' and it's getting to be a real danger.


Mike.X
Fair point
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Ashy

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Re: Following statistics
« Reply #5 on: Sep 20, 2020, 02:29:30 PM »
It must be a serious disease if you need a test to know if you have got it. Or maybe the test they apply does not actually prove anything at all other than you have a nose, throat or bloodstream.
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