May 27th, 2005



I don't normally get involved in American politics, but I think these need further publicity.

Two heinous examples of abuse of statistics for political ends, via lyssiae:

- The left have been leaning heavily on a study showing that abortions increased since Bush was elected in 2001. Turns out that more comprehensive studies contradict this (rather startling!) conclusion.

Mind you, for a political movement who seem to elevate preventing abortions above all other possible aims, and seem happy to do so almost at any cost, a 1% annual decrease, in line with a 20-year downward trend, is not particularly impressive. Still, it's a very good example of what can happen when a small, limited study is over-hyped beyond what the data can support.

- But propaganda from the right about same-sex fostering and parenting just beggars belief.

I think zestyping's article really speaks for itself; there's not much I can add. Read the link and be appalled.

Explanation of the post subject: my brothers had a teacher in primary school who tried to quote Disraeli's famous saw and accidentally said lies, damned lies and dishwashers. Since then, dishwashers has been a term in my family meaning spurious statistics, or deliberate misuse of statistics to deceive.

Today is Lag b'Omer (the 33rd day of the Omer). Yay! That makes four complete weeks and five days of the Omer.